Game Five Final: Phoenix 89 New York 70 KnicksJonathan GivonyNate Robinson
Two good plays, and one bad. That was the story of Nate Robinson
in the first half. When he was focused on being a point guard and getting everyone involved he made some great passes in traffic to feed cutters or thread the needle to a briefly open man for an easy basket. When he wasnt though, he was very wild, forcing the issue and running into brick walls, losing his concentration and making foolish decisions all-around. Robinsons talent is there without a doubt, he just needs to settle down and keep his focus.
Robinson never really got back into the game in the 2nd half. He took some bad shots and made poor decisions. This wasnt a game he will want to remember. Channing Frye
One of the bigger disappointments in a pretty disappointing first half for the Knicks, Frye did not look like his head was in the game at all and appeared to be intimidated from the first minute by the presence of Amare Stoudemire
. He was outmuscled and outhustled on both ends of the floor, not going after rebounds, failing to get out and defend the jump-shot, getting his hands on rebounds briefly but not being able to come down with them and not really trying to make his presence felt inside the paint. He got some points by knocking down his trademark mid-range jumper, but may have settled for it a little too much. His body language doesnt look very good so far.
Two minutes into the 3rd quarter, Frye went down in a scrum at half-court holding his ankle and did not come back after that. David Lee
The lone real bright spot for the Knicks in the first half, David Lee
was all over the place trying to make up for the shortcomings of his teammates. He hustled non-stop and got all over the glass on both ends, coming up with a number of tip-ins and putbacks and scrapping the entire way through. He didnt try to shoot any jumpers, but did put the ball on the floor once very nicely and swooped in for a very emphatic finish. When a shot wasnt there, he never hesitated to release a very intelligent pass. David Lee
continued to be the best player on the Knicks team in the 2nd half, hustling his way all over the floor and translating that into quite a few points as well. He ran the court like a madman and finished again and again in transition with a series of outstanding dunks. While his teammates for the most part threw the towel in, Lee continued to make sharp cuts to the basket and nice catches before finishing wonderfully with his combination of athleticism and intelligence. He hit the glass extremely hard and made a very nice living off of offensive rebounds alone on his way to a very efficient night. Renaldo Balkman
Balkman had a solid game. He played good defense, grabbed a bunch of rebounds, did a little bit of ball-handling and generally did all the little things the way he usually does. Hes a smaller and less intelligent version of David Lee
, but he hasnt embarrassed Isiah Thomas
so far in this summer league. Mardy CollinsMardy Collins
doesnt look very good in this summer league so far. Its gotten so bad that he even shot an airball from the free throw line. Lets just leave it at that. SunsEric WeissAmare Stoudamire
Stoudamire is doing more interior work in this game and really has his team performing at a high level. Not too active defensively or on the boards, but everyone is chipping in and making a concerted effort to make smart, quick decisions with the ball.
Game Four Final: Houston 73 Cleveland 58 RocketsJonathan GivonyJohn Lucas
Its starting to sound redundant, but there simply hasnt been a better player at this summer league than John Lucas
. He controlled the flow of the game wonderfully and did quite a bit of scoring when he wasnt making everyone around him better. Lucas seemed determined to show off his jumper today early in the first half, and used it to score 14 early points in the first 11 minutes. He started off with a simple pull-up jumper from mid-range coming off a screen like he has many times this summer league. He then hit a gorgeous baseline floater from about 8 feet out. The little man ran into a brick wall his next time down, but managed to compose himself, jump backwards and drain a very really jumper with a man right in his face. A pull-up 3 pointer followed before draining a spot-up NBA 3, and just in case anyone wondered whether he was ignoring his teammates just a little too much in this scoring barrage, he threaded the needle with a beautiful bullet pass in traffic to find Judson Wallace, who moved it on immediately to Matt Haryasz
. His ball-handling skills were on full display throughout the show he put on, dribbling left, right, backwards, forwards, and every direction in between while controlling the ball masterfully. His size will be a bit of a hindrance for him to make the league as we saw on one occasion where he penetrated too far and was rejected badly, but after seeing him outperform numerous lottery and first round pick guards with a better combination of size and athleticism, someone is going to think they can find a spot for him somewhere on their roster.
