Las Vegas Summer League Day Two

Las Vegas Summer League Day Two
Jul 13, 2008, 10:18 pm
-Rumor Alert: European sources here in the gym are saying that Brandon Jennings has signed with Italian Euroleague team Rome.

Game One: Sacramento Kings 93, Toronto Raptors 86


Spencer Hawes: 23 Points, 9-17 FG, 5-6 FT, 9 Rebounds, 2 Assists, 7 Turnovers, 6 Fouls

The young center had a strong first day, looking significantly bigger than he did during his rookie year. He has a decent frame, and while the weight he’s added since the regular season helped him get better position in the post, he is still a ways away from reaching his physical potential. Offensively, Hawes showed great fundamentals as always, but also stepped out past the three point line to knock down a couple of NBA three pointers. Early in the game he was very aggressive finding shots from the midrange in by fighting for position or popping off of screens, but Hawes fell in love with his outside shot as the game progressed, missing three consecutive three pointers in the third quarter. Despite a few questionable shots, this was a great showing across the board for Hawes. He displayed the type of passing ability that has been synonymous with Sacramento centers for the last decade and the ability to push the break when he finds himself with an open floor in front of him. Though Hawes does a great job shifting his position on the block with the ball, staying active throughout each play, but he does not bring that same energy to the defensive end. While he’ll box out and block some shots, his defense remains suspect, but will always be overshadowed by his offensive prowess.

Jason Thompson: 12 Points, 4-7 FG, 1-3 3FG, 7 Rebounds, 1 Assist, 1 Block, 5 Turnovers, 8 Fouls

Thompson had an up and down debut, reinforcing many of the things that we already knew about him. He can shoot the ball well from the outside, has a nice right handed hook around the rim, and can block shots due to his impressive length. His range extends out to the three point line, but his comfort level from that deep is still a work in progress. The areas that he struggles with include taking contact, staying in position defensively, and decision-making. His defensive and ball handling will only develop with time, and he could add muscle to remedy his issues with contact. Thompson may have been taken a little bit too high considering his current skill level, but he’s got solid potential and is the type of person that will take the steps to become a good NBA player. He looked nervous today, but that’s to be expected from a rookie in his first game against pros.

Quincy Douby: 20 Points, 5-12 FG, 1-4 3FG, 7-8 FT, 2 Rebounds, 0 Assists, 3 Steals, 1 Blocks, 3 Turnovers, 4 Fouls

Douby had a good outing today, showing the ability to put points on the board in a hurry. He got extremely hot from the perimeter, knocking down shot after shot in the second half. Despite the strong showing, Douby hasn’t answered questions about his ability to transfer those skills to the NBA level. He lacks the quickness to beat his man of the dribble and has too slight a frame to bully his way to the rim. Sporting a big t-shirt today, it is clear that Douby has not gained much weight since his time at Rutgers. Those two things work against him when he goes against physically superior defenders. His inability to run the point was apparent today, and he just isn’t comfortable bringing the ball up the floor and initiating the offense. He doesn’t do a great job setting up his teammates or protecting the ball. Douby showed some nice things defensively today, using his length to block some shots and get his hands on some bad passes.

Sheldon Williams: 16 Points, 5-8 FG, 6-6 FT, 10 Rebounds, 2 Assists, 4 Turnovers, 4 Fouls

Today’s game was a tale of two halves for Williams. In the first half, he failed to stand out, struggling to get the job done against the lesser players on Toronto’s front line. In the second, he returned to the form that made him seem like a promising player during his time with the Hawks. He is a force around the basket due to his ability to hold post position, and used a couple of nice up and under moves to get to the line consistently. Williams loves contact, and thrives at finishing and ones. At this point, Williams can’t afford the lapses that he showed in the first half. He needs to show that he has developed from the point he was at two years ago. It seems like last season really stunted his growth.

-Patrick Ewing Jr. was nowhere to be found today, and looked like he was having some trouble with his right quad early in the game.

-Sean Singletary ran the point well, but needs to be more efficient with his dribble drives. He tends to take on too many defenders when he makes a move to the rim.


Joey Graham: 24 Points, 6-13 FG, 12-15 FT, 8 Rebounds, 1 Steal, 5 Turnovers, 8 Fouls

Graham had a very nice showing today, but didn’t do anything that we haven’t seen in this setting before. He’s impossible to stop when he has a head of steam, using his body to shield the ball and get to the rim. With a chiseled frame, Graham is a physical marvel, but his perimeter game is still lagging. Despite consistent shooting form, Graham doesn’t have any touch on his jumper, rendering it largely ineffective. He gets overaggressive at times, leading to turnovers. His lateral quickness is good, but he isn’t terribly quick with his crossover when he has to react to a defender. Playing good defense will be key to Graham’s future, and though he did some good work tonight, both offensively and defensively. He still has a lot of things that he needs to work on.

