LV Summer League - Day 1 - First Impressions

I think like a lot of people here, I was highly optimistic of the 2009 summer league GSW team.  A bigger, stronger Anthony Randolph?!  Improved Anthony Morrow?!  New man crush Stephen Curry?!  Highly touted Aussie Joe Ingles?!

Game 1 - GSW vs. Houston Rockets

Sadly, the GSW's started off the Las Vegas summer league like the regular season GSW's ended it.  Getting outrebounded by a LARGE margin (45 to 29), shooting terribly (37% from the field as a team), and falling apart down the stretch to lose to the Houston Rockets summer league team 73 - 69.

I know it's just summer league and the team aspects usually aren't even worth watching, but, the summer league team seems to have the same deficiencies as the big league team (including staying healthy.) 

Onto the player breakdowns:

Anthony Randolph - 20 pts (on 10 - 17), 10 rbs, 3 ast, 2 stl. 3 tos

Everyone by now has heard about the work that he's been putting in during the offseason and we're all excited to see how his game has progressed.  He put up a good stat line, but unfortunately if you watched the game you would have seen that his game hasn't quite made that jump that I was hoping for.  He was pretty much the same AR of last season.  One moment he's slashing to the hoop and catching an alley-oop from Steph Curry, the next moment he's dribbling into 4 guys on the break, losing the ball, and falling down.  The human highlight film / embarrassment real lives on. 

He played heavy minutes (33) and at times he was really winded and had to pull himself out of the game.  On the good side though, he was really aggressive on defense and was one of the few Warriors that were actually hustling to get rebounds / loose balls.  His ball handling seems to have improved, but his decision making still remains suspect (e.g. his traveling violation with 5 secs to go, when he probably should have put up the wide open 3 with the team down by 3.)  He needs to be more consistent and under control, at times it seemed like he was trying too hard.

Anthony Morrow - DNP (sprained ankle)

This was the biggest disappointment for me as I'm a huge Morrow fan.  He was limping around during the warm-ups so I'm not sure if he's going to suit up at all during the summer league, but for the Dubs sake I hope he does because they sure could use his scoring and rebounding.

Stephen Curry - 16 pts (on 4 - 14), 1 reb, 3 ast, 2 stl, 4 tos

His numbers were much less impressive than how I felt he actually played.  We all know he's a great shooter, so I'm not worried about the 4 - 14 shooting, I was mainly concerned with his ball handling, playmaking, and defense.  In the three areas that I was most concerned with, I think he faired very well.   In the first half, he mainly played off the ball and let Law be the primary handler.  Offensively he was fairly passive during the first half (I think he hit one 3 and missed a few other jumpers) electing to try and involve his teammates more.  In the second half however, they put him as the primary ball-handler and he started off the third quarter really aggressive, hitting two more threes and making several nice drives to the hoop, where he got fouled.

His shot is one of the nicest shots I have seen up close.  His release is so quick, that he usually gets the shot off before the defender can even react.  As a spot up shooter he's deadly.  However, like Morrow, he seemed to struggle putting the ball on the floor and pulling up with a jumper.  He did surprise me with his ability to get to the hole and get to the line though.

He showed flashes of his playmaking skills with several nice lobs and a well executed pick and roll with AR.  He did make a couple turnovers on poorly thrown lobs and entry passes however.  That kind of stuff will get better over time once he's more used to working with AR and others.

He did an excellent job pushing the ball in the second half and making the right decisions.  He played the most minutes on the team (35) and towards the end you could tell he was tired as all his shots that weren't even hitting the rim before, were all hitting short (including one free throw.)  I think he went 0fer the 4th quarter, which further lent to my feeling that he was getting tired.

His defense was what surprised me the most.  Don't get me wrong, he won't be mistaken for Raja Bell or Bruce Bowen, but he did an adequate job of staying in front of his man and not allowing dribble penetration.  He was active in the passing lanes, and ended up with a few steals.  Where he needs to improve though is his weak-side defense as he tends to help off his man a lot leaving them open for shots and he needs to communicate better (I say this is a team-wide problem though, not just him) as there were quite a few times when he would switch on a pick and the other guy wouldn't switch so there would be two guys covering the pick man and no one on the ball.

