NBA Summer League play isn’t supposed to elicit strong emotions relating to promise and hope for the entirety of a game, but that’s exactly what fans exuded while watching the New Orleans Pelicans throttle the Chicago Bulls by a score of 109-72.
An hour and a half before tip-off, the Pelicans held a press conference to announce Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Jaxson Hayes and Marcos Didi Silva. All three guys expressed excitement about finally getting a chance to play and Trajan Langdon promised this group of rookies would play big minutes.
No one expected them to lay down the law.
Jaxson Hayes, the 8th pick of the 2019 NBA Draft, owned the rim. He also killed Mychal Mulder.
WE INTERRUPT THIS PROGRAM TO BRING YOU AN ABSOLUTE HAMMER BY JAXSON HAYES pic.twitter.com/NFJsryE7N6— New Orleans Pelicans (@PelicansNBA) July 9, 2019
Hayes finished with 28 points — his career-high at Texas was 19. He also added four rebounds and three blocks. Thanks to good reads and a strong motor he got to the free throw line 14 times, converting eight attempts. While the low rebounding total and propensity to get into foul trouble sticks out a bit, let’s allow him to fill out that frame a little and work with development coaches. That intensity, bounce and glorious hair deserve loads of patience.
Nickeil Alexander-Walker, the 17th pick, exhibited two-way dominance, finishing with 23 points, eight assists, three triples, three steals and two blocks. He looked comfortable running the offense and shooting over defenders but the desire to also play good defense has me hooked.
Marcos Silva was the biggest surprise. Selected 35th overall, Didi’s scouting reports far from overwhelmed. Most talent evaluators did not have them in their top 60. All Didi did was finish with 13 points, three treys, three rebounds, two blocks and two steals. His speed, strength and awareness graded much better than anyone expected I think.
Not to be overlooked, Kenrich Williams added eight points, 13 rebounds, three assists and two steals. Off the bench, Trevon Bluiett scored seven points and Kavell Bigby-Williams finished with four points, six rebounds and one block.
The Bulls were led by Coby White, who totaled 25 points, four rebounds, three assists and a couple of steals.