This last week, the Energy roster suffered some changes.
Since Hassan Whiteside was absolutely dominating the glasses of the D-League during the first three games of the season, the Miami Heat called him up, so the Iowa Energy were left without his powerful center and dunking & rebounding machine. (Anyway, best luck out there in the NBA Hassan!)
After that, the Energy have had to handle the task of patrolling the D-League paints to the two big fellas (both 6-8 and very well known in Memphis) Ferrakohn Hall and Pierre Henderson-Niles. And that basically means that the Energy will have to rely too much on the perimeter game to keep wining basketball games.
The good thing is that the perimeter game of the Energy keeps getting better and better with the addition of not one but two JordanS: the Grizzlies rookie Jordan Adams (see more here), and the NBA vet but still 24-year-old Jordan Hamilton.
Hamilton was drafted in the first round (26th overall) in the 2011 NBA Draft after playing two years at Texas. He has played for the Nuggets (2011-2014) and the Rockets (2014) and he holds NBA career averages of 5.8 points, 2.8 rebounds, 0.8 assists, and 0.406 shooting in 126 games. So it's a totally exciting signing for the Iowa Energy.
The combination of Lucas and Garrett at the point and Christopher, Wilkins, Adams, and Hamilton at the wings, transforms instantly the exterior rotation of the Energy in one of the best in the D-League (no doubt about it). But in this beautiful game called basketball, generally the tall and talented guys are the ones who make the difference (where are some more Gasol brothers when you need them?) and turn misses into buckets and defeats into victories. And talented tall guys is just what the Iowa Energy team is missing right now, and also the biggest reason they lost their first game of the season against the Grand Rapids Drive.
OK, stop it right now Hasheem Thabeet!!! Do you think that just because I am speaking about losing the game not having tall talented guys, I was really meaning that YOU (starting center for the Drive team) were the reason the Grand Rapids won the game? LOL. Give me a break, man. You played horrible. I was speaking about the good rebounds and fight your teammate Willie Reed (14 rebounds and 5-5 shooting) brought into the game.
For the Grand Rapids, Lorenzo Brown (22 points) and Adonis Thomas (20 points) were also the top performers of the game.
And for the Energy, the top players were Diante Garrett (18 points and 7 rebounds), and Kalin Lucas (17 points), but they were not able to overpower the best effort of the Drive team in the last two quarters of the game.
The two new Energy additions played really well, though. Jordan Hamilton scored 11 points in 18 minutes of action where he showed some flashes of leadership. And Jordan Adams played 29 minutes finishing the game for the Iowa. He had the best +/- differential of the team with +9, scored 13 points on 5-7 shooting showing the people in Grand Rapids his talent and smooth offensive arsenal (a bit of everything really: fast break, step back, long two, tough fadeaway, corner three, and two free throws) and put a good effort defensively (5 rebounds and 1 steal).
And that was all. Drive (3-3) 102, Energy (3-1) 97.
Stay tuned for the next game, on the road again (the last one before going home, sweet home, and inaugurate the season in Des Moines) on Tuesday, December 2 at Fort Wayne, against the Mad Ants (2-4).