FanPost

In Vegas: Belinelli, Belinelli, Belinelli!!!

Rich Twu who runs Dream League, is our NBA Summer League correspondent with tons of insights on the latest in Vegas. -- FJ

First off, I just wanted to thank Fantasy Junkie and Atma Brother ONE for allowing me contribute to Golden State of Mind the best that I can bring about my 48-hour experience at NBA Summer League in Vegas to fans of the Warriors -- and, as it were, of the Kings, Wizards, Mavericks, Nuggets, Spurs, Knicks, 76ers, Team China, and the NBA itself! If you've never met Fantasy Junkie and Atma Brother ONE, hope that you will someday soon. They are two of the nicest guys around.

Intro

I'll be focusing this write-up on the Warriors-Spurs summer league game, then the other 4-and-a-quarter games I caught last night. I'll tell you right off the bat, I really don't like to write, although you'll see that I'm quite verbose because I'd rather give you more than less. If you can't wait (because of you-know-who, I wouldn't blame you if you wanted to skip to the Warriors section first), here are the sections of this post -- you're lucky I'm pretty good at HTML...

First off, I just wanted to thank Fantasy Junkie and Atma Brother ONE for allowing me contribute to Golden State of Mind the best that I can bring about my 48-hour experience at NBA Summer League in Vegas to fans of the Warriors -- and, as it were, of the Kings, Wizards, Mavericks, Nuggets, Spurs, Knicks, 76ers, Team China, and the NBA itself! If you've never met Fantasy Junkie and Atma Brother ONE, hope that you will someday soon. They are two of the nicest guys around.

Intro

I'll be focusing this write-up on the Warriors-Spurs summer league game, then the other 4-and-a-quarter games I caught last night. I'll tell you right off the bat, I really don't like to write, although you'll see that I'm quite verbose because I'd rather give you more than less. If you can't wait (because of you-know-who, I wouldn't blame you if you wanted to skip to the Warriors section first), here are the sections of this post -- you're lucky I'm pretty good at HTML...

  • Videos and photos
  • Vegas
  • Cox and Thomas & Mack
  • Soaking in the atmosphere
  • Sacramento Kings vs Washington Wizards
  • Denver Nuggets vs Dallas Mavericks
  • Golden State Warriors vs San Antonio Spurs
  • LA Lakers vs Philadelphia 76ers
  • Team China vs New York Knicks
  • Sure, I contribute to my organization's blog called dreamblogue, which is like a mini-blog compared to GSOM, but I'm not into spending too much time making articles particularly witty, funny, building up the plot to some kind of climax, or quite simply "edited". There are plenty of other blog posts for that. I'm gonna be matter-of-factual, giving you a brain dump as quickly and efficiently as I can, as I've got another 8 hours of summer league to attend later today!

    (And hey, if you want to skip straight to the Warriors section, go right ahead and scroll down. This is not a Bill Simmons rant. Everything should be neatly organized below.)

    On the other hand, I've found most matter-of-factual summer league reports quite lacking. Boxscores and the typical he-scored-X-points recaps aren't what summer league is about. Unlike other summer league reports, I'm going to focus more on players, not teams. I'm going to analyze certain players to death. My thing is, no one watching summer league should really care who wins or loses (well, I leave one exception for Team China). And 90% of the players actually don't really matter when we look towards the regular season.

    In short, I'm going to be really anal. After all, this is a scouting report, right? Btw, if you read my bio on dreamblogue, you'll see that I run "weekend warrior" (no pun intended) recreational basketball leagues called Dream League. Fantasy Junkie and Atma Brother ONE play in my league and I see them probably once every two weeks on the hardwood. My "credentials"? Well, aside from the fact that there are relatively few people writing about summer league and you really don't have many options besides what I have to give you, I watch a lot of basketball (try 13 games every Sunday, for the equivalent of the past 250 Sundays in a row).

    Granted, it's not NBA-caliber, but every basketball league -- no matter what level, from pee-wee up to your church league -- has its stars, role players, the whole lot. What fundamentally makes great players great and good players good is, well, fundamentals. So you see I've got a good background to be commenting on summer league.

