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Las Vegas Summer League Day Four

Las Vegas Summer League Day Four
Jul 16, 2008, 12:06 am
Day Four was easily the most exciting day in Las Vegas so far, with Jerryd Bayless, Donte Greene, and a host of big names coming through with impressive performances.

Game One: New York Knicks 97, Cleveland Cavaliers 94

New York

Wilson Chandler: 26 Points, 11-21 FG, 1-2 3FG, 3-3 FT, 8 Rebounds, 3 Assists, 2 Steals, 2 Blocks, 2 Turnovers

Chandler came through with a one of the best performances of the day, showcasing just how far he’s come since last summer. He looked exponentially more comfortable shooting from deep, knocking down one three and a handful of catch and shoot jumpers from around 22 feet. His range is significantly better than last year primarily due to his form, which has always been consistently good.

In the same vein, Chandler was dominant from the midrange, knocking down one-dribble jumpers routinely. He did a great job getting up and down the floor and making plays for himself and his teammates. While he’s not a great ball handler, he’s capable of bringing the ball up the floor in this setting.

Defensively, Chandler was very effective, defending the post for the majority of the game. His ability to guard multiple positions on this level is a testament to just strong he is for a wing player. The timing he showed blocking shots was impressive, as was his ability to anticipate passes on the perimeter. This was a great contest for the second year forward, and he should prove to be one of the best players in attendance if he keeps it up.


Anthony Roberson: 22 Points, 8-19 FG, 3-8 3FG, 3-4 FT, 2 Rebounds, 1 Steal, 2 Turnovers

This was a typical Summer League game for Roberson. When he gets hot, he dominates the game on the offensive end, taking the bulk of his team’s shots and not setting up his teammates. While his ability to put points on the board is incredibly impressive, it doesn’t change the fact that he’s been the same player for years. He showed the same quickness to the rim and lethal range that he always seems to. Unfortunately, he also showed the lack of development in his point guard skills and little dedication defensively. Roberson seems intent on playing in the NBA, and while it is possible he could find a home if he continues to shoot the three well, he could be a star in Europe.


-Danilo Gallinari took almost three full quarters to notch his first points, but he seemed to figure things out after that. Based on how his effort level changed, he may have been getting his feet wet in the early going without any intention of trying to take over the game. It is hard to blame him for that, as he’s not used to this style of play. His second game will offer a much better opportunity to evaluate him.

Cleveland

J.J Hickson: 26 Points, 11-15 FG, 4-7 FT, 9 Rebounds, 3 Turnovers

Hickson may have had the best game of anyone not named Donte Greene today. He was incredibly efficient offensively, showing great fundamentals and footwork in the post as well as the ability to take contact. Perhaps the most impressive aspect of Hickson’s performance was the number of tip dunks he threw down over the course of the game. He had at least four, and had a couple near misses. His ability to get position underneath and anticipate misses, coupled with tremendous timing makes him a threat to tip the ball in every time his man rotates over to help a teammate. Hickson isn’t just a great athlete, but he also has great overall strength. He absorbs contact and is as aggressive as they come at the rim. He’s a quick leaper, but he’s not a high leaper, making him a good rebounder, but not a great shot blocker on the defensive end. The Cavaliers have to be pleased with the performance of the rookie power forward considering the criticism they took after his selection. Though Hickson isn’t going to light the world on fire during the regular season, he may be a contributing sooner rather than later off the bench.


Clay Tucker: 17 Points, 7-16 FG, 2-6 3FG, 1-1 FT, 6 Rebounds, 2 Assists, 2 Steals, 1 Turnover

Tucker played his game today, hitting catch and shoot jumpers from the perimeter with great consistency. He doesn’t offer a ton offensively outside of that, but he’s solid overall. He helped keep the Cavaliers in the game, and while he didn’t hit the shot that would have helped tie the game late in the fourth, he’s a nice offensive piece on this level. Defensively, Tucker showed great rebounding ability for a guard, tracking down a handful of long misses. He’s already a great European player, and his play in this setting is very similar to what he offers overseas.


-Robert Traylor hasn’t lost any of skills he had when he last played in Cleveland, but he’s out of shape at this point. Whether or not he makes his way back to the League remains to be seen.

