The NBA Summer League is always fun to watch. Especially when you have three former Red Raiders in the mix going head-to-head with some of the best newcomers in the NBA. We have been able to watch these guys expand their growth.
Unfortunately, former Red Raider Tariq Owens did not appear in a game with the Phoenix Suns. Also, due to trade deadline issues, Jarrett Culver with the Minnesota Timberwolves didn't get a chance to play in this summer league either.
With three former Red Raiders having been put against some stellar talents, it’s time to break down how each one’s game has been.
Keenan Evans, Memphis Grizzlies
He was a standout guard for Texas Tech, and now he’s translating that talent to the next level. Evans has been accurate from the floor in all four games shooting approximately 48% and averaging 11 points per game. In fact, Evans has the highest shooting percentage of any of his summer league teammates.
Evans has also been working well with his fellow Grizzlies averaging 2.8 assists per game, which is the second highest on the team. Lets not forget how athletic this guard is averaging 2 rebounds per game.
He is an all around solid guard who can work from pretty much anywhere on the floor. Evans potential equals what an NBA guard is supposed to look like. He can shoot, feed the ball to his teammates and make the plays.
Evans even helped the Grizzlies win in last nights game against the Celtics, 94-88, taking down former Purdue Boilmaker Carson Edwards. He has a chance to prove himself even more in the Semifinals of the NBA Summer League at 5 p.m. today against the New Orleans Pelicans.
Zhaire Smith, Philadelphia 76ers
I’m sorry, but the picture above is too great not to discuss. Look at the way he is going to the rim. Zhaire Smith definitely was going to throw it down, but also look at his teammates’ reaction to the right. He’s scared of what No. 8 is about to do, but we all know this is just second nature for Smith.
That’s what he does. He makes your jaw drop and goes for the highlight moments. His play during the summer league gave fans in Philly something to be excited about. This summer, he averaged 12.4 points per game, 2.6 assists and 3 rebounds a game. Smith is making a statement by showing how well-rounded of a player he is.
The kid who was once a highlight real himself for Tech has finally been able to take his talents to the next level after suffering a rough injury the season before. Now he’s back, and with a vengeance. Smith is showing the 76’ers what they are missing on their roster next season with his athleticism and ability to do just about everything on the floor.
Smith is no joke. If he can continue to stay healthy, the NBA needs to make room because here comes the next big thing.
Matt Mooney, Atlanta Hawks
We all remember Mooney’s amazing playoff performances during Tech’s NCAA Tournament run. His overall hustle combined with his talent at being a guard showed during the summer league for the Hawks.
Mooney is averaged 9.8 points, 2.8 assists and 2.8 rebounds per game. He definitely put in the work on the floor by averaging 25 minutes per game, which led his teammates in playing time. He’s a jack of all trades on the floor and showed that he can do it all if need be. Especially be the guy to make the difficult shots.
Matt Mooney makes his first ever shot in the NBA and doesn't hold back on the degree of difficulty. pic.twitter.com/QnOgt76CpE— Eric Kelly (@EricKellyTV) July 6, 2019
His defensive mindedness only helped Atlanta’s summer league on the court and can shut down opponents by zoning in and giving them no room for error. That should be of no surprise to anyone as Mooney was known for his lock-down defense at Texas Tech.
He’s a great guard and has been showing the Hawks just that. I wouldn't be surprised if we see him on an NBA roster when the time comes.
It’s nice for a change to see all these Red Raiders pushing it to the next level. These guys may be headed towards great NBA careers, but they will always represent that Scarlet Red and Black and what it means to be a Red Raider.