Lucas took on more of a distributing role in the 2nd half and wasnt quite as flashy or impressive as he was in the 1st. He ran his teams set, got to the free throw line, played good defense and looked like your consummate floor general once again. Steve Novak
With how dominant John Lucas
was and the way he shared the ball equally amongst all his teammates, it was difficult for anyone else to shine all that brightly. Steve Novak
did his typical job today, though, knocking down the looks he got, hitting the glass pretty well and being a good teammate the way he always does. One example of how useful he will be in the NBA came in the 2nd quarter with just 2 seconds left on the shot clock on an in-bounds play. The Rockets put Lucas on the inbounds pass and let Novak run into his man and then sharply backwards to catch and get his shot off just as the clock ran out from about 17 feet out. Novak drained it with the man in his face.
Novak was steady in the 2nd half, taking a bit of a backseat to his teammates and not really doing anything we havent seen many times from him in the past. Pat Carroll
Much like he did in the first two games, Pat Carroll once again came alive in the 2nd half. He had quite a few shots created for him by John Lucas
, and he did not disappoint him for doing so, knocking down shot after shot from behind the arc and mid-range. Carroll has made himself some money for next year with the way he played this week. If its not at the end of the bench of an NBA team he will surely have some 6 figure offers coming from Europe. ClevelandEric WeissShannon Brown
Brown started off the game explosively as he made strong and authoritative drives to the hoop, finishing high above the rim. Brown showed why he is such an amazing finisher, he can handle any type of body contact and still complete the play with a deft touch. Much like in college however, Brown became lost for a long stretch because he is simply too nice to exert his authority on his team when they are playing listlessly. Late in the half, Brown had a nice 17 foot jumper with the defender on him which he hit by slide stepping to the left with the crossover and raising up for the smooth release. Brown has come along way in his shooting, but pull-ups have still been missing from the repertoire, so his last shot was a good sign. At the very end of the half, Brown missed a jam that would have been tops of the tournament so far as he absolutely skied in toward the rim after picking up a mid-court steal. Cleveland fans will like his duels with LeBron for Sports Center glory during the upcoming year. Daniel Gibson
Gibson got a little too aggressive with the reach-ins and picked up a number of cheap fouls that saw him quickly to the bench. Gibson made a concerted effort to act as a true point guard for his team, but still doesnt show an understanding of change of speed or any other form of set up maneuver. Without scoring the ball himself, Gibson really couldnt have much of an impact on the game.
Game Three Final: Golden State 93 Los Angeles Clippers 86 Golden StateEric WeissPatrick OBryant
OBryant was pretty quiet for a lottery pick, only picking up a couple of rebounds and baskets during the first quarter. The team was mostly carried by the guards and wings, but OBryant must be more assertive if he wants to command attention.
Not a good showing in the 2nd half. While neither he nor Biedrins showed well, Biedrins at least had some positive plays mixed in with ineffective exectution. OBryant was all over the place, turning the ball over on double teams in the post and drifting away from the basket for terrible jumpers. Court awareness and intensity would be appreciated from a player so highly regarded. Hopefully the coaching staff will lay into him a bit for his lack of focus and get him banging away and using that smooth hook shot he tantalized with on a couple of possessions. Nick George
George played a strong 1st half, hitting a couple of perimeter jumpers and penetrating into the lane for a sweet reverse finish. George is an active player and mixes in some quick hands and fast feet to disrupt the opposition on both ends. If George was a bit more reliable with the jump shot hed have a chance to make it to training camp with a team in need of guard play. Andres Biedrins
Biedrins started off with a competitive spirit, blocking one shot emphatically and initiating the break as he fell to the floor in a struggle for the ball. No huge display of the post foot-work people have come to expect from the big guy, but he certainly came to play.
Biedrins simply could not convert on the few opportunities he got in the 2nd half. Biedrins missed a couple of point blank attempts on excellent feeds, which to his credit, he caught in close quarters. Chalk it up as a bad game. Will Bynum
Bynum has the speed and athleticism to impact a game, he just doesnt have the reliable outside shooting or fine-tuned decision making to quite be ready for an NBA role as a floor general. Still, his ability to penetrate helps to create shot opportunities for himself and others, which he can do on any possession. Hell be in the NBA at some point in the future as long as he continues to refine his decision making.
