Monday, July 10, 2006

Summer League Monday

Day two for me at the summer league. Today I decided to sit right behind the Blazers' bench, the better to hear what's going on. The trade-off sacrifice is that I wasn't able to see as well, because even though I was in the front row (yes, you can just do that at summer league) people kept walking in the aisle in front of me so I missed several moments. Also the coaches sometimes get in the way. Also you can only hear one word in ten anyway, so all in all it wasn't a good tradeoff. But it was a good experiment.

Game/Player Notes:

--The first quarter of the game was fantastic, as everything was clicking. Guys were moving, guys were screening, and we just went OFF on the Wizards. It could not have been better. The last three quarters the movement stopped and the team just died. We pulled out the win, but it was ugly. The game was futher marred by the summer league officials blowing whistles every ten seconds. Oy. Nevertheless we won again, which was nice.

--Martell was one of the stars of the show. When he was coming off screens (first quarter) he was deadly. I mean he hardly missed a shot. This is absolutely one of the ways he should be ifs, ands, or buts. Just think Reggie Miller in the Indiana offense. He had good defensive moments, but this wasn't the same strong defensive effort we saw yesterday. It was still better than last year though, or even the end of last season. Also he is still just as intense. Martell is working hard for something. I'm interested to see what that something will be.

--Roy was also a bright spot again. Yesterday he showed off his lateral left-right moves, today he showed off his vertical hesistation stop and go stuff. And it was awesome (for summer league). If you have not seen him (and if this is any indication) you are going to love him. He also drove well again. He has a presence about him on the reminds me a lot of Jarrett Jack last year. Maybe there is something to those four-year rookies.

Funny story about Roy. He was slated to sign autographs in the lobby after the game. I went out to take a break and to watch. His line went around half the building. Walt "Clyde" Frazier, a hall-of-famer, was also out there (albeit unannounced). He had maybe a half dozen people waiting. I guess the new is more interesting than the old... To Roy's credit, he stayed and signed every last autograph and beyond. He seems like a really nice kid.

--Travis had a better game today. He was more into it from the beginning. He hit more shots and played better defense. He still was a ways from adequate though. He keeps getting blown by on defense because he hesitates when someone makes a move. He did alright helping out today though. He had to be told what to do by coaches and teammates an awful lot again (for a third-year summer league player anyway).

--Lamarcus Aldridge had a little more chance to shine, especially in the post. He's having trouble sealing out bigger men in the offensive post and he's getting pushed under the bucket on low-post defense. He also needed a lot of coaching help this game, which should not be entirely unexpected. His best moment came in the second quarter when guards Marque Perry and Webster got switched up and little Perry was getting backed up in the post by a much bigger opponent. The guy got the ball and spun around Perry like he wasn't there. He skied for the jam when all of a sudden...WHOOOOOM! Aldridge came to help and jumped out of the gym to stuff it back in his face. Amazing.

--Pinkney got matched up with Wizards forward Oleksiy Pecherov, a seven-foot perimeter-shooting European. He showed that he can defend a little on the perimeter. He also made his usual couple of great help plays and tough rebounds. His head wasn't in this game as much either though (an affliction which seemed to take the whole team after they built that large 1st-quarter lead). He messed up the exact same play twice in a row. He also had seven fouls by midway through the 3rd quarter.

--Ha Seung-Jin had a poor game, which was sad to see. He still cannot seem to set a good pick. (He sets Zach-like picks, moving out of it way too early.) He can't rebound well. He is so far beyond other big guys at summer league, even the less famous ones. I was discouraged. He is still young though.

--We had serious trouble rebounding for most of the game. Opposing big guys are trouble for us.

--We also had difficulty when Washington threw on a backcourt press. We definitely need some of those veteran point guards who are waiting on the main team.

--For the critical last couple possessions our lineup was Webster, Roy, Outlaw, Pinkney, and Aldridge. They did a good job closing out the game. The clinching play came when Roy broke down the defense with a drive but missed the layup, which Pinkney promptly stuck back home. Nice. (And, by the by, exactly what opposing teams have done to us with regularity the last couple of years.)

--All the youngsters will need to work on strength. There's not a true big body among them and all of their biceps look about the same size whether they're point guards or power players.

Other Notes:

--It looks like we definitely made the right decision banking on Aldridge over Patrick O'Bryant. The kid is fast enough and has the height, but his game is really raw, especially on defense. He was no threat to stop anyone during the Golden State game. The Warrior coaches were explaining everything to him multiple times.

--Huge Dallas center Pavel Podkolin (7'5" and a ton of weight) got a fair amount of playing time. He's much more into the game and is playing much better than he used to. If today was any indication he may figure into Dallas' plans for next season.

--The key battle in the Dallas-Houston game was between late-first-rounder Maurice Ager and John Lucas, son of the famous coach. Ager was a scoring undersized guard with hops, quickness, and great shooting much like Randy Foye yesterday. He couldn't guard a mailbox with a bazooka though. Lucas torched him and also had a great overall game. He displayed a great handle, quicks, a nice shot, and beautiful court vision. You could tell he's a coach's son. Both teams have nice young guards there.

--Buck Williams is an assistant for Golden State during summer league and it was nice to see him doing well. It brought back a lot of memories. Also seen up close (six inches) in the last couple of days: Terry Porter, Mario Elie, Maurice Lucas, and the world-famous Byron Irvin, who was actually nice enough to extend his hand and introduce himself to me first. That was cool.

More tomorrow.

--Dave (


Blogger BLAZER PROPHET said...

Gee, it's like having a private reporter. And you're not even peeking thru blinds.

10:58 AM  

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