    Videos and photos

    In the interests of time, I've uploaded all the relevant video clips to my YouTube account, "dreamleague".

    I'll also upload as many photos as I can and sprinkle them in this long post. Please note that all photos are copyright Dream League 2007. Photos will not be uploaded here until probably Friday.

    As I type this, I'm uploading all my video clips to YouTube. Three at a time, as fast as I can!

    I don't have time to organize the clips right now, or even put descriptions on them, but I promise I will later on, maybe Thursday night so that the GSOM community has something for Friday. But for now, just go to YouTube and lookup my account "dreamleague" for the clips. Sorry, but you'll have to search through the clips on your own. You'll see in each of the game write-ups below (even the ones that haven't been finished) what I was looking for in my clips of game action.

    Vegas

    Still, I can't really begin without giving you a little background. I decided to come out to Vegas because (1) the chance to post this on GSOM, (2) the NBA Draft is supposed to be the best in years and, by definition, so will NBA Summer League, (3) Vegas is my home-away-from-home because we at dreamleague run two tournaments here every year and, with the All-Star game in Vegas last February, we've run 3 Vegas tourneys in the past 10 months, (4) the curiosity that is Yi Jianlian and the Chinese National Team, (5) Greg Oden and Kevin Durant, and (6) I just have to check out the Wynn!

    So it's Monday night and I'm updating the scores from a full Sunday of dreamleague games, scheduling the next 42 games for the upcoming Sunday, and realizing I had better get some sleep before my 8:30am flight out of SFO. Unfortunately, I look at the clock and it's already 3am! If I doze off now, there's a good chance I'll oversleep the flight (been known to happen), so I decided to just stay awake the whole time.

    Yep, Poor Man's Commish pulled an all-nighter!

    When I got to McCarran (the airport at Vegas), with one hour of economy-section napping under my belt, one thing I realized was, they moved all the rental car stuff to another site. And I thought only bringing carry-ons would speed my airport process. So like sheep, everyone has to go outside and wait in the rental car line, in the 100-degree heat! Thankfully, there are plenty of the generic, shall I say "Orwellian", shuttles. They cart us off to the big rental car facility, which reminds me a lot of our rental experience at Houston All-Star Weekend 2006 -- McCarran must have hired the same architect.

    I've already read two articles, one by Maurice Brooks who is blogging at summer league for NBA.com and one by TrueHoop.com's Henry Abbott, about the heat in Vegas and (gasp) waiting for a cab. I also remember reading another Bill Simmons rant back at Vegas All-Star Weekend 2007 about waiting around for a cab.

    I just have to get this off my chest. What is it about journalists and cabs? RENT A CAR, for pete's sake! Especially in Vegas.

    Cox and Thomas & Mack

    There could not be a more perfect venue for summer league than Cox Pavilion and Thomas & Mack. You know Thomas & Mack already. Cox is the "auxiliary arena" joined at the hip, right next to it. In fact, I'm sure all summer league go-ers would say that Cox gym is better for summer league purposes, because of the intimate setting. Thomas & Mack is still a 10,000-person arena. You can still hear the hum of some machine in the background as the players play, and it's relatively cavernous.

    There's no need to go outside in the blazing heat to go from one venue to the other. You just walk through the concessions to the other side and voila.

    I've heard a lot of good things about baseball's spring training, but I've never been. Without knowing how things work in spring training, my guess is that this is basketball's equivalent, with the multiple courts and array of fringe players whom you've never heard of and probably will never see again, along with regulars and future stars who are locks to make rosters.

    The other cool thing is, before each game, especially in Thomas & Mack where the locker rooms are too far away, the players just show up courtside, ready for the next game. Kinda like during the NCAA Final Four when one team is watching the previous game, getting ready to go onto the court for the next.

    Btw, you can probably see ol' Poor Man's Commish on any of the broadcasts of the games I reported on. I'm sitting at midcourt, 2nd row, in my gold dreamleague jersey.

    Alright, that's enough of the prep. Let's get to the games, already!...

