NBA Summer League: Day 7
Anthony Morrow puts on a Vegas clinic!
The seventh day of the NBA Summer League and my third day here covering the event for SLAMonline was easily the most interesting. We saw second round picks producing big time, a player drop 47 points, an NBA live 10 pre-release party, and the finale of the two top draft picks in this year’s draft going head-to-head.
Houston Rockets vs. Los Angeles Lakers
– This was easily the most lackluster of the games we took in today in Vegas, though there still were a few bright spots for both teams.
– Chase Budinger pumped in 25 points off of the bench in and made it all look easy. He slashed to the rim in transition, hit open looks from beyond the arc, and got by people a couple of times off of the dribble in the half court. It’s clear that Budinger can certainly be a spot up shooter in the corner for the Rockets next year, with the potential to be more if he keeps working. The former volleyball star still plays no defense and doesn’t really get anyone else involved, but that was known when the Rockets traded for him.
– Joey Dorsey was a straight beast for the Rockets as well. His 11-point, 20-rebound, 5-assist, 2-block, 6-foul stat line doesn’t even begin to tell you the impact that he had on the game. The Dwight Howard-build clone was straight laying people out with screens, played great D in the post, and made his presence felt as a shot blocker. He’s still not a guy who you can give the ball to in the post and expect him to make a scoring move, though he can certainly be an energy guy off of the bench for Houston this season with his improved game.
– The Lakers best player for the majority of the game was late second round pick Chinemelu Elonu. The big man put together a second straight nice performance since we’ve been out here against tough competition. Though he looks like he doesn’t have a clue out there on the floor at times, the guy has some serious game. Elonu can face you up and hit the 15-footer, rebound the ball at a solid rate, and give you fits on the offensive glass. Unfortunately, he doesn’t understand anything about defensive fundamentals, as seen by the 8 and 9 foul outings that he’s put together in respective games.
– The other bright spot for the Lakers in our eyes was the active Tony Gaffney. Playing power forward and center during his days at UMASS, you really didn’t have a chance to see what the guy could do on the court. Now in the pros, he’s slid over to the small forward slot and has shown some flashes in the triangle offense. His numbers certainly have not been great (averaging 3.8 ppg), but he’s been one of the most active players in the entire league. Gaffney will probably not make the world champs, but he’s a fun guy to watch with his above the rim, hustling style of play.
Golden State Warriors vs New Orleans Hornets
– With no Anthony Randloph, one would assume that the go to man for the Warriors would be Steph Curry, right? Well, I (like most others) was wrong as Anthony Morrow dropped a NBA Summer League Record 47 points in today’s win over the Hornets. Sitting with Dahntay Jones and Kyle Lowry, it was something else to see even how much they appreciated the scoring output by this former D-League stud. Morrow was primarily getting all of his points through a flurry of jumpers, both off of the dribble and spotting up. He didn’t get to the rim much, but his pull-up off of the dribble was enough to keep defenders at bay. Given the lack of three point shooting in the bay, expect Morrow to see some extended PT this year.
– Stephen Curry just wasn’t feeling it against the Hornets, finishing with 9 points, 3 assists, and 3 turnovers. He didn’t look to have much of a feel of actually running a team at this level, though he does have some nasty court vision. There will be some growing pains with him at the point guard spot full time, but I feel he will get there with time. Curry did draw the crowd on his side with a gorgeous rainbow jumper that he drilled in his man’s eye though.
– The Hornets may have found a nice one in Marcus Thornton. I personally always liked his ability to score and defend from his days in Baton Rouge, but I didn’t think he was going to do it like THIS. He’s able to get his shot off against absolutely anyone and is straight up electric coming off of the bench. Thornton got to the line easy and really got out in the passing lines to create mad deflections and steals. The Louisiana boy is also a great guy to talk to, offering one of the most Southern accents that I’ve heard in quite some times.
– Things are looking grim for Acie Law as a future point guard in the NBA. He just doesn’t look like he has much of a feel for the position and today, he looked like he was going to turn the ball over each and every time he brought it up the court. The former lottery pick really needs to sure up his playmaking skills if he hopes to get a second contract. If not, he should get his passport ready.
NBA Live 10 Party
– Duke Indrasigamany of EA Sports was gracious enough to invite us to a pre-release viewing of NBA Live 10 out here in Las Vegas. They are incorporating even more of the player DNA that is offered by Synergy Sports Technology and the graphics are looking even sicker. Andy Graham of Synergy elaborated some of the details to us, but we were sworn to secrecy for the time being. EA also offered an open bar with a great food layout, making it enjoyable even for members of the media that were not hoops gamers. Needless to say, be on the lookout for an even better Live come this year with the added game features, improved graphics, and more in depth player DNA.
Los Angeles Clippers vs. Memphis Grizzlies
– Blake Griffin was balling out of his mind against the Grizzlies, even further separating himself from everyone else in the draft class. He was completely dominant en route to a 18-point, 15-rebound, 5-assist performance. The No. 1 draft pick showed a nice pick and pop game extending out to the NBA three point line, handled the ball well in the open floor, and was a beast on the glass. Oh, and did we mention that he had 4 sick dunks including arguably the top dunk of the summer league (a ridiculous left handed tip dunk). Mike Schmidt, an assistant coach for the Iowa Energy, said that Griffin will surely be an all-star THIS year. If he keeps playing like this, we can’t argue with him.
– The No. 2 pick in the draft, Hasheem Thabeet, was really hurting out there against Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan, and Clipper Darrel. He got the best-dressed man in basketball’s patented “U-G-L-Y…” chant to start the game, and never really picked up from then. For some reason, Hasheem felt that he was a face the basket player for the majority of the game. Virtually every time he got the ball in the post, he squared up and attempted to fire up a jumper. Each of these times, he either missed or turned the ball over. It was an awful performance by the best center in this year’s draft, but he did get the last laugh on Clipper Darrel by leaving the arena with a victory.
– Memphis’ 2008 first round pick, Darrell Arthur, had one of the dunks of the summer league thus far when he threw down a two hand power dunk and then completely put his junk on Nik Caner-Medley’s face. Aside from hitting a couple of faceup jumpers after that, he basically a ghost for the rest of the game though.
– After getting Arthur’s crotch on his head, Nik Caner-Medley followed things up with a really strong game of his own. In fact, he actually outplayed Arthur on the whole game. Unfortunately for him though, he wound up on a poster and walked away with the loss.
– DeMarre Carroll is doing everything in his power to prove that he was worth of being a first rounder, which so many people challenged. Though he’s certainly not the most skilled guy, he played harder then anyone on his team and consistently made plays on both ends of the floor. The rumored kidney condition that was ailing him so badly (which was found out to be nowhere near career threatening) did not hurt his play one bit. The Mizzou product was a terror in the passing lanes, made tons of hustle plays, and ran the wings really well in transition. He’ll never play in this league based on his skill, but he’s certainly going to get some run based on his energetic play and outstanding motor.
– Perhaps the player who arguably slid the most on draft night, Sam Young, also turned in some solid minutes. He played great defense, stepped out and hit an NBA three, and finished around the rim with either hand. Of course, we also got to see the most exaggerated ball fake in the business as well. Definitely looked like a mid first round pick, not a guy picked in the mid second round.
– Former New Jersey and Golden State point guard Marcus Williams is looking like he could potentially receive some burn in Memphis this season behind Mike Conley. Leading the summer league in assists while maintaining a nice assist to turnover ratio and running the pick and roll game well. The problem apparently lies within Williams’ ability to shoot the ball from the perimeter, where he is shooting an icy 38.6 percent from the field over his first three NBA seasons.