HoopsHype.com Articles

Randolph is next
by Joel Brigham / July 15, 2009

Anthony Randolph - Steve KylerGAME 1: New York Knicks (0-1) 86, Memphis Grizzlies (2-0) 90

STUDS: Without question Darrell Arthur was the best player in this game (22 points, 6 rebounds, 3 blocks) with his solid offense, aggressive rebounding and smothering defense. A lot of times you can just tell when certain players on a different plane than most of the other guys on the floor, and Arthur looked like that today.

But what most people attending this game seemed most interested in was the performance of the New York rookies, Jordan Hill and Tony Douglas. While Hill was the lottery guy, it was Douglas was the one who really looked sharp, dishing out 11 assists with zero turnovers.

Morris Almond and Joe Crawford looked good for New York, too, and on the Memphis side DeMarre Carroll showed some brief flashes of brilliance as well. He’s got plenty of room for growth still and should be a pretty solid pro.

DUDS: Hasheem Thabeet looked brutal, finishing the game with only 6 points and 6 rebounds in just under 24 minutes of action. His play was generally lackadaisical, meaning the only rebounds he pulled down were the ones that came right to him. At 7’3” he should be ripping down at least 10 boards a game, especially when Jordan Hill is the guy he’s boxing out all game. Overall, severely unimpressed with the #2 overall pick in this last year’s draft.

Speaking of Hill, he didn’t really show an A-game, either. He tried to do too much with the ball on the floor and just didn’t make the smartest decisions with the ball. He never even came close to dominating this game, which left him relatively ineffective despite his so-so numbers (13 points, 8 rebounds). It’s hard to call him a “dud” in this game, but he certainly wasn’t the “stud” Knicks fans would’ve liked him to be.

GAME 2: Cleveland Cavaliers (0-3) 93, Washington Wizards (1-0) 96

STUDS: Nick Young was just on today, dropping in 36 points on 13-for-19 shooting from the field (he was 13-for-16 about halfway through the fourth quarter), including 5 three-pointers. Most importantly, as Young himself admitted after the game, he did it taking smart shots and not putting the ball on the floor too much.

Andray Blatche chipped in 21 points and 10 boards for the Wizards, looking generally in shape and banging down low the way he should be. Washington won the game, but they should have considering four of their starters are signed onto the Wizards roster already. They’re the vets out here, and it shows.

DUDS: Cavs fans are excited about Danny Green, but this game didn’t do much to feed that excitement. Green scored only 4 points in 16 minutes, shooting 0-for-5 from the field. He’s better than he played today, but that sort of performance just won’t work on an NBA level.

On Washington’s end it would have been nice to see more out JaVale McGee, who pulled down only 5 rebounds in almost 30 minutes of action. This is a legit seven-footer who’s supposed to be getting serious playing time in Washington this year. Five rebounds isn’t going to get it done there. Toss in his 1-for-5 performance from the free-throw line and you’ve got yourself a pretty forgettable day for McGee.

GAME 3: Chicago Bulls (0-1) 83, Golden State Warriors (3-1) 95

STUDS: Let’s just put it this way; Anthony Randolph had 19 points… by halftime. By the time things were all said and done he’d put up 42 points, including what was probably the most exciting dunk of Summer League so far. Those 42 tied Marcus Banks for the summer league record for most points in a game. A lot of smart NBA people felt like Randolph could make The Leap this season, and if his play here in Vegas is any indication that’s exactly what’s going to happen. He’s looked fantastic—really strong, really good.

For Chicago, sixteenth overall pick James Johnson took his first official game in a Bulls uniform very seriously. Having finished the game with 21 points and 8 rebounds, the actual numbers showed a player with real potential to actually contribute next season, but his leadership on the floor was what made his performance most interesting. Throughout the game he constantly herded his team together, keeping them calm and organized all game. He’s going to be a vocal guy on a Bulls team that, outside of Joakim Noah, isn’t really all that vocal.

DUDS: Stephen Curry has been generally impressive here the last couple of days, but today was just not a day when the rim was friendly. He scored 10 points, but did so on 3-for-15 shooting from the field, including 0-for-4 three-pointers.