-Darnell Jackson had a solid game today by his standards, playing smart and making plays on both ends. He’s not a great athlete, but he’s a cerebral player that is worth keeping an eye on if he chooses to dedicate himself to becoming a physical specimen like Craig Smith did.

Game Two: Denver Nuggets 90, Toronto Raptors 79

Denver Nuggets

Taurean Green: 17 Points, 3-3 FG, 2-2 3FG, 9-12 FT, 3 Rebounds, 4 Assists, 2 Turnovers

Green led the charge for Denver today, spearheading their balanced offensive attack. He showed great range on his jump shot, knocking down a handful of catch and shoot jumpers from the outside. If Green can stay consistent from three point range, it’ll help his cause immensely, as that’s something that all teams are looking for in a third point guard. His ability to run the show is good but not great. He’s not an elite playmaking guy, but today, he made good decisions and didn’t force the issue. Green did a great job getting to the line during this game, showing good quickness and solid body control when around the rim. He’s not a finisher, but is smart enough to know how to make his drives worthwhile. Though he didn’t have a huge impact defensively, Green gave the savvy performance that his team needed from his to run away with this game.

-Elton Brown, Bobby Jones, Mike Hall, and Curtis Sumpter all turned in ten point performances, taking advantage of the relaxed defense Toronto was playing. Brown is still heavy, but has lost a significant amount of weight, he’s an interesting player if that continues.

-Dahntay Jones had another productive game, and is solidifying his stock as a guy that should make a team.

Toronto

Joey Graham: 16 Points, 6-13 FG, 0-1 3FG, 4-8 FT, 7 Rebounds, 2 Assists, 7 Fouls

Graham had another solid outing, and it is obvious that his strengths allow him to dominate on this level. He’s as strong as most centers, and will bully his man offensively. Today he showed a nice midrange jumper, using a physical move at his man’s shoulder to create space to push him out of the way before pulling up and knocking down elbow-range jumpers. His ball handling leaves a lot to be desired, but if he learns to use his body better, he could hide that weakness.

Graham didn’t have much of an impact on the game defensively, since Denver was able to capitalize on any number of mismatches. However, most of the points the Nuggets scored from the outside weren’t on Graham, and he even spent some time covering the post. He’s a great rebounder, and obviously has some tools, but he’s still a few more feet of consistent range on his jumper away from being a nice role player.


-Hassan Adams has been a consistently solid performer, showing the leaping ability and athleticism that made him a nice college player. He still doesn’t have the consistent perimeter skills that he’ll need to find a long-term home in the NBA.

Game Two: Portland Trailblazers 78, Washington Wizards 73

Portland Trailblazers

Jerryd Bayless: 28 points, 5/12 FG, 18/23 FTs, 4 rebounds, 3 turnovers

Bayless started his NBA career by showing off his amazing first step off the dribble, and was rewarded with 23 free throw attempts. He showed very impressive leaping ability and body control inside, and was able to convert a number of lay-ups while taking the contact. Though he shot a good number of outside jumpers during his career at Arizona, Bayless didn't attempt a single three pointer on the day, though you can hardly blame him considering the success he had attacking the paint. The rookie spent the majority of his day playing off the ball, and didn't pick up a single assist. His role in Portland will start with scoring, and he certainly had this ability on full display throughout the day. Defensively, Bayless played very well at times, but was forced to be less aggressive in this area by the refs who were calling things very closely.


Petteri Koponen: 19 points, 7/13 FG, 4/6 3PFG, 3 assists, 3 turnovers

The Finish guard has good size for a point guard in the NBA, and is quite physical as well. He showed pretty good quickness off the dribble throughout the day, and it seems like he'll have the ability to get to the rim against a higher level of competition. The most impressive display from the guard came in terms of shooting, where he made a number of ridiculous jumpers off the dribble. His shooting mechanics aren't picture perfect, but he has a very high and quick release on his accurate stroke. As a point guard, it's clear his decision-making will need to mature, but he enjoys playing a leadership role on the court. The guard also shows good vision on the pick and roll, and the ability to dish the ball on the drive. In the coming days, Koponen will need to work on playing at different speeds, and not forcing the ball into tight spots.


-Nicolas Batum struggled in his debut for Portland, and left the game in the third quarter due to injury.

