It’s been a strong start to the 2017 Las Vegas NBA Summer League for both Oregon State alumni Gary Payton II and Jared Cunningham.
Payton II, who signed a multi-year deal with the Milwaukee Bucks during the latter part of the most recent NBA season, has shown glimpses of his next-level defensive potential that could translate to increased playing time later this season.
Cunningham has done the opposite. While his defense is adequate for the NBA level, it’s been Cunningham’s prolific offensive abilities in some abbreviated action for the Washington Wizards that could signal his return to the NBA.
However, on Monday and Tuesday, the duo failed to see action for both the Bucks and Wizards, in the team’s contests against the Clippers and Bulls. Without Payton II, Milwaukee (1-2) struggled to contain Los Angeles’ (3-0) multitude of scoring weapons in an exciting 100-93 defeat, while Washington (0-3) could’ve used Cunningham’s services in their own 82-73 loss to Chicago (1-2).
While it’s commonplace for teams in the NBA Summer League to experiment with different rosters and line-ups, their absences from both the contests do leave some lingering questions to be answered about what role each player holds with their respective teams. For Payton II, he can likely rest easy at night knowing that he has a spot on an NBA roster in a few months.
For Cunningham, the unknown is whether the Wizards are resting the guard to hide him from other teams throwing a contract his way or if they’re currently in the process of configuring their own offer for the Beavers alum.
Earlier this summer during the 2017 Orlando NBA Summer League, former Oregon State forward Eric Moreland was signed by the Detroit Pistons after a few stand-out performances on their Summer League team.