On to the fourth part of the Summer League Review, with a look at Dallas, Denver, Houston and New Orleans. Some good players on display and some surprises as well.
Make sure to check out parts I-III on the front page – NBADraftBlog.com - Part V will be the conclusion with the West Coast teams and John Wall’s debut.
Part IV – After the jump…….
DALLAS MAVERICKS (2-3)
PPG – Dominique Jones – 16.6
RPG Ian Mahinmi and Omar Samhan – 7.0
APG – Dominique Jones – 3.4
Most Valuable Player – Dominique Jones
Most Improved Player – None
Biggest Surprise – Jeremy Lin
Summer League Review – The week was supposed to belong to Rodrique Beaubois. Instead, two rookies stole the show for the Mavericks. Dominique Jones and Jeremy Lin did their best to put on a show for the Summer League crowd and, for the most part, they did. Jones used his strong body to force himself in the lane, and did a great job drawing fouls. When running the offense, he showed some good decision making skills. Defensively, he didn’t play as well I expected he would, but still did a good job keeping with quicker guards. Lin was the crowd favorite, which is saying a lot when Omar Samhan is on your team. Truth be told though, Lin is not NBA-ready. Yes, he did make some nice plays against John Wall, but he is the yearly case of Summer League Overhype. Beaubois was decent, but didn’t seem to have the explosiveness which he showed in the second half of last season. Also, as a distributor, he just wasn’t very good. Samhan was another player who had a chance to prove he was NBA ready, and it turns out he’s not. He is much too plodding for the NBA game.
Who to Look For This Season – Beaubois will still be part of the backcourt rotation, even more now that Jason Kidd is another year older. Dominique Jones will also be there, though I don’t think he is going to be too impressive versus top-level NBA players. He can be a bit out of control and his perimeter shot is not that good. Lin has signed with Golden State, but with new owners, signing the local kid who wowed the Summer League is a nice publicity boost for a team that needs it. Samhan will be playing in Lithuania next year, but don’t be surprised if we see him in the NBA at some point soon.
DENVER NUGGETS (4-1)
PPG – Ty Lawson – 16.4
RPG Othello Hunter – 6.4
APG – Ty Lawson – 5.0
Most Valuable Player – Ty Lawson
Most Improved Player – Coby Karl
Biggest Surprises – J.R. Smith, Othello Hunter and Shane Edwards
Summer League Review – The most exciting team during Summer League was the Denver Nuggets. Ty Lawson had the team running on all cylinders from the get go. He got it done from the perimeter and in transition. Defensively, he did a great job pressuring the ball. Coby Karl and Richard Roby were great compliments on the wings. Karl showed he is much more than the coach’s son – making shot after shot. Roby also did a good job from the perimeter and used his length to get shots off in the lane against big men. Both players need to improve their defense if they want to get serious NBA minutes. Othello Hunter and Shane Edwards did a tremendous job down low, both using their athleticism to outplay their larger counterparts. Laurence Ekperigin also kept battling to have some great games, especially on the offensive end. And the possible highlight of the week – JR Smith making an appearance to play a few games with the young guys. Great move on his part.
Who to Look For This Season – Lawson is just waiting out Chauncey Billups to get his hand on the point guard position. Until then, he is still a great back-up who gives a very different look. Karl will be on the bench again, and Roby may have a shot to join him. Hunter, Edwards and Ekperigin will also find homes, possibly in D-League, where they may have a shot at being called up.
HOUSTON ROCKETS (3-2)
PPG – Jermaine Taylor – 18.4
RPG Jordan Hill – 7.8
APG – Ishmael Smith – 4.8
Most Valuable Player – Jermaine Taylor
Most Improved Player – Jordan Hill
Biggest Surprise – Ishmael Smith
Summer League Review – While not spectacular, the Rockets had a very consistent showing last week. Patrick Patterson got off to a huge start with a 18 point performance in his first game, but his shot selection became a little iffy during the rest of the week. It is going to take some adjustment for him in the Rockets offense, but he has the ability to become a very good undersized power forward, especially with his jumper. Jordan Hill looks like a completely different player than he did with the Knicks last year. He was playing much more aggressive on both ends and could turn out to be a great addition to the team. Chase Budinger showed great scoring ability, though he still needs to be more consistent with his jumper. Jermaine Taylor showed why he is going to be getting some minutes this season. He scored in bunches and seemed to always be one step ahead of everyone else. Defensively, he still needs to work on his positioning, especially off the ball, but he continues to improve. Ishmael Smith did a great job running things for the Rockets. He showed great poise on offense, got into the lane when he needed to and played tough defense. His speed will be a great asset for the Rockets.
Who to Look For This Season – Patterson will most likely come off the bench to start the season, but easily could make the starting 5 if he adjusts quickly to the speed of the NBA game. Hill and Budinger will be in Coach Adelman’s rotation. Taylor and Smith should both be on the roster, though they may not get a lot of time.
NEW ORLEANS HORNETS (0-5)
PPG – Marcus Thorton – 18.5
RPG Kyle Hines – 7.8
APG – Darren Collison – 7.0
Most Valuable Player – Quincy Pondexter
Most Improved Player – Maurice Ager
Biggest Surprises – Kyle Hines
Summer League Review – Darren Collison and Marcus Thorton both did great jobs last year as rookies. Therefore, it was no surprise that they both had limited action here in Las Vegas. Both players looked good in their time, though both were a little off with their shooting. Rookies Quincy Pondexter and Craig Brackens both played well. Pondexter was tough on defense and did a good job nailing open shots. Brackens disappeared at times, and should have been much more effective on the boards. One guy who did hit boards hard was Kyle Hines. While only 6’6, he used good positioning and body control to grab rebounds from bigger guys. Maurice Ager made a decent attempt at running the team, but was much more effective going strong to the basket. Aubrey Coleman, the NCAA’s leading scorer last year, showed his scoring prowess, but was weak when playing the point and his defense was almost non-existent. Brian Cusworth and Sean Sonderleiter manned the middle and did as well as you could expect from them against much more talented competition.
Who to Look For This Season – With Chris Paul demanding a trade, Collison may see himself running the team again, and Thorton will also be on the court plenty as long as he continues to score. Pondexter and Brackens will be squarely in the rotation, and depending on who else is included in a Paul deal, could find themselves starting.
In Part 5, I will wrap up the West and look at how John Wall’s debut went. Check back tonight for more.