1. This is a running log as we see it, written mostly at the end of the first half, during the break between the third and fourth quarter, and at the end of games. Therefore things in the beginning might conflict a bit with what you see towards the end, but we will try to explain why. Since we are putting this up live as it happens (rather than make you wait a whole week to recap everything), you will have to excuse spelling and grammar errors.
2. We do not put much emphasis, if any, on stats. For one, they are inconsistent, and two, its how players get the stats they did that concerns us more. Game Five Final: Sacramento 91 New Orleans 72 KingsEric WeissRon Artest
In the summer night of Vegas, Artest was looking to cash in early and often during the 1st half of play. Artest was clearly the offensive focal point of the Kings attack and had a series of midrange shots, both off the dribble and on the pull-up. Artest didnt shoot a phenomenal percentage, but he didnt disrupt his teammates flow either and really contributed to Louis Amundson
s productive play.
More of the same for Artest, who didnt put out too much intense defensive energy and really looked to be familiarizing himself with teammates more late in the game. Artest scaled back his shooting and moved the ball more before calling it a night. Kevin Martin
Martin played a rare summer league role as 2nd banana to Artest, but still did plenty of ball-handling and decision making for the Kings. Martin continued to display his fearless and effective ability to drive into the lane and initiate contact in order to get to the line, an impressive feat for a player significantly slighter than the defenders he pounds himself into. Not too much perimeter shooting from Martin tonight, though he hit an early 3-pointer. Louis Amundson
The presence of Artest and Martin showed how much of an asset Amundson can be on a team where the skill level of his teammates is extremely high. Amundson keeps balls alive, finishes missed shots off of offensive rebounds, blocks shots and strips balls, tips balls back to teammates for extra possessions and hits the glass with reckless abandon. If Amundson can get a competent shot going for him he could be an even more valuable rotation player, one capable of getting significant playing once his aggressiveness is contained enough to limit his fouling, which will be a concern.
Not much else to say in this department. Amundson continued to fill in the blanks and make his presence felt without once commanding the ball. Amundson had a powerful put-back slam to finish up his evening to the rousing applause of the home-town rebel faithful. Quincy Douby
Douby had a couple of nice plays including a smooth left to right pull-up jumper from 18 feet and an excellent no-look drop off pass to the trailer on a fast break. Other than that, Douby had to take a backseat to the show his teammates were putting on, which is understandable.
2nd half was much like the first for Douby as he had two standout plays surrounded by a bunch of nondescript facilitation. Douby had a nice shot-fake dribble-drive for a finish with a non-call foul as well as a pretty penetration shot-fake dish to a cutting teammate. Douby added another 17 foot jumper. Francisco Garcia
Garcia hit a couple of 3-pointers and made smart transition decision, but wasnt the focus of the action. Garcias is best when hes not trying to do much himself and simply moves the ball around and focuses on defense. HornetsJonathan GivonyBrandon Bass
As opposed to last years summer league where he was nearly invisible, this years version of Brandon Bass
was much more active in contributing to his teams effort. He started off the game by taking Ron Artest
off the dribble and getting to the free throw line and then punished him a bit more by knocking down two mid-range jumpers right in his face. He ran the floor in transition, played very good defense on Artest (who settled for contested jumpers way too often) and generally did a very good job making his presence felt. By the end of the first half, Artest had four fouls, many of them on Bass. Marcus Fizer
Fizer looks like he took the last three years off with how his body looks, but hes still talented enough to get the job done in a setting like this. Whether its taking smaller (or rather, skinnier) players down to the post to create space and score on them with sweet footwork and hooks, or surprising with his mobility on the perimeter and knocking down jumpers, there is little doubt that Fizer is extremely talented. Artest tried to match up with him for a few quick minutes and came away the clear cut loser.
In the 2nd half, Fizer continued to make a living carving out space and finishing down low. Turnarounds in the post, putbacks off offensive rebounds, mid-range jumpers
Fizer was the only player who really showed up for the Hornets in the 2nd half. Hilton Armstrong, Cedric Simmons
Both looked like deers in the headlights in the first half. Simmons was blocked badly on one possession by Justin Williams
, Armstrong was stripped by Amundson, and the two top 15 picks generally got outplayed and outhustled by their undrafted counterparts.