Bynum teamed with Barea to dismantle the Clipper defense as both played off of each other to great effect. Bareas passing ability and the defensive attention it drew allowed Bynum to concentrate on using his quickness and power to attack the rim. On one fast break play, Barea tossed a beautiful ally-oop pass to the diminutive Bynum, who used all 45 inches of his vertical to bring the crowd to a frenzied pitch. Jose Juan Barea
Barea got some good run today and really began to explore his game after initiating a break and dumping off and pretty look-away pass to the cutting Steven Smith
. Barea has excellent change of speed and used it to good effect. At one poing Barea jittered to defenders frozen and finished a tricky lay-in at the hoop that was much appreciated by the fans. Barea isnt on the same page quite yet with his teammates, but he set a solid tempo and set up the action well, creating some slick opportunities for his teammates.
Dominant performance by Barea in the second half, dominant. Bareas ability to read plays in advance and instantly recognize his teammates strengths and weaknesses enables him to set up offensive opportunities on almost every possession. Barea showed exactly the same arsenal of passing prowess the he displayed as the Portsmouth MVP, whipping out every trick in the book. When Barea wasnt giving his players easy looks, he created a few for himself, finishing over much taller defenders by smartly initiating contact and using the rim on reverse lay-ins. Its insane that he didnt get drafted and barring some unimaginable collapse over the next week, Barea should be in an NBA training camp this fall. Steve SmithSteven Smith
is owed an apology for not getting some coverage for his solid first half play. As he continued to reign down midrange shots and pull down timely rebounds, Smith made us take notice. Smith established communication with Barea early and made himself the favorite target by moving smartly around the court and getting to spots that provided Barea with excellent opportunities to find him. The two used screen and roll, pick and pop, and dribble-drive and dish plays to take over the offensive end of the court. ClippersJonathan GivonyShaun Livingston
Livingston showed some nice flashes here and there, but all in all didnt really look like the superstar summer league player you would expect. He did a lot of dribbling in the half-court set, getting himself into trouble at times by going out of his element and even jumping in the air once with no one to pass to. His superb court vision was on display sporadically, in particular with one beautiful bullet pass through traffic to a streaking James Singleton. Offensively, he scored on a hard drive plus the foul and knocked down some jumpers from mid-range and college 3.
Livingston improved a bit in the 2nd half, particularly in the way he ran the team. He did a better job finding the open man on the perimeter, but his jump-shot consequently stopped falling for him. He still was a little too wild and not productive enough for a former top 5 pick who is going into his 3rd year in the NBA, but you could definitely see how much talent he has. Daniel Ewing
Ewing was the source of most of the Clippers offense in the first half, taking plenty on himself from the perimeter in creating his own shot and spotting up from the 3-point line. He might have forced things to a certain extent, but considering the opportunity he has here to prove himself to the Clippers, its hard to blame him.
Ewing slowed down his scoring a bit in the 2nd half and took on more of a distributing role. He was extremely aggressive in finding the open seams in the defense and did a nice job kicking it out to the open man after the defense rotated. Boniface NDong
NDong might have been the best player on the Clippers roster in the first half. He did it on both ends of the floor, knocking down mid-range jumpers, scoring in the paint, blocking shots and coming up with strong rebounds out of his area.
NDong wasnt quite as productive in the 2nd as he was in the 1st, but he still was extremely aggressive in trying to do all the little things for his team. He stepped up to challenge shots and came away with a few blocks, or crashed the glass to come up with rebounds. Offensively he was trying but his shots werent quite falling for him. James Singleton
Probably the best player on the floor for either team, Singleton did a great job presenting all of his strengths while masking his weaknesses pretty effectively. He was at his best on the glass, using his superb athleticism and length to outquick and outhustle other players as the ball came off the rim on both ends of the floor. He was just as aggressive on the offensive end, taking the ball up strong at the rim and getting to the free throw line on a number of occasions. He uses his body well to carve out space, create and absorb contact and still finish strong after taking the initial hit. He also stepped outside and hit a series of mid-range jumpers and even a stand-still NBA three, showing that there might still be some hope of him becoming an adequate perimeter threat. His ball-handling still looks a bit shaky, but the energy he brings to the table more than makes up for his shortcomings. Yaroslav Korolev
Korolev has added some bulk to his frame and looks a lot strong than we remember him. He isnt having an amazing game but is not embarrassing himself either. Whether its creating his own shot, finding the open man or just being in the right place at the right time, Korolev looked pretty solid even though he didnt get too many touches.
