Note on coverage: With so many players to cover and little time between games to do so, well be focusing on the main prospects here and recap the rest at the end of the Summer League in a separate article. Note on the Summer League: Major props go out to the Orlando Magic for putting together a wonderfully organized event. Every minute detail has been taken care of to the fullest extent and the result is a superb facility with high-level basketball and a consistent game flow from the minute things started to the very end.Game Three Final: Miami Heat- 92 Chicago Bulls 88 Bulls Tyrus Thomas
With Thabo Sefolosha
resting on the bench, Tyrus Thomas
finally got his wish of playing on the perimeter at a combo forward position. He looked very good at times and a little raw in others, but always played extremely hard and gave his team a huge lift with his energy. Most of the damage Thomas did today came off using his quickness to slither his way around his man and go to the basket. He went strong again and again and got to the free throw countless times this way, and indeed collected plenty of points. Since the Heat quickly caught on to his plan of attack they began sagging off of him and daring him to shoot long-range jumpers. Thomas took the bait and settled for too many bad shots, almost all of which he bricked and some even forced badly pulling up transparently off the dribble. Besides his shot-selection, most everything else to take away from this game was very positive. Thomas plays incredibly intense defense, swinging between the 2, 3 and 4 spots and not having much of a problem staying in front of his man due to his outstanding lateral quickness and superb length. He got in the passing lanes and rebounded with purpose, occasionally even leading the break and either trying to finish the play himself or find the open man. Whether hes shooting well or not, Thomas is always the type of player who will crash the glass incredibly hard, and he has the right physical tools to come away with double-digit rebounds (as he has here in Orlando) more often than not. Hes tough to get a body on due to his narrow frame and how active he is moving his feet at all times. If he can improve his ball-handling and shot-creating skills, Thomas wont sound out of line talking about his small forward skills. With just over a minute to go he gave the Bulls something to think about by taking the ball strong along the baseline with his lightning quick first step, spinning towards the basket and then exploding at the hoop for an effortless two handed jam. Aaron Miles
Another day, another terrific performance from Chicagos floor general Aaron Miles
. He once again ran his team with terrific poise and showed outstanding leadership skills, taking things on himself but having no problem whatsoever giving the ball up and making his teammates look good. He is exactly the type of point guard you want running your team in a summer league setting, as he executes wonderfully, is incredibly coachable and plays every minute as if it was his last.
Miles is a much more capable shot-creator today than he was coming out of school a year ago. He uses a wide array of changes of speeds and hesitation moves to keep his man off balance and constantly has him off balance and guessing as to what his next move is. What makes him special is that he always does it with his head up and has the type of instincts and intelligence to whip a lightning pass right to a teammate the second he begins to free himself up. He was aggressive as usual (here in Orlando) getting to the line and getting his own points. After the way hes played here, it shouldnt surprise anyone to see him making an NBA team and sticking next year. Drago Pasalic
Pasalic had an excellent game today, moving off the ball well and benefiting immensly from the passes of Aaron Miles
. He was money from both mid-range and the NBA 3-point line, and looked like the player people hoped Kevin Pittsnogle
(who was horrendous again) could be. In the paint he got his as well simply by being in the right place at the right time and being crafty enough to finish with a soft touch and avoid the soft defense of Earl Barron
. Pasalic isnt much of a rebounder as we saw today, and also struggled defensively with the size and width of Barron, using his hands excessively and being unable to keep him out of the paint. HeatDorell Wright
Wright had his best game of the summer league today, and possibly the best game hes played of organized basketball since coming out of high school 2+ years ago. He was aggressive the entire game creating opportunities for himself and his teammates, and rather than settling for long range jumpers like he did over the past few days, he went to the hoop again and again and got to the free throw line. Wright was very successful in the many parts of the game where the Heat were pushing the ball. He is terrific in the open floor due to his outstanding athleticism and got into the paint at will to finish with a variety of floaters and crafty layups with both hands. Defensively, he was active as well, getting in the passing lanes and coming up with many steals and deflections that often led to fast break points. Miami ran a lot of pick and roll type plays and Wright made the correct read and decision much more often than not, either finishing himself or finding an open teammate (usually Earl Barron
) for an easy basket or wide open look. The Heat have to be encouraged by the way he played today, but there is still a sense that he has quite a bit to work on in terms of his experience and overall feel for the game. Earl Barron
This was a slightly less impressive game from Barron today, as he didnt show the same type of intensity and fire he had the day before. He still got quite a few points off feeds around the hoop and knocked down a number of shots from mid-range off pick and pop plays. On one play he threw a head fake at his man and slashed all the way to the basket for a very strong one handed finish. The Bulls seemed to foul him every time he touched the ball in the post, and Barron went to the free throw line an exuberant amount and converted almost every single one of his attempts. On the glass, Barron didnt show the same type of fire he did in previous games. He was outquicked and outhustled here on a couple of occasions by Chicagos smaller bigs, and the same was the case occasionally on team defense where he failed to rotate.
