Kirk, Cavs start tourney Thursday

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Basketball > LA grad has appeared in 3 summer games

By The Staff

It’s been an interesting last few days for the Cleveland Cavaliers, to say the very least.
With nothing else going on, it’s been a productive, noteworthy first few days for Cleveland at the NBA Summer League, winning three pool play games ahead of a tournament-play format coming up at the NBA’s workouts in Las Vegas, Nev.
In most years, that would be what Cleveland fans would be gabbing about.
But this isn’t most years.
Friday, it was announced that LeBron James, the dominant player in the NBA, would be returning from a four-year stint in Miami to Cleveland, where he spent the first seven years of pro career.
Come this fall, he and former Los Alamos standout Alex Kirk could find themselves teammates in Cleveland.
Kirk, who graduated from Los Alamos High School in 2010 and played for the University of New Mexico until his graduation this past May, is on Cleveland’s Summer League roster. Kirk was offered a spot on the roster after he went undrafted in the June NBA draft.
While the NBA Summer League is rather informal, Kirk and other young players hoping to nab a roster spot would like to impress coaches and scouts during these games for a crack at playing pro ball full time.
Cleveland has kept 11 players on its Summer League roster, none of them having more than one year pro experience.
So far, the Cavaliers have fared very well. The Cavs picked up three wins in pool play and are the No. 3 seed in the Summer League tournament, which gets going today.
Cleveland will play the winner between Houston and Toronto at the Thomas and Mack Center Thursday.
Of course, much of the attention so far has gone to Andrew Wiggins, who was selected first overall in the draft.
Wiggins has lived up to his top billing so far during the summer, scoring at a clip of 13.7 points per game, including dropping in 18 points against the Milwaukee Bucks, a matchup that pitted him against the No. 2 player selected in the draft, Jabari Parker.
As for Kirk, he has appeared in all three of the Cavaliers games so far during Summer League, including getting a start in his first Summer League game Friday.
In that game, a 70-68 win for Cleveland, Kirk played a little over 28 minutes and hit 50 percent from the floor for 6 points against the Bucks.
His biggest contribution of that game, however, came under the basket, where he grabbed 12 rebounds, 8 of them on the defensive end.
He played nearly 15 minutes for Cleveland in its 82-70 victory over the San Antonio Spurs Sunday, scoring six points. In that game, he hit 2 of 3 attempts from the floor and was 2 of 4 from the foul line, along with grabbing a pair of rebounds.
In the third and final pool play game, Kirk had his shortest appearance of the Summer League so far, seeing less than 8 minutes against the Philadelphia 76ers.
Unfortunately for Kirk, the Cavs didn’t play well during his time on the floor. In an otherwise solid 86-77 victory for them, the Cavs were a minus-14 point differential with Kirk on the floor compared to when he was on the bench.
Kirk attempted only one shot in that game, although he was fouled and made both of his free throws to finish with two points, but didn’t have a rebound during that game.