Armstrong picked it up a bit in the 2nd half, bringing a little bit more energy to the floor and scoring off some garbage baskets.
Game Four Final: Portland 87 - Golden State 70BlazersEric WeissLaMarcus Aldridge
Aldridge showed the same soft touch he did yesterday, but added some tough interior rebounding and defense to the mix. Aldridge used his body more to create space than simply settling for the initial shot on the quick turnaround or step back. Aldridge had an emphatic block on a driving Will Bynum
in which he swatted the shot at its pinnacle, over 12 feet at least. Some active offensive rebounding led to a put-back jam and a couple of free throws. Solid half overall.
Aldridge was less involved in the 2nd half, mostly due to the dominance of Roy, Webster, and Outlaw. Aldridge stayed on the glass and kept a strong presence on the interior which enabled the perimeter players to operate more freely. When he did get the ball, Aldridge was usually fouled on the play, he finished all of his free throws. Martell Webster
Webster picked up off of yesterdays offensive scoring bonanza and began to add some timely passing to his overall game. Webster still doesnt create well off the dribble, but in an offense utilizing screens and motion he can be as deadly as any shooter in the league-Glen Rice
deadly in a few years time. Webster was very smart in transition, passing the ball up court and filling lanes in the proper place and time while the play was in motion.
Webster was super-active in the 2nd half, grabbing rebounds and making smart decisions at high speeds. Webster didnt shoot well from the field in the 2nd half, but was able to generate free points with effective motion that led to easy opportunities and free throws. Brandon RoyBrandon Roy
had a brilliant, if subtle, first half. Roy is still being used as the primary ball-handler which isnt ideal for his current aptitude level for the role yet, but his ability to pick and choose his plays is impeccable, worthy of a high lottery pick and a sure-fire contributor next season. Roy uses so much lateral motion in his dribble-drive attacks, which is very difficult to guard and opens up playmaking opportunities for himself and his teammates, who are left open when their defenders rush to help contain Roy.
Roy was dominant with his decision making in the 2nd half. More familiarity with teammates and tendencies will only improve his ability to make other players better. Roy uses change of speed and direction to penetrate into the lane easily. His body control and understanding of operating space enables him to make effective reads and finish plays when the situation dictates he do so. Roy is an active player off the ball as well, which lets him make all kinds of hustle plays such as rebounding out of his area, jumping lanes for steals, and saving loose balls for his team. Awesome display of controlled execution. Travis Outlaw
Far better performance by Outlaw today. Outlaw harnessed his game to some degree and chose what he wanted to do instead of trying to figure it out on the fly. This enabled Outlaw to finish plays and create opportunities for his team. The more Outlaw slows himself down and reads the court action, the faster hell become a quality NBA player.
Great second half for Outlaw as he continued to let the game come to him. Filling lanes and playing off of his more technically skilled teammates brings out the best in Outlaw and hed be best served in the future to utilize his brilliant physical gifts to play a Shawn Marion
role as a player who simply fills in the gaps with hustle and anticipation. WarriorsJonathan GivonyAndris Biedrins
Biedrins had a strong showing in the first half, doing a nice job establishing himself as an offensive threat inside the paint and doing his typical work defensively and on the glass. He started the game off strong with a nice catch and an emphatic finish, then came back and hit the offensive glass for a big time putback off a Warriors miss. He then continued to show off his improved hands by catching a tough pass and finishing intelligently in traffic after a ball-fake. He gathered another couple of rebounds, with at least a handful coming on the offensive end, to finish up with a pretty solid overall first half.
The second half was a pretty quiet one for Biedrins, not seeing too many touches and not really getting all that much playing time to be evaluated off of. What he did get to show was overall fairly positive, as its clear that even though hes not tremendously skilled he works extremely hard and is continuing to improve since we last saw him in summer league last year. His energy level is great Patrick OBryant
OBryant looked pretty lost in his first game in a Warriors uniform. He wandered around a bit aimlessly to start off, and even decided to take a college 3-pointer for some odd reason, which he barely hit glass on. After being challenged by LaMarcus Aldridge
on one end, he came right back and delivered a sweet looking jump-hook shot right on his head, showing us a glimpse of the terrific potential he possesses.