Deji Akindele: 13 Points, 4-8 FG, 5-5 FT, 7 Rebounds, 1 Steal, 2 Blocks, 8 Fouls

Akindele had a great showing today. He’s a lot smoother than he used to be, making strides in almost every facet of the game. He shows some decent post tools, including a developing turnaround jump shot. While his effectiveness isn’t great, he’s heading in the right direction defensively. While he does show a better feel for the pick and roll, he still has a ton to learn. Akindele has a strong frame, and looks a little more nimble than he used to be. His wingspan doesn’t allow him to be an elite shot blocker, but he’s developed the awareness and timing to be a factor on this level defensively. Though he may not be an NBA caliber bigman, Akindele seems to have made some significant strides. His progress is at least worth keeping an eye on despite the fact that he is a little old to be as raw as he is at 25 years of age.

-JayCee Carrol had a nice contest, showing the spot up shooting ability and right handed floater that helped him find success in the Orlando Summer League. He doesn’t have any confidence issues, but his mistakes seem to dictate how he approaches the game offensively.

-John Lucas and Hassan Adams showed some a lot of things in transition, but neither was terribly effective over the course of the game.

Game Two: Charlotte Bobcats 81, Los Angeles Clippers 66


DJ Augustin: 14 Points, 4-9 FG, 1-2 3FG, 5-6 FT, 3 Rebounds, 2 Assists, 2 Steals, 2 Turnovers, 5 Fouls

Augustin didn’t have an amazing showing, but he showed a lot of very nice tools. He showcased his ability to run the pick and roll, tallying both of his assists on great passes in traffic coming off of screens. The range on his jump shot extends past the NBA three-point line, and he looked comfortable knocking it down from deep in catch and shoot situations. Augustin looked good handling pressure, and two turnovers for a rookie running a team in the Summer League is not bad at all. He initiated the offense quickly, and looked pretty comfortable overall. While he didn’t light the world on fire, Augustin had a very nice pro debut.

-Jared Dudley and Jermareo Davidson showed some nice things, but didn’t produce as well as they are capable of, we’ll take a closer look at them later this week.

-Alexis Ajinca is still a ways away from being a productive NBA player, and while people rave about his touch, he struggled from the field today going 1-7.

Los Angeles

Al Thornton: 22 Points, 7-12 FG, 1-2 3FG, 7-8 FT, 7 Rebounds, 4 Turnovers, 3 Fouls

Thornton was incredibly productive today, mostly because he shoots the ball almost every time he touches it. He failed to tally an assist, a testament to just how frequently he looks to score. Thornton looked great in both catch and shoot situations as well as pull ups of the dribble. He doesn’t have great ball handling ability, but is so explosive that he’s very tough to defend regardless. Thornton grabbed quite a few rebounds today, and even hit an NBA three, two things that he needs to do consistently to augment what he already brings to the table. Thornton may not be the most versatile guy, but he certainly gets the job done.

Eric Gordon: 15 Points, 4-10 FG, 1-5 3FG,6-10 FT, 4 Rebounds, 2 Assists, 2 Steals, 2 Blocks, 2 Fouls

Gordon had a good game today until he tweaked his hamstring. He is out of the summer league now apparently. Gordon built on a tremendous debut with a very good second outing. He had a solid game defensively, showing great hand quickness when closing out and very good anticipation when blocking perimeter shots. Though he didn’t shoot a great percentage, he’s got very consistent form. It will take him a while, but he’ll shoot a very nice percentage as a rookie. Gordon also showed some intriguing passing skills, looking very good finding teammates for open looks. His future is at the two, but playmaking skills could be a very nice asset for him down the road. Few players are as ready to produce as Gordon, and hopefully this isn’t his last Summer League game this season.

-Mike Taylor and Brandon Heath both take a lot of questionable shots, and while Taylor was great in the Orlando Pre-Draft Camp, he struggled to get to the rim as effectively. His point guard skills looked near non-existent.

Game Three: Denver Nuggets 99, Philadelphia 76ers 85


Dahntay Jones: 21 Points, 8-15 FG, 5-9 FT, 4 Fouls

Jones had one heck of an outing, looking absolutely tremendous. He is very tough to stay in front of when he wants to go the rim, and has improved his ball handling to some extent, making him an even bigger threat to get to the rim. His perimeter arsenal is leaps and bounds more polished than it used to be. He also showed better body control, getting to the rim than he did as a collegiate; taking contact without getting out of control. Jones proved to be an NBA level scorer today, and we’ll keep an eye out for improved shooting range and versatility as the week continues.

Sonny Weems: 17 Points, 8-15 FG, 3 Rebounds, 4 Fouls

Weems looked great today, using his athleticism to clean up after his teammates to the tune of two tip dunks and a nice putback. He’s a guy that can make an impact in this setting with his effort level, but lacks polish. Weems knocked down a couple of jumpers today off the dribble, but is still a work in progress from the perimeter. His range leaves a lot to be desired, and his consistency just isn’t there yet. Fortunately, he has good touch, meaning some time in D-League or in practice could go a long way towards improving his offensive game. Weems may have had a nice offensive showing today, but his future on the NBA level is as a defender. He didn’t produce much today, but looked good keeping his man out of the lane. While he’s got great length and quickness, Weems still needs to learn how to play angles and be a better team defender.

