Day Five started a little slow, but the last two games of the day offered some excitement. Petteri Koponen, Quincy Douby, and D.J. Augustin each came through with brilliant performances late in the day. Game One: Detroit Pistons 59, Milwaukee Bucks 73Matt KamalskyDetroitArron Afflalo: 18 Points, 5-12 FG, 1-1 3FG, 7-11 FT, 5 Rebounds, 4 Assists, 5 Turnovers
The second year shooting guard was the only player that did anything worthwhile for Detroit. With Rodney Stuckey in street clothes, Afflalo ably carried the load for the Pistons despite the fact that the game was never really close. Despite playing off the ball, Afflalo showed some playmaking ability today, getting into the paint and then dropping passes to his bigmen when the defense stepped up to meet him. When he was looking to score, Afflalo was pretty dominant. He got most of his points right at the rim, with the rest coming almost exclusively in the paint with the exception of a catch and shoot three pointer. Afflalos physical strength makes him a load to keep out of the lane in this setting, and while he wont be able to bully his man as easily in the regular season, it is a good sign that hes been one of the most effective players in every game Detroit has played.
-Cheick Samb has developed a nice catch and shoot jumper from college three point range, but he falls in love with it too easily for a legitimate seven-footer.
-Deron Washington had a nice game today, using his scrappiness and athleticism to make an impact on both ends. MilwaukeeRamon Sessions: 21 Points, 6-11 FG, 0-1 3FG, 9-12 FT, 6 Rebounds, 4 Assists, 2 Turnovers
Sessions had a great game today, carrying his team over Detroit in a defensive battle. He solidified his spot on the Bucks roster last season, and has been a standout all week here in Vegas. Hes got tremendous quickness and very good ball handling ability, allowing him to get into the lane at will. This game was just another instance of Sessions making a move at the top of the key and getting to the rim. Though hes not going to play above the rim, he gets to the line at a high rate, and shows a lot of savvy attacking the basket. Sessions is a good rebounder for a point guard, and played solid defense throughout this game against Detroits lesser guards. Sessions has developed quite a bit since his days in the D-League, and given Milwaukees positive feelings about him, may get more playing time than most would expect.
-Joe Alexander had a better game today than he did in his debut, knocking down the jumpers that he was missing before. He showed tremendous court vision, and while he made some bad decisions, he did a great job threading the needle on passes to players cutting through the lane.
-Olumide Oyedeji had a good game today. Hes built like a train, and has an incredibly powerful lower body, allowing him to finish with contact and hold position defensively. Hes spent time between South Korea and Puerto Rico over the past few seasons, but is capable of playing at a higher level. Game Two: Philadelphia 76ers 81, Los Angeles Lakers 73Matt KamalskyPhiladelphiaMarreese Speights: 16 Points, 7-11 FG, 2-4 FT, 9 Rebounds, 2 Blocks, 6 Fouls
Speights came through with a good, but not great performance today. He showed good patience offensively in the middle of the game, opting to not force things in favor of finishing the easy plays Jamont Gordon made for him. Though Speights has great tools, hes not a good decision maker yet, and being patient offensively will do wonders for him in the long run. When he was forcing things, he even went as far as to try and bring the ball up the floor, looking very uncomfortable as a ball handler. Early in the game he forced the issue on a couple occasions, and while that may have hurt his confidence a little, it helped him in the long run. Speights was efficient today because he was selective with his shots, not because he was making plays. Defensively, Speights showed a lot of promise, using his size to be a factor on the glass and rotating over from the weak side. Speights will need to be more active and show better awareness to make an impact during the regular season. . Jason Smith: 16 Points, 4-8 FG, 8-9 FT, 4 Rebounds, 2 Blocks, 4 Turnovers, 6 Fouls
Smith came through with a nice performance today. Unlike past contests, Smith showed good hustle today, running back on defense on every play and getting his hands on a handful of loose balls. While hes not always the most focused player, it was nice to see Smith show some scrappiness. His play today offensive was encouraging, outside of a fadeaway turnaround that didnt draw iron. Smith still needs to learn how to use his athleticism to get to the rim when he posts up, not go away from it. He also needs to be stronger with the ball, as he gets tripped far too often. Defensively, he leaves a lot to be desired, failing to use leverage when boxing out and committing too hard in help side.
-Jamont Gordon played ok today, but had quite a few ups and down. He did a good job getting to the rim, but he gets a little out of control when he tried to finish around a defender.