Korolev continued to show off his ball-handling skills in the 2nd half, creating his shot and getting to the free throw line repeatedly. He is anything but a finished product at this point, but its not difficult to see how talented he is. He finishes elegantly around the basket, shoots the mid-range jumper effectively and understands how to move the ball around and make his teammates better.
Game Two Final: Washington 80- Detroit 67 PistonsEric WeissJason Maxiell
Maxiell played an effective 1st half of basketball, getting physical on both ends of the court and converting a few baskets. Maxiell hit a nice jab-step jumper from 12 feet and powered up a put-back through two defenders on another occasion. Most impressive, Maxiell showed an ability to show-and-go with his dribble drive, which he nearly finished with authority on both attempts if not for an excellent read by Andray Blatche
, who pinned him on the second attempt.
Maxiell brought his offensive intensity up a notch in the 2nd half and virtually intimidated his way into points. Maxiell used a number of shot fakes from the baseline to drive hard at the basket. On one play, Maxiell unleashed a monstrous one-handed slam that brought the crowd to their feet and scared the daylights out of the Washington frontline. After that play, Maxiell got hacked before he could duplicate the feat and capitalized by getting to the free throw line. Maxiell does need to get better from the strip, but his midrange game and mobility will make him a nice complimentary player down the line. Maxiell has great hands and can use his wide shoulders to create space, after which he explodes quickly off the floor for the board. Amir Johnson
Johnson was active on the glass and effective on the break as he initiated transition and finished as well. Johnsons hands are very good as he caught an ally-oop jam from Will Blaylock and grabbed another lob in traffic to finish the lay-in. Johnson is playing at a much higher speed than last season which is indicative of the amount he absorbed sitting on the Detroit bench and applying it in practice.
Not much more out of Johnson in the 2nd half, aside from a powerful fast-break slam that please those in attendance. Johnson picked up a lot of fouls and really wasnt able to do much in the half-court sets. Alex Acker
Great half for Acker who added some tough interior finishes to his array of outside shots and transition baskets. Acker showed very well with his passing and overall decision making as well, which is key if he wants to play the role of combo guard off the bench for the Pistons next season.
Acker showed a great deal of tenacity in the 2nd half, despite being off on his outside shot most of the game. Acker retrieved at least three of his own missed shots and really scrapped for loose balls on both ends. By the 4th quarter, Acker adjusted his attack strategy by utilizing his drives to create free throw opportunities. Ackers ability to adjust in the air really helps him to draw the type of contact needed to get the call. The activity level he showed enabled him to impact the game despite the lack of technical execution, which is an important element to possess for any pro player. Will Blalock
Blalock set tempo, created opportunities and moved the ball with intelligence in the 1st half of play. Blalock didnt show any outside shooting, a known weakness in his game, but did have a powerful drive for the reverse lay-in after contact.
Blalock didnt find much success finishing in the 2nd half, which is unfortunate because he was able to drive effectively and choose the proper times to do so. Blalock showed an ability to run the team and set a pace to the game, but could not hit any of his spot-up shots, which hell have to do at least semi-effectively before a team will put him on the court. Hes got very sound court vision however, and the timing on his passes is the type that enables teammates to be ready for the shots he sets up, so relentless work on his jumper could pay NBA dividends in the future. Cheikh Samb
Sambs biggest flaw may be his ability to confuse himself with Amir Johnson
as they have very similar builds and hairstyle. This is not good for Johnson because Samb fouls on reckless lunges for the ball and forced a number of ill-advised midrange shots. The term raw comes to mind here.
Samb was a bit less erratic in the 2nd half of play and it allowed his athleticism to create some positive plays for him, including a block, a couple of tough rebounds, and a soft baseline jumper from 8 feet. WizardsJonathan GivonyAndray Blatche
Blatche came out of the gates absolutely on fire, scoring 7 points in the first minutes of the half. As he seems to do all too often in the half dozen times weve seen him in this setting, he faded afterwards and struggled to find his niche in the game. When he was on, though, he was really on, knocking down NBA and college 3s, running the floor and dunking effortlessly in transition, and running a bit of a point forward role on the perimeter to find the open man. He also came up with a couple of very nice blocks in the first, one on Blalock and another on Maxiell. In terms of weaknesses we have to talk about his lack of a real position on the defensive end, as he doesnt have the strength or toughness to guard big guys and certainly doesnt have the lateral quickness to guard wings. His aforementioned inconsistency would be the other main thing holding him back from becoming a consistent part of Washingtons rotation, but with Pecherov staying another season in France we would expect him to get more minutes next year because of the mismatches he creates and the all-around phenomenal talent that he is, even if he is extremely unpolished.
