NBA Splinters | July 28, 2009

(AP Photo/Laura Rauch)
(AP Photo/Laura Rauch)

What Happens In Vegas…

Summer is in full swing, and that means Summer League basketball. Thanks to NBA TV basketball junkies can catch some hoops in the month of July.

Devoid of the pomp and circumstance that goes along with the regular season, Summer League hoops has a throwback feel to it. There are no player introductions prior to tip-off. The coverage is not state of the art – the audio mix isn’t always optimal. Commentators and play-by-play guys don’t follow a script. To top it off, commercials are minimal and sideline interviews seem less intrusive. All of that makes for rather enjoyable viewing on a rainy day.

Watching Summer League games lends a deeper appreciation to the level of play in the NBA. These games are a mix of rookies and youngsters trying to earn a contract. Several minutes can tick off the clock before a semblance a half-court offense shows up.

Managed to catch a little of the Bulls / Oklahoma City game. Good to see DeMarcus Nelson on the floor for the Bulls. Nelson still works hard on his defense. He played limited minutes for Golden State last season. Here’s hoping the Duke alum finds a bench to ride for the season.

Word has it that Hasheem Thabeet is struggling in Sin City. No surprise there. But with time Hash should contribute in the NBA.

It’s all about location.

hi31lzymPrior to the NBA Draft, many thought DeJuan Blair would be a lottery pick – if not, at least in the middle of the first round. Draft day arrived. The first ten picks came, and Blair waited. The first round ended, and still Blair did not have a team. Not until the 37th pick (San Antonio) did Blair hear his name.

Blair may not have been a lottery pick, but he landed in a great location. While many youngsters will struggle on weak teams, Blair will have the chance to learn from a bunch of veterans and experience playoff basketball. Wonder if a Tim Duncan / Blair commercial with the gnomes is in the making.

The Spurs who looked a step slow the second-half of the season have rebuilt themselves into contenders. Adding Richard Jefferson prior to the draft gives the Spurs a perimeter presence they lacked when Manu Ginobili went down with an injury.

Jefferson should enjoy a return to the playoffs. It’s been a while since he helped the Nets get to the finals. Jefferson on the floor with Tony Parker, Duncan, and Ginobili should provide more than just a threat for the Los Angeles Lakers.

San Antonio also drafted Jack McClinton from Miami. Although he is unsigned as yet, McClinton is a three-point threat who, along with Roger Mason, can provide a complement to the Spurs offense.

Cleaning out the skeletons.

What a summer for Derrick Rose.  He’s fended off more allegations than the Cambridge police department. First, we read about the bogus SAT scores. Then came the story about his high school grades.  Now, Rose is dealing with a picture from high school that portrays a less-than flattering image.

What’s a guy to do? Rose is spending time in the gym working with the USA National team. Sporting News reports that Rose is taking 500-800 shots a day.

That’s one way to avoid the negative press.

Got some insights? Take a seat on the Pine and share some wisdom.

9 Responses to "NBA Splinters | July 28, 2009"

  1. Rey   July 29, 2009 at 12:05 pm

    My opinion about the one-and-done issue probably changes everyday. But quite frankly, I’m sick of guys like Derrick Rose and Calipari making a mockery of higher education. Just let these guys enter the draft at 18. What’s the harm in the end?

    A lot of the point guards played really well in Vegas. Unfortunately 90% of those rosters will never see an NBA floor so it’s hard to gage guard-wise who’
    ll be effective and who won’t. Flynn looks amazing in the open floor. He can turn on the jets at any point. I heard even Brandon Jennings was dominating competition.

    I love the SPurs getting McClinton. Blair by that time was a no brainer for them and never in their wildest dreams did they think he’d be there probably. But McClinton is a sharpshooter and much more explosive to the basket than he gets credit for. He’ll be nice along side Parker because he can do a little of everything.

    But what about Pitt teammate Sam Young. He dropped quite a bit. He and his histrionic shot-fake will be the most NBA-ready player in my opinion. Might never be a 20 a game guy but his size and versatility is an asset I thought many teams would desire.

  2. Casey   July 29, 2009 at 2:37 pm

    Rey – interesting that you mentioned Calipari – check out page 30 of this link:

    Totally agree with you about Young being NBA-ready. But if that shot fake works more than 10 times in the NBA, I will buy you six Sam Adams.

    Plenty of open floor in the Summer League for Flynn to roam. Let’s see how he is doing in March.

    The idea of Blair on the floor with Parker, Duncan, Ginobili, and Jefferson is scary. That makes Blair the fifth option.

  3. Rey   July 29, 2009 at 5:22 pm

    Well – I’m glad that Calipari feels that way and I agree with him about the dead period in the summer. But the funny part is, he gave the quote while at the AAU championships in Florida. Hello John! And if you polled coaching staffs who attend these things, I have a strong feeling Memphis (and now Kentucky) are the most frequent. Practice what you preach? I don’t know. I bet Coach K doesn’t go to these AAU things as often because they are void of any academic responsibility and he feels ocnfident in his recruiting in September and April. Was this John’s way of saying don’t look at me???

  4. Casey   July 29, 2009 at 6:19 pm

    In light of all the negative press Calipari has received, it seems way too coincidental that he is now trying to appear honest and somewhat altruistic.

  5. Rey   July 29, 2009 at 8:05 pm

    How about the Bobcats giving up the face of their franchise, Okafor, for a broken down and limited Tyson Chandler. I think CHandler was great only because of Chris Paul. He is not someone with a fantastic post game, either face up or back-to-the-basket.

    I don’t see where it benefitted the Bobcats. People in NC are not happy with this trade so far from what I’ve read.

  6. Casey   July 29, 2009 at 8:17 pm

    Picture me scratching my head, furled brow, and a look like I just smelled something foul – something like one of Moonlight’s dog pies.

  7. Rey   July 29, 2009 at 8:27 pm

    I caught a whiff of one of those today. Along with their current stalemate with Raymond Felton, that’s pretty much how you can describe Jordan’s front office decisions in Charlotte thus far.

  8. Wally   July 29, 2009 at 9:57 pm

    I agree the Spurs landed a couple players in the draft that could really help (Blair was a steal) and have had a good off-season in general when taking Richardson into account, too. HOWEVER, I think Kim not Dunkin’ is going downhill fast … and it pains me to say this about the Big Fundamental. He’s nowhere near the physical presence he was 3 years ago. Now, maybe Blair fills a void in that area, but the Spurs need someone who can intimidate shooters inside …. and a center who can actually dunk the ball in finish. Hope I’m wrong, but I don’t even see them in the Western Finals in 2010.

    Yes, Derrick Rose is the poster child for allowing immediate entry into the NBA. Remember we had a debate here on the pine about who the Bulls should take #1? I don’t think there’s any debate …. they chose wisely … Rose is gonna be a super star.

  9. Rey   July 29, 2009 at 10:08 pm

    True, Wally.

    Only thing I disagree with is that it’s fast. His averages were technically down, but no more than a single reb, point, block, etc. He still shot 50% from the field too. But as far as his physical presence around the rim – you’re right – he isn’t as dominating as he once was.

    But a 6’11” guy averaging 19, 11, 2 blocks, and nearly 4 assist is better than all the bigs in the West.

    Maybe Ginobili can play in the playoffs in 2010 – that would be nice to see.

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