Rocky Mountain Revue, Day 5

Rocky Mountain Revue,  Day 5
Jul 22, 2005, 05:28 am
Day 5 - July 21st, Game #12, Seattle Supersonics vs. Charlotte Bobcats

Sonics 79
Bobcats 87

Laird Doman

With Coach Roy Williams on hand his UNC boys did not want to disappoint. Raymond Felton came out and had a monster game, leading the Bobcats to victory along with Matt Carroll. With a day off between games this time, both teams looked sluggish and took some time shaking the rust off. Both played very sloppy and took bad shots overall. With a sleepy crowd and sleepy players this was a sluggish and dull game that nobody really seemed to care much about. The biggest applause from the crowd ironically came when the final buzzer sounded.


Bernard Robinson- Robinson started the RMR slowly but has really come on as of late. He had another very productive night filling up the stat-sheet with 18 points, 6 rebounds, 3 steals and 3 assists on 8-12 shooting. Robinson is finally using his big, strong body to his advantage rather than settling for bad shots. He needs to work on his footwork to consistently stay in front of his man, take contact better and definitely improve his outside shooting and decision making to stick in the league over the long haul. He may have shown enough over the past few games to give the Bobcats enough reason to provide their only 2nd round pick in their short history with another shot at improving on his weaknesses and prove he belongs.

Raymond Felton – Felton may have had the single best game of anyone in the revue so far with a monster 22 point, 7 assist, 6 rebound,1 block and 3 turnover effort in front of his old coach. He couldn’t get things going right away, though, once again passing the ball off initially after bringing the ball up the court and never see it again after that, so what did he do? He started to take over himself and make things happen on his own. Felton would bring it up the court, make a few moves on the perimeter and knock down the pull up jumper, or fake out his man and drive right past his man for a lay-up. He was also deadly in transition as we have grown accustomed to seeing out of him from his three years at North Carolina. He ran the ball down his opponents’ throat and dished it off while also making a couple of beautiful outlet passes to Matt Carroll and others. This was a disorganized game overall, so most of the work he did here was on the fly rather than in a structured half-court set (a common problem which makes summer league particularly tough to evaluate), but Felton showed off his instincts by making his presence felt on the court regardless.

Matt Carroll - Is this guy ever going to slow down? Carroll had another strong outing with 17 points, 4 rebounds, and 1 block, only shooting 3-11, but making it to the line a staggering 14 times. Carroll isn’t the quickest or most athletic guy out there, but he is always one of the smartest. He likes to curl around screen after screen to free himself up for a jump shot and make his defender work overtime. Carroll’s looks good every time it comes off his hand because it’s identical each time; he also uses his entire body on his picture perfect stroke, utilizing both his arms and his legs for one fluid motion. Carroll not only has helped himself make the team with the way he’s played here, he may have created a bit of a market for his services as well to help himself land a multi-year deal.

Sean May – May had an OK night tonight, not playing horribly but definitely wasn't himself by any means. He finished with 11 points and 7 rebounds, with 5 fouls, 3 turnovers, and 3-10 shooting from the field. The main aspect of his game that May needs to improve on to play an NBA style has to be his conditioning. When he gets tired, his whole game just seems to turn into mush. He is the last one up the court and has absolutely no legs to fight through screens or move off the ball on offense. If it wasn't for his sneaky skills around the basket, which never seem to leave him, he would have a very hard time making an impact if he had to play over 25 minutes a night. At this early point in his career, how much May applies himself to getting in NBA shape will probably be the difference maker in terms of how well he can adapt to the fast pace of the NBA.


Robert Swift - With some better speed and conditioning, Swift could be very good, but as of now he has neither so he struggles mightily. The 2nd year player out of high school finished this game with 6 points, 9 rebounds, 6 fouls and 4 turnovers in only 22 minutes of play. He seems to be either too aggressive and picks up careless fouls, or he’s not nearly aggressive enough and then gets burned, on either end of the court. Swift is still showing immaturity by letting calls get in his head, and this totally destroys anything he had going for him previously time after time. The former lottery pick has been a bit of a disappointment so far this week.

Mateen Cleaves- 18 points, 4 assists, 7 fouls. Cleaves has proven to be a tough player to predict this week, at times exploding and showing why he was once a top 15 pick, while in others looking like the player that all Piston and Kings fans would like to forget. You would think he would have been absolutely murdered by Felton today, which he was to some extent, but he also gave Felton a hell of a time as well on the other end of the court. Felton obviously is a much faster player in the open floor, but once they got into their half-court sets Cleaves did a good job neutralizing this disadvantage. Mateen did a good job using his size to his advantage against Felton and utilized his strength on him time after time, posting him up and backing him down or wisely using a screen to get around him. Throughout the week you could see the intangibles Cleaves possesses that made him such an adored player in college and on every stop of the way in the pros. If he can shed some pounds off his frame Cleaves might be able to find an NBA team that would bring him off the bench.

