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Around The NBA: Memphis vs. Cleveland (11/21)
by: DraftExpress
November 22, 2006
Matthew Kamalsky

Cleveland Cavaliers

Shannon Brown hasnít received a lot of minutes during the early stages of this season, but he has shown flashes of whatís to come. Each time Brown has been on the floor this season he has been aggressive on both the offensive and defensive end. This aggression has been met with mixed results.

Defensively, Brown is constantly active, and doesnít make very many mistakes. He plays aggressive on ball defense, using his strength and quickness effectively to deny dribble penetration. Brown also worked hard on the defensive glass tonight, collecting two rebounds in traffic. By working hard on the defensive end, Brown has shown that he is very much ready to contribute on that side of the floor.

On the offensive end, Brownís aggression sometimes plays against him. On one particular occasion, Brown pushed the ball the length of the floor, but got called for a charge as he exploded to the rim. This hasnít been an uncommon scenario for Brown, but it is one that he will become more apt at dealing with as time goes on. Brown has a knack for finishing in transition, but his decision making when pushing the ball has been average.

Brownís playing time will be dependant on how quickly he improves his jump shot and his decision making in transition. When Cleveland runs their half court offense Brown looks good. He moves the ball well and doesnít make many bad passes. With very few minutes available, Brown will have a chance to develop his game in situations where he wonít be burdened with a lot of pressure. As he continues to tailor his game to his aggressive mentality, he should emerge as a very good option off the bench for head coach Mike Brown.

Daniel Gibson did not play tonight, and this appears to be the norm for him in the early going.

Memphis Grizzlies

With injuries plaguing two of their best veterans, the Grizzlies have had to give their young players significant minutes. Rudy Gay and Hakim Warrick both started tonight, Kyle Lowry saw some time off the bench, and Lawrence Roberts and Dahntay Jones were two of the key players in Memphisís fourth quarter comeback attempt. Given Memphisís injury situation, all of these young players clearly arenít playing their normal roles, so it is hard to give a completely accurate assessment of how their minutes will change as the season progresses.

Rudy Gay had an off game tonight, finishing with no points in roughly eighteen minutes of action. However, it is clear that Gay has the potential to be an impact player. Although his jumper was not falling, he showed that he can get it off over just about anyone. It seems like Gay isnít even being guarded at times since he creates so much space with his dribble and elevates so high when he shoots. As his mid range accuracy improves he should become a very efficient scorer. Given his excellent athleticism, he would have a much easier time getting to the rim if he made people respect his range.

On the defensive end, Gay didnít have the opportunity to show very much. He started the game guarding LeBron James, who went out his way to distribute the ball to his teammates. Gay grabbed a few boards, but that was about all he could muster tonight.

Clearly this game doesnít reflect the norm for Gay, as he has had a very productive rookie campaign thus far. With averages of nearly ten points and five boards coming into tonight, Gay has looked good, but not spectacular. He hasnít shot well from the field, but tonight was an especially poor showing. Gay has the potential to be an absolute star once he rounds out his game. With greater shooting efficiency, his athleticism will make him extremely difficult to contain. On defense, he should be able to block some shots, but given that heíll be guarding small perimeter players, his impact protecting rim and crashing the defensive glass wonít be as noticeable as it was at UCONN. Gay is definitely a player to watch, but this was one of his worst games of the season.

Hakim Warrick didnít have the greatest game tonight either. He was dominated by a much bigger and polished player in Drew Gooden, who could physically impose his will on Warrick at all times. On defense, Warrick was defenseless against Goodenís array of jumpers, hooks, and drop steps. On numerous occasions, Gooden pinned Warrick on his hip and finished strong at the rim while Warrick helplessly tried to get around him. Although Warrick is a great athlete, it is impossible to see him effectively defending the post at his current weight. With a severe lack of bulk on the interior with Pau Gasol out, Memphis is looking to Warrick to fill a role underneath that he is just isnít ready to fill yet. He can block shots from the weak side, as he showed when he Zydrunas Ilgauskas from behind, but he canít defend a legitimate power forward one-on-one.

With the ball in his hands, Warrick didnít look bad, but he couldnít match Goodenís production. He crashed the offensive glass with some success, and made his lay-ups, but tonight wasnít a good one for Warrick as he was benched in favor of Lawrence Roberts in crunch time.