Blatche showed some great glimpses of potential here and there, and overall had another solid, but streaky 2nd half. Hes going to have to concentrate his efforts on finding a specific role in the NBA and stick to that, because right now he is just too reliant on his talent to get him by rather than on some real fundamentals that he can consistently go-to in order to contribute. Some flashes he showed included, but not limited to; a pretty coast to coast drive off a rebound that ended up in a miss but really highlighted his ball-handling skills, a nice ball-fake hesitation move and drive to the basket for a floater in the paint plus the foul, and an offensive rebound and quick scoop put-back before the defense could react. Watching him play, its tough not to get excited about his upside. Hes got great talent that just needs to be harnessed by a coach that appreciates his extremely unique skill-set. Oleksiy Pecherov
Pecherov continues to make fans at DraftExpress with the skill-level he shows and the excellent attitude he brings for every minute he is on the floor. He came away with a number of very strong rebounds out of his area and drew a few over the back calls with the excellent job he does boxing out. Pecherov is a lot tougher than he looks, and you can tell that his teammates already respect him for the intensity he brings. He calls out screens on the defensive end, talks some trash as he gets up and down the court and doesnt back down when being challenged by stronger players. Offensively he was mostly used as a pick and pop threat, where he was fairly effective. His size and high arching shot allows him to get his shot off almost whenever he pleases, and he does a good job picking his spots in regards to when to get it off. Pecherov will need to add some upper body strength to be able to translate his hustle and rebounding skills to the NBA, as well as add something resembling a post-up game even if he is perimeter oriented. His lower body strength is already very good, but his shoulders tells us that he is far from reaching his full potential as far as his body goes.
Pecherov didnt play all that much in the 2nd half, and when he did, seemed to just blend into the Wizards stagnant offense. He still crashed the glass hard and gave good effort, but just wasnt as noticeable as he was in the 1st half. Peter John Ramos
A massive disappointment is all we can really say. His hands are awful, he cant hit free throws, he wont or cant pass out of the double team, he gets frustrated very easy and his footwork is still far from being NBA caliber. On top of that he shows a bad attitude and was called for a technical foul for yapping off to the much smaller Jason Maxiell
. 6 personal fouls in the first half tell the story perfectly here.
Ramos was slightly better in the 2nd, picking up a strong rebound or two, spinning on the baseline and going glass on a post-up move, and showing slightly better body language. Still, the overall impression from this game cant be a very positive one. Donell Taylor
Taylor hasnt been nearly as productive as he was last year, looking for his shot way more than he should have and not showing anywhere near the point guard skills he did in Vegas this time last year. He forced the issue time after time even if it did fall for him on occasion.
The 2nd half wasn t much better than the first for Taylor. The Wizards played him at the point, and all they got out of it was more questionable decision making from their shooting guard. Taylor continued to drive to the basket with his head down regardless of what was standing in his way, being able to knock down some shots, but completely depriving Washingtons offense of any kind of rhythm. Taylors perimeter shooting skills dont seem to have progressed much, if any, from last year, as evidenced by the air-ball pull-up jumper he shot in the 3rd quarter and his refusal to take anything more than that from outside.
Game One Final: Boston 92- Dallas 85 BostonEric WeissAl Jefferson
Remember in the movie Major League, when Harry Doyle says, one hit? One goddamn hit? That is what Jeffersons 1st half play looked like. Jefferson had a single brilliant double fake step-through move surrounded by terrible play after terrible play. The not looking to dominate line he gave the media last week wont cover him in this one. Jefferson had zero chemistry with Sebastian Telfair
, who threaded the needle to Jefferson 3 or 4 times only to see Al unready for the pass. Defensively, Jefferson missed his typical rotations and hand-checked guys for no reason, resulting in stupid fouls. In the post, Jeffers got free for the opportunity, but watched his shots rim out. This is less of a concern as the one thing he can do is score on his own. If this is indicative of Jeffersons work with coach Ray, hes got a ton of work ahead of him.
