Archive for July, 2012

Vegas Summer League all-stars

- July 22nd, 2012

Caught six days of NBA summer league action in Las Vegas last week. Here are the top players I watched and some disappointments:

TOP DOGS

Damian Lillard – Shot poorly through 2.5 quarters of his debut, then went absolutely off, dominating the competition. Averaging 26.5 points per game, living up to his billing as an excellent scoring guard.

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist – Shut down almost immediately, but wowed the crowd in his lone appearance, doing a little bit of everything and leading his Bobcats.

Josh Selby – Nobody ever questioned his talent. Wasn’t a good fit at Kansas and didn’t play much in the NBA last season, but tore it up in Vegas, leading the summer league in scoring at 27.5 per game. Athletic scorer.

Kawhi Leonard – No surprise, starter on league’s best team, dominated against weaker competition.

Klay Thompson – Unstoppable scoring force was shut down early once the Warriors saw enough.

Donatus Motiejunas – Rockets pick played hard, the number one issue most had with him, and showed off an offensive game as advanced as any big man in Vegas.

Jeremy Lamb – Another of Houston’s exciting young crop. Averaged 20 points per game and was difficult to stop.

Brad Beal – Didn’t dominate, but showed, as expected, he had the skills to be a good scorer and rebounder.

Eric Bledsoe – Does a little bit of everything, but is not a point guard. Averaged almost as many turnovers and assists. Athletic, scoring guard who can rebound.

Cory Joseph – Pickering NBAer was great. Showed an improved handle, set up his teammates well and was hitting his jump shots. Averaged 17 points, 4.4 rebounds, 5.2 assists per game plus 1.8 steals.

John Henson – We’re big fans of Henson and he was a defensive force in Vegas while also chipping in offensively.

Tobias Harris – Another young Milwaukee talent. Harris can pile up the points.

Ed Davis – Everything looked improved, especially his jump shot.

Terrence Ross – While his jumper wasn’t falling, some of that was a result of fatigue. Showed top tier athleticism, smart positional play on defence and smooth form on his jump shot.

Markieff Morris – Good defence, great rebounding and solid inside-out scoring from the poor man’s Rasheed Wallace.

Bernard James -The 27-year-old rookie was solid. Shot over 60% and nearly averaged a double-double.

Malcolm Thomas -Don’t know much about him, but he owned the boards, pulling down almost 15 per game.

Wes Johnson – Long-time readers know we’re not sold on the former Syracuse star, but, credit where it is do, he was on fire from deep, shooting nearly 50%.

DISAPPOINTMENTS

Dion Waiters – 12.3 points per game, 30% shooting. Showed a good first step and that’s about it. One of the biggest risks in the draft wasn’t in great shape and looked far from a top 5 pick.

Kemba Walker – Yes, he led his team to wins, which is huge, but he still shot 35%. That needs to improve.

Kendall Marshall – Shooting was dismal and his turnovers were too high.

Thomas Robinson – He’s going to be good, but could not make any shots and turned the ball over like crazy.

Jared Sullinger – The double-double was good, the 25.6% shooting, not so much.

 

 

 

 

Summer League Day 4

- July 16th, 2012

LAS VEGAS – Once again, my quick thoughts on the games I watched.

Boston vs. Atlanta —

Once again impressed with Atlanta centre Keith Benson. Benson didn’t shoot well but had 10 points and 10 rebounds and a pair of blocks. He should be a decent backup centre.

Montreal’s Kris Joseph was strong for Boston. Joseph had 14 points and got to the line five times, making all of his attempts.

Jared Sullinger had 14 points and 7 rebounds. Fab Melo had 7 points and 4 rebounds and was pretty effective, but is going to get a bad rep if he keeps arguing with the referees about every call. He’s no Kendrick Perkins.

Rockets at Kings -

Was in another gym so I did not see. Houston’s young prospects all played well, with Royce White, Donatus Motiejunas, Jeremy Lamb and Terrence Jones all filling up the boxscore. Marcus Morris had a second good game in a row.

Thomas Robinson had another tough outing for Sacramento, but Jimmer Fredette went off for 30 points.

