Portsmouth Invitational Tournament, Day Four (part one)

Portsmouth Invitational Tournament, Day Four (part one)
Apr 09, 2007, 03:54 am

-Zabian Dowdell did not participate in today’s game. He told a teammate that he had back spasms.

-Avis Wyatt was diagnosed with a lateral ankle sprain and will be out of commission for the next two weeks. He went down hard in yesterday’s game and continued to play, but was not able to contribute much of anything after that, hence the poor performance. He was in street clothes supporting his team from the bench today.

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Carl Landry, 6-7, Power Forward, Purdue
25 points, 11 rebounds, 9-13 FG, 7-8 FT

Jonathan Givony

Landry finally gave us a good reason to evaluate him in his third and final game today, salvaging what has otherwise been a fairly mediocre tournament with a solid all-around encore performance.

Landry finally managed to show off the many positive parts to his games to counter the negatives that were on full display in the first two games. Rather than insisting on digging in the trenches of the paint with his back to the basket and getting blocked underneath the hoop like he did numerous times over the past four days, he took more of a face the basket approach, which suits him much better. This is also clearly the role he’ll be playing in the NBA as well due to his size and skill-set.

Landry looked very good receiving the ball on the perimeter and either driving to the rim for a nice spin-move and up and under finish, or pulling up off the bounce from mid-range off a single dribble. This is exactly his game what his game could be in the NBA, finding spots from mid-range to get his shot off either spotting up or using a shot-fake to set himself up, ala Ryan Gomes. After getting blocked early on twice underneath the rim, showing his clear lack of explosiveness, he changed strategies and went for this approach instead. Rather than forcing the issue in heavy traffic on a drive, he stopped nicely and elevated for a short jumper.

On the glass, Landry also did a good job mixing it up, despite the fact that he’s not particularly tall, long or quick off his feet. Defensively, he did a decent job, but it’s hard to draw too many conclusions due to the weak matchups he went up against.

At the end of the day, Landry probably isn’t going to look back on Portsmouth as one of the highlights of his career. He did salvage a really nice showing out of the last day, though. Regardless, Landry will almost certainly get invited to the Orlando pre-draft camp, and he’ll have a chance to continue his quest of making an NBA team.

Blake Schilb, 6’7, Small Forward, Loyola-Chicago
25 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 4 turnovers, 9-14 FG, 3-5 3PT, 4-5 FT

Joseph Treutlein

After scoring just two points in his first game, Schilb scored 16 in his second, and now put up an impressive 25-point performance in his last outing. Schilb hasn’t really quelled any doubts about his athleticism or quickness here, but the small forward/point forward had a very strong game, showing off his versatile skill-set.

Schilb hit three 3-pointers on the game, boasting good shooting form and a decently quick release. He made one buzzer-beater here to close the second half, which was actually a bit of a runner from 30 feet out. Schilb also did some scoring around the hoop, showing off some nice creativity on his lay-ups, hitting a nice baseline reverse, a floater from five feet out that he was also fouled on, a finger-roll in transition, and a dunk over an opposing guard. He also had two nice post-up moves, taking advantage of his smaller opponents, one of which he backed down his man for a lay-up and the other which he posted up from 10 feet away on the baseline, turned, and swished a smooth fadeaway jumper. He didn’t show off much in terms of dribble creation, and that doesn’t seem like something he’d excel at against this level of competition, as his dribble isn’t especially low to the ground and he doesn’t possess good quickness, leaving him vulnerable to poke-aways, which happened a couple of times today. He averaged four assists in college, playing a bit of a point forward role, but didn’t show off much passing game here, as he seems like more of an opportunity passer as opposed to someone who can create via dribble penetration.

Schilb would have a tough time making an NBA roster with his quickness concerns, but he has an interesting skill-set and he does quite a few things well, which should get him invited to the Orlando camp again (he attended last season) and possibly a training camp. If he can’t make it in the NBA, he should be a nice complementary player somewhere in Europe.