OBryant and Aldridge went at it again in the 2nd half, with Aldridge coming out the winner in most cases. OBryant tried to do things that were out of his repertoire, like lead the fast break and shoot all kinds of weak mid-range jumpers. Steven Smith
Smith came off the bench and gave the Warriors plenty of energy on both ends of the floor. He was a bit unlucky with some calls that went against him, including a ticky tack offensive foul that robbed him of a gorgeous baseline drive and emphatic finish. On another occasion he went up for another very strong dunk and was clearly fouled by Joel Freeland
with no response from the refs. In the 4th quarter Smith had a number of good sequences, including hitting a mid-range jumper and then coming back to draw a charge, grabbing offensive rebounds and generally finding himself in the right spot at the right time. Will Bynum
Bynum came in looking to show off his explosiveness and ball-handling skills, pounding the ball incessantly and making his way to the basket trying to catch the eyes of the scouts with an exhilarating dunk. He was rejected badly on one attempt by Aldridge, got to the free throw line on another, and missed on yet a third. All in all he has plenty of style, but not so much substance, and his big men are starving a bit for looks in the paint.
Bynum settled down a bit in the 2nd half and started to get his team into their offense a bit. The best things he did were on the defensive end, where he terrorized Marque Perry and stripped him of the ball on consecutive possessions. He also got to the free throw line repeatedly as his defenders just could not stay in front of his quick first step. Jose Juan Barea
Jose Juan isnt getting a lot of love from the Warriors so far, despite the fact that Monta Ellis
was out of this game after being injured in practice. He started off playing off the ball and defending Martell Webster
, but was later allowed to play his natural position and got into a nice little duel with Brandon Roy
. He was interested almost strictly in showing off his point guard skills, making a number of extremely intelligent passes that either resulted in an assist or led to the pass that resulted in an assist. Defensively he did his best against Brandon Roy
, not backing down even one bit and trying to give him some business when he had the chance to. Offensively most of his scoring came off taking his man to the basket and getting to the line.
Game Final: Minnesota 91- Phoenix 83TimberwolvesJonathan GivonyRandy Foye
Foye continues to quietly impress with the instincts hes showing and his overall skill level. Hes taking the ball strong to the basket time after time and even had one very nice left-handed and-1 finish over the outstretched arms of Amare Stoudemire
. For the second straight game his outside shot wasnt quite falling for him, but Foye found other ways to contribute, whether it was rebounding, making heady passes or getting in the passing lanes.
Foye went back to his mid-range game in the 2nd half and did a terrific job knocking down his shots. He didnt neglect his bread and butterhis slashing gamethough, continuing to take it strong at the hoop again and again to finish with pretty finger rolls, draw fouls and get to the free throw line. Foye played more of a scoring role than the distributor Minnesota tried to make him into yesterday, and he thrived, to the tune of over 20 points. He seems to have been given marching orders to play like he did at Villanova, which means take the team on his back and score as much as he can, even if he has wide open teammates all around him. Bracey Wright
After an atrocious first game yesterday, Bracey Wright
got back on track today by not settling for fadeaway jumpers all game long and instead taking the ball strong at the basket and getting to the line. He is much better off when he combines his slashing game with his jump-shot rather than just ignoring his teammates and firing up bricks. He seems to get the hierarchy that was created by Minnesota drafting a combo guard like him in Randy Foye
with the 7th overall pick, and is doing a good job feeding him the ball in a position to score easily even when he could very well just finish off plays himself. His 3-pointer was falling and everything else was clicking very nicely. Reece GainesReece Gaines
NBA career is over, and you can tell in his body language that he knows it, even if there is nothing he can really do about it. Hes lost all confidence in his skills and you can see in the way he hangs his head after every missed free throw that mentally he just isnt enjoying playing anymore. For the most part he was a non-factor in his teams offense. When he wasnt on the floor playing, he was sitting all by himself on the very end of the bench with a nasty scowl on his face. SunsEric WeissJeff Varem
Varem showed the type of game that makes him a quality player overseas. His quickness and explosive finishing ability complement his anticipation and overall energy. Varem doesnt have a concrete post game, nor does he poesess tremendous perimeter skills, but he is an athlete that can play basketball. If Varem wasnt so undersized for the skills he does have hed be on an NBA roster. Ruben Douglas
Douglas continues to show a solid court awareness on both ends of the court and has improved his overall game since last season. Not much in the way of statistical production, but Douglas hit a three in the corner and showed himself well. Amare Stoudamire
Stoudamire is an interesting prospect. He possesses good length and a solid skill set for his position. But, Stoudamires overall explosiveness and post play left something to be desired as he will not be able to rely on his jumper when trying to take the game to the next level. Stoudamire has a decent handle and seems to have good court awareness, but he doesnt play at the speed he needs to keep up with NBA competition. My guess is that hell be a career journeyman who could provide quality minutes as a backup center if he sticks in the league
wait, reverse that...