A much better showing for Jefferson in the 2nd half of play. Jefferson started off by hitting a nice midrange jumper from the top of the key and this seemed to get him going as the jump hooks started falling for him after that. Jefferson got in on the board work a bit and had a couple of beautiful blocks which he was able to corral for the quick transition pass. Jefferson showed that his instincts when on-ball offensively or defensively are a great asset as they allow him to score, rebound, and block shots. But, his awareness of all else around him must improve if hes going to be a competent starter and true team contributor. Ryan Gomes
In direct contrast to Jefferson, Ryan Gomes
simply dominated the 1st half of play with a complete floor game that bespoke of his hard-work at becoming a true small forward. Gomes hit effortless pick-and-pop shots from 15 and 18 feet, set screens for teammates, moved the ball effectively to facilitate action, and rebounded to good effect. Gomes has clearly put in the work to increase his speed and agility as he looks to be much leaner and agile than he was last season. Gomes hit a number of perfect outlet passes to Rondo and Telfair which led to easy transition buckets. Gomes also had one of his signature pirouette and-1 lay-ins, taking the body contact and twisting around backwards while finishing with deft touch. Excellent half for Gomes.
Gomes missed his first two shots of the 2nd half
and then continued his dominance thereafter. Gomes got on the glass hard, stole balls, stripped others and generally just went to all the right places while making all the right plays. Gomes ability to finish after contact is virtually unparalleled, thus enabling him to throw countless fakes and stutters at taller defenders to bait them into committing. Gomes will have put to rest ANY questions of his ability to transition to the small forward position as his perimeter shooting on step backs and dribble creation was excellent. Gomes missed a few free throws which is uncharacteristic, but his play was so above everyone else it really didnt matter. Gomes had close to 30 points and 12 rebounds in this contest-all of the translatable variety. Sebastian Telfair
Telfair started off the game doing everything youd want from a starting point guard. Telfair was vocal and got his teammates involved. Telfair hit two 3-pointers early in the half to establish the threat of his shot, which enabled him to penetrate into the lane at will, where he displayed a full arsenal of passes including kick outs, drop offs, no-looks, and shot-fake dimes. If Jefferson hadnt blown every assist opportunity Telfair fed him he would have ended the half with 6 or 7 assists.
Telfair took a back seat to Rajon Rondo
in the 2nd half to some degree, allowing Rondo to do more of the direct playmaking. But, Telfair was extremely impressive with his ball-handling and ball-movement which kept everyones feet moving and created solid tempo for the teams play. Telfair hit a couple of nice pull-up midrange shots off the dribble using very good form and smooth delivery, clearly an indication of a player whos been working on his weaknesses. Rajon Rondo
Rondos defense was as good as advertised and playing in the same backcourt with Telfair was an interesting chance to see what the two could do together. In the open court Rondo was masterful, making effective passes and completing dribble-penetration with smart looks and quality finishes. The team used a lot of high screens to allow him to penetrate in the half-court sets, but once into the lane he really created havoc.
Defense! Defense! you can hear the chant coming during the regular season when Rondo is brought in off the bench. Rondo stripped countless palls and deflected numerous passes on his way to a very solid first pro game. Gerald GreenGerald Green
looks like an offensive god next to two pure passers. Green finished with powerful dunks on three straight possessions and ran the wing with purpose and authority. Green even got in on the glass-work and threw his body around and got on the ground on a number of occasions. Defensively, Green got blown by a number of times and he wasnt extremely active when not in transition, camping out on the perimeter and making late bids for loose balls on the missed possessions. But, it was a productive half for Green overall.