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David Teague, 6’6, SG/SF, Purdue
18 points, 2 rebounds, 2 steals, 1 block, 2 turnovers, 7-12 FG, 2-4 3PT, 2-3 FT

Joseph Treutlein

David Teague had yet another strong performance in his third game here at Portsmouth, showing off a side of his game we hadn’t yet seen before. He’s already shown an excellent shooting stroke and the ability to finish in transition, but today he displayed a bit of a mid-range game, hitting a few tough shots and showing he had the ability to pull up in the lane just as well as he takes the ball to the hoop. Teague doesn’t have the greatest ball-handling skills, but he has a decent crossover and he doesn’t try to force the ball through holes that aren’t there, so turnovers weren’t much of a problem. Teague hit a nice floater in the lane early in the game, where he recognized there were defenders in his way of the hoop would he have driven all the way there. Later in the game he hit a very impressive turnaround jumper in the lane from 10 feet, which he was also fouled on for the and-1. He also hit another floater in the lane from five feet off a crossover to his left hand.

Teague also did some damage from deep in this game, hitting two three-pointers, both of which came in fast-break situations where he got the dump off and put the ball up with an extremely quick release, once with a hand in his face. His stroke is smooth and his form is pretty solid. He also finished in transition a few times, once with a lay-up off the glass and another time with an explosive jam.

Defensively, Teague does a good job getting into his man’s face, using his hands to disrupt and poke at the ball. He moves pretty well laterally, but he sometimes has trouble chasing through screens without the ball, but nothing more than the average player. He should have a very good chance of getting into Orlando as well as into a training camp, and will have a decent chance of making a roster as well, either at the beginning of the season or on a 10-day contract later on should he try his luck in the D-League. In terms of a comparison, he resembles Tarence Kinsey in many ways, though is by no means an identical player. He doesn’t have quite the length of Kinsey, and he might need to work a bit harder on his mid-range game to get it to Kinsey’s level, but Teague is a better outside shooter and has a similar overall build. Kinsey played in both pre-draft camps last season, and was signed as an undrafted free agent, which is the most likely path to the NBA for Teague as well.

Brandon Wallace, 6-9, Power Forward, South Carolina
17 points, 5 rebounds, 0 assists, 2 turnvers, 2 blocks, 8-12 FG, 1-2 3P

Jonathan Givony

This was another intriguing showing by South Carolina’s raw power forward Brandon Wallace, doing a good job using his athleticism to the fullest on both ends of the floor. He clearly looks better suited for the up and down tempo we find here rather than the stagnant half-court offense he played in at South Carolina, and as a result has improved notably from game to game here.

Wallace ran the floor extremely well today and did a nice job presenting himself around the rim for easy finishes. He is a very frail power forward who can’t finish very well if being contested excessively, but his length, terrific athleticism and excellent activity level help him out tremendously in this area. Wallace also stepped outside on one occasion and knocked down a very good looking 3-pointer. He’s got decent touch and form on his jump-shot, and could reasonably be expected to develop this part of his game into a weapon in a few years via the D-League or overseas. Wallace isn’t the smartest or most skilled player in the world right now, but he has some nice tools that could intrigue some teams down the road, and therefore it will be interesting to track his progress over the next few seasons wherever he ends up.

Dan Nwaelele, 6-5, Shooting Guard, Air Force
17 points, 5 rebounds, 7-13 FG, 2-4 3P

Eric Weiss

The two things that stand out the most about Dan Nwaelele are his exceptionally smooth shot and the intelligence with which he plays. Nwaelele was the most efficient shooter in the NCAA this past season and it showed during the PIT. His ability to move quickly and with purpose to spots on the floor and get into his shooting motion immediately after the catch will be a real asset going forward into his pro career. Nwaelele’s first step and overall explosiveness were surprising when seen in person. He’s not a super athlete, but he’s certainly ahead of the curve in that department, at least compared to the initial impression you get when watching him play in Air Force’s system.

Nwaelele was able to use the threat of his shot very effectively to create driving lanes for himself. Unlike some of the other guards at the PIT, he was able to finish above the rim even when the help defense was able to put a body on him. He is extremely compact and has good core strength for powering through initial contact to still get up.