...ok, time to be serious...
Stoudamire was a man amongst boys on the court. He clearly was restraining his natural tendecy to be powerful and aggressive in the post, which was probably by design. Stoudamire released a series of jump hooks and jab-fakes throughout the 2nd half and was smooth and effortless on every delivery. Toward the end of the 2nd half, Stoudamire began to exhert his authority on the defensive end, challengeing a number of shots and initiating far more contact than he had initially.
Game Two Final: Houston- 93 Denver 90DenverEric WeissJohn Gilchrist
Gilchrist made smart decisions with the ball acting like a true point when on the court. However, his teammates werent doing much to help him look good and Gilchrist wasnt looking to score on his own, so theres not much to report. One very nice sequence toward the end of the half had Gilchrist penetrating for a nice no-look pass to a cutting Jacobson. Gilchrist followed that up with a nice drive for the finger-roll finish right before the half.
In the 2nd half Gilchrist made more of an effort to get involved offensively, finishing a number of pretty drives in the lane in traffic. His best play of the half was a deft reverse lay-in high off the glass which he had to complete around the weak-side shot blocker. Casey Jacobson
Jacobson wasnt hitting his outside shot and none of his off-ball movement resulted in any magnitude of positive plays, so nothing stands out here as well. Jacobson has a good understanding of situational play, but without being hot from the perimeter, cannot impact a game enough on his own to warrant attention.
Jacobson finished in traffic a number of times in the 2nd half, taking contact and getting to the free throw line throughout the half. All the Rest
The team had very little production and boasts zero roster hopefuls. But, despite the lack of accomplished talent, the Nuggets made a game of it by getting timely baskets from a multitude of players, including Ricky Sanchez
who hit a couple outside shots in key moments to keep the score close down the stretch. RocketsJonathan GivonySteve Novak
Novak continued right where he left off in the first half , showing us exactly what his role is going to be in the NBA and just how perfectly he fits into it.
Novak came off screens and knocked down his open looks from 3-point range as if they were layups. He also showed some basic ball-handling skills and did some work from mid-range as well. Denver decided to start face-guarding him after the first quarter and Novak had no problem finding the open man or feeding the post instead. On one sequence he saw an opening in the lane and sprinted immediately into the paint where he was fed with his cut by a nice pass, which he converted plus the foul.
In the 2nd half Novak was a little quieter, but still did a good job knocking down his open shots and playing his role. Hes a great player to have on an unselfish team like this who has no problem giving the ball up to find high percentage shots. Houston fans have a lot to be excited about next year with him coming off the bench. Its a mystery how NBA GMs couldnt figure out that hes going to be a great role playing specialist after the college career he had. John Lucas
Lucas had another fantastic game and is going a long ways in securing himself an NBA contract for next year. He could very well be the MVP of the Vegas Summer League so far. The way he organizes the game and finds the open man unselfishly to compliment his ability to put the ball in the net when needed makes him a very unique player despite his below average height. He has a great feel for the game and just knows how to control the tempo of the game to his teams advantage. He got into the lane today at ease and created a number of easy layups for teammates. When his teammates did not present themselves, he either went all the way to the hoop, absorbed contact and finished, went to a pretty floater or pulled up sharply off the dribble for a smooth 18 footer. To cap off a fantastic half, he hit a running 35 footer off the glass with less than a second left on the clock.
