DeAndre Jordan and the Big Ten!
Cub scouts the daily hoops scene.
by Cub Buenning
–The Denver Nuggets started a wee two-game roadie through the Golden State by facing off against the young, but exciting Los Angeles Clippers. While the visitor’s two stars more than showed up for this one, the needed balance was completely missing. Carmelo Anthony pumped in 31 and Chauncey Billups came through with 25 of his own, but with only 15 bench points, the Nuggets fell 106-93. Playing with their full roster for the first time all year (that was until Ty Lawson went down early in the second quarter), the Nuggets still had more than half of their points from Melo and CB and were victimized by an aggressively defensive Clipper attack. It was the youngsters again, doing it for L.A., as Eric Gordon led them with 28 points, while our boy, Blake Griffin got his 22nd straight double-double (actually by halftime) with a 22/18/7 line. Unlike the Nuggets, the Clip-Joint got production beyond their Big Two, as second year center, DeAndre Jordan was a force in the inside grabbing 20 boards along with swatting away about three dozen Denver shots.
Shooting 37 percent from the field on the road rarely translates to wins (regardless of opponent) but the analysis was simplified by head coach George Karl, “We weren’t good at either end of the court.”
**(A special thanks goes out to the wonderful “Artist’s Rendition” of (L-R) Blake, Melo and Birdman Andersen courtesy of my 4-year-old daughter.)**
–In the world of college basketball, I have to give some props to the Big Ten. I pay little attention to individual team’s national rankings and I have no use for the conference rankings, but this conference is flat-out legit, this year. Top-to-bottom, this large group of competent teams makes for a lot of quality games and the Big Ten network has been loaded with them already this season. Home-court advantage is of course huge (especially in a deep, competitive conference) and the superior teams (Ohio State, Purdue, Illinois, Minnesota, Michigan State and Wisconsin) have been impressive.
–Maybe most impressive last night, though, were the Cougars from BYU getting a blow-out win over UNLV in Sin City. BYU’s All-American guard Jimmer Fredette shook off a slow start to put up 39 to bury the “Jeckyl and Mr. Hyde” Runnin’ Rebels.
–One of those particular Big Ten games (Wisconson’s win over Michigan) got me thinking about bringing back the PLAYER ALERT! This section where I break down a college player’s professional prospects will continue on a daily basis.
First up today, is Wisconsin senior forward, Jon Leuer. A player who gets little national attention or mention as a top prospect, Leuer is arguably one of the most productive big men in the country and a favorite for Big Ten Player of the Year. At a legitimate 6-10 230, Leuer is the most adept frontcourt player at stepping outside to the perimeter. He is deadly from the long-range and his wide array of post moves make him a tough match on that end of the court. But he is a bit slow of foot, making it tough to check small forwards and he does not currently have the strength to muscle the power forwards in the NBA, either. While I feel there is definitely a place in the League for Leuer and he should be taken at some point late in the first round, I feel his lack of explosiveness will scare away most teams. Currently Leuer is averaging 20 points and 7 rebounds per game, which is pretty impressive considering the Badgers never seem to ever break 60 points a night. I am most curious to see how he fares against the bigger names in the league like MSU’s Draymond Green, OSU’s Jared Sullinger and Purdue’s JuJuan Johnson.
This post was a segment of Cub’s blog at milehighsportsview.blogspot.com. The Mile High Five is a daily portion of his blog that covers several aspects in the world of Denver and national sports and pop culture.