The offensive element that was really missing from Nwaelele’s game was a solid mid range game off of the dribble. He showed nice catch-and-shoot ability, but didn’t pull up very often when he had the chance. This is understandable because he was able to finish effectively in the paint, but at his size it will be imperative to recognize that floaters, runners, and straight pull-up shots will most likely be the order of the day for him going forward. Still, there was a lot to like in terms of his total game and he reminds one a bit of Kelenna Azubuike in terms of his stature and build, though he’s a superior perimeter shooter at this stage in his career.

Darryl Watkins, 6-11, Center, Syracuse
14 points, 10 rebounds, 1 block, 1 steal, 2 assists, 2 turnover, 6-7 FG, 2-2 FT

Jonathan Givony

Watkins’ last showing of the PIT was a pretty successful one, again showing some nice skills that we didn’t get much of a chance to see in his time at Syracuse, but also displaying some concerning weaknesses that go a long ways in explaining why he underachieved in college the way he did.

Watkins did most of his damage offensively by cutting to the basket and finishing around the hoop. On one occasion he stepped back and knocked down a 12 foot jumper from mid-range, confirming for us the notion that he has slightly more range on his shot than what we saw at Syracuse this year.

He got a little too cute at times finishing around the basket, opting to go for a one-handed scoop shot rather than just dunking it aggressively, a tendency that seems to carry over onto the defensive end, where he often doesn’t go after it the way you’d hope a guy with such limited offensive skills might. In general he’s often a step slower on plays that involve quick decision making skills, sometimes leaving something to be desired in terms of his feel for the game. It’s not that he’s not quick enough to make sharp rotations, but rather a function of his ability to process information rapidly and be assertive in his moves.

With that said, Watkins has plenty of things working in his favor, all of which could very well secure him a spot in the NBA next year. He is big, strong and athletic, with an NBA frame and a good pedigree after spending four years under Jim Boeheim. His offensive skills are a work in a progress, but he has some decent tools to continue to improve. We’ll surely see how much progress he can make until late May during the pre-draft camp.

Stephane Lasme, 6’8, PF, Massachusetts
8 points, 9 rebounds, 3 blocks, 3 steals, 3 turnovers, 4-7 FG, 0-2 FT

Joseph Treutlein

Lasme had yet another fairly impressive game here, showing how he can use all his physical abilities to rebound and block shots, while also showing a bit of potential in terms of his scoring abilities. Lasme was very active on the defensive end in this game, netting 3 blocks and 3 steals. All three of his blocks came on driving guards in the lane, and he does a good job of fully extending his arm and avoiding body contact as to avoid fouling the opponent. He’s shown good timing on his blocks here, and with his athletic ability, this allows him to block or disrupt many shots in the lane. He also does a good job on the glass, boxing out well and using his strength and athleticism to secure rebounds.

Offensively, he had some nice plays, scoring on a contested lay-up in the lane off a cut on one possession. On another, he posted up his man from the baseline for a powerful drop-step jam. He also scored on a little fade-away shot from three feet out on a post-up, and put back an offensive rebound off a free throw. Lasme’s offensive game is very raw at this stage, though he shows little flashes of one-dribble driving ability and post-up ability. He traveled on one baseline face-up drive in this game, which is a bit of a problem when he puts the ball on the floor.

Lasme is a virtual lock to get invited to the Orlando camp, and with his athletic abilities, defense, and rebounding, has an outside chance of making an NBA team in a garbage man-type role and as a good practice body for his energy. Worst case scenario, he should go to the D-League to work on some of his lesser skills, as he almost certainly can work himself into a contract in time, ala Justin Williams.

Ayinde Ubaka, 6-4, Point Guard, Cal
4 points, 6 rebounds, 1 assist, 3 turnover, 1 steal

Jonathan Givony

After two excellent games to start off the tournament, Ubaka came down to earth and put up a real stinker in his team’s 20-point blowout. His outside shot, one of the stronger points of his game, wasn’t falling today at all, and he had major trouble getting into the paint against the extremely tough defense of Old Dominion’s Drew Williamson. Ubaka’s lack of quickness was exposed to a certain extent in this game, and he got too flashy with his ball-handling, over-dribbling and not doing a very good job running his team’s offense. Ubaka should be able to redeem himself at the pre-draft camp in a few months, and he will surely draw interest thanks to his excellent size and intriguing offensive tools.

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