Lucas had another very nice showing in the 2nd half, focusing a bit more on distributing rather than scoring himself. He executed the sets his coaches put in to perfection and played winning basketball throughout. The points he got came through slashing to the basket and getting to the free throw line, hitting mid-range jumpers from the baseline or around the free throw line, or in one of the highlights of the game, shooting a pretty right-handed baby hook shot from about 12 feet out after a penetration. His ball-handling skills look fantastic and its really really tough not to be impressed by how well he is performing here. Pat Carroll
After an excellent showing in the first game yesterday, Carroll came back today and had another terrific outing. He started off a bit slow but really came to life in the 2nd half, knocking down four consecutive 3-pointers in a row at one point. Like Novak, Carroll is a specialist who knows his role and sticks to it at all times without forcing the issue. He finds the holes in the defense to get his points or has shots created for him by his teammates, but has been very efficient in everything hes done so far. His perimeter shooting is obviously his biggest strength, and despite his awkward form (he shoots it in front of his face and twists his body a bit) he gets the job done very effectively at a high percentage. Much like his brother Matt, Pat could find himself a niche in the league somewhere as a 3-point specialist who will never hurt you with the way he plays.
Game One Final: New York 95- Cleveland 71KnicksEric WeissPreface
If the Knicks are to have a productive season and Thomas wishes to save his job without pulling off the miracle of a playoff birth, he'd be best served by sitting all the heartless veteran "talent" he's aquired and allow the skill and enthusiasm of his youth to represent the Knicks future on the court next season. These are basketball players. Nate Robinson
Robinson has essentially picked up where he left off last summer league. His speed and explosive quickness allow him to get to where he wants to go at will. But, Robinson is displaying a much more measured pace and has really focused on setting up plays instead of relying on broken-field opportunities to do his damage. Robinson has operated on the baseline most frequently in the half-court set, playing a solid two-man game with Channing Frye
. On one particular play, Robinson showed pass to Frye on the post, waited for Frye to come to him for a screen and split the two defenders perfectly for the lay-in opportunity.
The 2nd half continued to prove how much PG is locked inside Nate Robinson
. While Robinson still displayed plenty of flash, his decision making gravitated much more toward playmaker than play finisher. None of his shots were out of place and his penetration was always with purpose. Robinson played much more in the center of the court and utilized both the left and right side of the court to create problems for the defense. Robinson mixed in a couple of 3-pointers for good measure, just to let everyone know that scoring was still on the resume. Robinsons communication with his teammates was excellent as well, he made things happen because his teammates were on the same page as him going into the play. Channing Frye
The first half was a quality and controlled performance by Frye. Frye showed his hook from both sides of the lane and had a nice step-back jumper on the inbounds catch, which he nestled into the rim with soft touch. Frye displayed excellent balance and form on his moves, often throwing two or three contingency body-fakes into a possession, which completely neutralizes the defenders ability to make a proactive defensive play on him.
Frye took his scoring up a notch in the 2nd half and did it with the type of poise and purpose an NBA half-court offense calls for. Fryes curls on the weakside almost all produced a quality shot for himself as the whole team was in sync. Frye used his post possessions to good effect as well, backing down his defender and reading the double to find the open man when the shot wasnt there. David Lee
Lee is showing all the old tricks he displayed last season, utilizing anticipation, hustle, and strong board work to impact the play on the court. But, Lee may have shown the most improvement of any of the 2nd year Knicks in terms of some of the weaknesses he brought with him to Vegas last year. Lees motion on his free throws and jumper were significantly improved from last year. Lee has eliminated most of his forearm motion, using primarily his wrist on the follow through. This has given the shot a much softer play on the rim and has eliminated much of the side-to-side drift. Well see if Lee can maintain this throughout his gameplay, at it is obviously something new.
