1. It takes skill....
To mess up a franchise it takes many talented individuals working towards a singular goal over a sustained period of time. Look at Golden State. We've been doing it for a good few decades. Hell we even coined the pharse that is to be used when describing a basketball teams complete destruction by idiotic decision's from the team's management. But what James Dolan is doing in New York right now can only be described as a masterclass in ''GSW'ing''. Okay well let's start with of course the start of 10/11 season when the Knicks commit one of the single most secretly poisonous contracts in the NBA in Amar'e Stoudemire. You may or may no agree but paying close to 20 million for a guy that had injury issues but when healthy was the best PF in the league. And quite frankly when he was put together with that young and rather talented squad the Knicks had he was worth every cent of the 18 or so million he was payed in his first year.
I mean Raymond Felton turns into the best point guard in the NBA and hell the Knicks see success on a level of which they have not seen in years. But then Carmelo Anthony decided he wanted out of Denver and that New York would be a nice place to land. Well naturally a big market team needs to have big market players right? I mean look at Miami. Worked for them right? So it's gotta work for us. So of course the Knicks blow up the team that had been winning all year in favour for Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups. And wouldn't you know the team starts to struggle. But they make the playoffs and they get swept out of the park by the Boston Celtics(Which they deserved too). That off-season they make quite a move to get Tyson Chandler who was quite frankly one of the main reason's Dallas won a championship that past season. Chandler shores up the middle and forms the axis of averageness with Amar'e(Now struggling with both form and injury), Melo(Who looks like a lost child) and Chandler(This is what Dwight Howard could have been). Okay I'll admit that's a tad bit harsh on these 3 but Carmelo never got past the 1st round of a playoffs and Amar'e lost himself when he gained Melo. I can't fault Chandler because anybody that's as agressive as he is deserves my respect and anybody else's in the NBA.
Okay let's fast forward to about midway through the season when the Knicks suddenly pick up a PG by the name of Jeremy Lin. You may know what happened after that. But ''Linsanity'' started a revolution that led to some smart moves such as bringing in J.R Smith and Baron ''One too many'' Davis. Again they lose to in the playoffs(Heat in 5). Meanwhile in Denver a young talented rejuvenated roster takes the Lakers to 7 games. Now we move into the off-season and somehow some way James Dolan manages to mess things up by first off going back on his word and saying that keeping Lin was a premium even if it meant going over the luxury cap. Well great idea James. Shame it didn't work. Instead of getting back Lin they somehow managed to get their hands on Raymond Felton(Who's let himself go quite a bit) and have backed him up with Baron Davis.......yeah. Listen I don't think the Knicks are a bad team by any stretch of the imagination it's just they optimise the word ''mess'' right now. They have literally no clue what they are doing and it's only going to get worse from here on out for them.
Speaking of Denver....How good is that team going to be? I mean they re-sign McGee and Faried continues to improve along with Gallinari and the rest of that young ensemble? Holy crap it's good to be a Denver fan. I mean they've added two players who from what i've seen so far in this summer league are exceptionally talented and have a good chunk of potential in them. Fourner is a very good scorer but more so he's a great ball handler that has good enough hands to be a makeshift point guard if things go south. Just to give you an idea about how much the Nuggets like Fournier, he was actually not supposed to be even here for the Summer league. The Nuggets planned to use him as a stash prospect until he matured but after these performances Nugget Coach George Karl stated that he might very well stay in the states with the Nuggets.
As for their other scoring threat I will admit now that during the lead-up to last year's draft I had a giant crush(Draft Crush that is) on this guy. When I first saw the scouting reports on Jordan Hamilton I was sort of apprehensive about him but the more and more I watched his play at Texas I was kind of impressed by his ball handling abilities, his shooting and his ability to get to the bucket and draw contact. He's shown this is bucket loads so far in his appearances this week. He's been the teams highest scorer through the 3 games they've played. His stat line is reading at 19.0 PPG 6.7 RPG 2.0 APG with a .500 field goal percentage. That last piece of information is very key to me when I look at Hamilton as a whole. It's one thing to be a scorer but it's another to be a scorer that jacks up 20-25 shots and only makes 8 or 9. He hasn't shot more then 15 times and his worst shooting performance was 7-15. That in whatever way you look at it is good use of the basketball. Seeing both Hamilton and Faried has brought back a wave of nostalgia and questions about the 2011 draft such as. If we had taken Faried over Klay where would we be today? Would we have still traded Monta?
