2008 NBA Summer League: Day 5
Bucks 73 Pistons 59
The Milwaukee Bucks beat the Detroit Pistons today, 73-59, behind stellar play from up and coming PG Ramon Sessions, who came to work scoring 21 points, adding 6 boards and 4 assists. He was aided by Bucks first round draft pick Joe Alexander’s 11 points on 5 for 9 shooting, a better performance in his 2nd game of the EA Sports Las Vegas Summer League.
For the Pistons, Arron Afflalo continued scoring the ball with 18, although he turned the ball over 5 times. Turnovers proved to be the difference in the game as the Pistons turned it over 20 times to the Bucks 10.
Detroit's "seasoned vet" Rodney Stuckey sat out with an injured toe, and Will “The Thrill” Bynum struggled in his place, adding 5 turnovers of his own. Playing in Israel with Maccabi Tel Aviv this past season, Bynum showed flashes of brilliance, breaking his man off the dribble with a tight, quick handle, but ultimately failed to make the right decisions late in the game.
Sessions is having a solid summer league after closing out the season strong for the Bucks. Typically more of a set up man, he is looking for his shot more in these games, getting to the line (9 for 12 today), and really takes care of the ball (only 2 turnovers). He is stuck behind Mo Williams on the depth chart for Milwaukee, but it looks like it’s only a matter of time before the gets the keys to his own car. An NBA basketball team, that is.
Philadelphia 81 Los Angeles 73
The Sixers have a lot to be excited about. Just having acquired Elton Brand via free agency and coming off a season in which Maurice Cheeks led his group to a surprisingly good finish, Philly has a trio of young players that will be a part of their core for years to come. Marreese Speights finished with 16 points and 9 boards, while Thaddeus Young and Jason Smith both chipped in 16 of their own. The Lakers Coby Karl kept attacking, scoring 18 points, while Joe Crawford pitched in 16.
Speights might contribute right away for the Sixers, coming
off the bench as an energy big who will block shots and rebound on both sides
of the ball. He shows nice touch on a
turnaround jumper along the baseline, and good hands catching in traffic. Plus
there will be much less pressure on him to produce right away after signing
Young reminded us that he is still just a year removed from High School, turning the ball over 7 times and shooting just 6 for 14 and looking rushed throughout the game. He is a tremendous, world-class athlete, and in time should be a star in the League, but he needs to slow down his actions and be more efficient.
Karl continues to impress and he will be a rotation player in the league over time. He should be someone’s backup 2 guard, if not the Lakers. He doesn’t get rattled after misses and never stops working. Father George and the Denver Nuggets have been looking for outside shooting reinforcement for a few seasons now. Don’t say you weren’t warned.
New Orleans 76 San Antonio 68
If Bobby Brown keeps this up, he’ll force the Hornets to
think long and hard about leaving him off their regular season roster. If nothing else, he is a PG who can really
get after Chris Paul in practice, making him better by challenging him day in
and day out.
He scored 15 points today and added 8 dimes, again leading the Hornets to a W against the Spurs, 76-68. James Gist, the 6’8 forward out of
Julian Wright played a more controlled game for the Hornets, going 5 for 9 on his way to 11 points to go with his 7 rebounds, 3 steals and 2 blocks. Look for him to be more involved this season in the Hornets rotation as he keeps maturing and improves his perimeter game.
Spurs post Ian Mahinmi, a project that the Spurs stashed away in the D-League last season, is still raw and for the most part uncoordinated. He blew a breakaway dunk and looked sloppy with the ball, fumbling a number of passes. This may be one draft pick that Spurs GM RC Buford wishes he hadn’t made. The next Tim Duncan he is not. The next Michael Olowokandi? If he keeps working on his footwork, maybe.
Sacramento 75 Portland 74
The Sacramento Kings squeaked past the Portland Trailblazers
in overtime tonight, 75-74, behind another strong performance by guard Quincy
Douby, 24 points and 6 steals, as well as a major contribution by their first
round draft pick, Jason Thompson, who finished with 17 points and 9
The Blazers were again paced by their young guard combo, Jerry Bayless and Petteri Koponen, who scored 26 and 18, respectively. Bayless hit a tough leaning jumper after being hit (no call) to tie the game up with 9.7 seconds remaining and send it into OT.
In 33 minutes, Thompson demonstrated the ability to handle the ball that he has not been known for. At the end of the 3rd quarter, the Blazers ran a simple 1-4 flat for Thompson, clearing out for him to take his man off the dribble. While he was unsuccessful on that particular foray to the hoop, he looked comfortable making a quick aggressive attack, indicating the Blazers may play him at the small forward position in spurts.
Still, for the Blazers, the story was Bayless and
Koponen. Bayless again attacked the rim all game long, going to the line 16 times, 11 in the first half alone. Splitting double teams and finishing with craftiness, he is letting people know that he was worth the hype that put him as high as 4th in the draft before slipping to the Blazers.
Koponen continued to beat people on high screen and rolls whenever his man slid under, making them pay with long distance dialing. Even though they were not able to pull out the victory, the Blazers have a bright future with these 2 guards and can afford to have them take their time to develop.
Warriors 99 Bobcats 93
DJ Augustin went off for 30 points tonight but the Warriors got 30 of their own from Marco Belinelli and CJ Watson added 23 as the Warriors defeated the Bobcats, 99-93 in the last game of the day at the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas.
Augustin bobbed and weaved his way through the Warriors defense all day and shot the ball extremely well (9 for 14 from the field, 10 for 11 from the foul line), but he didn’t get much help, and he didn’t show the pass-first mentality that got him drafted by the Bobcats and their head coach, pass-first PG lover Larry Brown. He didn’t record a single assist in 30 minutes of playing time, a red flag if you are the Bobcats.
Warrior's rookie Anthony Randolph sat the game out with a twisted ankle. Brandon Wright had a solid though unspectacular 11 on 4-for-8 from the floor.
Belinelli kept up his side of the ‘summer-league-superstar’
bargain with Warriors Head Coach Don Nelson looking on unimpressed. It will be interesting to see if he can crack Nellie’s rotation this year with Baron Davis gone and Monta Ellis likely moving
over to the PG position. I, for one,
hope that he can.
He has a natural way to his game, a flair and touch that would be fun to watch. He just needs to make it so that he's not a complete liability on the defensive end of the floor to get time on the floor.