Washington Wizards

Nick Young: 17 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, 5/11 FG, 5/6 FTs, 2/4 3PFG

Though he has an unorthedox style of play, Nick Young displayed some impressive tools throughout the game. The second year guard can make very difficult shots while fading away, which will allow him to score against nearly any defender at the NBA level. He also showed good accuracy from three, and good athleticism in transition. Young was often criticized for a low basketball IQ coming out of college, but looks to be improving his understanding of the game. The guard still has work to do on the defensive end of the floor. He must work on becoming a more physical defender, and using his length as an advantage. If Young can continue to develop his game at this rate, he should be a solidified part of the Wizards location this season.


-Andray Blatche had nice numbers, and showed a few nice moves throughout the game. He forced things too often from the perimeter, however. We will take a closer look at him later in the week.

-JaVale McGee showed nice touch on his turnaround jumper as well as solid physical tools, but it's clear that he is a long way from cracking an NBA rotation.

-Frank Elegar used his length inside to draw a good number of free throw attempts throughout the game.

Game Four: Houston Rockets 100, Phoenix Suns 97

Houston

Donte Greene: 40 Points, 12-20 FG, 5-10 3FG, 11-12 FT, 3 Rebounds, 3 Assists, 2 Steals, 3 Fouls

Greene played out of his mind today. He looked incredible comfortable knocking down catch and shoot jumpers from NBA three point range, and even better taking his man off the dribble. Greene showed a very nice perimeter repertoire, but had a hard time taking some athletic defenders, namely DJ Strawberry, off the dribble when they weren’t recovering. When he did get the ball with a defender closing out, he showed the ability to not only get by him, but also change direction and spin to the rim when the defender caught up.

Greene’s shot was lights out today, and when he wasn’t knocking down shots from the perimeter, he was making a killing at the rim where he finished consistently and earned quite a few trips to the line. His footwork was very solid, and he created separation with ease against the Suns lackluster big forwards. Greene didn’t do much rebounding or playmaking, but picked it up in those areas when the Suns moved their stopper, DJ Strawberry, onto him defensively. Greene effectively won the game with a great spinning assist late, but was clearly winded by the middle of the third quarter. It will be interesting to see if Greene plays this well against a team with a comparably athletic player at his position.


Mike Harris: 21 Points, 9-14 FG, 1-2 3FG, 2-2 FT, 13 Rebounds, 1 Block, 6 Fouls, 2 Turnovers

Harris earns mention here for having one of the most efficient performances we’ve seen this Summer League. He has great athleticism and strength, and while he did most of his damage inside, he stepped out a knocked down a couple a deep jumpers. Harris was dominant when he got the ball with room to operate, his leaping ability makes him a very good finisher, and he’s almost impossible to stop when he has a head of steam. He showed great touch at the rim, and isn’t afraid of contact. His aggressive nature earned him a ton of rebounds and he effectively compensated for the absence of Joey Dorsey. Harris is a great combo forward, and showed today that he can do a lot of things well. If he keeps this up he’s on his way to


Maarty Leunen: 16 Points, 6-13 FG, 1-6 3FG, 3-4 FT, 4 Rebounds, 3 Assists, 8 Fouls, 2 Turnovers

Leunen had a very good game today showing that he is a capable role player at this level. He knocked down his midrange jumpers with consistency, but struggled mightily from three. Leunen has the form to be a very good outside shooter, and just needs to acclimate his game to NBA range. His basketball IQ shined through on a couple of occasions, especially in the final play of the game where his backdoor cut earned him a reverse lay-in and a win for his team. His ability to handle the ball for a bigman is a nice asset, and while he’s not athletic enough to do anything with it, he takes care of the ball and doesn’t miss the open man. Defensively, he’s a definite liability due to a lack of lateral quickness, but will work hard to grab rebounds. Leunen has a shot at being an end of the bench role player, but seems like he could be a nice player overseas too.


-Aaron Brooks had a very poor outing, taking far too many trips into the paint in situations where he was presented with space from the perimeter. Last year, Brooks made a killing from the perimeter, and he seemed to realize that late in the game where he used a few outside shots to set up his drives.

