Written for nbl.com.au by Liam Santamaria
What happens in Vegas usually stays there.
But for the hundreds of coaches and GMs who are here in the Nevada desert for the NBA Summer League, the trip is all about who they can sign and what they can bring home.
Which is why, with only five games on the slate, UNLV’s Thomas and Mack Centre was a little less manic today. Most of the action was on the strip, where agents and teams were meeting in hotel suites to negotiate contracts.
After a crazy Day 3, there were only three players in action today with ties to Australia, New Zealand or the NBL; Casper Ware Jr. (Portland), Jock Landale (Atlanta) and Tai Webster (Miami).
Of the group, it was Landale who most impressed with the Aussie big man starting and playing a stack of minutes for the Hawks.
Landale’s numbers were nothing special – 3 points, 4 rebounds and 2 assists – but the big fella played an important role in his team’s win over Chicago, with the Hawks outscoring the Bulls by 21 points during his time on the floor.
Post feeds remain hard to come by, but the the former St. Mary’s standout told NBL media postgame that he’s getting better at adjusting to the pro setting.
“You just try to put frustration aside,” Landale said.
“There are a lot of opportunities where we get a switch and at St. Mary’s they’d throw the ball straight into me because that’s how we played.
“In this situation the guards are the ones controlling the tempo and controlling the game and that’s what they do.
“I just try to get in good rebounding position while they go to work and if there’s a rebounding opportunity hopefully I clean that up.”
The Hawks look likely to sit talented second-year big man John Collins for the rest of Summer League, opening the door for Landale to play big minutes from here on out.
Casper Ware hit the floor again today, playing 9 minutes in Portland’s win over San Antonio.
As always, the NBL championship-winning guard had his moments at both ends, finishing with 3 points, 3 boards, 1 assist and 1 steal in limited burn.
The Blazers continue to give most of their backcourt minutes to second-year guard Wade Baldwin IV and rookies Anfernee Simons and Gary Trent Jr, making it hard for Ware to get extended run.
Of course, that’s good news for Melbourne fans as it opens the door for Ware to potentially return for United’s championship defence. Ware told NBL Media today that discussions with Melbourne continue to advance.
Finally, Kiwi guard Tai Webster saw more action today as the Miami Heat got a W over Utah.
Competing in his second Summer League, Webster has played well in limited minutes so far and today notched up 2 points, 1 rebound, 1 assist, 1 steal and 1 eye-catching blocked shot.
— NBA (@NBA) July 10, 2018
Speaking with NBL Media postgame, Webster said that he feels more comfortable at this year’s Summer League after experiencing it all twelve months ago.
“You never can quite predict how it’s going to be but it has definitely helped me having that experience,” Webster said.
“Just knowing what the routine is and what goes on here. I’m enjoying it, having fun and it’s a great learning experience every time and I’m fortunate enough to come back for my second year.
“Hopefully I’ll be able to come back for a third and fourth.”[ooyala code=”UzaDdxZjE6c_HPWMLfe5kwwl8-aPu_gw” player_id=”d5b993422b3e4b5ebd61f9e19ca2a6a5″ auto=”true” width=”1920″ height=”1080″ pcode=”EwNWUyOqfDgjGTlv9lIu9RLGr__g”]