2008 NBA Summer League: Day 8
Knicks 85 Suns 80
The Knicks outlasted the Suns behind 31 points from forward Wilson Chandler. Chandler used his excellent quickness to get by his man and score on a number of occasions.
Anthony Roberson and Mardy Collins each chipped in 13 for the victors.
Robin Lopez numbers have been extremely consistent with another effective game, this time going for 15 and 9. Lopez looks like a very solid pick for the Suns at 15 and brings them very solid energy in the paint. Some in Vegas feel that long term Robin will actually be better than his brother Brook.
Alando Tucker and DJ Strawberry both played well for Phoenix, with 19 and 21 respectively. Both players are still improving their perimeter skills but did what they do well crashing the boards and getting to the line. Strawberry, the later of the two picks has more defensive ability and athleticism, while Tucker has more savvy.
Pistons 78 Bobcats 67
A depleted Pistons roster made quick work of a depleted Bobcats roster as a number of the big name guys sat out with injuries. Neither Rodney Stuckey nor DJ Augustin played in this one.
For Detroit, Will Bynum continued to show that he indeed could be playing on an NBA roster come November. Bynum would need a solid offer from a team or it might not make sense as he's already earning an excellent salary as a top point guard in Europe. But it's obvious Bynum has the talent to play in the league. Bynum went for 16 on 6-9 shooting.
Ajinca was extremely frustrated with 0 points (0-4) in 20 minutes of action. He is so raw, he looks about 3 years away from competing in summer league. Based on the way he looked today, he might be the worst passer in the entire summer league. He struggled mightily and let his frustration show in his body language.
Mustafa Shakur got a chance to show his stuff with DJ Augustin sitting out with an injury. Shakur did nothing to make anyone believe he is an NBA level talent. He had 6 turnovers to 4 assists and shot poorly from the floor 2-7 for 8 points.
Arron Afflalo had 10 pts, with one impressive breakaway dunk with defenders in pursuit. Afflalo certainly has the athleticism to play at the NBA level, a question mark for many leading up to the day he was drafted.
The Amir Johnson-Walter Sharpe forward tandem look like twins on the court and in the boxscore. Both players used their athleticism and versatility to go for 8 points a piece. Sharpe in particular looked good creating offense for himself off the dribble showing a solid face the basket game.
Wizards 72 Cavaliers 69
The Wizards have a lot of young talent and they're all on display making them one of the most exciting teams in the Summer League.
The Wiz started out well, playing great team ball with good ball movement and open shots. However things began to stagnate and they had to gut the game out in the end.
Andray Blatche was the game's star with 22 points (8-17) and 9 boards displaying an array of skills. He's sort of like a bigger version of Antoine Walker with his versatility to rebound, bomb from outside, face the basket and lead the break.
JaVale McGee looked excellent making some solid moves around the basket and using his great length to board and finish. McGee went for 11 (5-12) and 4 has been very steady and is already light years better than a player he physically resembles in Patrick O'Bryant (who never did anything in summer league).
Nick Young was very disappointing shooting just 1-9 for 5 points. Doubly disappointing considering the level of competition he was facing.
The main attraction for the Cavs, JJ Hickson was beastly converting on a number of monster dunks. He still has a lot work to do on post skills and shooting range, but has looked very good in summer league and though he had just 12, his level of teammates certainly aren't doing him any favors.
Raptors 89 Lakers 71
Joey Graham continues to show that he's a cut above most of the competition in the summer league. His offensive game continues to develop and he is using his great strength to draw fouls around the basket. He knocked down 12-15 from the line to lead all scorers with 20 pts.
Nathan Jawai got the start for the Raptors and went for 8 points on 3-9 shooting. The competition wasn't great so you would expect more, but not a disastrous effort in his first summer league action.
For the Lakers, guards Joe Crawford and Coby Karl both struggled to put up points. Karl had a respectable 3-6 from the floor while Crawford was 1-6. Karl finished with 8 and Crawford with 7.
African bigman Deji Akindele displayed an improving offensive game to compliment his NBA athleticism. He's a player that could possibly grab one of the teams final roster spots and regardless should see time on NBA rosters in the future.
Kings 94 Warriors 91
With the Maloof bros looking on at midcourt, the Kings pulled out the victory in an exciting match up with the Warriors.
Quincy Douby couldn't miss in the first half going for 25 of his 36 points in the first 20 minutes. Douby knocked in 3-6 from long distance and 14-21 overall and also did a tremendous job shutting down Marco Belinelli (1-10 shooting) 6 points.
Jason Thompson was extremely impressive showing both the strength to bang inside as well as the versatility to face the basket and run the floor. While he was a small school (Rider) guy with less hype entering the draft, his NBA readiness and potential to get better should make him an excellent pick at 12 when all is said and done. He looks like a better prospect and player right now than both Kings bigmen Spencer Hawes and Shelden WIlliams.
For the Warriors Belinelli sturuggled and Brandon Wright failed to assert himself. Wright still struggles when facing imposing bigmen which is exactly what the Kings have with their three headed frontcourt monster (Thompson, Hawes and Williams). Wright went up for one monster jam, only to be thrown to the floor by reserve Noel Felix.
A-Ran, Anthony Randolph once again scintillated with his lightning quickness and versatility to handle and create shots. Randolph had an explosive put back jam to end the first half. He's a perfect fit playing Nellie-ball and could end up an all star when all is said and done.
The Warriors appear to have found an absolute steal with the 14th pick, and it will be interesting to see what kind of playing time Nellie gives him in his rookie season. He should be more mindful of his body language and expression, as at times he appears to be pouting and lacking intensity.
CJ Watson continues to make a solid bid for the Warriors back up point guard position. Scoring 24, Watson put up the biggest fight for the Warriors, but in the end it was too much Douby and Thompson. Watson is a better scorer than distributor, so whether he should back up another scoring PG (Ellis) is questionable.
Hawes had 13 pts and 14 boards doing a solid job in the post. He shot just 3-13 from the field but was able to do some damage from the line (7-8). His lack of lift makes it difficult for him to finish around the basket.
Nuggets 105 Rockets 104
In an OT thriller (if that's possible in summer league), the Nuggets won the game on a last second Dahntay Jones lay in. Jones capped off an impressive 29 point effort coming off the bench. Jones was extremely aggressive driving to the basket getting to the line 19 times and knocking down 17.
Denver bigman Elton Brown had 21 (9-14) while standout athlete Sonny Weems put together a decent effort with 16 points but struggled from the floor (5-15).
Houston's big three (Aaron Brooks, Donte Green and Joey Dorsey) all played extremely well despite the loss.
Greene continued his tear with another outstanding performance 19 points on 9-15 shooting. He remains the only player to have a 40 point performance in the SL. Greene's ability to shoot from outside and get to the basket is making him extremely effective in the SL and there's real hope for him to make a contribution for the team in the regular season. After 3 games, Greene leads all players in scoring at 25.3 ppg.
Dorsey put up a surprising 22 points ripping through the Nuggets Swiss cheese defense along with 13 boards. Dorsey wasn't drafted (or traded for) to score, so any scoring that he can add is gravy.
Following up an outstanding summer league last year, Brooks went for 25 (8-16) and 10 assists. Brooks also knocked down 7-7 from the line. His ability to run the team as well as score makes him very effective at the PG position. Not much more that you could ask from him.