NBA Summer League action is in full swing and former Longhorns Isaiah Taylor and Prince Ibeh now have their first NBA experience behind them. After going undrafted, Taylor signed a partially guaranteed contract with the Houston Rockets, while Ibeh caught on with a summer league deal with the Milwaukee Bucks, which means they’ll have to impress in limited summer league opportunities to prove worthy of a roster spot.
To this point, neither has disappointed, but there’s plenty of work to be done.
In Ibeh’s debut, the 2016 Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year saw only eight minutes of action, but played fails well within his role for that period. On his first defensive possession, Ibeh forced a travel by effectively switching onto a pick-and-roll ball handler. While Ibeh didn’t record any blocks, he did alter two attempts around the rim and snagged four rebounds.
Similarly, Ibeh’s offense was exactly what could be expected. His first attempt came off a low-post feed and ended in a wild left hand floater that missed the rim entirely. Later, Ibeh was the roll man off a screen and finished strong with a dunk in traffic.
Overall, Ibeh played quite well within his role, but he shared minutes with several other big men, including Thon Maker and former West Virginia standout Devin Williams. What was a poor performance by Williams could open the door to more minutes, which is something Ibeh proved worthy of in his first outing.
Taylor had a big more of an impact, although the stat sheet won’t necessarily illustrate that.
From his very first possession in the game, Taylor looked as confident as he ever had running the offense in Austin. If nerves from his first ever NBA outing an issue, it certainly didn’t show. What did show was the Texas-sized chip on his shoulder; it was clear Taylor was playing for a shot at his NBA dream, simply by how hard he competed on every defensive possession at all times.
In his 21 minutes, Taylor didn’t score, tossing an air ball on a contested jumper as the shot clock expired and rimming out a floater later in the game. But Taylor’s playmaking was on full display. Although he only finished with two assists, I tallied six missed assists opportunities in which Taylor put teammates in position to score – often wide open threes – but they failed to capitalize. More notably, Taylor didn’t have a single turnover.
In certain situations, Taylor stepped up as the vocal leader and was displaying great communication with his teammates and overall, showed many of the qualities a backup point guard in Houston’s system would need, which wouldn’t require Taylor to become a high-volume scorer.
Additionally, the Memphis game wasn’t televised, but Jonathan Holmes racked up 14 points, nine rebounds and a block in 23 minutes. And though it was previously noted that Cameron Ridley was added to the Chicago Bulls summer league roster, he wasn’t included on the final roster and doesn’t appear to be on board anywhere at the moment.
Today, Milwaukee plays at 3:30 p.m. Central and Houston played at 5:30 p.m. Central.