Style Points: Summer League Debuts & Dunks

  • Nerlens Noel

    The debut we all waited a year for finally happened during the opening days of the NBA Orlando Summer League. Eighteen months after playing in his last organized game, and coming off extensive rehab for a torn ACL, the No. 6 overall pick in last year’s draft, Nerlens Noel dominated for Philly against Orlando, finishing with 19 points, three assists, and five stocks (blocks plus steals).

    With so many recent young big men losing battles with injuries (Andrew Bynum, Greg Oden), it was no only surprising to see Noel look so good so quickly, it was heartwarming. The last thing we need is another near seven-footer fading away before his time. Noel gets huge Style Points for converting on a pump-fake dunk on his very first possession. You couldn’t script a better start.

    h/t SB Nation

    1 of 5
  • NBA Players At The Drew League

    The Nike Drew League is always one of the best spots to watch good ball during the summer. The league rose to new prominence during the 2011 lockout summer and while it’s not popping off quite as much now as it was then — that’s pretty predictable, actually — NBA players are still there putting on a show.

    Recently, both Paul George and Brandon Jennings shut the house down. George unleashed the Vince Carter-esque reverse 360 windmill in a game, which is something that’s almost never seen, and Jennings ripped the cords for 57 points (plus five dimes). Now here’s the point where I say something like “you’ll never see this type of stuff for them in a real NBA game.” But you have to remember that PG actually did pull this off last season…and Jennings once dropped 55 on Golden State.

    2 of 5
  • Jamal Crawford

    With NBA summer leagues and streetball action starting up recently, we couldn’t avoid spending long portions of July posted up in front of the television. It’s too good of a show. But if there’s one guy who always deserves a spot in Style Points, it’s Jamal Crawford. The Clippers 2014 Sixth Man of the Year oozes swagger, and might be the flashiest player in the league. He certainly has one of the best handles I’ve ever seen.

    The 34-year-old is currently seeking a contract extension, yet he still found time to stop by the Seattle Pro-Am and drop an easy 30 points. J-Crossover did it as he always does, embarrassing defenders and setting the crowd aflame.

    3 of 5
  • Mache/Derek Jeter

    Derek Jeter recently celebrated his 40th birthday, and to honor him, famed sneaker artist Mache put together another impressive custom job. Using the Air Jordan I as a starting point, Mache did these joints up in traditional Yankee colors, with “Re2pect” and a “2” decal on the laces and heel. Jeter is celebrating his longstanding partnership with the Jordan Brand this season, and this was a perfect way for Mache to get involved.

    So who got these joints? You can probably guess: there were part of a “Captain” Pack made specifically for baseball’s preeminent sneakerhead, Shane Victorino. Victorino gets big swag points for honoring a legend like this.

    4 of 5
  • Andy Burns

    The problem with planned marriage proposals is that they never quite work out the way we want them to. Of course, if she says yes then who really cares, right? But still, you spend all that time and energy getting nervous about everything going right, knowing that it’ll never live up to what you have in your head. You’ll never be as smooth.

    Toronto prospect Andy Burns must be one in one million, then. In a recent game, the 11th-round pick in the 2011 Draft, hit a walk-off two-run home run in the 10th inning to give Double-A New Hampshire a 9-7 win over Trenton. Afterward, in what he’d planned to do all along, he asked his girlfriend to marry him at a beach near the stadium. After seeing what he did on the field, how could she say no?

    5 of 5
  • Nerlens Noel
  • Jamal Crawford
  • Mache/Derek Jeter
  • Andy Burns

It’s not always about what you do but how you do it. That’s true in all aspects of life, but doubly so when you’re talking about sports and entertainment. Was 2Pac one of the greatest rappers ever because he sold boatloads of records worldwide? No. He was a global icon for what he stood for, for his passion, for everything and everyone he represented.

Each week in Style Points, we’ll count down recent people who took their game and their swagger to another level. Whether it was showing out in style during your first game in 18 months, dominating in summer leagues, rocking a super elusive PE or honoring a legend, these five went above and beyond.

Follow Sean on Twitter at @seanesweeney