    Soaking in the atmosphere

    OK, I lied. I won't be getting to the games just yet. This is because we must first soak in the atmosphere upon arrival. Before the game and then during the game at Cox Pavilion, I saw...

  • Horace Grant, now on the coaching staff of the Wizards, talking to Tracy Murray, who according to Hoopsworld.com is there networking for his next gig, whatever that may be.
  • The Chinese national flag up hanging from the rafters, adjacent from the U.S. flag. That's cool.
  • The tallest guy on the Kings, who is not Spencer Hawes (it's 7'2" Cezary Trybanski -- also, Keith Butler is listed at 7'1", but he doesn't look as tall as Hawes or Trybanski. Maybe they wear taller shoes?).
  • The brother of Ron Artest (I also read about it somewhere, but forgot his name) is warming up for the Kings and offering a few swooping dunks for the fans enjoyment.
  • Nick Young and Francisco Garcia are at midcourt, pre-game with the refs, presumably as the respective captains of the Wizards and Kings. Mike Hall is also there and sort of jokingly pushes the young Young aside. I see from the program that Hall is a veteran and was on the Wizards last year, which would explain his seniority. Same for Garcia.
  • Sitting directly across the way at courtside are Gavin Maloof, the legendary Jerry Tarkanian, and either Danny or George Tarkanian (Jerry's sons). I've never met Danny or George, but believe it or not I've spoken with each on the phone before. However this was in reference to renting out the Tarkanian Academy for our 2005 and 2006 dreamleague Summer Vegas Tourneys.
  • All three refs have no number on the backs of their shirts!
  • Another basketball legend (Hall of Famer along with Tark?), Tex Winter is nearby in the stands. He would stay almost the entire duration.
  • Eddie Jordan is sitting in the row behind the Wizards bench with his son. I coach dreamleague's all-star traveling tournament squad and as a fellow coach, it must be hard to just sit there and force yourself to relax and have a good time, resisting the urge to coach the team yourself. Nevertheless, Jordan would end up giving pointers to players throughout the game.
  • The NBA ball seems a bit overly orange-colored (normally with some use, NBA geniune grain leather balls turn brownish), eerily similar to the hue of the synthetics that got canned. I wonder if Spalding has made any changes to the original design.
  • Lamond Murray chatting it up with his aforementioned cousin, Tracy, along with Tracy's former UCLA teammate Jelani McCoy, who I once played pickup against as explained in my recent blogpost about how Kevin Durant should be the #1 pick. Lamond and McCoy would play in the next game between Denver and Dallas.
  • A scoreboard featuring two players with 6 fouls. You'll never see that in any regular season NBA game!
  • Ron Artest's son making his dad go here and there against Ron's wishes, basically giving his dad a taste of his own medicine off the court, haha!
  • NBA referee legend Tommy Nunez, probably sitting alongside two other legendary refs I don't recognize, at the baseline the whole game, helping critique the newbie refs. Nunez would stay there the entire 8 hours or so.
  • Btw, I have photos of all of these bullet points. I'll post them by Friday. Alright, now we can finally get to the game!

    Sacramento Kings vs Washington Wizards

    Again, who really cares who won? If we did, then summer league would be a real league, complete with its own final four and championship, which I honestly think they should do for their own sake, but that's another blogpost. What you want is nitty-gritty, the report on players that matter. I'll simply do this by starting out with the best player on the court.

    So overhearing the buzz in the crowd, everyone seems to be in love with the aforementioned Kings' summer league captain, Francisco Garcia. Against the Wizards, who sort of had no big headlines during the draft, you'd almost expect him to be the best player on the floor and I'm sure many scouts think that. But guess what, Poor Man's Commish doesn't think so.

    BEST PLAYER ON THE COURT

    I'm sure I'm going against the grain here, but IMHO the best player on the court was the Wizards' Dominic McGuire. He was certainly better than fellow draftee Nick Young. Whether or not he was better than Garcia is now open for debate.

