2007 NBA Summer League: Day Seven
By Aran Smith
The top performers of day seven were Rudy Gay, Aaron Brooks, Spencer Hawes, Randy Foye and Renaldo Balkman.
(2-1) Denver Nuggets 92 - (3-1) Detroit Pistons 84
With Arron Afflalo and Rodney Stuckey on the bench in the third quarter, Denver went on a big run to pull ahead and was able to hold onto their lead in the fourth behind a big game from SG Von Wafer and PG Will Blalock.
Von Wafer lead all scorers with 25 points continuing what has been a very strong summer for him thus far. In three games he has averaged 19 points on 47% shooting. After leaving school prematurely, Wafer was drafted by the Lakers with the 39th pick in 2005, Wafer has made a push to join the Nuggets.
Point guard Will Blalock continues to impress with 16 points and 3 assists to no turnovers. Blalock has added some of the patience and precision that was missing from his game when he was drafted late in the second round by Detroit a year ago. He stands a good shot to make the Nuggets roster.
The Pistons duo of Afflalo and Stuckey continue to impress. They suffered their first defeat, but as mentioned Denver made their run with the two on the bench. Afflalo shot 8-18 knocking down 2-5 from the 3 point stripe but missed one crucial three late that could have made the game close. Stuckey shot just 6-14 but his strength and quickness makes him a tough match up for opposing guards.
(4-0) Dallas Mavericks 98- (1-1) Houston Rockets 94
Aaron Brooks continued his impressive play with a game high 28 points. He shot 9-18 with 7 assists, but did have 9 turnovers. It was an excellent barometer for him as he faced maybe the top point guard in summer league and certainly the most experienced in JJ Barea. He held Barea to just 2 points in the first half, scoring 10 of his own and then exploded for 18 more in the second half. His quickness and ability to pull up for shots off the dribble will make him a successful offensive player. One scout told me he thinks Brooks is better than Conley, which might seem crazy considering where they were taken, but he might be right.
I've asked a number of scouts (NBA and International) if they could take one player for their summer league tem not based on potential but to win games here who they would take. There hasn't been any consistent answer but Belinelli has been the choice for a few. My choice would be JJ Barea. He's really developed into a fantastic player and is developing into a fantastic back up point guard for Dallas. Which is something they really need considering their starting doesn't have a pure point with Harris and Terry. Barea finished with 13 points 6 ast and 3 to.
Maurice Ager continues to look like the better prospect than his teammate Shannon Brown who was taken 3 spots higher than him. Ager finished with 19 points on 7-12 shooting displaying his great athleticism running the floor as well as his developing shooting ability.
(2-1) Memphis Grizzlies 100 - (2-2) Cleveland Cavaliers 76
Without much opposition, Rudy Gay broke out with his second 20 point game. He started slow once again but his outside shot started falling and he began the second half hot, quickly building his point total to 18 before finishing with 20. He still needs to get more fiery, but his understanding of the game and decision making is showing improvement.
It's no wonder Cleveland was the only team to lose to Team China, as without Daniel Gibson, this is easily the worst team in summer league. Shannon Brown is an amazing athlete and had one terrific dunk on the break which he challenged Rudy Gay and jammed it. But his feel for the game and ability to shoot and create offense is very poor.
Mike Conley had 13 and 7 using his quickness to get around the weak Cleveland defense and hitting his very solid runner in the lane. His midrange shot seems to be falling but he still is struggling when shooting from outside, but his speed is really a weapon.
(2-1) Milwaukee Bucks 72 - (0-3) New Orleans Hornets 58
Julian Wright really struggled with no points on 0-9 shooting. He had had a solid showing before this game with 10 and 13 but this performance exploited his lack of offensive game and inexperience.
The ex-Florida Gator Anthony Roberson led all scorers with 16 points. His quickness and shooting ability make him very effective in the summer league. Despite leaving a year too early and missing out on Florida's championship runs, Roberson is a more impressive point guard than Taurean green in my opinion.
Milwaukee cruised to victory behind point guards Lynn Greer and rookie Ramon Sessions. Green had 15 points on 4-8 shooting but no assists while Sessions looked solid with 11 points and 4 assists.
(3-0) New York Knicks 96 - (2-1) Sacramento Kings 84
The Knicks are probably the most talented team in the summer league with 5 solid starters and a decent bench. All five of their starters were in double figures proving too much for the Kings who were without Francisco Garcia.
Spencer hawes tied teammate Pooh Jeter for a game high 22 points showing his vast post skills scoring on hooks and tremendous post moves. he shot just 11-25 but the Kings have struck gold in their 10th selection. Hawes should only get better as his body continues to mature and get stronger. When you consider the difference between someone like Roy Hibbert from 19 to 21, the potential of Hawes really hinges on his physical development, because skill-wise he is already better than many of the NBA centers.
The Knicks were led by Nate Robinson's 21 points and Renaldo Balkman's 18. With an improving group of young players joining Marbury, Curry and Randolph, there's no reason the Knicks shouldn't make the playoffs next season in the East.
Mustafa Shakur had 19 points on 5-13 shooting and 9-9 from the line. He used his size well against Nate Robinson and is a player some scouts feel will ultimately make a team.
(0-2) LA Clippers 85 - (2-1) Minnesota Timberwolves 104
Corey Brewer struggled from the field once again shooting 2-12 from the field. He's not as polished as he looked in the Florida offense although to his credit he does a lot of little things that don't show up in the boxscore.
Also struggling for Minnesota was Rashad McCants who shot 1-12 from the field with 5 points.
Randy Foye was the best player on the court with 23 points (7-17) and 4 assists. What sets him apart from other offensive minded point guards such as Acie Law is his phenomenal strength and athleticism. he is on balance every time he shoots and his great leg strength makes him very difficult to knock him off balance when he's driving.
Al Thornton had a bit of an off game with just 11 points on 3-10 shooting, but his savage style of play is making him a favorite among scouts. He is one of those players that has no cruise control and pressed the pedal down on every play, ala Amare Stoudemire. His effort and energy level is sure to make him a successful pro.