When Gasol returns and Memphis can bring Warrick off the bench, heíll be a lot more effective. Asking him to be a fulltime NBA power forward is out of the question given his slight frame. In order to improve as a player, Warrick needs to polish his mid range jump shot and work on his perimeter skills, as well as put on some extra weight. The potential is there, but the tools are still a work in progress.

Kyle Lowry looked pretty solid in limited action. He reinforced a lot of the conceptions people had about him when he was coming out of college. His quickness and athleticism are first class, but his jumper is suspect. Lowry displayed great quickness with the ball in his hands. Whether he was running the break, or breaking down his man in the half court, he looked in control at all times. Defensively, he played solid on ball defense, using his physical gifts to put pressure on the ball handler. He used to compact frame and great jumping ability to grab a few rebounds. However, he struggled with his outside shot. On two occasions, it was clear the he wasnít comfortable taking an NBA three, taking a dribble towards the basket before pulling the trigger when left wide open. Lowryís shot is eerily reminiscent of Eric Snowís in its lack of range and consistency. Given how well rounded of a player Lowry is, if he can improve his jumper, he could be a steal for Memphis.

Lawrence Roberts looked solid tonight, playing tough under the rim and knocking down his free throws in the clutch. Roberts will never wow you with athleticism, but he will work hard and play smart any time he is in a game. He rebounded well and used his size to box out on every possession. Since Roberts didnít get many touches in positions from which he could score he didnít put up many points, but that isnít his role on the team. Roberts isnít a spectacular player, but he gets the job done.

Dahntay Jones on the other hand, was spectacular tonight. He got to the rim whenever he wanted and finished all five of the shots he took inside. The only shot he missed was an eighteen foot jumper from the wing. If Jones can improve the range and consistency on his jump shot, he could become a very dangerous scorer. He showed tonight that he can score effectively even when the defense is aware of where he wants to go.

Defensively, he was the reason LeBron James only scored fifteen points. He stayed in front of LeBron, forcing him to hoist shots from the outside, each of which he contested. Dahntay Jones wonít be a starter until he can show that his jump shot is reliable, but the rest of his game seems to be coming along nicely.

With so many young players making appearances tonight, it s no wonder that the game seemed inconsistent. Cleveland dominated Memphisís young lineup in the first half, but struggled against their veterans in the second half. As players like Rudy Gay, Hakim Warrick, and Kyle Lowry grow as players, their roles for Memphis will no doubt expand. Robert and Jones are both looking to step up their play, but they both would benefit from some polish. Where these players will stand when Pau Gasol returns is anyoneís guess, but they will clearly have benefited from the added experience they gained while he was gone.
 


Feedback for this article may be sent to jonathan@draftexpress.com .

 

Shannon Brown
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 6' 3"
Weight: 200 lbs.
Birthday: 11/30/1985
29 Years Old
Teams:
High School: Proviso East
Previous Team: Heat , PRO
Drafted: Rnd 1, Pick #25 in 2006 Draft
by the Cavaliers
Positions:
Current: SG,
NBA: SG,
Possible: SG
Quick Stats:
4.0 Pts, 0.2 Rebs, 0.6 Asts


Mike Brown
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 6' 9"
Weight: 257 lbs.
Birthday: 07/19/1963
51 Years Old
Teams:
High School: Clifford J. Scott
Previous Team: , PRO
Drafted: Rnd 3, Pick #22 in 1985 Draft
by the Bulls
Positions:
Current: C,
NBA: C,
Possible: C
Quick Stats:
5.1 Pts, 5.3 Rebs, 0.5 Asts


Daniel Gibson
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 6' 2"
Weight: 190 lbs.
Birthday: 02/28/1986
28 Years Old
Teams:
High School: Jesse Jones
Previous Team: Texas , PRO
Drafted: Rnd 2, Pick #12 in 2006 Draft
by the Cavaliers
Positions:
Current: SG,
NBA: PG/SG,
Possible: PG
Quick Stats:
5.4 Pts, 1.3 Rebs, 1.8 Asts