-Thaddeus Young had a decent game today, knocking down a nice pull up jumper, a running hook, and a handful of lay ins. Though he has his moments as a ball handler, he still a has a long wasy to go in that department and just isnt consistent yet. Los AngelesCoby Karl: 18 Points, 5-13 FG, 3-7 3FG, 5-6 FT, 1 Rebound, 2 Assists, 1 Steal, 3 Turnovers
Karl had a nice game today, but spent quite a bit of time on the floor. Hes a gritty player, but has no issue taking his lumps. He made his fair share of impressive plays today, splitting a double team with a bounce pass for an assist, ripping the ball away from a couple of jump shooters, and getting an and one around two would be shot blockers by shielding the ball with his body. Karl is a tremendously cerebral player, he thinks the game like a veteran. His shot was falling today, and that allowed him to do a lot of damage from three point range. Hes got great form and his range allows him to get his shot off even when hes facing a lot of pressure defensively. Though Karl wasnt able to carry his team to a win, this was easily his best individual performance, showcasing his offensive skills. Karl took a beating today, and it is clear that hes one of the most competitive guys here in Vegas.Joe Crawford: 16 Points, 6-13 FG, 1-1 3FG, 3-4 FT, 3 Rebounds, 1 Assist, 1 Steal, 2 Turnovers
Crawford had a breakout game today. Hes not a great ball handler or passer, but is a gifted scorer. Though he lacks great consistency from NBA range, Crawford got the roll on the only three he attempted. It will be essential for him to improve his range if he wants to stick in the NBA. Though Crawford doesnt handle pressure well with the ball in his hands, hes got some nasty moves, and make on hesitation move that left his defender turned around as he went to the rim for a lay in. Hes not tall enough to be an overly effective defender, but he plays tough and is relentless when his man gets the ball. Hell have a hard time contesting shots and dealing with longer more athletic players, but hes a capable defender on this level. Crawford will have a chance to stick with the Lakers since they like his scoring ability, but may not be on their roster right away.
-Bryant Dunston earns mention here for throwing down a handful of dunks and generally being in position to make plays. Hes not a playmaker, but is a capable finisher with solid athleticism who could be a nice European player. Game Three: Portland Trailblazers 74, Sacramento Kings 75Matt KamalskyPortlandJerryd Bayless: 26 points, 6-15 FG, 1-2 3FG, 13-16 FTs, 6 Rebounds, 2 Assists, 1 Steal, 5 Turnovers
Bayless followed up his debut with a performance very similar to that first outing. He did knock down a three pointer today in addition to going to the line, which was nice to say since he failed to connect on one in his first contest. Bayless doesnt seem keen on taking a lot of jumpers, and takes the ball to the rim on almost every possession. Unlike last game, Bayless didnt do a good job distributing the ball, and gave up the ball on a number of occasions. Fortunately, he wont have to do a ton of ball handling in Portland with Brandon Roy able to effectively handle pressure and Steve Blake as a pure assist man. Bayless showed some poor body language late in the game, but thats because he is a very serious competitor who hates to lose. This level of performance seems like the norm for Bayless, as both of the games hes played have been eerily similar. Petteri Koponen: 18 points, 7-18 FG, 1-6 3FG, 3-5 FT, 6 Rebounds, 2 Assists, 1 Steal, 5 Turnovers, 5 Fouls
The young point guard came up big once again today. He made a number of incredibly difficult shots fading away off of one dribble from college three point range. Hes not an elite level athlete, but he plays the game at a consistently high pace offensively. He knows how to control tempo relatively well for a young guard and possesses above average court vision. The young guard's ability to run the point at his size and age is pretty impressive, but his defense still has a ways to go. Koponen's potential is incredibly intriguing, and the Blazers will have the opportunity to bring him over when Oden, Roy, Aldridge, and Bayless are hitting their stride.
-Josh Davis had a decent performance, but still isnt shooting the ball well. He had a tremendous Summer League last year in terms of three point shooting, but didnt shoot well during his time with BC Kyiv or SacramentoQuincy Douby: 24 Points, 7-15 FG, 1-3 3FG, 9-12 FT, 1 Rebound, 1 Assist, 6 Steals, 5 Fouls, 5 Turnovers
Douby was just tremendous yet again today. Hes really showcasing his quickness and creativity, finding all kinds of different routes to the rim. He over-penetrates at times, leading to turnovers, but hes a risk taker and thats always going to be a problem for him considering the way he plays. His jump shot was lights out today, and hes a great catch and shoot player from college three point range. Unfortunately, his range is somewhat limited and hes still developing his consistency. Perhaps the most impressive aspect of Doubys performance today was his defense. He showed unreal anticipation, accumulating numerous steals due to his length and vision. His hands are very quick, and while he has a slight frame, hes capable of attacking the rim and getting to the line. Doubys been one of the most impressive players in attendance and while he doesnt have a position due to his lack of playmaking ability, hes a nice option off the bench in Sacramento. Jason Thompson: 17 Points, 4-8 FG, 0-1 3FG, 9-11 FT, 9 Rebounds, 1 Block, 4 Turnovers, 6 Fouls
Thompson really came through today, making a lot of plays down the stretch and ultimately winning the game by finishing an and-one. He showed very nice touch at the rim today, and didnt force things nearly as much as he did in his last outing. While he turned the ball over a little too much, he did it within the flow of the game, and it was more because he was well defended than because he was pressing. His ability to get to the line was on full display today, and hes got the body to be a very imposing physical presence on both ends. He cleaned the glass efficiently and does a good job using his bulk to gain position in the lane. Defensively, he showed great timing coming over from the weak side, but he doesnt always see drives coming and will get a little too aggressive on the ball at times.
