Entering NBA Summer League, the likes of Jeremy Tyler and Toure Murry were expected to stand out for the Knicks. Midway through the offseason session here in Las Vegas, they've not only shined, but both are expected to be in training camp with New York this coming fall Not much of a surprise there.
That said, one player who's flown under the radar a bit is University of Kentucky big man Eloy Vargas. A friend of the Mike Woodson family, it could be suggested that Vargas' spot on the Knicks' Summer League squad is that out of pure courtesy. Nevertheless, Vargas has proven to be a bit intriguing after receiving such an opportunity to play.
Through four contests with New York, Vargas is averaging 5.5 points (on 41% from the field and 40% from deep) and 4.0 rebounds. For a 6'11" forward, he moves very well on the court and works to get himself open on the offensive end. He doesn't appear too afraid to take shots around the perimeter, but has also proven to be able to use his agility a bit to get past defenders under the hoop.
Averaging almost 17 minutes per game, Vargas has certainly held his own in comparison to some of the Knicks' other less than stellar performers this week in Las Vegas. After all, this is Summer League competition. There's a reason many of these prospects are currently competing for contracts, as opposed to already having one.
Vargas is raw. But although he served as a bench warmer for the University of Kentucky the past two seasons, perhaps there's more than meets the eye. A bench warmer for the best team in NCAA basketball may be better than a good number of starters for other teams.
The 24 year old needs work, but certainly hasn't been a complete and utter disappointment like some of his teammates this week. There's no doubt Vargas could play well overseas over the next couple of years, but it would also be interesting to see what his ceiling could be, if he were to develop with the Erie BayHawks.