The young talent of the Cleveland Cavaliers has had a good showing in the NBA Summer League, playing to a 4-1 record through five games in Las Vegas.
Although first-round draft pick Collin Sexton has commanded the lion’s share of the media’s attention thus far, former Pitt star Jamel Artis stepped into the spotlight Saturday with a clutch three-pointer to help the Cavs secure a 92-87 win over the Houston Rockets’ summer squad.
Clutch time 3⃣ from @melartis1! @LakelandMagic ➡️ @cavs #NBASummer pic.twitter.com/D2cHZAfx6g— NBA G League (@nbagleague) July 14, 2018
In addition to burying the late dagger, the Pitt product led the team with nine rebounds and added 13 points and an assist. He has become one of Cleveland’s top contributors after sitting out two of the first three games, as he added 14 points, seven rebounds and three assists against the Sacramento Kings ahead of Saturday’s close win over the Rockets.
Artis has bounced around the lower fringes of the NBA since the conclusion of his collegiate career with the Panthers, briefly playing with the New York Knicks’ Summer League team in 2017 and taking part in one preseason game before being placed on waivers that October.
Although the Knicks decided not to keep Artis in the fold, he caught on with the Lakeland Magic of the G League and ended up seeing action in the NBA with the Orlando Magic. With Lakeland, Artis averaged 19.5 points, 5.8 rebounds and 2.5 assists over 46 games last season.
As for the Cavaliers, the defending Eastern Conference champions are currently in a state of flux after the departure of LeBron James, who decided to join the Los Angeles Lakers on July 1. However, one thing that is not in doubt is that Sexton will be the centerpiece of the team moving forward, as Brian Windhorst of ESPN noted the rookie is the team’s only “untouchable.”
With that said, if Artis develops a rapport with Sexton and proves he can consistently contribute alongside him, he may earn an opportunity like the one he was given with the Magic last year.
Artis and the Cavaliers will take the court again Sunday at 6 p.m. ET to face the Toronto Raptors in the quarterfinals of the Summer League.