Two notable point guards from the Bulls (Taurean Green) and Warriors (Acie Law) had rather sluggish games as well. Green zero points and zero assists in 11 minutes, while Law did only slightly better, scoring five points with zero assists in 11 minutes. For two guys trying to make an impact, an impact sure wasn’t made tonight.

GAME 4: LA Lakers (3-1) 74, Oklahoma City Thunder (0-2) 68

STUDS: For Oklahoma City it’s going to be very important that James Harden work out. In this game at least, it looks like that’s a strong possibility. Not only did he chip in 23 of the Thunder’s 68 points, he also added 5 boards, 5 assists, and 2 steals. It’s way, way too early to even come close to comparing him to a guy like Brandon Roy, but this particular game was a step in the right direction.

For the Lakers Adam Morrison shined again, scoring a team-high 17 points. The scary thing here was that he did it on 5-for-18 shooting. Still, it’s nice to see him playing the sort of basketball that won him so many awards at college. He’s really playing aggressive and confident, and it shows. He may even see the floor at some point in L.A. this year.

DUDS: Shaun Livingston and D.J. White were both just a shade over horrible in today’s game for Oklahoma City. Livingston, still trying to successfully complete a comeback from his now-infamous knee injury, only managed 8 points and 4 assists with 4 turnovers. A 1-to-1 assist to turnover ratio in a summer league game isn’t want potential employers are looking for exactly.

As for White, he managed 9 points on a solid 4-for-5 shooting, but missed three of his four free-throws and only pulled down 2 rebounds. It’s also not a good sign to see him play only 16 minutes.

GAME 5: Denver Nuggets (0-1) 76, San Antonio Spurs (2-0) 78

STUDS: Denver’s Coby Karl played really well in limited minutes, shooting 6-for-6 from the field and scoring 19 points. Fitting considering his father, Nuggets head coach George Karl, spent the game in the stands keeping an eye on how Junior was doing. The verdict was that he did pretty well.

Probably the most impressive showing of this particular game came from Spurs center Ian Mahinmi, who put up 12 points and ripped down 16 boards—the most of anyone so far in this year’s summer league. Throw in a couple of blocks and he had himself a pretty solid night. Well, as long as you don’t count the ten fouls. That’s not going to fly during the regular season, mostly because you’re technically only allowed six in a regular game. Oh well. Sixteen boards is impressive, and Mahinmi and the Spurs will definitely take it.

DUDS: Ty Lawson just didn’t have a good shooting night. All of his 8 points came off free throws as he went 0-for-7 from the field. With 4 turnovers and only 3 assists, he didn’t really make much an impact elsewhere on the floor either. His teammate Kareem Rush did even worse, scoring 2 points in 18 minutes of floor time.

GAME 6: LA Clippers (2-0) 88, New Orleans Hornets (0-2) 86

STUDS: New Orleans’s Darren Collison had himself a very solid second half after starting the game a bit slowly. It seemed like he could get to the basket at will, and he finished the night with 23 points. The Hornets would like to see more than 4 assists out of their point guard, but he really got at it defensively and actually played a really solid game.

And, of course, there was Blake Griffin, who chipped in 16 points and 9 rebounds despite getting double teamed almost the entire game and really not getting as many touches and he should’ve gotten. Most of those points came around the basket from cleaning up missed shots or fumbled passes. It’s a mystery why L.A. wouldn’t get him more involved, but even on a quiet night he puts up decent numbers. Nothing he did tonight made anyone here think his first game was a fluke. He’s still for real.

DUDS: Most of the guys you’d expect to be effective in this game were in fact reasonably effective. Marcus Thornton got extremely hot for New Orleans in the second half, Eric Gordon and DeAndre Jordan did what they do for L.A., and the bench guys who aren’t likely to make an NBA roster didn’t see a ton of floor time.

Really the only guy who fell a little flat tonight was New Orleans’s Julian Wright, who posted only 12 points in 27 minutes on 3-for-9 shooting. One would think in a league against inferior talent he’d be a little more dominant, but it just wasn’t that way for him tonight.

Joel Brigham is a senior writer for HOOPSWORLD, covering the Chicago Bulls and the NBA Summer League.