    McGuire is a 6'7", 220-lb forward out of Fresno State. I'm thinking maybe the Fresno State vs USC brand name hurt his stock in the draft, as well as Young appearing in the NCAA tourney spotlight. McGuire is built rock solid and he uses that muscle. He hustles after every rebound. He attacks the rim, but not with reckless abandon or anything. He just uses his athleticism to his advantage. He also has a great attitude. He never complains and just hustles. Every team needs a guy like him and there simply aren't too many hustle guys like him in this era of NBA ball.

    The best thing about him is his defense. He's quick enough for a 6'7" small forward (if he had a consistent outside shot, he could be moved to the 2) to beat the guy he's covering to the spot. He drew a travel-that-would-have-been-a-charge on Garcia in the paint late in the game, but I have my reservations about Garcia as you'll see below. At #47, McGuire was a solid pick. Just based on his defense, power game, and athleticism alone, I see no reason why we won't see McGuire in the NBA for a long time.

    THE BALLYHOOED

    So what about Garcia? Well, he's a tall, lanky ballhandler at 6'7", but he's only 195 lbs. With these measurements to back me up, to me it was clear that McGuire was the better player. With NBA minutes under his belt, Garcia is the unquestioned leader of the Kings' summer team. My problem is, he's too, shall we say, "rigid". He's also too much of a finesse player. He's not a good penetrator in traffic. He can't get his body and shoulder low enough for the initial burst. Let's see, the boxscore says he had 0 rebounds -- see? But I don't see the Kings letting go of a leader like this anytime soon. That's why I think the summer league should be a "real" league. Then each team must have a floor leader like Garcia and these types of guys can at least develop mentally. Some teams don't have this, such as...the Warriors (read on!). Then again, I'm ranting about the players, not the teams, right?

    I'm just not impressed by Nick Young. His game is a-dime-a-dozen. Yes, he's youthful, has a good attitude, can hit an open jumper. But he smiles too much when things go wrong. Also, I don't like his release. He holds the ball too low in his palm. Let's check the boxscore: 3-for-14, 7 fouls, but 11 points.

    Mike Hall, who hails from George Washington, is too one-dimensional. He's a spot-up shooter at 6'8", sort of a poor man's Glen Rice. Only problem when you're a spot-up shooter with not much other game: you better hit your shots. He's not hitting his shots, be they open or with a hand in the face. I don't know how you keep him around unless he hits his shots, like at least 50% but more hopefully 60%. Boxscore: 5-for-13, 2-for-6 from downtown.

    And I haven't even gotten to Spencer Hawes, the Kings' draft pick at #10. Hawes has nice moves, but he's kinda slow (which is the primary reason why at 7'0", Yi Jianlian is going to be great -- 95% the 7-footers have the 7-foot problem: footwork, i.e., 7-footers usually don't glide down the court). You can see that his up-and-under or his fadaway could have mileage in the NBA. He can even dribble a bit, although he did have an over-and-back turnover as he failed to get the rock to a guard sooner on one play. The problem is, he wasn't hitting. Anything. I remember seeing an interview somewhere where a teammate of Patrick Ewing said Ewing had no game until he hit the gym everyday, perfecting the turnaround baseline shot. Well, Hawes better have Ewing's work ethic, otherwise he's a bust (although he's nowhere near Ewing in terms of turnaround quickness). Boxscore: 4-for-16, 0 offensive rebounds.

    DIAMOND IN THE ROUGH

    You know who I like? J.R. Pinnock of Hall's George Washington and Arkansas of the NBDL. He's a 2-guard, but he's listed at only 6'4". Out of everyone on the court, Garcia, McGuire, and Young included, Pinnock is the best at finding seams to squeeze through on the penetrations. He'll lead with his head or shoulder, the way you're supposed to. To me, he looks more like 6'5" or 6'6", but maybe it's his shoes or simply the fact that he stood out for me. Believe it or not, most summer league guards -- dare I say, the NBA itself -- don't know how to "weasel" their way into the paint. Pinnock is a pretty good surgeon. They had him backing up McGuire. They should have had him on the floor with McGuire because they are such different players, but again, this is not really a "league". Boxscore: 2-for-3, 5 points in 10 minutes played.

