As the real world Wizards fill out their remaining roster spots, some suggest adding another wing threat. Paul Pierce turns 37 in October, Martell Webster's back injury could keep out far beyond opening night and the other options lack experience.
Sure, it's only summer league, but Glen Rice Jr., one of the inexperienced options along with Otto Porter, continues to throw water on such roster-adding ideas by splashing one basket after another in Las Vegas. The 6-foot-6 wing guard scored 36 points in Washington's 95-94 triple-overtime victory over the San Antonio Spurs on Saturday night in the quarterfinals.
Among those 36 points, a thrilling game-tying 3-pointer from the left corner at the buzzer to force the final overtime period. The rising second-year guard sank 6 of 10 three-pointers against San Antonio while continuing his parade to the free throw line with one assertive drive after another. He also had 11 rebounds and four steals.
Heading into Sunday's semifinal matchup versus Sacramento, Rice leads the summer league with 25.2 points on 50.7 percent shooting. By comparison, last season with the full-time Wizards, he averaged 2.9 points in 11 games when he wasn't playing in the D-League.
Sure, it's only summer league and not the actual NBA. Even when the games turn real, the Wizards might struggle to keep Rice off the court. Following the dynamic performance, a pair of notable onlookers walked onto the court to congratulate their guy.
John Wall & Brad Beal photobomb Glen Rice Jr's camera time after Rice drops 36-11-3-4stl in the triple OT Wiz win! pic.twitter.com/XcbTuu7MCS— NBA (@NBA) July 20, 2014
Shot selection is a work in progress as is the art of keeping his cool, but improvement is clear. As for the secret to his summer league success, Rice told NBATV following the win, "Just keep working. I've been working all last year and the shots are starting to fall."
They certainly were from the outside in this game. Yet the most impressive part of Rice's offensive effort in Las Vegas involves his constant attacking of the rim.
This drive captures Rice's aggressive play throughout summer league. He has the size and strength to take on contact. In these games, Rice has shown the mentality to initiate the hit and the skill to score after the bump.
All that contact also leads to free throws. Rice went 8 of 13 against the Spurs - he missed a pair moments before the game-tying 3. In five games he's attempted a staggering 57. All five games ended in Washington wins.
Sure, it's summer league, but seeing as Rice and Porter rarely participated in games as rookies, they're not sleeping on these winning opportunities. Porter scored 27 points against San Antonio including all five of Washington's points in the third overtime.
"It's always important," Rice said of winning. "It shows what we have, the character. Nobody wants to come out here and lose. I believe we did a good job of fighting through and getting that game (Sunday)."
Beal starts and gobbles most of the wing guard minutes. Webster served as the primary backup last season. He probably will whenever he's ready to return and contribute. In the mean time, Rice has played like someone believing they can step in, if not carry the team.
Sure, it's only summer league. The overwhelming amount of players participating will only see an NBA game by paying for a ticket. Regardless, Rice's stellar work is making it harder to keep saying, sure, it's only summer league.