Three former Oregon State Beavers are battling the heat of the NBA Summer League 2014 in Las Vegas, hoping to earn roster spots on their respective squads.
2012 first rounder Jared Cunningham, originally picked by Dallas, finished out his second year of pro ball on a 10-day contract with the Sacramento Kings. Cunningham was traded to Atlanta after his rookie season, and spent 2013-14 in the D-League before the Hawks waived him in February.
Cunningham’s Summer has not been one of particular note, having seen only 21 minutes of floor time. Fighting for time at the shooting guard position with second year Kansas-alum Ben McLemore, Michigan draftee Nik Stauskas, and veteran Jason Terry, Cunningham’s status for the 2014-15 season looks less than optimistic.
He is joined by rookie big man Eric Moreland, whose size an athleticism has been attracting lots of attention from around the league.
Moreland left Oregon State after his junior season as the program’s all time blocked shots leader and has been making the most of his first days in professional basketball. The lengthy quickness and defensive prowess that Beaver fans became accustomed to during Moreland’s stint in Corvallis could soon be appearing live in the aptly named Sleep Train Arena.
The Houston, Texas native has grabbed 20 rebounds and 6 blocks in his first two appearances with the Kings.
Roberto Nelson entered the Charlotte Hornet’s July 15th matchup with Dallas with 14 seconds remaining and after taking an inbounds pass with just under eight ticks left on the clock, dribbled the length of the court and hit a game-winning three-pointer over two Maverick defenders.
Much like Cunningham, Nelson’s odds at making the teams full roster come summer’s end are far from a guarantee, but making game winning shots can’t hurt his chances.
The NBA Summer League 2014 concludes in a tournament style format with all 24 teams on July 21st.