Team USA Scrimmage - Recap
I'm going to keep this one pretty short because it was more All-Star game than an actual game so there wasn't much to note as far as actual basketball being played. Our own Anthony Randolph made an impact, although you won't read about it in the MSM, playing for the blue team, who I felt had less talent overall than the white team, but ended up winning the game 100 - 81 with a strong second half showing.
Brook Lopez - C
Josh Smith - F
Kevin Durant - F
Andre Iguodala - G/F
Russel Westbrook - G
Greg Oden - C
Jeff Green - F
Rudy Gay - F
OJ Mayo - G
Derrick Rose - G
Onto the player reviews ...
Anthony Randolph - 12 pts (on 4-8), 4 rebs, 1 stl, 1 blk, 1 to in 16 mins
AR started off looking a little meek and out of place (in his defense he was actually out of place because they had him playing the 5, backing up Brook Lopez and playing against Javale McGee.) Unlike Summer League, he looked like he didn't feel like he belonged out there. Sometimes I wonder if the kid really knows how good he is. He ended up tweaking one of his fingers during play in the first half and had to have it wrapped, it seemed minor though and he continued to play through it. After he got his feet wet a bit, he started to play like the AR we are all getting to know.
He didn't have much of an impact in the first half, missing an alley-oop, picking up a loose ball for a dunk, and hitting a free throw, but he started the second half and really picked up then. He was magnificent in transition, taking a rebound and a steal coast to coast and jamming it down over a defender (once was McGee, I can't recall who was the other, maybe Milsapp) drawing lots of oohs and ahhs from the crowd. He also got back in transition on defense and stopped McGee at the rim as he tried his own monster dunk, getting a piece of the ball and it went flying off the rim.
Randolph showed off some of his half-court skills too by crossing over McGee and pulling up for a jumper (he missed it), and pump faking McGee to get by him to the rim where he was fouled (he made both free throw shots.) He ended the game with a step back three pointer, again over McGee. Despite playing out of position against a bulkier opponent, AR pretty much punked McGee all game long, as McGee couldn't handle his quickness and his ball handling. In my opinion, Randolph was the third best player on the Blue Team.
Brook Lopez - 18 pts (on 7-8), 4 rebs, 1 blk, 1 stl, 1 to in 22 mins
I never really watched much of the Nets this past year so this was really my first time watching Lopez play since his Stanford days. He was definitely the best big man in the game. His game has really matured. He's cultivated some solid post moves and he's even extended his range, hitting a three in the game. He was solid defending Greg Oden and managed to keep him out of the lane for most of the game. He didn't rebound as well as I would have liked to see out of a big, but like I said it was pretty much an all-star game so you can't put too much stock into it.
Kevin Durant - 20 pts (on 5-12), 8 rebs, 4 ast in 23 mins
Offensively, he was the best player on the blue team. His reputation for not playing defense though is well deserved (although only Westbrook and Ronnie Brewer really played any defense in this game.) Until he learns to play defense, he'll always be a second tier star ala Carmelo Anthony (although Melo shined in the playoffs this year, so he may have put himself into the Kobe/Wade/LeBron discussion.)
Josh Smith and Thaddeus Young
Both lefty, tweener forwards, much like our beloved Anthony Randolph and all three were on the same team. Watching all three of them play, I'd take AR over the other two any day of the week. Smith plays on the perimeter way too much on offense and his shot is terrible. Smith's defense and rebounding are very similar to AR.
Young appears stronger and possibly quicker than Smith and Randolph, and has a more polished offensive game than either right now. However, defensively he's not even close to the Smith/Randolph pair, nor is he a good defender.
Rudy Gay - 27 pts (on 11-12), 4 rebs, 2 ast, 3 stls, 3 tos in 27 mins
OJ Mayo - 13 pts (on 5-16), 2 rebs, 4 ast, 4 tos in 23 mins
Between the two Griz members, they took and made nearly half of the shots on the white team. I find it especially hilarious considering the Griz just added Zach Randolph, one of the biggest black holes in all of the NBA. Let's just say that I wouldn't be surprised to see the Griz set a NBA record for lowest assist total in a season. I also wouldn't be surprised to see Chris Paul rack up more assists next year than the entire Griz team combined.
Rudy Gay was at least ultra-efficient with his shots. He ran out on the fast break a ton, picking up easy dunks, and drained 3-4 of his threes. OJ Mayo on the other hand .... Mayo hit three threes in a row (on three consecutive possessions) and then went on to brick five in a row (with maybe one possession where he didn't take the shot in between.)
Derick Rose - 6 pts (on 3-7), 3 rebs, 2 ast, 4 tos in 28 mins
He was very unimpressive in this game, taking a deferential role to just about everyone on the court. His speed is impressive and he has a wicked crossover, but his court vision isn't the greatest and he still turns the ball over too much. He needs to work on extending his range out to the three point area or he's gonna end up facing the Rondo defense.
Greg Oden - 7 pts (on 3-6), 10 rebs, 1 ast, 1 blk, 1 stl, 1 to in 24 mins
Oden looks to finally be comfortable with the knee and he was getting a decent amount of lift on his jumps and overall just moving better than I had seen him in years. He is still raw offensively, but he should be able to make a major impact this coming season on the defensive end if he can cure his H(uman)F(oul)M(achine)itis.
The rest of the guys didn't really make a positive impression on me. In fact, Michael Beasley, who was in the stands stood out more to me than some of the guys in the game with his half-time shooting antics and his overall "life of the party" attitude, yucking it up with AR, Derrick Rose and the rest of his class.