Kaniel Dickens– Dickens has shown over the course of the RMR that he can definitely play, while also looking the part the entire way through. He is big, super athletic and mean with a chiseled physique and a surprisingly improved jump shot. Dickens scored 17 points, and pulled down 10 rebounds in only 24 minutes on the court today. He was instant offense when he came in initially, scoring 5 points in his first 30 seconds in the game. He was taking tough shots with a man in his face, but was making them look easy today. This former 2nd round tweener pick from the 2000 draft still doesn't play very good perimeter defense, but showed that he will bully you around if you come inside. Dickens would be best served showing that he is a team player who is willing to do the little things in his final outing because no NBA team is going to want a borderline player who takes bad shots, won’t play defense or make the extra pass. All the tools are there, but people have been saying that for the past five years.

Game #13, Dallas Mavericks vs. San Antonio Spurs

San Antonio 79
Dallas 67

Damien Tolman

This had to be, by far, one of the most uneventful, low level performance games I've seen during the whole Rocky Mountain Revue. In the first half it really looked as though both teams just wanted the RMR to be over, as there was very little hustle play, but a lot of poor shooting by both teams. Both the Mavs and Spurs finished the half shooting less than thirty percent with only four players between both teams making half of their shots. Dallas only made eight shots in the entire half and if it weren't for how well they were getting to the line, they wouldn't have scored twenty points. Dallas also played very poor defense as they allowed San Antonio to penetrate at a decent rate, the only problem was that San Antonio was unable to contribute to the score when they got there.

The second half of the game seemed to pick up a bit more effort and excitement. Both Josh Powell and Michael Harris really picked things up, sparking their team by being aggressive and getting into the paint, either drawing contact or making big plays at the hoop. Unfortunately, these were the only two that had a productive second half for the Mavs, as the rest of the team still hustled, but were very shaky as the Spurs began to dominate. San Antonio was making shot after shot and were led in doing so by Melvin Sanders and Andre Barrett, with a big contribution from Josh Asselin as well. They also zoned in defensively, forcing bad shots, blocking shots, and keeping the Mavs from properly running their offense.


Pavel Podkolzin- Pavel's strongest period of play came early on. He didn't move around much, as usual, as he was just posting up and waiting for the ball to be passed his way. He was able to push around his opponent on more then one occasion to get to the rim, getting fouled
twice, but the majority of his points came off tip-ins, often off his own misses. In one sequence of the game he tipped a missed Rawle Marshall shot up onto the rim, but it missed, tipping it again and missing, then finally clumsily tipping it into the basket for the field goal. Podkolzin finished with 10 points off 4-8 shooting, but was somehow stuffed in the paint somehow numerous times because of his somewhat slow and low flat-footed release. Pavel's defensive contribution was minimal as he just stood around watching shots going up, very rarely contesting them, and pulling down just 3 rebounds.

Josh Powell- Josh had the overall best game of the Mavericks despite his poor shooting. He did most of his damage in the paint, where he bashed players around and got to the line many times, finishing the game with 6-8 on free throws and going 5-12 from the field. Not only was he getting points down low, but he was also making major contributions on the glass thanks to his strength and tenacity, powering through his opponents on both ends and boxing them out very well, finishing with six boards on offense (with a couple of nice put-backs) and five on defense for 11 total. Powell also hit a few fadeaway jumpshots, something that is definitely an area where he has a lot to prove as an undersized power forward. All in all Powell has helped himself out greatly in both summer leagues he’s been at so far. He has been offered a very nice contract in Spain for next year so a team that wants him will most likely have to commit to him before training camp, otherwise he’ll have a very tough decision ahead of him. This undrafted free agent should still have a considerable upside as he has yet to turn 22. Had he stayed in school he would have only graduated this year.

Filiberto Rivera- Rivera struggled badly shooting the ball and defending his opponent. He didn't shoot an enormous amount, with only three shots, but missed all of them, as he has been for most of the two summer leagues he’s been in so far. On defense he just didn't show up for the most part, letting his man explode past him numerous times in the second half. When he actually tried to defend Andre Barrett he picked up careless fouls trying to make up for his lackluster defensive performance. Filiberto's lone good showing was in the open floor. He has a knack for finding his teammates in a good position tonight, hitting his men in the perfect spot time aftertime and finishing with a total of seven assists.

