- The Season's Over -

Introducing the 2010 NBA All-Rookie Teams

July 30, 2009

Tyreke Evans

Tyreke Evans Photo Credit: Icon SMI

There are a number of question marks surrounding this year’s NBA rookie class: can Blake Griffin live up to the hype? Is Hasheem Thabeet the worst second-overall pick since Darko Milicic? Who will Ricky Rubio take to the prom?

After analyzing the Summer League performances, scrutinizing the projected depth charts, and consulting ETB’s evil-leaning crystal ball, however, we’re here to take the suspense out of at least one question a little early: meet your 2010 NBA All-Rookie First & Second Teams.

First Team

Blake Griffin, PF, Los Angeles Clippers – As the only prospect from the Class of 2009 pegged for almost-certain stardom, Griffin flashed his highly touted talent in his five Las Vegas Summer League appearances, averaging 19.2 points (50% FG), 10.8 boards, 3.2 assists, and 1 steal per. Despite the loose atmosphere and offense-friendly format, by all accounts Griffin approached these games with the sort of workmanlike intensity some NBA players struggle to attain during the regular season, much less summer exhibitions. That’s right, Clippers fans, your franchise has actually landed a natural-born hustler.

The personal drive and leadership qualities are there. The skills are obviously there (except for his puzzingly dreadful free-throw shooting, which topped out at 45% in Vegas). Unfortunately, though, so is the long, black shadow of failure cast by the Clippers franchise he’s been tasked with helping turn around. Is he up to it? He can’t do it alone, but we’re intrigued by the young core of Griffin, Eric Gordon, and Al Thornton and think that maybe, just maybe, this team could slowly but surely move its way back towards respectability.

The obvious preseason frontrunner for Rookie of the Year honors, expect Griffin to have a standout rookie campaign and headline the All-Rookie team. Just stay healthy, Blake, stay healthy.

James Harden, SG, Oklahoma City Thunder - We remain high on incumbent starting SG Thabo Sefolosha (for the benefit of longtime ETB readers, however, I’ll leave at that… this time), but well-rounded players like Harden aren’t taken third overall to ride the bench for very long, if at all. The physical 6-5 guard from California played in nine games this summer between Vegas and Orlando, averaging a combined 14.7 points (50% FG), 3.3 boards, 2.4 assists, and 1.6 steals per.

Perhaps just as importantly, he played within himself and didn’t try to go out there and dominate for the sake of dominating lesser competition; when you see rookies playing within the flow of the game, especially during summer ball, it’s a good sign. Harden will be solid, not spectacular, during his rookie season, but we expect him to replicate the sort of late-season surge his new teammate, Russell Westbrook, enjoyed during his first year last season. It’s hard to argue with the direction this franchise is headed… if only they could do something about their fugly-ass logo and jerseys.

Tyreke Evans, PG, Sacramento Kings - Like other players on both the First and Second All-Rookie teams, Evans is walking into a situation in Sacramento where he’ll have little to no competition for starting minutes and will be given every opportunity to put up respectable stats. It won’t matter if they come during garbage-time blowouts, which Kings fans should expect to once again regularly suffer through this season. At least they’ll have the electric Evans to entertain this time around.

At 6-6 and 220 pounds, we can only see this year’s fourth-overall pick playing the point until SG Kevin Martin is shipped out, which could be as soon as this season. (Tell me, again, how the one-dimensional Martin fits into this team’s long-term “plans?”) Until his inevitable move to SG, Evans will run the show and give Kings fans hope for a better future with his ability to get to the rim, draw fouls, and distribute the ball to an emerging frontline headlined by Jason Thompson Sean May and Spencer Hawes. Again, his field-goal percentage could be ugly–I’ll be surprised if it’s much better than Russell Westbrook’s 40% freshman effort–but he could easily lead this rookie class in scoring.

Rest of the 2010 NBA All-Rookie First Team, and the entire Second Team, after the break…

Read the rest of this article »

1 CommentPosted by Brian Spencer on Jul. 30, 2009 at 12:05am in NBA

Five NBA Players Who’ll Make a Leap in 2010

July 29, 2009

Golden State Warriors forward Anthony RandolphBy: Zachariah Blott

With a slew of free agents holding new contracts, scores of youngsters showing their thing in Vegas and Orlando, and a couple guys being traded, it’s time to look at who is in a position to pick up their production and positive input to their team next season.