Phoenix

Alando Tucker: 22 Points, 6-16 FG, 2-3 3FG, 8-10 FT, 6 Rebounds, 2 Assists, 1 Turnover

Tucker had a good game today statistically, and showed some nice tools, but this probably isn’t going to be the best game he has here in Las Vegas. He’s clearly improved the range on his jumper, but his consistency is still a work in progress. He did a good job working his way to rim, but didn’t do a great job finishing. While that may be due to how often he was fouled, Tucker just doesn’t have the explosiveness that would allow him to complete plays at the rim at a high rate. Though he didn’t have a glamorous game, it’s a good sign that he was both efficient and effective in a contest where he didn’t get into a rhythm.


D.J. Strawberry: 22 Points, 7-15 FG, 0-2 3FG, 8-12 FT, 6 Rebounds, 5 Assists, 1 Steal, 1 Block, 3 Turnovers

D.J. Strawberry singlehandedly prevented Donte Greene from breaking the Summer League scoring record by maintaining great position defensively and denying him the ball. Until the final minute or so of the game when he got to the foul line on an intentional foul, Greene had only gotten two touches the entire quarter, a testament to just how well Strawberry player him. Though he didn’t put up gaudy defensive stats, Strawberry was a menace defensively, giving Aaron Brooks the same fits he game Greene. Offensively, Strawberry showed a ton of development from last season. He was lights out from the midrange, showing a one dribble pull up that no one was able to defend effectively. His first step and speed make him a factor in off the dribble and transition, and he’s got the athleticism to finish and the court vision to set up his teammates. Strawberry isn’t quite a pure point guard, but he did a solid job running the show today. His ball handling ability is leaps and bounds better than it used to be, and he’s going to be a great asset for Phoenix if he continues to improve.


Robin Lopez: 19 Points, 5-13 FG, 9-11 FT, 5 Rebounds, 2 Blocks, 7 Fouls

Lopez had a nice game, but seemed to slow down as the game progressed. He showed good touch with both hands offensively, something that’s going to serve him extremely well as a rookie. He’s got nice fundamentals, and got to the line frequently by being aggressive. In contrast, he had a very hard time using that aggressiveness defensively and on the glass. Lopez showed poor awareness and lateral quickness as a help side defender, which was very surprising. He missed a number of opportunities to get shot blocks from the weak side, getting over too late to make a difference. That’s something that was likely due to just how long it has been since Lopez has seen real game action. He got bullied on a couple of occasions defensively, getting scored over and getting sealed a couple of times by Houston’s less than stellar centers.


-Marcus Vinicius started off the game with some hot shooting, knocking down consecutive threes from the perimeter to open the game. He struggled to defend Donte Greene, fouling him on a couple of outside shots and finding himself on the bench quite a bit despite his shooting.

Game Five: Dallas Mavericks 88, Minnesota Timberwolves 74

Minnesota Timberwolves

Kevin Love: 18 points, 13 rebound, 5 Offensive Rebounds, 7/13 FGs, 5 turnovers

Love struggled some defensively, but showed off inside and outside abilities on the offensive end in his NBA debut. He started the game facing the basket on the perimeter, and showed good form on his jumper and even drove to the hoop successfully a couple times. The rookie also showed tenacity on the offensive glass, using his perfect timing and strong body to collect a number of rebounds throughout the game. Defensively, the rookie must work on pick and roll defensive, where his reaction speed will be important at the NBA level. He does defend the post well enough, but his physical style led to a lot of cheap fouls throughout the day. With his high post and low post ability on offense, it looks like he will be a very good compliment to Al Jefferson.


-Blake Ahearn struggled to shoot the three, but showed a surprising ability to get to the free throw line. If he could cut down on his turnovers, the guard could really turn some heads.

-Corey Brewer struggled from the field, but looks to have worked on his shooting mechanics. It wouldn't be surprising to see him space the floor more effectively this season.

Dallas Mavericks

Shan Foster: 17 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 turnover, 7/13 FG

The rookie hit a number of tough shots throughout the day, and showed the ability to shoot the set jumper and off two dribbles from mid-range. He missed two of his three long range attempts in the game, but his ability to space the floor could become a valuable asset in the NBA down the road. The guard is clearly limited by his ball handling skills, but he did finish a couple of shots at the rim by getting out in transition. Defensively, Foster still has a good deal of work to do. His lower body remains weak at this point, but he is using his length more effectively, and it looks like he really has potential to be an asset in this area down the road. He may not make the Mavericks' roster this season, but his shooting ability will certainly give the rookie a chance to be a long term role player at the NBA level.