Game Two Final: Indiana Pacers 89-New Jersey Nets 62 Pacers David Harrison
With Danny Granger
and Shawne Williams
in street clothes, the focal point of Indianas offense today was their first round pick from two years ago, David Harrison
. With his terrific size and massive body, the Nets just could not keep him out of the paint, and Harrison punished them repeatedly with short hook shots and layups right around the basket. Although he isnt particularly athletic, and does not possess a very high basketball IQ, Harrison is talented to enough to make his presence felt at a setting of this nature. He appeared to be playing fairly hard, running the court well and being extremely aggressive, which is very important for a player whose motor was always questioned coming out of college. NetsAntoine Wright
Showing the type of aggressiveness the Nets will need to see from him, Antoine Wright
had another very solid game. He was brought off of countless screens and did a nice job moving off the ball to free himself up, although his static jumper didnt quite fall for him as well as it did yesterday. He still appears to have great potential as a spot-up shooter and is strong enough to bully his man around and get his shot off. The problem with Wright is that hes only an average athlete, which really limits his potential as a shot-creator. Josh Boone
Boone was aggressive today in using his body to carve out space and finish around the basket, which made him an excellent target for New Jerseys guards in the paint, particularly Marcus Williams
who looked for him repeatedly. Some will say that he didnt score any points outside of 5 feet of the rim, but on the other hand, he really didnt need to. What was nice to see was the fact that Boone was willing to run the floor and play hard, as well as crash the glass on both ends and come away with numerous rebounds. Looking for anything more than that would be asking for too much out of Boone, but what he did give them is plenty for the #23 pick.
Game One Final: Charlotte 103- Orlando 87 Bobcats Adam Morrison
Morrisons shot wasnt falling nearly as well as it did yesterday, but not due to the fact that he wasnt creating good shots for himself. This forced him to move his game closer into the rim and try to make a living off posting up and getting to the free throw line, which he did with a lot of success. He showed excellent toughness here, creating and absorbing contact, finishing strong and not backing down when being challenged by stronger player. His ability to make big shots in the clutch was again on display at the end of the 1st half, as he started with his back to the basket and knocked down an impressive rainbow from 17 feet out just as the shot-clock expired. Morrison has had much better days shooting the ball from the field in the past, but he made up for his rough day by getting to the free throw line repeatedly and sinking his shots. In terms of his defense and rebounding, he struggled again today, just not appearing to put nearly as much effort in on this end as he did offensively. Sean May
May had another excellent showing today, looking extremely versatile in scoring both from the perimeter and inside the paint. He knocked down a number of mid-range jumpers, and when being closely contested took the ball to the basket (even with his left hand) and finished intelligently with a spin-move and a jump-hook May might have settled a little too much for the mid-range jumper, but considering how good he looks shooting it its hard to blame him. MagicTravis Diener
Diener had another very solid game running the point for Orlando. The team always looked very much under control when the ball was in his hands. He once again got inside the paint at will and finished in a number of ways, whether with a simple layup, a pull-up in the lane, or falling away off the dribble from 15 feet. When his big men presented themselves (which they did not nearly as well today) he found them with very intelligent passes, particularly when pushing the tempo in transition. His outside shot again wasnt falling for him.