Vegas Summer League: Grizzlies vs. Hawks Recap

Well the Grizz picked up their first win of the Vegas Summer League, but don't get too hopeful that they'll match last year's 5-0 record. This was an ugly second half against a bad team.

Those of you who were around for last year's Summer League, which is probably none of you, know how this works. Its Summer League and therefore not real, which means you don't get paragraphs or a story, you get a bunch and bunch of bullet points. Look, we all deserve a vacation. 

Anyway, the most important bullets are up top, but over the jump there is certainly more worth peeking at and commenting on:

  • Xavier Henry is not playing in the Summer League. Apparently his contract negotiations have stalled, and X's agent Arn Tellem is refusing to let him play until he's inked. Every 12th pick gets paid the same in the end. Come on guys, Greivis Vasquez was still out there, and he's not official yet either.
  • O.J. Mayo was the best player on the court, but Jeff Teague was clearly the better point guard. More on the Mayo experiment over the jump.
  • The Grizzlies had a huge lead at half, the non-roster guys blew it, but then the roster guys played the Hawks about even. Luke Jackson dominated for periods of time. That's not a good sign, since Teague and Jordan Crawford are the only Hawks likely to be in the NBA.
  • Darrell Arthur and Hasheem Thabeet had a magical synergy flowing. I could feel it through my wireless connection. Powerful stuff. More on both later.
  • Greivis Vasquez looked really good at first, came down to earth, then you began to realize he couldn't guard Teague or Jordan Crawford. Again, those were the only NBA players on the Hawks. Slightly troublesome.
  • Non-Grizzly Jeff Adrien hit the glass with a vengeance, grabbing tons of offensive boards. He should get a look as big man depth.
  • In fact the Summer Grizzlies played a lot like the real squad, running up and down the court and crashing the boards. The downside is that O.J. Mayo was still the only reliable shooter and turnovers, attention-lapses were major issues.
  • The defense looked good much of the time, with lots of switching for a SL team. But there were lots of bad switches, too. Sam Young and DeMarre Carroll were typically the culprits.
  • Sam Young looked just like he did last year. Showed flashes, but still dribbles through the lane slow enough to honor his "Old Man Sam" namesake, is out of control, has awkward shooting form, and is not looking to distribute.
  • Defensively Sam constantly tried to get steals, literally constantly, and ended up getting zero. I don't think he was ever even close. 
  • Predator looked great at first, and the team was rolling. Then Predator looked horrible, and so did the team. I wrote this: "Someone needs to tell Predator that every second he dribbles is a second of all our lives that's completely wasted." When things are going well and Carroll can just fill the gaps with energy, he's good. If you ask for any more, he's pretty bad.
  • Vasquez scored just 2 points on 3 shots. He missed 2 three pointers. Fortunately he had 4 assists, albeit to 3 TO's, and should have gotten more. The fillers muffed a couple of his most creative passes, and he had a few bad break misses.
  • The Terp also had 2 steals, but generally looked really terrible when isolated against fast guys like Teague or Crawford. Team defensively, he's great at reading passing lanes and rotates well, but he'll have serious trouble guarding NBA points. My comparison to old Jason Kidd still seems apt.
  • O.J. Mayo didn't look like a point guard out there. He had 3 assists to 8 TO's. If all his assist opportunities were converted, he still would have only had about 6 assists.Fortunately he bailed himself out by scoring 20 on just 13 shots. Lionel Hollins and Mike Conley just popped champagne somewhere.
  • Fortunately Mayo's defense on Teague was much more than adequate. It gives hope for the Vasquez-Mayo backcourt with shared ball-handling duties, which looked like the most dynamic lineup all night.
  • To end on a positive note, Darrell Arthur played his role to a T. Arthur had 17 on 13 shots in just 25 minutes, but didn't look selfish for a second. Him and Thabeet gladly shared the post, and Arthur even had some great passes in to Big Tanzania.
  • To end on an even more positive note, Hasheem Thabeet has improved. No doubt in my mind. Is he great? No. But Thabeet is certainly learning how to play basketball.
  • Hasheem never toyed with foul trouble, kept Teague out of the paint, led the team with a +12, showed good looking hook shots, and no longer looked lost while rebounding. Thabeet got the ball to the point quickly after rebounds, he kept the ball high, quickly passed out of a few double teams he saw, established deep post position, and attacked from either block and the middle. Now that's a list I can get behind.
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