For some of them, it’s a matter of a new environment or teammates providing better opportunities. Most of them, though, showed they were starting to get it by the end of last year and should be able to keep it rolling in 09-10.

Anthony Randolph, PF, Golden State Warriors

2008-09: 18 minutes, 8 pts, 6 rebs, 1.2 blocks, 0.7 steals, 46% FG

Why He’ll Improve: There isn’t much I can say here that most NBA fans don’t already know about this guy. Remember how awesome Jermaine O’Neal was for that stretch with Indiana before he became riddled with injuries? Well, Randolph is going to be that guy next year.

He started getting some serious time on the court in March when he averaged 23 minutes a game, and all of a sudden was averaging 9 points (over 50% from the field), 7 boards, and 2 blocks. In April, the Warriors wisely made Randolph the starter, giving him 32 minutes a night in eight games: all he did was put up 15, 10.6, 1 block, 1.5 steals and an assist-TO rate above 1.

Then Randolph blew up the Summer League two weeks ago with 27 points, 8.5 rebounds, and 3 blocks per game. Those rebounds would have been up around 10 or 11 if he didn’t spend the last game ravaging the Bulls with 42 points, 4 steals and 3 blocks.

He can do everything. Everything. It’s not difficult to see him as the best player from the class of 2008 by as soon as the end of next season.

Prediction: 35 minutes, 18 pts, 11 rebs, 1.5 blocks, 1.5 steals, 50-55% FG

Anthony Randolph Photo Credit: Icon SMI

Mike Conley, PG, Memphis Grizzlies

2008-09: 31 minutes, 11 pts, 4.3-1.7 assists-TO, 1.1 steals, 44% FG, 41% 3FG

Why He’ll Improve: The super-quick point had a so-so rookie season in 07-08. Conley used his speed to trouble defenders, getting into the lane and making some decent passing decisions, but his shot was as bad as advertised before the 2007 draft. The beginning of his sophomore season looked to be the same, until the Grizzlies signed Lionel Hollins as head coach in January. Memphis picked up the pace and played with confidence. Their youth was still evident, but Conley definitely made great strides.

Here are his pre- and post-All Star Game averages last year: 9 pts became 14.5; 42% FG and 37% 3FG became 46% and 44%; 3.6 assists became 5.6; 2.4 A-TO rate became 2.5; 0.8 steals became 1.7. Conley should turn in even better performances next year because his teammates will give him many opportunities to rack up assists, which enables Conley to select his shots more judiciously. O.J. Mayo and Marc Gasol will no longer be rookies, Rudy Gay has always done well in an up-tempo game, and for everything else Zach Randolph is, he can score the ball when it’s in his hands.

If Conley’s doing the smart thing and shooting 1,000-plus jumpers each day this offseason to push his improved shooting numbers even further upwards, his fourth year removed from high school could be a nice one.

Prediction: 36 minutes, 15 points, 7-9 assists, 1.7 steals, 47-49% FG, 45% 3FG

Three more NBA youngsters bound to improve next season after the break…

Read the rest of this article »

14 CommentsPosted by ETB Contributor on Jul. 29, 2009 at 2:32pm in NBA

ETB’s 2009 NFL Previews: AFC East

July 29, 2009

Randy Moss (81) and Tom Brady (12) of the New England Patriots

Tom Brady & Randy Moss Photo Credit: Icon SMI

By Darren Yuvan

With training camp on the horizon for the 2009 NFL season, ETB’s Darren Yuvan will break down the league’s outlook division by division. Next up in the AFC is the AFC East, where despite basically bringing back the same squad as last year, the Chargers are poised to dominate. We also have the AFC North and AFC West previews up too.

1 – New England Patriots

The Pats finished an impressive 11 – 5 last year, but were beat out by an overachieving Miami team for the division title and couldn’t get into the postseason as a wild card, so they ended up sitting home during the playoffs last year. Don’t expect the same to happen this year: the Pats are the best team in the East.

With Tom Brady returning and apparently at or near 100%, the New England offense should once again be one of the league’s premier units. Brady is armed with a slew of impressive targets at both the wide receiver and tight end positions: Randy Moss and Wes Welker return as receivers, while veterans Joey Galloway and Greg Lewis give the Pats four legitimate wide-out threats. Chris Baker comes over from the Jets, joining the tight end fray with Ben Watson, David Thomas, and Alex Smith.

