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Untouchable

Again, not like Summer League scores mean anything but the Grizzlies won another contest 85-68 last night against the Clippers, led by Blake Griffin. I'd like to stress here that Summer League box scores don't really mean anything, because you have no clue who was defending who, what kind of talent they were on the floor with, and all kinds of other variables that involve non-NBA players.

So again I'm going to avoid giving any sort of box score style recap. If you want that look at the box score above and imagine one. Instead I'm going to drop a quick list of thoughts from the game, which will include more Thabeet slamming, but start with another top pick:
  • Blake Griffin is an extremely skilled player. He caught a bit of a bad rap for being raw or relying too much on his athleticism, but I don't see it. He played the Summer League like it was a real game, deferring to his teammates, playing great defense, getting his points without needing set plays. Also his handles are quite good already, and I have no doubt that they'll continue to improve. He is much better than Michael Beasley.
  • DeMarre Carroll looked excellent again, whenever he got action just in the flow of the offense or on the break he looked great. But like Griffin it's not like he forced anything and played the Summer League like it was a real game. He finished creatively around the rim and did the little things. I have no doubt he will be an excellent rotation player this season.
  • Sam Young, on the other hand, is difficult to get a bead on because he seems to be forcing things. This wasn't manifested in the box score for some reason, but despite only having 1 turnover he really looked out of control. Also he doesn't seem to have a great sense of how the defense is going to shift and move based on his own actions. Not as smart as he should be at 24, I can see some of the concerns that made him slide on draft day. Will still be a serviceable sub over the course of the season though.
  • Marcus Williams might have put up a killer stat line but he didn't look great or even NBA ready. Barely passed the ball, settled for fading threes with 15 seconds on the shot clock, looked for his own shot to a fault. Mike Taylor might have sent him to the line 20 times, but a real NBA point guard wouldn't be so foolish. I would venture to guess even Mike Taylor wouldn't foul him 9 times in a real game. Rumor has Anthony Carter coming to Memphis for the veteran's minimum because he'll be losing minutes with Denver picking up Ty Lawson. I would certainly advocate the steady, experienced Carter over Williams, who doesn't seem to have figured out that his game is as a pass-first guard.
  • Darrell Arthur looked like nothing this game, still quick I suppose. He was playing against Blake Griffin pretty often, however, which would be a tough matchup for lots of young power forwards in the league. Arthur did have one nasty dunk in transition.
  • I liked the look of Haddadi again, but he's not ready for more than 10 minutes a night. Still his passing tools are there, which is an interesting skill. He just needs more experience to get the vision to couple with the skills. Turns the ball twice as often as he makes a fantastic pass, but at least he is making fantastic passes, unlike...
  • Hasheem Thabeet looked terrible again, he is a project. Sorry, there is no other way to put it, but Thabeet is not going to be ready to contribute unless he travels to the Joshua Tree and "finds himself" later this summer. The kid just has no basketball skills. Both Chris Wallace and Rudy Gay stepped into the booth to provide a fun guest for the 3rd and 4th quarters, respectively. Wallace tried to defend Thabeet as a valuable asset this season, but Rudy knew better and openly admitted that his UConn buddy is still extremely raw to contribute. I'm not terribly worried because Gasol is still a solid starter for what the Grizzlies want to do these next few seasons, but Tyreke Evans, Rubio, Harden, Curry or even guys like Terrence Williams and Jennings would have been better options.