Lakers at Heat –

Also did not see. Vancouver’s Robert Sacre had nine points, but only pulled down one rebound in 32 minutes. Norris Cole had another big game.

Cleveland vs. D-League All-Stars -

Brampton’s Tristan Thompson was held out of the game by Cleveland. Was not impressed with Dion Waiters again. Waiters shot 4-for-14. Tyler Zeller and Samardo Samuels have played well for Cleveland whenever I’ve watched them during summer league.

Ex-Knick Mardy Collins and Jerry Smith were the best players for the D-League. Smith put on a shooting show, hitting 4-of-6 from deep.

Milwaukee vs. New Orleans -

Did not see.

Minnesota vs. Los Angeles Clippers -

Everyone on the Timberwolves underwhelmed.

Eric Bledsoe looked great for the Clippers. Don’t think he’s a point guard, but he does a lot of things well.

Toronto vs. Dallas -

Covered Ed Davis and Terrence Ross playing well in my regular stories. Davis was more aggressive and his shot looked good, leading to offensive success. Ross was tired but his jumper was falling early. He didn’t attack the basket much (no free throw attempts) and couldn’t hit from deep, but still looked solid.

Ben Uzoh was better, scoring five points, adding six assists and just a single turnover, but still needs to do more if he wants to guarantee himself a job.

Dallas has some nice bench pieces. Dominique Jones (21 points) can fill it up and get to the rack and can also create for others.

Jae Crowder never stops working and Bernard James, a 27-year-old rookie had 13 points and 11 rebounds.

Thoughts from Vegas Summer League Day 3

- July 15th, 2012

LAS VEGAS — Games were split between the two arenas today so didn’t see them all, but here’s what I did see:

New York vs. Phoenix:

Didn’t catch all of this one, but from what I saw, Markieff Morris looked really good. I have always preferred him to Marcus Morris. Morris had 21 points, mixed up his offensive game, grabbed some rebounds and blocked a couple of shots.

Kendall Marshall did not play.

The Suns have both Patrick O’Bryant and P.J. Tucker on their summer league roster.

Cleveland vs. Charlotte

Unfortunately, no Kyrie Irving (broken hand) or Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (knee sweling, rested for precautionary reasons).

Tyler Zeller played quite well for the Cavaliers. Tristan Thompson had some good moments, 7 points, 4 rebounds, 2 blocks but didn’t stand out and Samardo Samuels was decent as well.

Dion Waiters looked as quick as advertised but struggled with his jumper for most of the night. He did lead a Cleveland comeback before pulling a Chris Webber and calling a timeout when the team didn’t have any left.

Waiters shout 3-for-11.

Kemba Walker had a hideous 2-for-11 shooting night.

Toronto vs. Miami

A horrible game. Neither team could shoot, and there wasn’t a lot of excitement. Toronto’s point guards really struggled. Terrence Ross took a lot of shots but couldn’t connect on many of them and really, Ed aAvis was probably the only bright spot for the Raptors.

Davis had an extremely effective first half, but didn’t get the ball much in the second half. He continues to look to expand his offensive game. Davis went right on a couple of post moves where he usually goes left because he says “everybody knows I’m going to go left.”

Portland vs. New Orleans

Damian Lillard vs. Austin Rivers was an interesting matchup. Both players attacked each other. I’m not sold on Rivers as a point guard, but he certainly can put points on the board (though he wasn’t doing much in this one).

Lillard struggled with his jumper early but had a huge second half, scoring 21 points and leading the Trail Blazers to a big comeback. On his birthday no less

 

Did not see the other games, but Dominique Jones had a big offensive game for Dallas (32 points) and Pickering’s Cory Joseph had a strong 18 point, 5 rebound, 4 assist effort.

Keith Benson is a big body who should be able to stick around with the Hawks.

 

 

Summer League Day 2

- July 14th, 2012

LAS VEGAS —  No Raptors games to report on, but here’s what caught my eye on Day 2 from Las Vegas:

The biggest news of the day was Cleveland’s Kyrie Irving broke his hand – hitting a wall in frustration according to Yahoo!’s Marc Spears, and is out 6-8 weeks.

