Northwestern NBA Summer League Recap
This season four former Northwestern basketball players: Alex Olah, Tre Demps, Reggie Hearn and Drew Crawford competed in NBA Summer League action, vying for a roster spot on an NBA or D-League roster.
Neither Olah or Demps were drafted in the 2016 NBA Draft, but both found homes is the Las Vegas NBA Summer League, while Drew Crawford returned to the United States to play in the NBA Summer League for his second consecutive year.
Crawford played for the Toronto Raptors after playing for the Orlando Magic in the Orland Summer League and the Raptors in Vegas in last year’s summer league. Olah played for the New Orleans Pelicans and Tre Demps played for the Chicago Bulls while Hearn, who plays for the Reno Bighorns of the NBA D-League, played for the D-League Select Team.
With the Raptors, Crawford averaged 8.0 points per game in 18.0 minutes per game, as the Raptors went 4-1 in the Vegas Summer League. Crawford shot very well for the Raptors, maintaining a 50% field goal percentage along with a 75% free throw percentage in five games played for the Raptors.
While Crawford didn’t start a single game for the Raptors, he did play in all five of the Raptors games, and was usually the second or third guy off the bench, averaging the second most-minutes on the team after the starting five.
Crawford’s best game came against the Golden State Warriors in which he scored 13 points on 3 of 7 shooting including 6 of 6 from the line. Crawford also had five rebounds, two steals, one assist and one block in performance against Golden State.
Crawford played this past season in Israel, where he shot 45.8 percent from the floor. During the Summer League, Crawford shot 50% from the field for Toronto. If Crawford can continue to improve defensive and shoot at a high clip as he did this summer, an NBA or D-League team will surely give him a chance to make their roster in training camp.
With the New Orleans Pelicans’ Summer League team, Alex Olah averaged 6.5 points per game in 17.5 minutes per game as he played in all four of the Pelicans’ games, starting two. Olah grabbed five boards in summer league play and also had five blocks for New Orleans.
Olah’s best performance came in the Pelicans’ 81-77 loss to the Miami Heat where he dropped 14 points on 7 of 8 shooting, while also grabbing one rebound and dishing out one assist.
Olah will play for the Romanian national team following the Summer League, where he’ll get to continue to showcase himself on the international stage. Olah still has some work to do in the post, with his mobility, and on defense, but if the big man can make waves in international competition, there’s always a chance a team gives him a shot. As the old saying goes, you can’t teach height.
Hearn played in all five games for the NBA D-League select team, averaging 8.2 points per game over 18.4 minutes per game. Hearn also averaged a steal per game and 0.4 blocks per game in the D-League Select Team’s five games – three wins and two losses.
In the the D-League’s 89-71 win over the Houston Rockets, Hearn put together his best performance in Vegas, as he scored 15 points on 5 of 8 shooting, adding three rebounds and two steals to his tally.
Hearn has gone from being a walk-on at Northwestern to one of the best players in the NBA D-League. He’s not the most athletic player, but he’s a decent shooter and defender and has great basketball IQ. If he can continue to improve his shot, and add a few assists to his total, a NBA team might give him a shot as a bench player, especially given his success in the D-League.
Tre Demps did not record a statistic for the Chicago Bulls summer league team during the Bulls’ six games played in Las Vegas.
Having not seen any action in Summer League, Demps has his work cut out for him to even get a chance to make an NBA roster via training camp, but if Demps can improve his shot selection and become a little more efficient from the floor, as well as improving his defense at the other end, someone might take a change on Demps and his clutch gene. (Editor’s Note: #TR3TIME lives on)
While Crawford, Olah, Hearn and Demps may not have done enough in the Summer League to earn an NBA Roster spot, Crawford and Olah might garner some attention for NBA D-League scouts and could earn a roster spot there, while Hearn should find himself playing another year in the D-League.
If all breaks right, Hearn could even earn a spot on the bench of an NBA team via a 10-day contract if he can perform well early on. If not, all four have the ability to have success playing internationally, as Crawford did this past season with Bnei Herzliya in Israel.