Analyzing how several former Terps performed in NBA summer leagues

Chicago Bulls' Dez Wells shoots over Dallas Mavericks' AJ Hammons during the first half of an NBA summer league basketball game Thursday, July 14, 2016, in Las Vegas.
Chicago Bulls' Dez Wells shoots over Dallas Mavericks' AJ Hammons during the first half of an NBA summer league basketball game Thursday, July 14, 2016, in Las Vegas.(John Locher / AP)

The NBA Summer League ended its three-city, six-week run Monday night with two former Maryland players, Dez Wells and Rasheed Sulaimon, celebrating as part of the Chicago Bulls' championship team in Las Vegas.

Here are a few observations about the performances — and the immediate futures — of the six former Terps who participated.


Diamond Stone will likely spend a good chunk of next season in the D-League.

Any thoughts of the 6-foot-11, 255-pound center being NBA-ready were quickly dismissed at the first NBA Summer League in Orlando.


Stone had some impressive stretches and showed that his offensive game is mature for a 19-year-old. But the same issues that popped up during his one season in College Park in terms of defense and rebounding were in evidence on a Los Angeles Clippers team that didn't win a single game.

Stone's two most impressive games came against the New York Knicks and former Duke center Marshall Plumlee, when Stone averaged 17.5 points and seven rebounds while shooting 17-for 27 from the field. Stone averaged just 5.7 points and 5.3 rebounds in the other three games, including one in which he used up the 10-foul limit in 18 minutes.

The Clippers finally committed some money to Stone after the summer league ended, when he signed a reported two-year deal for $1.4 million. That will go a lot further in Bakersfield or Grand Rapids or some other D-League outpost — where Stone will likely be sent for much-needed seasoning next winter — than in Los Angeles.

Jake Layman must somehow find that "me" gene in the NBA.

In Las Vegas, the 6-9, 215-pound forward resembled the guy Maryland fans saw in College Park the past four years, down to the No. 10 on the back of his Portland Trail Blazers' jersey.

Layman certainly had moments when he looked like an NBA player by displaying flashes of athleticism. He even had a couple of games when he seemed to be hunting for — and knocking down — his shot.

But someone obviously didn't give Layman the message that as the team's only 2016 draft choice in the summer league — albeit the 47th overall pick — he didn't have to defer as much as he did, especially early on.

One more thing: Layman, who averaged eight points and four rebounds while playing 30 minutes per game, is going to play mostly on the perimeter at small forward in the NBA and will have to develop a more consistent outside shot.

As well as he stroked it toward the end of his senior year at Maryland, Layman struggled in Vegas, shooting 14-for-40 overall and 4-for-22 on 3-pointers. He also made just eight of 14 free throws after shooting better than 83 percent as a senior.

Based on Portland's current roster, and the financial investment the Trail Blazers have already made in drafting him (sending $1.2 million to the Orlando Magic just to get the pick) and signing him ($2.8 over three years, the first two guaranteed) Layman has a legitimate chance to back up recent free-agent signee Evan Turner next season.

Dez Wells likely earned an NBA training camp invite, and maybe a more serious look.

For fans of the former Maryland star, seeing him in action again brought back memories of some of the things he did during the three seasons he spent as a Terp. He played as hard as anyone in any of the three summer leagues.


Unfortunately for Wells, there are not a lot of 6-5 small forwards in the NBA anymore. That is the position he played for the Bulls, starting all seven games for the team that beat the Minnesota Timberwolves in overtime for the Las Vegas Summer League title Monday.

Wells has improved defensively, but except for hitting his first four shots in the team's semifinal win Sunday night, including a 3-pointer, he struggled on the offensive end, shooting 10-for-30 overall.

Given how perimeter-heavy the Bulls have become with the addition of free agents Dwyane Wade and Rajon Rondo, as well as Jerian Grant in the Derrick Rose deal, Wells will likely have to find another NBA team in order to have a more legitimate chance of sticking.

His performance in Las Vegas will probably not get him a contract, but there were enough NBA general managers and coaches there to impress as a hard-working, athletic player who can be good for spot minutes off their bench.

Robert Carter Jr. might have to go to Europe after all.

After going undrafted last month, Carter's agent told reporters that two teams interested in choosing the 6-8, 250-pound forward in the second round wanted to send him to Europe for a couple of years.

Instead of taking that kind of deal, Carter opted to go as a free agent with the Golden State Warriors to Las Vegas. Carter didn't play poorly in the summer league, averaging a little over six points per game, but his consistently shrinking minutes were an indication he probably doesn't fit in the team's plans.

After playing 21 minutes in the second game and finishing with 11 points and seven rebounds in a loss to the Los Angeles Lakers, Carter scored 12 points in 16 minutes against the Philadelphia 76ers.

By the time the Warriors finished up, Carter was down to three minutes in a loss to the Toronto Raptors. On a team that lives and dies by the 3-point shot, Carter missed all 11 he attempted in Las Vegas, including six against the Lakers.

Rasheed Sulaimon and Evan Smotrycz will also need their passports.

Neither of the former Terps who finished their college careers as grad students got much of a run on their respective teams. When they did get a chance, neither showed much of what they do best.

Sulaimon, who was Maryland's best 3-point shooter among regulars and its top perimeter defender last season, struggled at both ends with the Bulls. Sulaimon shot 3-for-13 on 3-pointers and had trouble matching up against smaller, quicker guards.

Smotrycz, who wound up leading his team in scoring and rebounding in Cyprus last season, played a total of 12 minutes in two games with the Raptors, making just one of five shots. Still, his ability to hit the 3-pointer as a big man should keep him gainfully employed in Europe for a long time.



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