2. At some point this will get annoying but...
THE DONTAE! Am I starting to develop a certain amount of bias towards him but when he does what he does against one of the best center prospects that was a lottery pick in this years draft? You have to admire the guy's skill set. I mean he runs the floor like a gazelle, has great hands around the basket, finishes well and hell he can even step outside to train a 3pt shot now and again. Okay just to show you i'm not falling in love I have two major concerns about him going forward. Can he become stronger and more dominant player not only in the post but on the boards. It's my real concern considering how he's shown some tendencies to shy away which he won't be able to do against the Andrew Bynum's and Tim Duncan's of that western conference. But how good can he be? Try Top 5 center in the NBA good. I feel like i'm not only going out on a limb but on my whole body on this one. Speaking of going out on a limb I was sort of left with egg on my face after Royce White proceeded to be 3 assists away from a Triple-Double the game after I had gone and said that I wasn't that impressed with him. Okay to avoid further egg on face I'm only going to say this. I am underwhelmed whenever I see him. Maybe that's what he does. He ninja's the entire other team and almost get's a triple double every game. Okay so can we move on and never talk about it again? Yes? Fantastic.
3. How good is Damian Lillard?
Think John Wall without the turnover's. I'm not kidding, he's not as athletic as Wall but as far as being able to do it all at the point guard position and probably a better scorer. I've watched a lot of Damian Lillard in this Summer League and he just get's to the basket so easily. I mean it's impossible not to watch and think that he really shouldn't be doing that but he just turns the corner so well and his burst of speed on that first step to the basket is just unreal. What's even more crazy is the ease and which he does things with either hand. I mean he get's to the basket so quickly with both hands that it just leaves you thinking ''How the hell do you guard this guy?''. But wait for the good part. He's one of the best jump shooters and scorers that will come out of the draft in the next while. He just fills it up so well. His jumper is so easy and his range leads out to the 3 point line with no problems.
- Phoenix's front office over the past few days....
''Dammit we lost Gordon''
''Hey at least we got Beasley''
''Yeah, I suppose that's something. And we got Dragic''
'' That was a great deal by the way. Who did we draft again?''
'' Uh give me a second to check.....ah we took Kendall Marshall''
'' Isn't he a Point Guard?''
'' You know now that I think about it he is''
'' Wow, we sure dropped the ball on that one didn't we?''
''Oh yeah, but look on the bright side we got Luis Scola''
''' Hey did you see this scouting report from the Summer League?''
'' Summer League?''
'' Yeah, Supposedly it's something we send our young players to develop''
'' Oh man that's funny, kinda pointless isn't it considering we've been milking the Steve Nash gravy train for the past 5 years right?''
''You're not kidding. Anyway It says here that a guy called Markieff Morris scored 24 and had 17 rebounds''
'' Damm that's not that bad. What position does he play?''
'' Power Forward......wait a minute!!''
-Anybody else been hugely underwhelmed by Dion Waiters? I mean like ''Wasn't he supposed to be good''. Like he's shown some of his ability but he just plays like a 6th man instead of the starter that he really should be. Like really did the Cavs look at the Thunder and think well they used a top 5 pick on a guy that turned out to be a 6th man so why shouldn't we?
- It's been interesting to watch Wesley Johnson this week because I think he knows his ass is on the line and that he's really gotta show up. He's been the Wolves top scorer through both games and considering what the Wolves need for the SG position but he may actually be serviceable.
-John Henson was impressive in his opening game. Still doesn't stop him from looking like a stick figure but hell the guy was 1 rebound off a double double so who's counting?
(Woah, this article went in a real hurry. I promise that monolouge sounded terrific and incredibly smart in my own head. Final article will be on sunday but to keep things ticking over the GSW portion of the summer league Diary will come out Saturday or so after their final game. Hoped you enjoyed the article)