Knicks Fanatics

The Ultimate In Knicks Fandom and Fellowship

LAS VEGAS DIARY: DAY 1, PART 1

Good morning Fanatics.  Yesterday was a whirlwind and a helluva lot of fun out of the burning Vegas sun and the air conditioned confines of both the Cox Pavilion and the Thomas and Mack Center.  It was a long day but I watched three fabulous games.    By the end, my body felt like I had been in a prize fight I was so exhausted.  But before I get into real diary like detail, I wanted to hit you up with some quick obeservations about the players from up close and personal.

BLAKE GRIFFIN

The most obvious thing about these NBA Summer League games is that these guys are not playing the NBA game.  It is definitely not college or Euroball, but it is a smaller man’s game.  This is really a guard’s game, consistently up tempo.  I have not yet seen a big man with solid post up moves and a command of the game under the basket.  But I saw one big man play that would fill your basketball fantasy:  Blake Griffin.

I could not rave enough about this baller. When he first came out for shootaround in his over-sized sweats, I thought that he was a bit small for a power forward.  I swear that when I turned around and he had taken off his sweats, he grew about five inches.  Then we he played, he must have added another two.  He only scored 16 points and had 9 rebounds in a 88-86 victory over the Hornets, but his play was a revelation.  The man has a handle and he is very strong with the ball in his hand.  He was backing down, out-jumping and out-rebounding much bigger guys with ease.  And unlike Thabeet and our Jordan Hill, this guy was in great condition.  His motor was constantly on and he did  not stand around waiting for things to happen.

Here is the kicker though — normally it would be the handle, but this guy is really smart with the ball in his big hands.  He is an excellent passer and looks to see the entire court as it develops.  He was quick with the flick wrist passes and usually accurate.  The  other thing you will appreciate about him is that he is intense when he is playing.  Oh wait, there is a second kicker — if you can tell who is an NBA star by referee treatment, he is already a superstar because he got a couple o ridiculous calls including possession with a couple of seconds left after he pushed an opponent out of bounds.  Even I had to boo that call with everyone else.  But I promise they were not booing Griffin, just the NBA’s official officiating announcement that he has arrived.

DeAndre Jordan, Eric Gordon and Darren Collison

There were a few other notable performers in the Clipper-Hornet game: DeAndre Jordan, Eric Gordon and Darren Collison.  I don’t remember which Fanatics have been dissing all over Eric Gordon, but they need to give it a rest.  Really.  When you see Gordon leading the team with the ball in his hand, you know that you are looking at an NBA baller.  He scored 22 points and had only 1 assist and 5 turnovers, which is really problematic, but he can control the flow of the game and is very strong, solidly built.   These summer  league games seem to be low on assists generally, but the fact that Griffin (5 assts) can handle the ball with ease and can create his own shot off the dribble will cut into Gordon’s assist total.

DeAndre Jordan, 6’11", and going into his second year just played his height with 21 points , 12 boards and 3 blocked shots.  He was very active and the Hornets simply did not have an answer for him.  I really like the Clippers squad this year with Gordon, Jordan and Blake on the roster.  Somehow the Clippers usually find a way to suck, but a healthy Baron Davis (or a solid replacement) would go a long way to making this team a playoff contender.  Sterling got lucky this time, so far.

Darren Collison, drafted 21st by the Hornets, wsa very solid with 23 points, 4 assists and 4 turnovers.  I am really unsure about Mr. Collison although he certainly can play the point.  He is a bit slight in stature, but demands that I take a closer look at him during his next game.

NEXT: The Knicks

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July 15, 2009 - Posted by | Blake Griffin, NBA Summer League

2 Comments »

  1. Fanatics,

    I was impressed by Marcus Williams from Memphis.I thought we should have gave him a look at the back-up PG.Not sure why he didn’t work out in GSW,but the kid can play.

    Comment by D L T Knicks | July 15, 2009 | Reply

  2. DLT, I don’t know about Marcus Williams. For most of the game he was not very impressive. Solid, but nothing special. He did perform at the end of the game during which he clearly was more experienced than Douglas, but I didn’t get a strong feeling about his game. He is definitely an NBA player though.

    Comment by livesinnewjersey | July 16, 2009 | Reply


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