DJ Mbenga- DJ did not have the brilliant defensive performance we’ve come to expect from him. He continually lost his man around picks and wasn't aware of where shots were going up from, finishing with only a single block this time around. His offense showed great signs of potential in the first half as he got himself into a position close to the rim a few times, ending the half on 3 of 4 shooting. In the second half he struggled, getting overconfident from his first half performance and taking shots from farther out, which he doesn't seem to be able to hit at this point, and missing all four of his attempts. He also got in the way of teammates a couple of
times as they were trying to run through the offensive playbook. DJ seemed lost, like he hadn't studied that deep into the offense and that doomed him in his attempt to make a big second half contribution.

Michael Harris- Harris was one of the many players in this game that just seemed to be absent in the first half. He didn't move well off the ball to put himself in position to score, and he allowed his opponent to get off many shot attempts while he just stood by and watched. The second half had a bit of a different tone for Harris though, as he made a couple of huge baseline dunks, found his shooting stroke, and drove past San Antonio's towering big men as if they were the size of Earl Boykins. Michael got himself to the line quite a few times as well, ending up scoring all sixteen of his points in the half. He also decided to show up on the defensive side of the ball in the second half, fighting through screens, contesting shots (coming up with two blocks), using his quick hands to knock the ball loose and crashing the boards to pick up four of his five rebounds on the defensive end. His sixteen points tied for the team lead with Josh Powell.


Britton Johnsen- Johnsen found himself having his worst game of the entire revue so far. His only positive contibution was his ability to get rebounds, finishing with a total of nine. He didn't move well at all off the ball, but still called for it and got it a good majority of the time, taking and missing seven contested first half shots. He was not as vocal with his teammates as he had been in the past, not calling out screens or asking for help on defense when he was overpowered by his opponent. The second half wasn’t any different unfortunately. Britton didn't use screens wisely, allowing his defender to get a hand in his face at all times, which made him very frustrated and caused him to lose focus of the game. Johnsen was clearly amongst the few contenders for the league MVP, but I believe these past two nights will make that a long shot to happen unless he really rebounds from here on out.

Andre Barrett- Early on in the game he was one of the leading contributors of his team's woes, tossing up eight shots (two made), not running the offense or leading his teammates, and just tossing around loose stupid passes which luckily only resulted in three turnovers. Amongst many others though, Barrett became a new basketball player in the second half, throwing much crisper passes to his teammates after directing them where to go and making sure they were aware of his presence, while becoming the team’s leader alongside Melvin Sanders. He finished the game with seven assists which were clearly the result on the leadership role he took on himself. Not only was he vocal getting his teammates involved, he also drove to the basket, and drove hard. He was banging around right up there amongst the trees, while if he found himself in a position where he knew he couldn't put the ball in the basket, he would duck out of the lane and pop up a fifteen foot jump shot that he hit every time. On defense he locked down on his opponent, not allowing his man to score even once against him. He has shown some lazy one on one defense in previous games, but with his ability to keep right along with his opponent with his speed and a hand in the face at all times, he proved to be one of the key reasons the Spurs are winning here.

Game #14, Atlanta Hawks vs. Utah Jazz

Hawks 90
Jazz 62

Laird Doman

This was the 2nd and last time the Hawks and Jazz will match up at the Rocky Mountain Revue. Both teams each came away with one easy win and one blowout defeat. This time around the Hawks just crushed the Jazz in every aspect of the game. This was Atlanta’s best game so far, mostly because they actually played as a team for once, earning themselves a 27 point dismantling of the Jazz. The Hawks played a lineup of 4 players that are more SFs than anything else, with Josh Childress, Josh Smith, Boris Diaw, and Marvin Williams all starting. This game featured nearly 80 fouls combined on both teams and took over three hours to complete.


Josh Childress- Wasn't as much of a factor as he was in previous games, but the Hawks for once didn't need a big game out of him. Childress finished with 8 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists and 3 turnovers. He did play great defense on CJ Miles, but had a bit of a hard time with the physical play of Kirk Snyder. Childress’ problem is that he is somewhat caught between positions. If he is a shooting guard then he needs to work on his explosiveness getting to the basket along with his outside shooting, while if he’s a small forward then he needs to bulk up a bit to make up for his lack of size. Considering that he is 6-6 and the Hawks need a SG more than anything, Childress needs to fix that awkward looking shot of his ASAP or at least get it consistent enough to hit off the dribble if he’s being contested.

