I'd like to start this off by helping you guys notice that this isn't your favorite Turtlefaced blogger. So some of the thoughts and opinions in this recap are going to differ from some of the summer league stuff you guys have already read about. As always, feel free to agree, disagree, or none of the above.
This was the first game that I got to watch all the way through, and holy cow it was an ugly one. If the Grizzlies had kept a game close with a team that actually cared about winning, that might be a positive. Unfortunately, every time Kurt Rambis or David Kahn talk, they remind everybody that nobody in Minny actually cares about fielding a good team.
Sadly, the Grizz actually lost to the pathetic T-Wolves, 66-65, to take suffer their first summer league loss since 2008. With that, we're off...
- Hasheem Thabeet does look improved, despite having an off night. He looks much more calm and focused in the paint. Is he good yet? Not really. But although his stats won't wow you with 6 points, 8 boards, 3 blocks and 8 fouls, he had an alley oop dunk that kinda looked flashy. A little bit of tenacity in there. I liked it. He also hit a pull-up jumper from close to the elbow. I'm not kidding. If he can do that...wow.
- Sam Young's 25 points were, as described Allen said last night, ugly. Not his best night tonight. But his three-point stroke looks much improved. He should get open looks and I think he'll hit at a higher percentage this season.
- I might be starting to come around a little bit with Greivis Vasquez. More later, but his size is a huge (no pun intended) asset, and playing with OJ, Rudy, Z-Bo and Marc, he'll have four legit scoring threats to dish to. He definitely should be able to rack up assists, especially in the open floor in the transition game.
- I don't love Jeff Adrien as much as some, but the man can rebound, that's for sure. He throws his weight around and hustles after loose balls, which is always valuable.
- Darrell Arthur was on and off. He didn't impress me a ton, but I saw flashes of him becoming an effective low post player. Considering that Carroll and Young play on the wing, Arthur would be SO valuable if he could provide solid rebounding and defense. I know DJT said Carl Landry-esque. I'd settle for Drew Gooden-ish.
- Plenty of ugly stuff about this game, but I want to start on a general note. I really think the summer league should be taken with a grain of salt. For a large portion of the game, DeMarre Carroll and Old Man Sam were splitting time at shooting guard. That should NEVER happen. EVER.
- However, because X isn't playing, there are really no other options. This is part of what leads to Junkyard Dog dribbling into a turnover or OMS chucking a ball nowhere close to the rim. They have to, because really nobody on this summer league team can create their own shot.
- This leads me to the regular season. I seriously believe that when Marc and Z-Bo are passing out of double teams and collapses, JYD and OMS are going to hit an open shot. But when they have to go off the dribble? Not so much.
- Out of position or not, JYD needs to hit his damn free throws. He wasn't this bad at Mizzou, but he's definitely not inspiring much hope this summer.
- More on DeMarre. I want to preface this by saying I watched this guy a ton at Mizzou. I know his strengths and weaknesses. Or I did. But it's like somebody told this guy, "Hey, all that scrappy stuff you did, like taking charges, diving for loose balls, tracking your defender... We don't do that in the NBA." Because he looks like a different player. The stuff that made him special, his intangibles, aren't shining as bright right now.
- Hasheem is still soft at times, and I didn't see any baby hooks tonight, his best scoring move in the post. Two separate issues. I think the biggest reason why the baby hook thing pisses me off is because he was mostly being guarded by Patrick Freaking O'Bryant. He should have dominated.
- Vasquez is slow as molasses. He hasn't gotten completely torched yet, but then again we're in the summer league. On the bright side, it's like he knows where he's supposed to be, but he just can't get there quick enough. His basketball IQ impressed me, and agility is something you can improve.
- Also, Vasquez, maybe half the time, would cross half court and then literally back down his defender all the way to the three point arc. That just is not going to work in the regular season. Yeah, his size is a great advantage in most cases, but he's gotta be able to face his defender and see the floor.
I wish I could debut my summer league coverage on a more happy note for you guys, but tonight's game didn't inspire a ton of love for me. However, like I said, nearly everybody on the team is playing out of position. There is not one reliable shooter, and Vasquez is the only NBA level ballhandler. Put Xavier Henry out there, and this team instantly looks way better.