Latavious Williams impressed last night for the 66ers.
Once again, there were D-League games last night, and once again they weren't on Futurecast. So I'm going off of the boxscores and play-by-play rundowns.
I know the Energy won, but I'm going to start with Tulsa on this one, because Latavious Williams got the start. And he was very good. 17 points on eight shots, 7-7 from the free-throw line, eight rebounds, two steals and a block and only three fouls and one turnover (plus a defensive three seconds call) in 29 minutes. Yeah, that'll work. I don't know how polished or unpolished he looked, but I'm officially intrigued. His fouls came in different circumstances - one was out on the perimeter guarding Curtis Stinson, one came checking Earl Barron, one was offensive - so it doesn't appear that there's anything in particular he needs to work on other than "try not to foul someone in the act of shooting." Keith Clark put up some nice scoring and rebounding numbers - 11 points on six shots, seven rebounds - though he missed five of his six foul shots and fouled out himself in 15 minutes of playing time. The fouls were a problem last year as well, and with Williams, Mullens and Weaver getting most of Oklahoma City's focus I'm not sure how Clark fits into team plans (he was draft-eligible last year), if at all. If I had to point to one factor in Tulsa's loss, it's that they had only 13 assists on 31 made field goals, and no 66er finished with more than five assists (Ansel Guzman). Kyle Weaver can't get there fast enough, because while he's not strictly a point guard, he does a good job of facilitating the kind of ball movement that was absent last night.
Iowa already has a good point guard in Curtis Stinson, who finished with seven assists and only two turnovers in a little over 16 minutes of play. I'm not sure why he played so little, but it's possible that the Energy wanted to try out their backups (how'd that go? Adam Emmenecker had one assist, two turnovers and five fouls in 31 and a half minutes). Earl Barron also didn't play a whole lot, 19 minutes, but he grabbed eight rebounds in that span. I like the way the Energy's roster is set up, with solid guys at the point guard and center positions surrounded by shooters - Iowa as a team made over 55 percent of its threes. There will be nights when the shots don't fall, but the Energy have multiple options who should be able to pick up the slack for each other.
Alonzo Gee was fantastic in this game. He was Austin's first-round pick that was more likely made by the Spurs' front office, not just because of the direct affiliation but because Gee has spent time on San Antonio's Summer League teams and they're obviously familiar with his talent and what he's capable of. Last night Gee scored 32 points on 15 shots (and went 14-18 from the free-throw line), grabbed 10 rebounds (six offensive) and picked up four blocks and three assists. He also turned the ball over three times in almost 42 minutes and doesn't have much of an outside shot (he took one three-pointer and missed it), but he didn't commit a single foul in all that time, which obviously isn't sustainable but bespeaks a certain level of basketball awareness. Dwayne Jones was pretty bad in this one, unfortunately, missing all of his field goals and free throws and picking up five fouls, though he also had five blocks. Curtis Jerrells had five assists and 23 points on 10-18 shooting, though he paired that with four turnovers, and the team as a whole only had 18 assists on 40 field goals. Jerrells should be a solid point guard and Gee can obviously score, but I think the team missed Marcus Williams.
New Rio Grande Valley coach Chris Finch has said in interviews that he prefers and up-tempo, three-pointer-heavy offense, but the Vipers shot just 4-16 from downtown last night. And two of those makes came from Garrett Temple; the rest of the team was 2-12. It also bears watching how Kurt Looby meshes with his new coach's style. Last year he got a lot of alley-oops from Jared Jordan, but last night Looby didn't even attempt a field goal and had only one rebound, a steal and a block in 14 and a half minutes. He also came off the bench. As I said, it bears watching. The rest of the team wasn't particularly efficient, with a lot of players putting up eight-points-on-seven-shots and seven-points-on-seven-shots and 10-points-on-nine-shots lines. Mike Harris and Joey Dorsey played a little better than their teammates, with Harris scoring 20 points on 16 shots with seven rebounds (five offensive) and two blocks, and Dorsey adding 15 points on 11 shots, six rebounds (five offensive) and a pair of blocks of his own, though Dorsey also picked up four fouls in a little over 20 minutes.