Josh Smith –Smith had another so-so game with 11 points (7-10 FT), 5 rebounds, 3 assists, and 4 fouls. He seems to just turn himself off and on all game with his play depending on his mood. One minute he will be getting bullied around and not thinking too much of it, the next he will wake up and be super aggressive with his man on both ends of the floor. What is certain is that he spends way too much time arguing with the refs, and doesn't seem to be all that into the game unless he has the ball in his hands. If Smith is given any room at all he will usually jack up a shot, which is not his strength at the moment. If he could keep his head in the game and continue to work on his perimeter skills to compliment his ridiculous athleticism, we’re talking about the makings of a very special player. That’s a big if at this point, though.

Boris Diaw – Diaw has been a doing all the little things for the Hawks over the course of the week while playing 4 different position. He played most of the game again and had 10 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, and 5 turnovers. Whatever position he is playing, whether it’s PG, SG, SF, or even PF, Diaw still handles the ball more then anyone else on his team. His passing and ball handling skills are pretty amazing to watch from a player that size, the only question is how effective can he be using them in the NBA? He needs to work on his outside shooting especially, but also his willingness to do more than just pass and handle.

Marvin Williams- It’s really hard to understand what is going on with Williams. Let’s hope that he really is hurt and that’s why he is playing this poorly. The only question is, if he is in this much pain to be playing so poorly, should Atlanta’s #2 pick even be in the game?!?

Tonight he had 6 points, no rebounds, 1 assist, 8 fouls, and 2 turnovers in 17 minutes. 4 of his points were fast break dunks and 2 of them were from the line. Marvin hasn’t left many encouraging signs either as he hasn’t done a single thing very well. The Hawks tried playing him at every position expect PG to try and get him going, but nothing was really working for him. Marvin has shown that he can run the floor, dunk and make a nice pass every once in a while, but hasn’t shown anything special yet from anywhere else. It’s too early to panic if you’re a Hawk fan, as he wouldn’t be the first rookie ever to struggle in summer league, but it would be nice to see him have at least one good game against the watered down talent he has been going up against so far at the RMR.

Salim Stoudamire- Stoudamire stayed under control and didn't take too many wild shots out of the context of the offense this time around, shooting over 50% from the field for 13 points, and 1 lone rebound with no assists. He again guarded the other team’s PG, but SG offensively. He came off screens well and knocked down his shots, but did little else in a game where he really didn’t have to.


Kris Humphries – Humphries was a lot better game than his previous two outings, being involved in a very intriguing matchup with Josh Smith for parts of the game, pitting toughness against freakish athleticism. When Marvin Williams was guarding him he was licking his chops and just beating him down mercilessly down on the block until he was so close to the bucket that he could almost dunk it. Humphries finished with 13 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, and 2 turnovers in 19 minutes. The 20 year old Humphries will need to work on his defense to get minutes under Coach Sloan in his sophomore year.

CJ Miles- Another very poor outing for Miles, making all the mistakes you expect from an 18 year old high school kid. He didn't even score this time around after missing all of his 5 shots. He’s trying to prove something with his passing here, being too fancy with all kinds of behind the back or no look passes when they are absolutely unnecessary. With his skinny frame he was abused all night by Boris Diaw and Josh Childress on both ends of the court. He needs to work on everything over the next two years in the NBDL, hitting the weights big time especially.

Kirk Snyder – Snyder had his first good game for in the RMR in the midst of a 30 point blowout, finishing with 12 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, 4 fouls, and 4 turnovers in 17 minutes. He was getting to the hoop without much trouble at all and getting to the line repeatedly.

Deron Williams – Williams is yet to show any resemblance of a perimeter shot from mid-range or especially behind the arc. He tried coming off screens or just creating something for himself, but nothing was working for him from outside once again. His only points came from attacking the basket on one occasion and trying to dunk it, but instead ending up getting to the line. He finished with 2 points, 3 assists, 3 rebounds, 1 steal, 1 turnover, and 0-6 shooting in 21 minutes. Williams forced a few turnovers on the much taller Boris Diaw, but that was about it on the defensive end as well. Diaw used his length on him very effectively and made it hard for Williams to get his passes off to his big men inside, meaning that Humphries and Whaley were stranded for the most part. There is definitely going to be an adjustment period for Williams in the NBA until he gets used to playing against taller, stronger, longer and more athletic players than he was used to in the Big Ten. He’s shown signs of possessing great leadership and passing skills this past week, but needs to really work on getting his outside shot consistent because otherwise he’ll have very little space to operate out on the perimeter.

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