NBA Summer League: Former Oregon Duck Arsalan Kazemi Leads League in Hustle Points


What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.

In the 2015 Las Vegas Summer Leauge, Arsalan Kazemi picked up right where he left off the last time he was in Las Vegas, that time for the Pac-12 Basketball Tournament while he was a Duck. This time, for the third consecutive summer (first Vegas appearance) he was a member of the Philadelphia 76ers Summer League squad. Kazemi appeared, and started in each of the five games the Sixers participated in.

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With top draft pick Jahlil Okafor sitting out the majority of the games, Kazemi dominated the glass out times, hauling in 13 rebounds in the second contest, while averaging 8 rebounds per game. He displayed his high Basketball IQ–leading all players between the two teams in total rebounds at 6’7″ is a tough task. There were countless occasions near the end of games when Kazemi would keep a play alive with multiple offensive rebounds.

Jul 14, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; New York Knicks guard Langston Galloway (2) fouls Philadelphia 76ers forward Arsalan Kazemi (14) while attempting a shot during an NBA Summer League game at Thomas & Mack Center. The Knicks won the game in overtime, 84-81. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Despite reaffirming his rebounding skills, Kazemi had Sixers Nation wide-eyed because of his hustle plays. The NBA was experimenting with “Hustle Stats,”: Shots contested, passes deflected, loose balls recovered, and charges taken. A player’s hustle score is calculated with a separate formula. Kazemi led the entire Las Vegas Summer League in Hustle Points per game, with a 3.6 average. He drew 7 total charges, and also recorded 6 deflections against the New York Knicks.

He was diving for every loose ball, and seemed to be the X-Factor for the 76ers at times when they needed a boost in energy on the floor. Various reactions across the league included many comments that indicated a great appreciation for what he could bring to an NBA team on a nightly basis.

Offensively, Arsalan’s points came from dunks and put-backs, but he also displayed an ability to beat a defender to the rim off of the dribble, something that he showcased in the second game. He flashed a rare ability for a forward as well: exceptional passing skills. Kazemi consistently passed up his own shot to create an easier shot for a teammate. He averaged 3 points during Summer League.

Now Kazemi will await his fate with the 76ers. At this point, having proven that his hustle can turn things around for a team, it’s clear that he can definitely bring something to the table for an NBA team. If the Sixers invite him to training camp in September, he will be in line to compete for a roster spot. Should he be released, there is still potential for him to visit other options with other NBA teams.

He continues to impress me, and so many others around the league, leading me to believe that Duck fans will have another tremendous talent to cheer for in the NBA this coming season.

Go Arsalan! And Good Luck to other #ProDucks in the NBA!

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