Fred Taylor signed with New England in the offseason, adding to the Pats’ running-back-by-committee approach, which includes Laurence Maroney, Benjarvis Green-Ellis and Kevin Faulk. Look for one of these guys to be the odd man out, though, possibly even Maroney if he can’t stay healthy.

The offensive line remains entirely intact and is still one of the team’s main strengths.

The defense may feel the loss of Mike Vrabel, who was sent to the Chiefs in a trade, but the Patriots have a knack for knowing when a player’s time is up, plugging in a youngster, and not looking back. Pierre Woods and Shawn Crable have the inside track on Vrable’s vacated position; look for Woods to step up and seize the job.

If the defense has a weakness, it’s in the secondary with the aging Shawn Springs and the youngster Terrence Wheatley manning the cornerback postions and not a lot of established talent behind them. Safeties James Sanders and Brandon Meriweather are solid, if unspectacular, but again, the Pats lack much proven depth behind their starting safeties, too. If the injury bug hits the secondary, the Pats defense will have issues.

Darren Yuvan breaks down the rest of the AFC East after the break…

Read the rest of this article »

No CommentsPosted by ETB Contributor on Jul. 29, 2009 at 12:01am in ETB Articles, NFL, NFL Fantasy News

New Orleans and Charlotte Get Nuts, Swap Tyson Chandler for Emeka Okafor

July 28, 2009

Emeka OkaforMonday evening the AP reported that the Hornets and Bobcats were on the verge of a deal to swap centers Tyson Chandler and Emeka Okafor. The news was a bit of a shock as little warming or hype had preceded the trade. It’s a rare occurrence that two starting centers can be in a deal nobody knew about during the NBA’s slow season – when just two weeks ago Marcin Gortat updates were a daily event. However, it’s been no secret that New Orleans has been desperate to move Chandler for months, including a curiously and regrettably botched deal with the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Emeka Okafor Photo Credit: Icon SMI

A few initial observations on the exchange of 26-year-old centers come to mind. The move clearly has significant financial considerations involved, but curiously the Hornets will be the team taking on the larger financial commitment. It was just a few short months ago, before the trade deadline and their embarrassing collapse against the Nuggets, that New Orleans wanted nothing more for Chandler than salary cap relief. While it’s true that Emeka will earn about $3 million less than Chandler over the next two seasons, Chandler has only one guaranteed season left with a player option for 2010-11. Meanwhile, Okafor signed a six-year, $72 million contract last July.

Mr. Paul, meet Mr. Okafor. Mr. Okafor, Mr. Paul. Hopefully you two get along, because you’re going to be in business together on a nightly basis for the foreseeable future regardless.

Contracts aside, on paper this is a great fit for Okafor. He’s a tad undersized as a center, but the former U Conn standout is defensively proficient and a solid rebounder. Emeka is an opportunistic shot-blocker who boxes out well, takes up space defensively and provides some much-needed muscle. The knock on him is his complete lack of offensive game, and as such Okafor needs to be paired with another big man who can not just compensate for the lack of point production but also hit mid-range jumpers to stretch defenses and make his job a lot easier in the post and on the glass. Charlotte tried to find that complement, failing with both Sean May and Nazr Mohammed. David West can be that scoring big man Okafor needs to be effective.

The style of play in New Orleans is a concern. There are few players in the league who wouldn’t look better, and put up better offensive numbers, as the recipient of Chris Paul’s prolific passing. Tyson Chandler and Charlotte Bobcats fans are about to become painfully aware of that fact. However, Okafor doesn’t get up and down the floor, or above the rim, nearly as well as a healthy Chandler does. He’s significantly less lithe and agile, which won’t play quite as well alongside Paul’s fast-break and alley-oop heroics. Okafor is more of a pillar on both ends, for better and worse.

Meanwhile, it’s hard to get too excited about this as a Bobcats fan. Clearly Charlotte brass have soured on their former No. 2 overall pick. Late in the season Larry Brown questioned Okafor’s passion and commitment (shocking, I know). If you don’t think Okafor is a significant building block (and I’m not 100% convinced), then seeing that six-year, $72 million deal cleared off the books is quite a relief. Frankly though, who didn’t expect the Bobcats to regret that bloated contract? Still, Chandler doesn’t seem like a much of an upgrade now or very likely to be around long enough for it to matter, even if he is perhaps better suited to run alongside Boris Diaw, Gerald Wallace and DJ Augustin. Essentially, Charlotte is still a franchise completely adrift, and this does nothing to clarify their direction. Hey, at least Chandler’s expiring deal will eventually be a valuable trade chip. Woo.

