Vegas Summer League Day 1 Thoughts

  • I hate to start with a complaint, but I'd hate more to end with one. Lakers-Pistons? Mavericks-Clippers? Really?  Look, this is Summer League, fellas.  The hardcores are watching this. Your average, run of the mill, "Kobe Rulez!" Lakers fan schmuck who drives up your ratings in April is not watching.  They're watching the Angels or the Dodgers (whoever's doing better), and getting ready for USC football.  You need to show the best matchups. I think the Pistons are a great Summer League squad, and the Defenders will be pretty good again this year, most likely.  But if you want to see Coby Karl, you can catch him during the season.  The fact is that the league had a chance today to show Kevin Love's debut in the NBA, featuring this sick dunk.  FAIL.  The Clippers game I kind of understand, because that team is pretty good.  But really, Golden State vs. Philly would have been a much better choice.
  • Okay, let's start with my guy, Anthony Randolph. 30 points, 8 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 steals, 2 blocks, 6 fouls, 5 turnovers.  Yes.  There have been descriptions ranging from him knocking down jumpers "he had no business making" to more positive reviews.  Offensive versatility is a big thing for rookies, and he's got it.  There's something about this kid.  And Nelson sees it.  Versus Wright and Belinelli, Randolph is not going to get buried on a bench that's suddenly paper thin. This kid's going to need a nickname. It's entire possible this is a Belinelli type situation, but still. Unbelievable athleticism.
  • I like how Thaddeus Young starts slow, then wakes up, looks around, "Oh, wait. This is Summer League. Ya'll better back the fuck down."
  • Speights with a double double. He was shooting a little too much, and he had trouble with the speed of the game, but a much better start than I thought he'd have.
  • Oh, Jason Smith. Oh, kid. That kid walked back to his hotel and fouled the bellhop, the D-League groupies (yes, they exist, I've seen them), the valet, and the complimentary body soap.
  • Richard Hendrix DNP? WTF, OMG?
  • Note to Hornets: Get a D-League affiliate. It'll help in a few years when you have more talent than spots. Because your scouts right now at the low levels blow.
  • Okay, let's go ahead and mention the player who the Ridiculous Wife calls "O'Jam".
  • The debate right now is "8 turnovers? That's kind of a lot."  versus "8 turnovers should not overshadow a highly productive game.  And Mayo did. The issue is that this game is a microcosm of what he's going to bring. Scoring, big plays, and dumb plays. That jam was monstrous, but the mistakes were horrendous.  I do appreciate that Nation of Grizzlam is keeping its analysis in check and not spazzing. Good job, fellas.
  • Crittenton I felt had a really strong game, just handling the game. Same token, Mike Conley has worked on what he needed to: ball control.  If that kid manages what he does, he could be absolutely terrific.
  • PJ Tucker. Let's go ahead and put him on the "Keep an eye on" list. 17 points, 8 rebounds, 4 steals? I say, hello sir! Hook'em, indeed!
  • Will Bynum does a lot of the little things coaches like.  If he pushes enough to get some time if the Pistons shut down Affalo, who's honestly too good for Summer League at this point, he could make some moves.
  • Samb having no blocks is inexcusable.
  • The Pistons team is just light years better than the Lakers squad.
  • The Lakers have one of the best D-League teams in the league. How do they put out the pile of crap they did tonight?
  • I liked Dunston but his vision is poor.
  • Oh, the Clippers team.  It's so beautiful.  This team is unquestionably the best Summer League team I've seen. I want them to play the Nets' team in a best of 3 series.
  • Nick Fazekas told me his goal for the summer was to work on his upper body. He's a man of his word.  Fazekas has put on the necessary muscle, and wasn't pushed around like he was in the D-League last year. He's going to have opportunities.  He needs to get the confidence to try his offensive set. They need to know if he has one. Because he's doing everything else.
  • Somewhere between the D-League Finals and this game, Mike Taylor got some coaching.  This kid is light years better than he was.  Defensive intensity, smart playmaking. I counted last night. He would have had four more assists if his teammates had finished at an NBA-level. The over the shoulder dish to Thornton for the circus shot in the 4th? That was something special.  This kid wants it.
  • I know it looks like Gordon had a good game. I know.  But I was right about him.  He's going to struggle at the NBA level.  He's got a great college game. That much is certain.  He knows how to punish people who make mistakes.  But the problem is, he's not going to be able to get shots off unless he's playing scrubs in the NBA.  The Mavericks' guards were terrible on defense tonight. At one point in the fourth, Gordon got a clean drive to the rack that resulted in a foul, and it was simply based off of poor rotation by Dallas' defense.  He's got a nice shot, but most of his threes came off of ISO, and the defender just not stepping up to defend. Kirk Hinrich's going to defend that.  I like his deceptive quickness to get to the rack at this age, but if he loses any speed due to not staying in shape, it's going to be disastrous.  Gordon's going to end up a spot up shooter. And that's not bad. But he's not a combo guard. He's not even a true shooting guard.  He's a pure shooter guard. 
  • Play Marcus Williams more, please. He was the only Clipper forward to not fail on rotations tonight. That includes Thornton.
  • Heath has Arenas-like range, and played with good defensive intensity, and adjusted when coaches told him to.
  • Shan Foster had a much better game than it seemed like. He's got a really good skills set.  He's a project, but he's going to be solid.
  • Conveniently, the Mavericks' starters are pretty good, and they have no bench. I did like Rhodes' effort.  He brought intensity and focus along with bringing some energy. But God,the guards got slaughtered.
  • Great day. Already ten times better than Orlando. AND no Dante and Gallante. Sweet.
  • The Clippers cheering section of fans was incredible.
  • DeAndre Jordan terrifies me when he's uncovered. Terrifies. I'm nicknaming him the Tremor.
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