Overall it was a solid start.  His shooting will certainly improve, although it should be noted that he was defended a majority of the time by James White (listed 6-7, with mad hops.)  He may struggle getting his shot off against bigger guys like Kobe, etc. but against point guards and smaller SG's he shouldn't have a problem due to his quick release.  He's a lot more athletic and stronger than I thought and posseses quickness that I never knew he had.  He's got a great motor and like AR was one of the few Dubs who were fighting and scrapping the whole way through.

 Acie Law - 8 pts (on 3-6), 1 reb, 4 ast, 1 stl, 4 tos

I'm not gonna sugar coat it, I was pretty disappointed with Acie's performance.  He wasn't terrible by any means, but I really didn't even notice that he was on the court (and he was on the court for 31 mins.)  Other than the one nice pass to JD, the only other thing I remember about Acie was the *THUD* of his head hitting the floor at the end of the first half.  He was fairly unremarkable throughout the game and seemed to disappear completely in the second half.  I have a hard time believing he gets any more playing time than MWill  did last year.  Unless he improves dramatically, CJ Watson is still the #3 PG behind Monta and Steph.

Jermareo Davidson - 4 pts (on 2-6), 2 rebs, 0's the rest of the way

I was never a big fan of JD's game, but man he was terrible today.  His defense was non-existant (he made Joey Dorsey look like Dwight Howard), couldn't get a rebound to save his life (0 defensive rebounds) and generally acted like he didn't even care to be there, which isn't a good sign since he's fighting for a contract.  At least with Rob Kurz you got effort, which is more than I can say for JD brought today.  Unless he brings a ton more effort, don't expect him to be on the roster for this coming year.

Cartier Martin - 14 pts (on 5-11), 4 rebs, 1 to

For me, he was the biggest surprise of the day.  He played hard and scrappy, fighting for loose balls, stepping in for charges (I think he did it 3 times if I recall correctly) and playing some tough D against bigger guys.  His main weakness is his shot.  His shot is like the polar opposite of Steph's shot.  It's U-G-L-Y.  But, the rest of his game makes up for it.  Think a broke man's Ron Artest (minus the crazy.)  Right now I think he has the best shot at making the team, but his game is duplicated by KAZ (who is a much much better shooter) so I don't think he really fits on the roster, but the rest of these guys don't even belong in the NBA.

Joe Ingles - 3 pts (on 1-3), 0 rebs, 1 to

Behind the big 3, I was looking forward to seeing Ingles the most.  I had heard about him on the Aussie squad and was hoping he would be the 3 / 4 tough rebounder that the Dubs need.  I felt he had the best shot of all the undrafted FAs to make the team.

He ended up being the biggest disappointment of all for me today.  He was extremely tentative to the point where he seemed scared.  He was left wide open all day after the first three he put up was an airball.  He continued to get wide open looks and passed them up, which caused AR to yell at him *SHOOT IT*.  His ball handling was better than I expected (he played point forward a few possessions.)  His defense was not terrible, but he did look lost a few times.  His rebounding however was terrible (0 rebounds in 17 mins.)  He's going to need to improve that dramatically to have a shot at making the team.

Lawrence Hill - 2 pts (on 0-5), 7 rebs, 1 stl, 2 tos

In the limited playing time that he got, he did a great job hustling for boards.  Offensively he's terrible, but at least he gave the Dubs a second rebounder for the 10 minutes he was on the court to take some of the load off AR.

Jared Jordan, Quan Prowell, Conner Atchley, Lawrence Roberts, Jamal Sampson

They all got little or no playing time and none will realistically have a shot to make the roster.

Bonus Bits

Ronny Turiaf showed up halfway through the first quarter and sat behind the bench to watch and cheer on the kids.  Proving once again what a great teammate that guy is.

I sat around to watch the first half of the Sac vs. Det game to see Tyreke and the rest of Sac since GSW plays against them tomorrow.  They were extremely unimpressive, particularly Tyreke Evans.  I'm skeptical that he will be able to play the point in the NBA.   His court vision is worse than Monta's (several times Jason Thompson was running the lane or cutting to the hoop while Tyreke dribbled the ball into the floor and completely missed him - to the point where JT was getting annoyed.)  He reminds me of a quicker Corey Magette, with a MUCH uglier shot.  He bullies his way to the free throw line a lot, too bad he made like 50% of them unlike Magette. 

I'll save my conclusions until all five games have been played, but it was at best an inauspicious start for the Dubs.

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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