    Denver Nuggets vs Dallas Mavericks

    I've actually just finished writing the Warriors write-up below and it's already 10:30am, with today's slate of games to start at 1pm. So I'll have to post this later. However, I'll tell you right now that it's going to be an interesting post, because the best player on the court when Denver faced Dallas was Dallas point guard 6'0" Jose Juan Barea who is listed as playing with Northeastern last year, but is obviously from a foreign country. Get this: he reminds me of John Stockton. No kidding.

    Golden State Warriors vs San Antonio Spurs

    Alright, before I get into it, let me be the first one to say this: Marco Belinelli will for sure, hands down, win an NBA All-Star 3-Point Shootout contest soon. If not in 2008, then in 2009. Okay, we now resume our regularly scheduled broadcast...

    Some sights and sounds before watching the Warriors vs Spurs...

  • As I walk into the Thomas & Mack arena where the Warriors are warming up, I realize that it's probably better for a summer league team to play in the arena than at Cox. Just a closer feel to the real thing. But not like it matters. These pros have all been playing in big arenas, I think.
  • The announcer has a really cool job. There's also a specific script he goes by during each timeout. He's basically talking almost all the time.
  • Thomas & Mack has a scoreboard that lists the five on the court for each team and their uni numbers and stats. Thank goodness.
  • Baron Davis quickly walked by, with a camera-man (probably with NBA TV) closely in "pursuit", during the action late in the game. I didn't realize it until BD pass right by me -- remember, 2nd row, dude in the gold dreamleague jersey -- and didn't have a chance to snap a photo until he was well past. Looked like he was with a little kid (his son?) and they ducked into the baseline floor exit. Come to think of it, I'm not quite sure why BD would come to summer league except for his son or some close family member like that to catch the action. But then, wouldn't that person have all kinds of insider access during the regular season? I don't get it.
  • Oh wait, brain freeze. Of course. Baron came to watch Belinelli.
  • I'm watching Belinelli closely during warmups and he's hitting a lot of nice shots. I'll save the praise for his technique below, but it's not like he's hitting every single shot, like epic Chris Mullin proportions, although he was nailing a lot. It's amazing, all of his shots don't so much as arc and swish (a la Mully) as they  graze the back rim and go down straight. It's almost like he can control how that ball goes through the hoop. Actually, he doesn't even want to shoot all the time during warmups. He's also practicing a fadaway fake, up-and-under jumper. I suppose beyond his already-unveiled quick-release shot, that will be his next signature move.
  • Alright, here's the analysis you were waiting for.

    BEST PLAYER ON THE COURT

    Well, you won't be surprised. It's Belinelli. However, despite the aforementioned impressive shootaround, he did get off to a slow start before he started showing flashes. He began the game with a fadaway catch-and-shoot trey, which was literally the first "play" of the game, and back-ironed, leading me to think that he must have been doing a heat check from his shootaround!

    I know I already mentioned the name and it's kind of hard to resist the temptations, but you know what, Belinelli's game reminds me of Chris Mullin. For the reason why, we have to start on defense. Belinelli is not like most summer league players. He's not only unique on offense, but he's unique on defense. When guys cut off to set picks or position themselves on the other end of the frontcourt, Belinelli will reverse path and try to sneak a double-team (if he ends up near the ball) or a steal on another player on offense. Granted, Mullin executed his famous sneaky defense by using his quick hands and deceptively accurate footwork against opposing prey. Belinelli doesn't necessarily have quick hands and in no way does he look like Mully, but the strategy and thought process is similar.

    There's a parallel on offense, too, which is pretty obvious to the casual observer: Belinelli can hit shots. An open set shot is a foregone conclusion. In that vein, I wonder if Mully saw a little bit of himself when he drafted Belinelli.

    On one play which I got most of on video, while defending a Spur, Belinelli appears to lose his man off the dribble (a nice move by the Spur, btw), but then he flicks his left hand in there and taps the ball out, leading to a steal and fast break for the Warriors that Belinelli ends with an early-offense three. It was like he lost his man, but then maybe he was really baiting the Spur into that pick. In the clip, I think I missed the first part of that play and I'm a little upset at myself for not hitting the record button sooner.

