UCLA basketball links: Bruins in the NBA Summer League

Los Angeles Lakers’ Lonzo Ball shoots over Los Angeles Clippers’ Brice Johnson (10) during overtime of an NBA summer league basketball game, Friday, July 7, 2017, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher) ORG XMIT: NVJL117

Lonzo Ball‘s much-anticipated NBA Summer League debut for the Lakers started with a bang: an alley-oop pass to Brandon Ingram on the team’s very first possession.

The former UCLA Bruin’s night ended with his father LaVar Ball saying Lonzo did “the worst you can do,” after Ball was 2 for 15 shooting in the Lakers’ 96-93 overtime loss to the Clippers in Las Vegas on Friday.

Despite struggling with his shot, Ball still made an impact with five assists, four rebounds, two steals and one block.

More on Ball’s Summer League debut

Other links:

  • TJ Leaf was one of NBA.com’s 10 standouts from the Orlando Summer League with the Indiana Pacers. He played in three of the Pacers’ five games, averaging 12.7 points and 6.3 rebounds per game.
    • Fellow Pacers draft pick Ike Anigbogu did not participate in any summer league games due to a knee injury, according to the Indianapolis Star.
    • Undrafted guard Isaac Hamilton averaged 5.3 points and one rebound in three summer league games with the Pacers.
  • From the Albuquerque Journal: Bryce Alford, who landed with the Golden State Warriors after going undrafted, will stick to what he knows best: shooting. The Warriors start their summer league schedule Saturday at 7:30 p.m. PT on ESPN against the Philadelphia 76ers in Las Vegas.
  • Jonah Bolden, who attended UCLA for one year before going to Europe to turn pro, played in three game with the 76ers in the Utah Summer League, averaging 10 points and 5.3 rebounds. The Philadelphia Inquirer wrote about Bolden’s defensive versatility after he had a team-high four blocks in his debut. His team will continue summer league play in Las Vegas.

NBA Draft links: Lonzo Ball favorite to win Rookie of the Year

Lonzo Ball is the favorite to win NBA Rookie of the Year next season. (Frank Franklin II/AP)

Despite competition including two No. 1 overall picks, former UCLA point guard Lonzo Ball has the best odds to win the NBA’s Rookie of the Year award next season.

The No. 2 overall pick of the Lakers at Thursday’s NBA draft was given 5/2 odds to win the award by oddsmaker Bovada. Ben Simmons, the 2016 No. 1 overall pick who missed all of last season due to injury, has 3/1 odds and is followed by 76ers teammate Markelle Fultz, the 2017 No. 1 overall pick at 5/1 odds.

2017-2018 NBA Rookie of the Year – Odds to Win
Lonzo Ball, Lakers (UCLA) – 5/2
Ben Simmons, 76ers (LSU) – 3/1
Markelle Fultz, 76ers (Washington) – 5/1
De’Aaron Fox, Kings (Kentucky) – 7/1
Josh Jackson, Suns (Kansas) – 9/1
Jayson Tatum, Celtics (Duke) – 9/1
Jonathan Isaac, Magic (Florida State) – 16/1
Malik Monk, Hornets (Kentucky) – 16/1
Dennis Smith, Mavericks (NC State) – 16/1

NBA Draft Links:

NBA draft: TJ Leaf, Ike Anigbogu land on opposite ends of spectrum

UCLA freshman TJ Leaf was selected 18th overall in Thursday’s NBA draft, but classmate Ike Anigbogu slipped to the 47th pick. (Frank Franklin II/AP)

It turns out TJ Leaf’s decision to declare for the NBA draft did indeed deserve less skepticism than that of UCLA classmate Ike Anigbogu – just not for the reasons we thought.

Both UCLA freshmen were selected by the Indiana Pacers in Thursday’s NBA draft. Leaf was the 18th overall pick and Anigbogu, a projected first-rounder, slipped to the 17th pick of the second round, 47th overall.

Concern about Anigbogu’s surgically repaired knee was reportedly the cause for the 6-foot-10, 252-pound center’s slide nearly an entire round later than his projections. There was little mention of his knee while Anigbogu was weighing his options after the season, which was understandable considering his meniscus surgery on Oct. 25 was minor enough for him to return to game action Nov. 25.

A sprained foot shelved Anigbogu for the only other game he missed the remainder of the season, a March 17 first-round NCAA tournament contest. In other words, he played four months of college basketball without knee issues only for concern to crop up shortly before the NBA draft. Continue reading “NBA draft: TJ Leaf, Ike Anigbogu land on opposite ends of spectrum” »

TJ Leaf’s intellect, charisma only helping his draft stock

TJ Leaf was lauded for his interview skills as much as anything during the NBA Draft Combine last week. The former UCLA power forward interviewed with 14 teams at the combine and has since worked out with three teams individually.

On Thursday, the projected first-round pick worked out for the Toronto Raptors – the Raptors pick 23rd in the first round – after which he talked about everything from his ability to score on three levels to whether Lonzo Ball would provide him some Big Baller Brand basketball shoes.

Leaf was the life of the party in the UCLA locker room last season, and gave some insight into what a charismatic person he is before stiffening up with the media as the season went along. Continue reading “TJ Leaf’s intellect, charisma only helping his draft stock” »

UCLA basketball 2017 report card: TJ Leaf

TJ Leaf was the most dynamic offensive weapon for the highest-scoring team in college basketball

Strengths: TJ Leaf was the best one-on-one player on the highest-scoring team in the country. Coupled with the freshman forward’s ability to run (and stretch) the floor, he was UCLA’s most dynamic offensive weapon. Surrounded by shooters and the best facilitator in college basketball, Leaf was in an ideal situation to succeed. But when he needed to create his own shot, he had abundant success scoring on anyone from anywhere. His 61.7 field goal percentage ranked fourth among all power five conference players and the 6-foot-10 freshman shot 47 percent from 3-point range, making him the best stretch four in college basketball aside from Arizona’s Lauri Markkanen.

Weaknesses: Leaf was plenty athletic and surprisingly physical on the defensive end, but he was very slow to adapt as a help defender. Most of Leaf’s defensive shortcomings were mental. He was slow to rotate, was consistently beaten on back-door cuts and generally had a difficult time keeping his head on a swivel. UCLA’s lack of perimeter defense put an unhealthy amount of pressure on UCLA’s big men, but it also exposed Leaf’s lack of continuity with his teammates on the defensive end.

Best moment: One of Leaf’s best halves of the season maintained UCLA’s elite status at a critical point in the season. Continue reading “UCLA basketball 2017 report card: TJ Leaf” »