|Posted by Brian Dickmann on July 21, 2015 at 10:10 PM|
Former Green Bay stars Keifer Sykes and Alec Brown are continuing their quest to make an NBA roster this fall as both players just finished up participating in the NBA's Las Vegas Summer League.
Sykes, who just finished a stellar career for the Phoenix, went undrafted in this year’s NBA Draft despite having pre-draft workouts with nearly half of the teams in the league.
The 5’11 point guard finished his Green Bay career with 2,096 points, 2nd in school history behind only Tony Bennett. He averaged 16.5 points, 4.1 assists, 3.7 rebounds, and 1.2 steals per game in his four years as a starter. He was named Horizon League Player of the Year in each of his final two seasons.
Almost immediately following the draft he signed with the Cleveland Cavaliers, the reigning NBA Eastern Conference Champions.
"They liked me, I knew I had a good workout there," Sykes recently told Scott Venci of the Green Bay Press-Gazette. "They were familiar with my game because we played Youngstown, we played Cleveland State, we played Wright State. All those teams are in Ohio.”
Sykes averaged 9.4 points, 3.4 rebounds, and 1.6 assists per game this summer in 18.4 minutes per game this summer for Cleveland. He shot the ball extremely well, going 18-35 (51.4%) from the floor, including 2-6 (33.3%) from downtown.
As the Cavaliers continue to load up on max level contracts for the likes of LeBron James, Kevin Love, and Tristian Thompson, Cleveland will be looking for talented young, relatively in-expensive players to help fill out their roster. Venci notes in the Press-Gazette that Sykes’ contract is partially guaranteed, meaning Sykes has as good a shot as any to make the Cavs roster out of training camp this October.
"No matter what happened on draft day, I was going to be a professional," Sykes told the newspaper. "To be a professional on a team with a player like LeBron, where they have a chance to go to the Finals, it was better than being picked.”
As for Alec Brown, he appeared in all five games the Phoenix Suns played in Vegas this Summer, starting two of them. He averaged 2.8 points, 2.4 rebounds, and 0.6 blocks per game in 10.6 minutes per game.
He struggled shooting the ball from downtown, going just 1-7 (14.3%) from beyond the arc. The Suns are going to need him to vastly improve on that if he is going to be a contributor at the NBA level since the team sees him as a stretch big man that will slide out to the perimeter to help create space inside.
Brown, the 50th overall pick by the Phoenix Suns in last year’s NBA Draft, had nearly identical numbers in last year's Vegas Summer League: averaging 2.8 points and 1.4 rebounds in 10.6 minutes of play before aggravating a shoulder injury that ultimately required surgery.
He ended up playing just two months last season for the Bakersfield Jam, the Suns’ NBA D-League affiliate. In 17 games, he scored 6.8 points per game to go along with 3.4 rebounds, 2.0 blocks, and 1.0 assists in 18.5 minutes per game. Brown connected on 34.1% of his three point attempts, something that caught the eye of the Phoenix coaching staff.
"The thing with Alec is his game experience last year really helped him develop patience and confidence," Nate Bjokgren, the former Jam head coach and current Suns assistant recently told the Arizona Republic. "You talk about a guy that can shoot it. Alec Brown is a very good pick-and-pop big. He's going to cause fits for the other teams we're playing and he knows how to play."
Up next for Brown is a possible invite to the Suns pre-season training camp where he could fight to earn a roster spot. Otherwise, he is likely destined for Bakersfield or perhaps overseas.
The 7’0” big man finished his career as Green Bay’s all-time leading shot blocker (309) and fifth on the all-time scoring list with 1,796 career points.
"I really just want to show them that I am ready to play at the next level," Brown told the Republic.
"I want to show them that I can rebound the ball because that is always a big question for me. I want to show them that I have gotten stronger this year and that I play more physical and I am more confident with my shot."
Categories: 'Nix in the Pros