    Belinelli didn't have as great a boxscore as his 37-point debut: 5-for-13 for 15 points, but the Spurs coach, Don Newman, certainly gave him tons of respect, early in the game, shouting, "Get up on him, get up on him!" and "Shooter! Shooter!" a few times when Belinelli had the ball beyond the arc. I was really looking forward to this game and felt somewhat blessed that my schedule coming here to Vegas matched up with this one, because the game after such a brilliant 37-point outburst is the key game. Now, we know Belinelli's not a flash in the pan, but nevertheless the game after is the one where the other team is going to really D up on him, now that the cat's out of the bag. And you know the Spurs, their whole franchise has too much pride, which I'm in great admiration of, to let anybody drop another 30 against them.

    Belinelli has an incredibly quick release for a touch that's as feathery as his. He kind of shoots flat-footed like Brent Barry, but his form is better and the feathery touch means he doesn't hold the ball too long or too low in his palm like Barry does to get the flick of the wrist. Belinelli's shot is more like a flick-snap. And he gets the ball up to his forehead really fast. As the dreamleague's commish, I must make my token tip of the cap to the Asian American basketball community here in saying that Belinelli's range of motion reminds me of the quick release of our Conant Chi, who played pro in Taiwan during the golden years of Taiwan's pro league. Only thing is, Belinelli is an NBA-sized 6'5", long, and fast.

    I hate to digress, but after watching Team China last night, which has its own cache of flick-snap shooters, I'm wondering why the NBA is in such a lack of shooters like that. Much like McGuire's hustle and the lost art of the midrange jumper, I guess I must defer to that "era" comment. We're just in an era where GMs don't pick pure shooters who have ultra-quick releases. Surely there's a guy out there who can hit the trey like Jason Kapono, yet has a quick-snap release? Now, mind you, as I've been saying, Belinelli is way more than a one-dimensional pure shooter.

    Per my criticism of Francisco Garcia, Belinelli can get his shoulder and upper body (thus lowering his center of gravity) down rapidly, allowing him to penetrate. He's quite effective at drawing the defender to contest a shot, so he can fake and attack the paint. He can go behind the back, which means I'm pretty sure he has the whole arsenal when it comes to ballhandling.

    Observers of this particular game will point to his 5-for-13 or maybe some of his turnovers or defensive gambles that turned into easy buckets which made Belinelli look bad on defense, but I've seen enough. Belinelli is absolutely the steal of the 2007 NBA Draft. This is coming from someone who has seen Dominic McGuire outplay Garcia and Nick Young, although the boxscore won't show these things. I'm only reporting what I saw and processing it the best way I know how.

    I do have some criticisms of Belinelli, but in the grand scheme of things, they are relatively trivial compared to what the Warriors are getting in the whole package. That fadaway trey with the defender draped over him that he busted out on the first play of the game and here and there later on. That's not a good play. If I'm his coach, and I'm not Don Nelson so I could be "wrong" (in the Warrior sense), I don't want him doing that unless the shotclock is under 4 seconds. He can get that shot anytime he wants. Also, at this early stage of learning and growth, let's not make that a bad habit. Let's focus on moving without the ball, which the Warriors' sets, to coach Keith Smart's credit, are already designed for him to do, and getting open. Let's cut to the tin every now and then, too, instead of out to the wing all the time. For now, let's get some basics down pat. Let's let BD and Monta Ellis help get you open.

    Because when this man is open, he's automatic. He will strike fear in defender's hearts because of that. So give credit to the Spurs for D'ing him up today, but it's a different ball game when BD is running the point.

    The other things is, like Brent Barry, Belinelli is thin and he was muscled up on a drive late in the game, although he did move his feet well and was in position. But hey, you can't be perfect. I'll take his thin 6'5" frame and his quick release and I'm happy. Hmm, I wonder if he should be lifting weights or not. I'm inclined to say no so that his shooting form does not get altered one iota. Then again, Reggie Miller worked out and got a few more muscles -- I think...OK, maybe he didn't.