Lee dominated the board work in the 2nd half, collecting offensive and defensiver rebounds at will. Lees ability to accurately guage where balls are going to come into play off the rim enable him to always be in the mix, which coupled with his athleticism typeically spell victory in the battle for the ball. Lee continued to show the fruits of his offensive refinement, hitting another soft perimeter shot and mixing in a series of spin hooks with deft touch. Renaldo Balkman
Balkman had a very strong showing for his opening half. Balkman brings many of the hustle qualities that David Lee
has made knick fans familiar with. Balkmans anticipation allows him to move for rebounds out of his zone and jump the passing lanes well. Balkman showed a nice first step on the perimeter with the ball in his hands and didnt force any plays despite his frenetic pace.
Blocking shots, stealing balls, filling the lanes in transition, moving with purpose in the half-court, Balkman does all of this. Balkman is extrememly active, but his movement is always predicated on getting into position for a play, be it offensiver rebound, steal, or getting the open shot. Great fill-in ability as he complements the skill players and produces positive results without needing much attention. CavsJonathan GivonyShannon Brown
Brown looks good so far, as you would expect from a player who is that athletic and works so hard in a setting like this. Brown showed off his explosiveness early and often by coming up with a great block on the perimeter and then an extremely creative layup after jumping from outside the paint after leading the break. In the half-court Brown was a little bit more quiet, not really creating his own shot and being brought more off screens. Hes obviously much better in transition. Well see how his point guard skills look later on in the summer league.
Brown got some burn at the point in the 2nd half, and the results werent pretty at all. His ball-handling has quite a ways to go as we saw when he foolishly tried to dribble the ball right in front of Nate Robinson
, and his court vision looked very average when he put the ball on the floor and got going. Browns outside shot stopped falling as well, which meant that there really wasnt any way for him to contribute when you consider the fact that he could never stay in front of Nate Robinson
even if his life depended on it. Martynas Andriuskevicius
Andriuskevicius looks much better than he did last year, even though he is still as skinny as ever. He was pretty active on the court, hustling a bit for rebounds, grabbing one right over the top of David Lee
off a free throw, and even coming up with one really nice block on Channing Frye
Marty didnt do much in the 2nd half to back up the praise he received in the 1st. His work on the glass was especially poor and he was regularly outmuscled and outhustled. Sharrod Ford
Ford might have been the best player on the Cavs team in the first half, looking much improved after a season in the NBDL and Germany. Fords footwork in the post looks particularly good, and he used it to release and hit a couple of nice jump-hooks. Ford was very active every minute he was on the court, and this translated into a number of rebounds, free-throws, deflections and put-backs. Whether he is an NBA player remains to be seen, but he does look very good here so far.
Ford continued his dominance in the 2nd half and helped himself tremendously with the game he had. His activity level was there throughout, whether it was crashing the offensive glass like a monster, coming up with blocks and steals, directing traffic on team defense or just hounding his man all around the floor. When stepping out to the perimeter Ford looked a bit more limited, which is where the concerns about his NBA upside begin when you consider that he is 6-9 and very thin. He does have a really quick first step, so polishing his ball-handling skills and showing better awareness around the basket will help Daniel Gibson
Gibson is playing the point and is looking as uncomfortable at the position as he did at Texas. When allowed to play off the ball his perimeter shot really got going and he knocked down 18-20 footers at ease both with his feet set and off the dribble. Sasha Pavlovic
Pavlovic looks like one of these NBA veterans who doesnt really want to be here, but knows that his career is in jeopardy so he may as well come and make the most of it. That translates into a field goal attempt every time he touches the ball, and so far, his touch has been pretty good from mid-range and behind the arc. He put the ball on the floor and went to the basket as well, and got to the free throw line for his trouble.
Pavlovic continued to shoot first and ask questions later in the 2nd half, knocking down some jump-shots coming off screens and missing a few others. All in all this was a good game for him, but the question is how will he play when he isnt the man and cant jack up 20 shots per game to get himself going.