That ruins my plans to enjoy watching a stacked Cleveland summer league squad featuring Irving, Dion Waiters and Tristan Thompson and Tyler Zeller. C’est la vie.

Keep in mind that summer league doesn’t mean much and all performances must be taken with a bucket of salt, but standout players on Day 2 included:

Klay Thompson – Golden State

Thompson’s a good one, a draft steal. A scoring machine with a pretty shot, has toyed with competition in two games so far, to the point that Golden State has shut him down for the rest of the summer league. Nothing more to see out of him.

Harrison Barnes – Golden State

Cooled down considerably from his great debut. Shot just 5-for-17 and took some plays off, but the talent is clear.

Charles Jenkins – Golden State

Shot 9-for-12 from field for 24 points carrying the Warriors

Festus Ezeli – Golden State

Rookie big man had 11 points seven rebounds and three blocks along with only two fouls. Looked solid.

Tony Wroten – Memphis

Rajon Rondo-lite lived up to that rep, stuffing the stat sheet with 19 points, eight rebounds, six assists and a couple of steals. His shot looked far better than advertised.

Josh Selby – Memphis

Never was the college player everyone expected, but still has great talent. Scored 20 points hitting five from downtown.

Jan Vesely – Washington

Sophomore’s jumper continued to look much better on Day 2 and he was finishing his dunks, unlike earlier.

Marcus Morris – Houston

Invisible in the opener, but looked a lot better here, except for when he wwent to the line.

Jeremy Lamb – Houston

Took it to the rack, drawing six free throw attempts in the first half alone. Was locked in and showcased his elite scoring instincts.

Robert Sacre – Los Angeles Lakers

North Vancouver’s finest had a strong outing for a bad Lakers team. Sacre had a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds

APB OUT ON:

Brad Beal and Donatus Motiejunas

At least in the first half. Neither impressed, combining for 1-for9 shooting in the first half.

MEH

I’m a big believer in Thomas Robinson, but he’s had a tough couple of games. To his credit, as I saw at one of the Final Four games, Robinson can get off to a terrible start and still post decent numbers by the end. This time, the Sacramento rookie was brutal early, but ended up with 14 points, 12 rebounds and four assists (though he shot just 3-for-13 and 8-for-13 from the line).

 

Thoughts from Summer League in Vegas

- July 13th, 2012

LAS VEGAS — In Vegas taking in summer league for the week, will post some observations here from what I see:

Day 1

Washington vs. Atlanta

Bradley Beal is the size of a point guard, which could give him some problems defensively since he’s a shooting guard, but has a silky smooth offensive game, particularly a quick first step. Beal finished with a game-high 22 points, scoring nine of them at the free throw line in a 102-82 loss.

Still not sure why Jan Vesely went so high a year ago. He has size and athleticism, but not sure about NBA skills. He did do a nice job shooting the ball on Friday though and missed most of his dunk attempts, which is quite un-Vesely like. Vesely has put on weight, which was a major issue last year. It will be important for him to show signs of progress this season. He had some issues on the foul front in his first summer league game. The Czech forward fouled out – and you get 10 fouls in summer league! – late in the game, getting a sarcastic ovation for his efforts.

Washington has a nice young bench player in James Singleton. He is athletic, plays hard and crashes the boards.

John Jenkins was considered one of the better scorers in the draft and he illustrated why, sinking 5-of-6 three-point attempts.

Toronto vs.  Houston

Raptors off to a quick start with Terrence Ross draining his first two shots as a Raptor.

Ross threw down a monster two-handed jam in the second quarter and swished a three on the next play. He had 21 points in a strong performance.

Ed Davis was getting worked by Donatus Motiejunas early at both ends. Davis did have a nice second quarter block. They have been working on his jumper and it looks much better. Still, aside from the blocks, Davis struggled defensively.

Motiejunas finished with 25 points on 11-for-13 shooting.

Toronto’s Devoe Joseph had 11 points and a couple of assists and played well defensively.

Bobby Brown scored 15 points but was too shot-happy.