    So now that I have spent an entire "Best Player on the Court" section ranting and raving about Belinelli, where do the Warriors as an organization beyond summer league, go from here? I can't believe I'm saying this, but with confidence in Belinelli's ballhandling and penetration abilities, I would have to say that Monta is hereby expendable (not that he wasn't, but remember we've been mentioning Ellis in the same sentence as someone Warrior fans worship: Kevin Garnett). So if I have deemed Ellis expendable, then by definition so are Stephen Jackson, Mickael Pietrus, and Matt Barnes.  

    It's going to be a great 2008 for the Warriors. Let the Oracle "Marco Polo" chants begin.

    THE BALLYHOOED

    Whew. How do I top that? Especially when I eventually post the YouTube videos? Well, I can't, but I'll continue to try and do my job. All of you Warrior fans must be wondering, how about Patrick O'Bryant? Unfortunately, I have nothing new to add to the table. He is what he is. He gets blocked shots, or shall I say, blocked "tips". Nevertheless they are blocked shots and do lead to Warrior fast breaks. However, the Warriors have sort of been getting that from Adonal Foyle, only with a wider and slightly shorter body, for a long time. Like I keep saying about most 7-footers, O'Bryant is just too slow on his feet to get beyond the doldrums. He's eons from an offense game like Tim Duncan's that would render the typical 7-foot slow-foot disease useless. He's a bit of a bust.

    Before Henry Abbott's TrueHoop interview with Pierre Pierce, I had never heard of the guy. Well, aside from Abbott's piece, do you know why he was interviewed? Because he's the starting point guard for the Warriors' summer league team. And there's really no one else to run the point. Okay, Nate Funk of Creighton will come in and do some minutes at the point (I think), but Funk is always the 10th-best player on the court when he's in there. Sorry, Nate. Don't take it personal. So anyways, in case you are wondering, Pierce is a solid player at 6'4", a rock at 195 lbs, hailing out of Iowa. What might get him on an NBA roster is his long arms and stick-to-itiveness. He dives after every loose ball, is relentless on defense although he could use a few more footwork drills to become a little quicker, and he can take the physical punishment. If he patents his right-side drive and long-armed swoop layup, if he starts to make that every single time, couple that with a consistent open jumper knockdown and top it off with some poke steals again thanks to his long arms, then his future in the NBA is wide open.

    DIAMONDS IN THE ROUGH

    There were actually no diamonds in the rough, per se, since Belinelli is becoming a Hope Diamond, on display right there in the middle of the room.

    I thought everytime a Spur made an impressive shot, it turned out to be Cheyne Gadson (Oklahoma State), but I look at the boxscore and he's only got 8 points on 4-for-9. Rich Melzer (Wisconsin-River Falls) had 21 and I do remember his name, but the problem with the Spurs' summer league team is, no one stands out enough for you to go, "I gotta remember that guy's name and not have to look him up in the program next possession." Most of the Spurs scorers are all about 6'6" or 6'7" and seem the same. Or maybe it was my eagle-eye attention to Belinelli. Nah, I don't think so. The Spurs' summer league team is just not remarkable. #28 draft pick Tiago Splitter either was not there or did not play. Matt Haryasz of Bay Area Stanford fame had a few good plays, especially passing the ball. He's pretty effective at using his long limbs to get where he wants, which accounts for his 6 rebounds in 12 minutes of play.

    LA Lakers vs Philadelphia 76ers

    I only caught the last bit of this one and I have to sign off right now, so I'll just say that Coby Karl looked alright. And Laker fans are the same, even in Vegas. I'm sure the GSOM community can already paint the picture before I even write the aricle.

    Team China vs New York Knicks

    Oh my lord, this one is going to be a long post which I need to do late tonight, even though I have other deadlines on Thursday. Looks like another all-nighter for me. In short, poor Yi Jianlian. His service on this hapless Chinese National team is not doing any justice to his NBA career. Look at the boxscore of this game and you'll see why. Ugh. Believe me, the can of worms has just opened.

    This FanPost is a submission from a member of the mighty Golden State of Mind community. While we're all here to throw up that W, these words do not necessarily reflect the views of the GSoM Crew. Still, chances are the preceding post is Unstoppable Baby!

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