4 CommentsPosted by Andrew Thell on Jul. 28, 2009 at 12:57am in NBA

Monday’s NBA Poll: What’s Your Favorite Quote from Stephon Marbury’s Live Stream?

July 27, 2009

Stephon Marbury, the $21 million man

Stephon Marbury Photo Credit: Icon SMI

I was skeptical about the Stephon Marbury 24-hour live stream. I didn’t think he had it in him to stay entertaining for more than a few minutes. I was wrong. I first tuned in around 10 AM and Mr. Marbury was shaving his head. Meticulously. This went on for about four minutes before I tuned out, admittedly a bit letdown. Fortunately I tuned back in about an hour later – the man was on a roll. I stuck around until I left the office. I was glued to the broadcast. As Brian said, “My only regret is that I didn’t see more.” It was one head-scratcher after another, golden nuggets of insanity and, to his credit, hilarity. It was also non-stop. Marbury kept up a break-neck pace of running commentary and sheer nonsense the entire time I was tuned in. It was addictive. When my audio briefly cut out I suddenly felt lonely in my quiet office.

What really struck me (other than that we both listen to the same Sade songs) was that I didn’t get one whiff of artifice. Whether he was talking as Stephon or as Starbury, it was all genuine from where I was sitting. In fact, he came across like a giddy child, somebody not capable of erecting a coherent ruse and maintaining it on camera. It was a real, vivid snapshot of one of the most bizarre, fascinating and almost painfully simplistic and childish personalities the NBA has seen over the last 15 years. 24 hours in his skull. What a trip. I tweeted at the time that they could save a recording of Marbury’s stream and make it an installation at the MoMA.

It was surreal. Maybe even hyperreal.

But I digress, on to the Monday poll. What was your favorite quote from the Starbury oracular spectacular? I’ve put some of mine as options in the poll below, but readers are strongly encouraged to enter their own favorites in the comments section – what did I miss out on?

2 CommentsPosted by Andrew Thell on Jul. 27, 2009 at 10:58am in NBA

David Lee Running Out of Options

July 23, 2009

David Lee

David Lee Photo Credit: Icon SMI

Let’s get right to it: restricted free agent David Lee has been shat on this summer.

Billed as one of the premier restricted free agents (and overwhelmingly voted by ETB readers as the best one still available), Lee seemed like a lock for a semi-lucrative raise after an impressive showing in his fourth season with the Knicks: 16 points (55% FG), 11.7 boards, 2.2 assists, and 1 steal in roughly 35 minutes per as the team’s starting power forward.

Don’t listen to those whispers about Lee being the latest beneficiary of playing in a Mike D’Antoni system, either: in his previous two seasons, Lee averaged a combined 10.7 points and 9.5 boards in 5 minutes less per game in systems run by the legendary x’s and o’s prodigy Isiah Thomas.

Lee hustles. He hits the offensive boards (3.2 per, good for 9th overall in the league). He plays respectable defense, he dives for loose balls, he’s the consummate team player for a franchise that’s come up woefully short in that department for some time now.

At 26 years old, Lee is entering his prime. As Larry Brown might say, “he does things the right way.” He’s done what he’s supposed to. He’s earned the right to some security–a four-year deal, at least–and a salary on par if not exceeding the other restricted offers that’ve been inked over the past month or so. Let’s not forget that Christmas came early for backup Orlando Magic center Marcin Gortat, he of the career-per game averages of 3.7 points and 4.4 boards, after he was gifted a five-year, $34 million offer sheet by the Dallas Mavericks (which was puzzlingly matched by the Magic).

And, yet, a solid double-double machine like Lee remains in limbo. Donnie Walsh, his smug GM in New York, knows Lee’s options have become severely limited and has been purposely deliberate with his contract negotiations. Meanwhile, of the few teams actually spending money this summer in the first place, only a handful of them still have space to make Lee an offer the Knicks won’t match, though a five- or even six-year deal might be what gets it done given New York’s obsession with 2010 cap space.