-Mike Hall and Keith Langford has strong performances today. Langford has developed his range significantly, which does wonders for his stock, and Hall is a consistent performer who we’ll highlight later this week.


Thaddeus Young: 22 Points, 7-21 FG, 0-3 3FG, 8-12 FT, 4 Rebounds, 3 Assists, 2 Steals, 4 Turnovers

Young built on a 27 point debut with another very strong outing today. He’s arguably the most physically gifted player in attendance, sporting great strength, speed, and leaping ability. His footwork is improving quickly, and he’s learning how to change vary his drives to the rim to keep defenders guessing. He changes direction well for a player his size, helping him avoid potential defenders on the fast break. Young had a handful of dunks today where he would evade a defender with a lateral step s the recovered from behind before exploding to the rim. Unfortunately, Young didn’t show much development in his jumper today, looking tentative and largely unrefined from the perimeter. A year’s worth of experience has done him a lot of good, but he’s still a work in progress offensively. On the defensive end, he’s made a lot of strides, and knows how to use his length and athleticism to create turnovers and easy scoring opportunities.

Jason Smith: 15 Points, 6-10 FG, 4 Rebounds, 1 Steal, 2 Blocks, 8 Fouls

Smith had a very nice outing today, using his incredible combination of size and athleticism to put together a nice overall performance. He is a capable offensive player due to his touch, but needs to develop a mean streak to even reach his potential. He’s got a solid repertoire that includes some spin moves that get him separation due to his impressive quickness. His aggressiveness leaves a lot to be desired, and it almost seems like he gives up after he makes a play, letting the ball go when he meets contact in the lane of allowing his man to score after blocking his shot. Though Smith has intimidating size, he will commit some unnecessary fouls by reaching over on post shooters. If the light ever turns on for Smith, he’s got all the tools to be a very good player on both ends.

-Marreese Speights had a good game today, but had a better outing in his debut yesterday tallying 22 points and 13 rebounds. With that in mind, we’ll evaluate Speights during his next contest to see if today’s 14 point 5 rebound outing was closer to the level he’s actually playing at right now.

-Jamont Gordon also had a good game, but will be easier to evaluate against a better matchup.

Game Four: Memphis Grizzlies 88, Milwaukee Bucks 79


OJ Mayo: 26 Points, 9-19 FG, 4-6 3FG, 5 Rebounds, 1 Assist, 1 Steal, 4 Turnovers

Mayo was one of the most dominant players we saw today. He made a killing as a spot up shooter, and his catch and shoot game has unreal polish. His perimeter footwork looks like that of a seasoned veteran. He shot a tremendous percentage from three point range, and looked comfortable even with a hand in his face. Mayo’s first step still doesn’t look great, but he’s a fluid athlete and explosive when he gets to the rim. He didn’t do much slashing or playmaking today, but showed what he could do playing off the ball. Defensively, Mayo wasn’t challenged to a large degree, so we’ll have to wait to see what he can do against a comparable offensive player.

-Darrell Arthur looked decent today, but didn’t stand out. Mike Conley looked good in limit minutes, but didn’t have a chance to shine, deferring to Mayo.

-PJ Tucker looks like a force, and considering what he accomplished overseas last season, is making some strides as a power player. Alan Anderson is in a similar boat, but didn’t enjoy the same European success that Tucker did. Both players are undersized, but are burly enough to be a factor in the paint.


Ramon Sessions: 12 Points, 1-4 FG, 10-14 FT, 2 Rebounds, 9 Assists, 1 Steal, 7 Turnovers, 3 Fouls

Sessions looked like an NBA player today. The experience he got late in the season has done wonders for him. He plays with a ton of poise, and was almost too effective today. On far too many occasions he got in the lane and dropped a quick pass to a teammates only for it to deflect off their hands out of bounds. With essentially no other players with a season of NBA experience on the roster, Sessions will probably experience his fare share of frustration this week. His passing ability is a nice contrast to what Mo Williams brings to the table in Milwaukee. This setting makes it hard for him to showcase his ability to protect the ball, but the sheer number of free throws he took is a testament to how he uses his body in traffic.

Joe Alexander: 7 Points, 2-13 FG, 3 Rebounds, 1 Assist, 1 Block, 1 Turnover, 5 Fouls

Alexander really struggled today, having a very hard time knocking down his shots. His footwork looked great, and he had no trouble getting his shot off, but Alexander was obviously a bit nervous in his debut. He forced some shots from the outside, and even air-balled a six-footer, an obvious indication of some first-game jitters. He did have an unbelievable block on a layup attempt in transition, and is one of the most athletic players in the Summer League with his impressive combination of leaping ability and strength. Overall, this outing was a reminder of just how far Alexander is from being a finished product. He’s a great prospect with tools, but the polish won’t develop overnight; neither will the resilience to bounce back in the middle of a game.

-Matt Freije and Trey Johnson both provided some nice offensive production for Milwaukee hitting on some shots from the perimeter and providing an outlet for Sessions when he went to the rim.

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