Golden State Warriors' Rookie Festus Ezeli Impressive In Day Two Of Las Vegas Summer League

After Harrison Barnes dominated the rookie spotlight for the Golden State Warriors yesterday, it was fellow 2012 draft selections Festus Ezeli and Draymond Green that stepped up to have an impact today in a 95-74 win against the Denver Nuggets.

Both Ezeli and Green were solid in their first outings yesterday, but they seemed to look a little bit more comfortable in playing to their strengths today - Ezeli looked much better in the paint against arguably stronger competition in the post and Green really showed off more of his all-around skill.

For Barnes, Nuggets forward Jordan Hamilton was just a tough matchup for him today.

Hamilton used his length to force contested shots defensively and quickness to get by him on offensively. Yet to Barnes' credit, he found ways to stay involved when his shot wasn't falling and turned it on in the fourth quarter, showing some of the impressive scorer's instincts and footwork that made him a lottery pick to begin with.

There's plenty more to say about Justin Burrell, Charles Jenkins, Klay Thompson and Jeremy Tyler as well. Some notes on them and the aforementioned rookies are after the jump with the help of live tweets from @PoorMansCommish, who had some good insights on something Barnes could work on to become a more dominant scorer (skip down to the end of the fourth quarter notes).

First quarter

  • Right off the bat, Faried got Tyler in an isolation and took him to school, drawing a foul on a little baby hook move. 2-0 Denver.
  • Like seeing Klay Thompson bringing the ball up and orchestrating things in this setting. It can only help the team for him to get some time directing things on the floor.
  • Barnes vs. Jordan Hamilton is becoming an interesting matchup. Hamilton's length is bothering Barnes quite a bit and forcing a two early misses for the rookie out of UNC.
  • Ezeli had a great putback dunk on a Barnes miss. Nice to see from him.
  • Evan Fournier picked Thompson's pocket at halfcourt, but Thompson came right back and nailed a three on him.
  • Tyler just can't even begin to guard Faried. At this point, when Tyler hasn't been out of position, he's struggling to stay with the active Faried. Obviously, Faried has proven to be a tough guard for just about anyone, but Tyler's performance thus far has been less than encouraging.
  • As though guard Faried weren't difficult enough, Tyler picked up an offensive foul on a pick and roll with Charles Jenkins in the right corner. In comes Justin Burrell to try guarding Faried.
  • Ezeli missed a putback off a Klay Thompson missed three, but again it's nice to see him in their battling with the size/experience the Nuggets have out there.
  • The Nuggets are trapping Thompson hard out of the pick and roll and he's struggling to get his way out of it, putting up a bad shot and being forced to take a timeout as he got tied up.
  • Barnes made a drive to the basket down the left side of the lane and didn't really come very close. On another play he drove into the lane and lost the ball. Barnes has hit a jumper with 1:49 left in the first.
  • Like Ezeli's defense on Gani Lawal - stayed down on a number of pump fakes and forced a travel. Good smart defensive play and showed better foot speed than we saw yesterday.
  • Charles Jenkins set up Burrell nicely on a drive and Burrell got fouled on the finish attempt.
  • Ezeli smashes a Faried shot off the backboard. Again, great play as a help defender after Faried lost Burrell with a nice fake.
  • On Denver's final possession, Jordan Hamilton drove right by Barnes for a shot in the middle of the key, leaving Barnes with no hope of recovering.