Rudy Gay
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 6' 8"
Weight: 222 lbs.
Birthday: 08/17/1986
28 Years Old
Teams:
High School: Spalding
Previous Team: Kings , PRO
Drafted: Rnd 1, Pick #8 in 2006 Draft
by the Rockets
Positions:
Current: SF,
NBA: SF,
Possible: SF/PF
Quick Stats:
21.1 Pts, 6.5 Rebs, 4.7 Asts


Hakim Warrick
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 6' 8"
Weight: 215 lbs.
Birthday: 07/09/1982
32 Years Old
Teams:
High School: Friends Central
Previous Team: Syracuse , PRO
Drafted: Rnd 1, Pick #19 in 2005 Draft
by the Grizzlies
Positions:
Current: PF,
NBA: PF,
Possible: PF
Quick Stats:
21.3 Pts, 9.1 Rebs, 1.0 Asts


Kyle Lowry
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 6' 1"
Weight: 175 lbs.
Birthday: 03/25/1986
28 Years Old
Teams:
High School: Cardinal Dougherty
Previous Team: Raptors , PRO
Drafted: Rnd 1, Pick #24 in 2006 Draft
by the Grizzlies
Positions:
Current: PG,
NBA: PG,
Possible: PG
Quick Stats:
19.5 Pts, 4.6 Rebs, 7.8 Asts


Lawrence Roberts
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 6' 9"
Weight: 233 lbs.
Birthday: 10/21/1982
32 Years Old
Teams:
High School: Lamar
Previous Team: Gravelines , PRO
Drafted: Rnd 2, Pick #25 in 2005 Draft
by the Supersonics
Positions:
Current: PF/C,
NBA: PF,
Possible: PF/C
Quick Stats:
6.2 Pts, 5.5 Rebs, 1.1 Asts


Dahntay Jones
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 6' 6"
Weight: 214 lbs.
Birthday: 12/27/1980
33 Years Old
Teams:
High School: Steinert
Previous Team: Fort Wayne , PRO
Drafted: Rnd 1, Pick #20 in 2003 Draft
by the Celtics
Positions:
Current: SG/SF,
NBA: SG/SF,
Possible: SG/SF
Quick Stats:
12.6 Pts, 3.6 Rebs, 1.4 Asts


LeBron James
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 6' 8"
Weight: 245 lbs.
Birthday: 12/30/1984
29 Years Old
Teams:
High School: St. Vincent-St. Mary
Previous Team: Cavaliers , PRO
Drafted: Rnd 1, Pick #1 in 2003 Draft
by the Cavaliers
Positions:
Current: SF,
NBA: SF,
Possible: SF
Quick Stats:
25.4 Pts, 5.5 Rebs, 7.6 Asts


Drew Gooden
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 6' 10"
Weight: 227 lbs.
Birthday: 09/24/1981
33 Years Old
Teams:
High School: El Cerrito
Previous Team: Wizards , PRO
Drafted: Rnd 1, Pick #4 in 2002 Draft
by the Grizzlies
Positions:
Current: PF,
NBA: PF,
Possible: PF
Quick Stats:
5.4 Pts, 3.3 Rebs, 0.8 Asts


Pau Gasol
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 7' 0"
Weight: 227 lbs.
Birthday: 07/06/1980
34 Years Old
Teams:
High School:
Previous Team: Bulls , PRO
Drafted: Rnd 1, Pick #3 in 2001 Draft
by the Hawks
Positions:
Current: C,
NBA: C,
Possible: C
Quick Stats:
18.7 Pts, 11.7 Rebs, 2.3 Asts


Zydrunas Ilgauskas
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 7' 3"
Weight: 258 lbs.
Birthday: 06/05/1975
39 Years Old
Teams:
High School: 4 School
Previous Team: , PRO
Drafted: Rnd 1, Pick #20 in 1996 Draft
by the Cavaliers
Positions:
Current: C,
NBA: C,
Possible: C
Quick Stats:
5.0 Pts, 4.0 Rebs, 0.4 Asts


Eric Snow
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 6' 3"
Weight: 198 lbs.
Birthday: 04/24/1973
41 Years Old
Teams:
High School: Canton McKinley
Previous Team: Michigan State , PRO
Drafted: Rnd 2, Pick #14 in 1995 Draft
by the Bucks
Positions:
Current: PG,
NBA: PG,
Possible: PG
Quick Stats:
1.0 Pts, 0.9 Rebs, 1.9 Asts


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