I’m not sure it’s possible to actually impress people at summer league, when you really think about it. But if you had to thumb one Thunder player for standing out, I guess it would’ve been Byron Mullens.
James Harden looked OK, but went 1-17 from 3 and didn’t really look “improved”. He just looked more comfortable and aggressive, which are definitely good things. Eric Maynor was great, but we already know that he can be a steady point guard. No flash, just a quality line. D.J. White was himself, Cole Aldrich didn’t play and Serge Ibaka only played a game.
So almost by the process of elimination, Mullens was a guy that caught some attention, if not just because he just looked better.
Last season, people wrote him off as a bust while Roddy Beaubois blew people away in Dallas. Sam Presti had to take a little guff because most thought he blew it. But as is the case so often in the NBA, no one was willing to be patient. Mullens was and still is young (just 21) and was always considered nothing more than a project. Heck, he still is.
But the Thunder wanted to bring him along. Last summer, I wrote that Mullens was a perfect example of how we’re seeing the traditional big man phase out of basketball. You have a 7’1 guy that calls himself a power forward and prefers to run the floor and shoot jumpers. He doesn’t want to play with his back-to-the-basket, doesn’t want to post and doesn’t want to rebound in the paint. Keep Reading…