-Charles Rhodes continues to show a nice jumper and impressive athleticism, but tends to turn the ball over too often on the perimeter.

-Jujuan Smith remains undersized for a shooting guard in the NBA, but had a great game with both his long range jumper and athletic ability in transition.

Game Six: San Antonio Spurs 78, Memphis Grizzlies 76

San Antonio

Ian Mahinmi: 18 Points, 5-10 FG, 8-10 FT, 8 Rebounds, 1 Assist, 2 Turnovers

Mahinmi gave a strong showing today, but showed that he still has a ways to go. He’s got very nice touch for a player with his skill level, making it seem like he could develop a very nice back to the basket game over time. He’s a solid finisher at the rim, but lacks the physical strength to take contact effectively. It seems like he’s added some size, and has the frame to become much strong. Mahinmi is a fluid athlete more than an explosive one, making to tough for him to get all the way to the rim, but easy for him to put his man in a compromising position and draw a foul. He didn’t get a chance to show it today, but he’s capable hitting jumpers from the midrange as well. He’s still very young, and his comfort level offensively is only going to improve over time. Defensively, he uses his length well to accumulate rebounds and change shots, but still has a lot to learn. He doesn’t commit nearly as many fouls as he used to as recent as a year ago, a testament to how far he’s come. The Spurs have the luxury of waiting for Mahinmi to develop, and he seems like he’s headed in the right direction in the long-term.


George Hill: 17 Points, 2-9 FG, 1-2 3FG, 12-16 FT, 8 Rebounds, 1 Assist, 2 Turnovers, 6 Fouls

Hill had a decent game at best today. He scored well, primarily because he had little trouble getting to the line, but didn’t show much from the perimeter. He’s not going to be able to get into the paint in the NBA as easily as he did today, and could stand to use his time in Vegas to work on his outside shot. He did knock down an NBA three, but showed little else from the outside. He’s a decent ball handler, but has a hard time retreating from pressure. That showed today on a few occasions. His passing ability is still a work in progress, just like the rest of his point guard skills. He committed a ton of fouls, and had a tough matchup against Memphis’s more physical guards. Hill’s got a lot to learn, but has nice tools to work with.


-Anthony Tolliver and Devin Green were aggressive from beyond the three point line today, but got a little overzealous at times. They didn’t offer much else though.

Memphis

Darrell Arthur: 21 Points, 10-15 FG, 3-4 FT, 6 Rebounds, 1 Assist, 1 Block, 5 Fouls

Arthur made a killing today, showing tremendous touch on his midrange jumper. He routinely hit a handful of catch and shoot jumpers from as far out as the college three point line. When he wasn’t floating around outside, Arthur made some nice cuts to the rim for easy dunks. He didn’t show much with his back to the basket, but did make one nice pass in traffic when he was about to have his shot blocked. He showed good mobility, and athleticism defensively, but didn’t show great dedication on the glass. On one occasion, Arthur saw a shot coming from the post and nearly jumper over his teammate to emphatically block the shot into the stands. This was the first great performance we’ve seen from Arthur offensively, and if he shows the same consistency from the perimeter that he showed today, it won’t be the last.


O.J. Mayo: 18 Points, 5-17 FG, 2-4 3FG, 6-6, 6 Rebounds, 2 Assists, 2 Turnovers, 6 Fouls

Mayo didn’t have all that great of a game save a three-quarter court shot that he knocked in off balance with a defender in his face. Mayo once again shot well from behind the arc, but he found some resistance today from the midrange. He’s lights out when open, but he didn’t get a lot of easy looks today. He gambles defensively, and hasn’t found that much success when doing so in Vegas, especially in this contest. Mayo made a couple nice passes, but will get a bit too fancy or aggressive at times, leading to turnovers. While he’s not that assertive on the glass, he could be a very good rebounder if he wants to be. His strength, will, and anticipation would all serve him well on that front. This wasn’t a great game for Mayo, but his struggles when guarded and consistency from the outside are notable.


-Ebi Ere came through with another good performance. He shows great strength, as well as good body control at the basket. P.J. Tucker is in the same boat, but offers a lot more on both ends. Both players have improved their stocks here in Vegas with consistently strong play.

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