Second quarter

  • Draymond Green enters the game to begin the second quarter with Faried guarding him and hits his first shot: a three from the top of the arc. His next shot was a miss on a pick and pop with Ragland from three. An airball. But 1-for-2 isn't bad.
  • Justin Burrell with a great putback dunk early on.
  • Like Harrison Barnes getting his hand on the ball and poking it away as Faried was working in the lane. Good awareness, like the gamble there in help.
  • Really like seeing the Warriors get after it with some full court pressure D. In fact, I just like seeing the Warriors playing D at all.
  • Joe Ragland made a nice steal in the open court on Harper and Harper chased him down for a nice block of the layup, but you have to like the defensive intensity for Ragland right now.
  • Green just made a nice drive and kick to Robinson from the high post with Turk on him. Like to see Green being able to recognize and exploit a matchup like that.
  • Jenkins just made a beautiful move to the basket from the right wing to set up Draymond Green who read the play nicely. Jenkins actually looks good playing as the 2 with Ragland.
  • Burrell with another big block on Faried driving to the lane. He was whistled for a foul, but that was impressive. He would later get up for another near block, but got called for a goaltend. It won't show up in his numbers, but he has had an outstanding first half.
  • Barnes is losing this battle to Jordan Hamilton on both ends. By no means is Hamilton's first half production the sole fault of Barnes - Barnes was out for a lot of the damage - but the rookie is neither able to stay with Hamilton on defense nor get anything against him on offense.

Third quarter

  • The Warriors came out in the second half looking a bit out of sync with Thompson throwing an alley oop attempt out of bounds on a fast break and the team struggling to hit shots. Meanwhile, Jordan Hamilton came out and nailed his first shot.
  • Barnes got his second field goal of the day with just over 8 minutes left in the third - a fast break layup.
  • Tyler got the ball down low against someone other than Faried and traveled while trying to make a move.
  • Barnes got a steal but lost the ball.
  • Jenkins scores on another drive to the basket, which is nice to see, but it would still be nice to see him set up players more often. That was essentially a 1-4 flat set anyway, but Jenkins is still looking best as a scorer.
  • Jeremy Tyler got the ball in the high post and traveled again after dribbling himself into the paint.
  • Thompson had a nice pass up the court to Ezeli who did an outstanding job of running the floor in transition. He didn't finish the layup, but got himself to the line.
  • Ezeli is starting to look more comfortable in the paint, flashing without the ball and taking contact with it. He drew fouls on consecutive plays in one trip down the court, finding gaps in the defense, receiving passes nicely, and going up strong. Great to see.
  • Barnes picked up an assist to a cutting Ezeli off a Nuggets turnover in the backcourt. Good recognition by both players.
  • Harrison Barnes finally hit a three off a feed from Klay Thompson, who made a nice decision from the post.
  • Coming up the court in transition, Barnes got the ball on the left wing and mishandled it it trying to make a move to the basket. He just doesn't look very comfortable when forced to take more than one or two dribbles. To his credit, he recovered well.

Fourth quarter

  • Burrell made a good move from the right block, finishing with a nice baby hook and drawing the foul.
  • Barnes let 23 drive right by him with almost no resistance in the first minute of the fourth quarter.
  • Barnes missed a few shots around the basket early - can't blame him for getting blocked by Faried and the third miss was an alley oop try - but his activity on the offensive end with his shot not falling is encouraging.
  • Barnes missed another bunch of point blank shots, but his hunger to recover from the missed shots and chase down the ball has been impressive nonetheless. His steals have mostly been as a result of him remaining active and forcing poor decisions by the Nuggets. And on the shots themselves, he's showing excellent body control and good scoring instincts. He just has to find a way to get himself easier shots and learn how to convert some of his more difficult shots with some consistency.
  • Ezeli came with a strong move at the basket again and is really starting to own the paint offensively.
  • Thompson has still looked like a great player today, but Denver just actually decided to defend him after a hot start. He's making good decisions with the ball and - if you haven't followed him since college - his ability to get to the basket has improved dramatically since his time at Washington State.
  • Barnes converted a great spin move and short jumper in the lane after missing on a couple of nice moves earlier. I'm going to "quote" @PoorMansCommish at length about Barnes' body control and that type of move.
  • A great play from Ezeli in the post to Green at the top of the arc to Barnes for a three. And Barnes nailing that shot after struggling so much to hit his shot today is significant - he's maintained his focus, his footwork and his readiness and that's what helped him to nail that shot. Too many rookies would've taken themselves out of the game mentally after shooting so poorly in one game.
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