Summer League Recap: Shabazz runs the show in Miami


Shabazz Napier struggled in his Summer League debut, but he rebounded with a nice performance in game 2 (Fernando Medina/NBAE/Getty Images).

Shabazz Napier’s two NCAA championships didn’t mean squat when he took the floor in Orlando in the opening game of his professional career.

And he played like it.

The former UConn point guard wasn’t himself in his first game in the NBA Summer League, finishing with 12 points on a pitiful 3-of-15 shooting. He also put up just 2 assists and had 8 turnovers.

“It was a tough game for me,” Napier told NBA TV’s Matt Winer. “That was the first game that I ever was super-nervous for, and I played like I was nervous. I didn’t play like I played four years of college basketball.”

He had a plan, though, for making things better.

“After I watched the film, I just wanted to come out here with a better effort. My biggest thing was to compete on defense, and that’ll create my offense.”

It sure worked in game 2, as Napier finished with 17 points on 6-of-12 shooting, with 7 assists and 5 turnovers.

He had a tip-in on an offensive rebound (not surprising to UConn fans, as he led the team in rebounding last year), made a few nice dishes to teammates for dunks and knocked down open shots.

Napier was patient, poised and confident on the offensive end. He encouraged teammates, told them where to go on offense, and cheered heartily when he was on the bench.

He seemed like the same old floor general he was in his Huskies days, comfortable and confident. That bodes will for Napier as he gets to know his teammates and fits into Miami’s system.

It’s only Summer League, but since much was made of his game 1 struggles, his success in game 2 should be noted as well, as should the fact that players like Trey Burke and Rookie of the Year Michael Carter-Williams were downright awful at times in last year’s Summer League.

So take a deep breath, everyone. Shabazz is going to be just fine.

Now to the other storyline everyone wants to talk about: Is LeBron watching these games? Does Shabazz have any inside info on The Decision: 2?

Matt Winer asked him whether or not he can fill us all in on where the King will be playing next season.

“I can’t,” he said, laughing. “I wish I could.”


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