Summer League Game 1 - Observations

OK - So I was one of the saps that paid $15 bucks to watch the NBA Summer League games. I guess the League has to make as much money as they can - but you'd think they would at least give us High Def streaming video and announcers that know the players names.

Anyway - here's my observations from the game.


Javaris Crittenton hit his first shot, a 17 ft jumper from the right side that hit nothing but net. After that, he seemed to concentrate on pushing the ball, and setting up his teammates ; only taking 3 more shots the rest of the game. He ended up with 8 assists in 27 minutes. He played under control for the most part, and limited his turn overs (only 2).

Nick Young was on fire tonight, finishing with 36 points on 13-19 shooting (5-8 three pointers). 36 points is the high so far for the 2009 Summer League (editor's note: Rook wrote this before Anthony Randolph exploded for 42. -Mike). I was more impressed with HOW he got his points. More of his shots seemed to come from within the offense, off screens (high screens, low screens, baseline screens, multiple screens), in transition, and on catch-and-shoot situations. I was also impressed with a couple of defensive plays - where he contested shots (including one block). He didn't end up with any assists, but did have a couple of nice passes that led to assists (hockey assists) , including the pass to Javaris that led to an alley oop to McGee. The few times that he resorted to one-on-one moves, he either turned the ball over (3 TO's) or ended up with a bad shot. During one play, I swear he looked like the second coming of Reggie Miller, running his man off of multiple low screens before popping out for an open jumper.

Blatche looked horrible in the first quarter, committing 3 of his 7 turn overs early in the game. He settled down, and at times looked dominant. He still needs to be aware of where the double teams are coming from. He probably won't be doubled much during the regular season, but once he started scoring down low, the opponent Coach decided to double him. Every time he was doubled in this game, he turned the ball over. I more impressed with his 10 rebounds than his 21 points. He played "big" tonight. Nine defensive rebounds and 2 blocks were the result. If he can play under control, he should have a significant role in Saunder's rotation.

JaVale McGee looked a little lost tonight. I think he was playing Power Forward (with Blatche playing Center). He ran the floor well, and had one nice alley oop dunk (from Crittenton); but was pretty ineffective on Offense the rest of the night. Shooting (and mostly missing) jumpers all night. But worse than that, he was frequently caught out of position on defense - allowing guys like Jawad Williams and Christian Eyenga to get position down low; and he was not particularly effective on the boards. Hopefully, a switch back to Center will get him back on track.

Josh Heytvelt didn't play much - but from what I saw, he played exceptional positional defense; ending up with 2 steals and a block in only Eight and a half minutes. He rotated well and played very good pick-and-roll defense; stepping out on the guard and quickly getting back to his man. I would have liked to see more, but Randy Whitman seemed to be utilizing a very short rotation (7 guys played the bulk of the minutes tonight). He may not make the Wizard's team this year, but he's probably going to make someone's roster.

Dominic McGuire did not play because the team is only allowed to dress 4 roster players for the Summer League team. I assume he'll get his chance in later games.

Offense - The things I noticed were more screen-and-roll plays and running the guards off of baseline screens. Also, the hot shooter (Nick Young), got the ball - that frequently didn't happen under Eddie Jordan's "democratic" Princeton System.

I'll try to upload some video by tomorrow ; especially of Nick Young coming off screens and playing defense (a couple of things that this community is not used to seeing).

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