With no fast break opportunities and no shots falling from the perimeter, Green really showed his inexperience out on the court. His decision making was off all game as he drove into defenders and turned the ball over a few times. Still a long way to go for the highlight reel wonder. To his credit, Green was very active on the glass throughout the game and showed an effort in whatever he attempted to do, so the heart is in the right place. Allen Ray
Allen Ray was stroking the ball early, often, and effectively throughout this game. Ray missed only a couple of shots in the game and hit every kick-out he was given, either on the catch or on the fake and pull-up shot. Hes not a creator on his own and really has no position, but he can certainly help a team of creators with reliable outside shooting on the nights hes on. Leon Powe
Leon had a quite first game with mixed results. Powe started the game by hitting a 15 foot jumper and followed that up with a mid-court steal and a nice traffic rebound. But, Powe looked tentative in his limited court time, probably because the Celtics refuse to give him a contract until he can prove that his knee will hold up through the summer and into training camp. While this is understandable, it certainly didnt do anything for his confidence. Powe drew fouls by getting to balls early and fighting for his ground, but missed 4 free throws in a row, something that rarely happened at Cal. Powe will need to get over his tentative tendencies if he hopes to make the type of impact that will help him to make this Celtic team. MavsJonathan GivonyRawle Marshall
Marshall did a bit more ball-handling than we were initially used to seeing, playing a bit of a Marquis Daniels
type role. He used his athleticism and improved ball skills to get around players (especially Gerald Green
) and get to the basket, where he would generally look for his shot more than open teammates on the drive and dish. At certain times it appeared that he was forcing the issue a bit too much, as he would run into brick walls and display poor body-control when trying to finish plays after getting into the paint. All in all it was not hard to see Marshalls talent and exactly what the Mavs like in him, although at this point he still isnt close to playing more than a marginal role at best in the NBA.
In the 2nd half, Marshalls wild act officially started getting old and predictable. He forced the issue on consecutive possessions and either turned the ball over or jacked up a contested shot. Until he polishes his ball-handling skills and develops anything resembling a jump-shot he has very little chance of seeing an NBA court next season. Maurice Ager
Ager got off to a much better start in this game, being ran off screens and asked to do what he does best, which is knock down spot-up shots. He converted both from mid-range and the college three, and once the threat of his shot was established used that to get to the basket and convert on one exhilarating and powerful tomahawk jam in traffic over Dwayne Jones
Ager had a very solid second half, knocking down his shots whether coming off screens or creating off the dribble and doing a semi-decent job putting the ball on the floor. He played solid defense and stayed within himself, not looking spectacular but certainly not embarrassing himself either. The biggest test for Ager in order to be able to get minutes next year or in the future will be to get his jump-shot consistent enough to be a dangerous threat from outside if left open. He is not a bad shooter by any stretch of the imagination, but isnt automatic when left open either. His ball-handling certainly looks better than it did in college, but still needs to develop a pull-up game from mid-range. Pavel Podkolzine
The only reason to write about Pavel is because of the interest a player his size garners after drawing such an incredible amount of baseless hype before being drafted. Pavel looks as far from ever being able to step out on an NBA court as ever, having absolutely no feel for the game or translatable skills that he can rely on even in garbage time. The extent of his time on the court was spent racking up traveling violations and cheap fouls.
In the 2nd half we saw more of the same from Pavel. He had one good move followed by four bad ones, and seemed to get very frustrated both with himself and the referees. Despite his height he still is not able to do a very good job on the glass, and defensively is almost always out of place when its time to rotate and just stick his arms in the air to contest a shot. Its unfortunate that Pavels window of opportunity to be sent down to the NBDL is over, because he could most certainly use it. The highlight of the game for him came when he ran the floor as a trailer on the fast-break, took a nice pass from Maurice Ager
from a few feet away from the basket and dunked it with a foul. Josh Powell
After a very rough start in day one, last years Vegas summer league darling got off to a much better opening and managed to show off many of the skills that had us so high on him last year. Rather than try to show off small forward skills like he did on Thursday, Powell went back to his bread and butter, which is making a living off doing all the little things, whether its hustling for rebounds, setting screens and rolling to the basket, getting his hands on loose balls and playing scrappy defense on whoever has the misfortune of being guarded by him. Once he was in the scoreboard and well within the flow of the game, Powell stepped outside a bit and showed off a pretty smooth handle which he used to get to the basket and finish thanks to his terrific athleticism and above average feel. Powell was a great pickup for the Mavs considering the work-ethic he brings to the table and how little he costs, and looks should be able to become a regular part of Dallas rotation next year. Larry OBannon
In the minutes he played, OBannon was pretty solid, not NBA solid by any stretch, but certainly improved from the player he was last year coming out of Louisville. OBannons time in Serbia getting two practices a day and playing within a strict system for an entire season in a pretty good level like the Adriatic League has certainly helped him, as there is no doubt that he is a much more complete player now than he was a year ago. This mostly comes to play in his ball-handling skills, which are now good enough to make him a legit combo guard and allow him to get to the basket nicely and finish creatively thanks to his athleticism and smarts. OBannon looks ready to make the next step to a higher level in Europe next year and possibly become more intriguing for NBA teams down the road.