LAS VEGAS — The setting has changed, but the names on the front and back of the jerseys haven’t.
Three months after leading the Austin Spurs through the NBA Development League playoffs, Kyle Anderson and Jonathon Simmons are doing the same for the San Antonio Spurs here at the Samsung NBA Summer League.
The wins mean less than the opportunities for growth, and extending their stay in Vegas game-by-game increases those opportunities. Anderson is the touted prospect trying to make the sophomore leap; Simmons the journeyman who’s risen from Austin local tryout participant to San Antonio Spur in just two years.
They both represent what this event — an 11-day, 67-game marathon that concludes with Monday’s Spurs vs. Suns championship game — is all about.
Sights, sounds and analysis from Day 10 in Vegas:
TOP 3 ALUM PERFORMERS
Stats: 19 points, 7/14 FG, 5/10 FT, 8 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals
Prospect Watch: The Spurs entered halftime in a funk, then snapped out of it as quickly as Simmons can fly down the lane. His latest acrobatics — at the six-minute mark of the fourth quarter — provided the kind of jolt that can swing the momentum of a game. The guard from two junior colleges and the University of Houston has been the Summer League’s revelation, and his rise will now continue into the Finals.
Stats: 22 points, 8/17 FG, 1/2 3FG, 5/9 FT, 8 rebounds, 2 steals
Prospect Watch: When the Spurs’ offense bogs down, they keep putting the ball in Anderson’s hands and letting him go to work. The crafty forward has been Summer League’s toughest matchup with his ability to bait defenders into either buying his fakes or fouling. While he did not record an assist on Sunday and is averaging just 1.5 in Vegas, Anderson’s unique skills and court vision are what has carried the Spurs through this tournament.
Stats: 21 points, 7/16 FG, 2/6 3FG, 5/5 FT, 2 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal
Prospect Watch: The Pelicans team that had taken this event by storm finally ran out of steam, but Curry submitted one last game tape that shows he’s an NBA player. Coaches love consistency, and Curry scored 20+ points in each of his six games here. More importantly, he consistently brought effort defensively and scored his points within the flow of the offense.
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE DAY
Jonathon Simmons was cleared for liftoff after another nasty left-to-right crossover:
Then Simmons turned the corner past 7-foot-3 Hawks giant Walter Tavares to put the nail in the coffin:
Archie Goodwin finished off this alley-oop with flair:
High-flying, 6-foot-6 guard Jonathon Simmons on the growth spurt that changed his life:
“Going into my junior year [of high school], I was about 5-7. I could barely even touch the rim. I used to be able to shoot it real good until I got taller; now all I wanna do is dunk.”
WORTH A THOUSAND WORDS
WORTH 140 CHARACTERS
Jonathon Simmons has more dunks in six Summer League games than the Spurs had last season. Don't quote me on this.
— Quixem Ramirez (@quixem) July 20, 2015
"He may play slow, but he thinks really fast" – Isiah Thomas dropping knowledge on Kyle Anderson. Almost Yogi Berra-ish.
— Dan McCarney (@danmccarneySAEN) July 19, 2015