-Spencer Hawes didnt have a great performance today, not getting as involved as he did last game. Hes added weight, but still had some trouble keeping position against Portlands stronger front line. Game Four: New Orleans Hornets 76, San Antonio Spurs 68Mike SchmidtSan Antonio SpursJames Gist, 14 points, 11 rebounds, 5 turnovers, 5/7 FG, 1/1 3PFG
Gist gained attention early in the game by showcasing his freakish athleticism, and threw down a number of thunderous dunks both in transition and the half court. He runs the court like a guard, and his physical attributes can be considered elite for any level. He also showed the ability to step out and spot up accurately with his jumper. The second rounder hit a 20 footer early in the game, and followed it up by later knocking down an NBA three pointer. Gist also put in a great deal of effort on the glass, though he still needs to work on more effectively utilizing his body rather than relying on athleticism. If he can continue to show this type of effort more consistently, he could have a chance at making the opening day roster.
-George Hill struggled to run the team and looks to be a long way off from being NBA ready. He has a very weak left hand and is struggling against higher level of competition than he's used to.
-Ian Mahinmi made a number of nice moves but struggled to convert at times. He continues to show fantastic tools, but still needs a little more seasoning. New Orleans HornetsBobby Brown, 15 points, 8 assists, 3 turnovers, 7/12 FG, 1/2 3PFG
Brown continues to show well here, and looks to have an outside shot at making an NBA roster going into the season. The guard again displayed top-level athleticism, particularly on two breakaway dunks that drew some big cheers from the crowd. In the half-court, he showed both the ability to shoot the three pointer and find his teammates on the drive. He's not a true point guard, but has solid enough vision to play a third point type of role. Defensively, his lack of bulk may hurt him at the NBA level. Brown has continued to turn a lot of head among the NBA scouts we've talked to this week, and it will be interesting to see where he ends up for training camp.
-Julian Wright had another nice game but with a low number of touches on offense. He put the ball on the floor a number of times, and made a very difficult 20 footer off the dribble.Golden State Warriors 99, Charlotte Bobcats 93Mike SchmidtGolden State WarriorsC.J. Watson, 23 points, 7 assists, 4 turnovers, 5/12 FG, 13/16 FTs
Watson had another outstanding showing today, against a first round pick in D.J. Augustin for the majority of the game. The guard showed very good quickness off the dribble, and pushed the ball at every chance in transition. In the half court, he executed the pick and roll as well. Though he didn't shoot the ball well today, he made up for it by drawing 16 foul attempts throughout the game, and converting on 13 of the attempts. Though just a summer league game, Watson also came up big making a number of key free throws and clutch plays that led the Warriors to the victory in the closely contested game. He will probably never be a true point guard, but with his combination of quickness, shooting and scoring-ability, the guard looks to have a future as a rotation player.
-Marco Bellineli had a huge first half with 21 points and made a number of difficult shots off the dribble on his way to a 30 point night.
-Brandan Wright was steady throughout the game, and showed a number of nice offensive moves despite a limited number of touches. Charlotte BobcatsD.J. Augustin, 30 points, 9/14 FG, 10/11 FT, 0 assists, 5 turnovers
The rookie guard finished the game without an assist, but still played very well overall and kept the Bobcats in the game until the very end. A very creative offensive player, he scored a number of different ways today. The rookie has already mastered the pump-fake, and used it a number of times to throw the defender off-balance before drawing contact and the resulting free throw attempts. On the drive, he finishes surprisingly well against big men despite his lack of size, and can gain free throw attempts by making very difficult finishes. He looks to have a well developed mid-range game as well, which is a very important aspect for an undersized guard in the NBA these days. On the defensive end, he used his lateral quickness and strength quite well against C.J. Watson, but must work on forcing the driving guard into the help defender. Augustin also finished the game without an assist, but still ran the team fairly effectively. He will likely be a score-first type of player in the NBA, but has a bright future with the Bobcats.Kyle Weaver, 7 points, 4 assists, 3/5 FG, 1/1 3PFG
After struggling a bit in his first summer league games, Weaver came on strong yesterday with a solid showing. He started early in the game by knocking down a jumper off the dribble, and he has put in a good deal of work on his shooting judging from his mechanics. The guard missed on a couple drives, and will need to work on how he finishes against help defends to be successful in this area at the NBA level. Physically, he continues to show good length and athleticism, and he played very solid defense against Marco Bellineli in the second half. He could potentially become a defensive specialist at the NBA level, but must add weight to his frame for this to transpire. Weaver also showed very nice court vision on a number of occasions, and led the team in assists. He still has some work to do, but the tools are there for him to become a solid NBA player.
-James Mays made a big impact off the bench with his energy, and finished 4/5 from the field.
-Orien Greene managed to have a big impact with his steady play on offense, and aggressiveness on the defensive end.