Our man Kelly Dwyer over at Ball Don’t Lie touched on this yesterday in his breakdown of the eight best restricted free agents:

What will it take for New York to decline a match? That’s tough, as the Knicks still fancy themselves 2010 contenders, the cap is dropping, and the team is not going to be able to find a way to dump Eddy Curry. It’s not the size of the contract, it’s the length. I could very well see New York passing on even a great talent like Lee if his new deal ran after 2009-10.

Portland remains a real possibility: they already made a (failed) play for Utah Jazz power forward Paul Millsap, whose skill set compares favorably with Lee’s. If the Blazers pass or land Lamar Odom, a sign-and-trade could be pursued by Lee, his agent, and Walsh. Lee could agree to a modest extension with the Knicks; he could return to New York on his $2.6 million qualifying offer, then become an unrestricted free agent next summer. And, of course, a wild card with a midlevel exception could swoop in and steal him with that long-term offer.

Either way, Lee can’t be pleased with how his first free-agent experience has unfolded so far. As lesser players have been heavily recruited, wined, dined, and signed, he hasn’t even received an offer sheet. The best restricted free agent in the NBA remains unsigned.

Somebody give this guy a job. Please.

Related Reading:
- Who’s the Best Unsigned, Restricted Free Agent?
- Wheeling and Dealing With Donnie Walsh
- The NBA’s Top Double-Double Machines Who Aren’t Household Names
- Six NBA Players Poised for Breakout Seasons

5 CommentsPosted by Brian Spencer on Jul. 23, 2009 at 12:01am in NBA

Timberwolves Tradition in Capable Hands

July 21, 2009

Stephon Marbury and Quentin Richardson: Timberwolves Past and PresentNewly-hired Minnesota Timberwolves president of basketball operations David Kahn had some awfully big shoes to fill. It’s never easy to replace an all-time great in any station, especially in the highly-visible realm of professional sports, and there’s little doubt that Kevin McHale was one of the great saboteurs in NBA history. The man is a legend – but in just a few short weeks Mr. Kahn is proving no slouch himself.

Yes, Monday’s trade of Craig “Rhino” Smith, Mark Madsen and Sebastian Telfair to the Los Angeles Clippers for journeyman chucker Quentin Richardson and his $9+ million contract should have Minnesota fans confident the new director in town is going to keep this shit show production humming along.

All sarcasm aside, it’s safe to say that the David Kahn era in Minnesota is off to an extremely inauspicious start. Let’s rewind for a minute. I know any new personnel man deserves some leash in his first offseason. He has to not only implement his own vision with a struggling franchise, but he also has to clean house and attempt to erase the mistakes of his predecessor.

It got off to a promising start when just one week after dismissing Mr. McHale from his coaching duties in Minneapolis Mr. Kahn shipped out two of McHale’s more high-profile acquisitions, sending Randy Foye and Mike Miller to the Wasington Wizards for a gaggle of middling players/contracts and the rights to the 5th overall pick in the 2009 NBA draft. I liked the move then, and I still think the shuffle-up-and-deal approach was the right one.

Stephon Marbury and Quentin Richardson Photo Credit: Icon SMI

However, it seemed curious that Kahn and the Wolves were in no rush to hire a new head coach as draft night approached. One would think that Mr. Kahn would want his first coaching hire to be a man he can get behind, one who would be there for the foreseeable future and would be molding the young talent selected with those abundance of first-round picks (Minnesota had four of ‘em). That coach’s imput, then, could be rather helpful.

On top that, each coach has a unique style of play that highlights certain skills and demands certain skill sets from each position in the rotation. “Best player available” clichés aside, it would also seem prudent to have that system in mind when making those draft picks. It’s certainly preferable to shoehorning the young men selected, especially late-first and second-round picks who are projected role players, into roles ex post facto.

No matter, it was draft season and all eyes were on the mocks. Less sexy coaching decisions could wait, NBA fans of all stripes were focused on the potential franchise cornerstones just waiting to be scooped up by shrewd general managers. And draft night actually started off quite well – Ricky Rubio, along with his complicated contract situation and aloof attitude, slipped all the way to the Wolves’ at 5th overall.

And then things head south, after the jump…

Read the rest of this article »

6 CommentsPosted by Andrew Thell on Jul. 21, 2009 at 12:01am in ETB Articles, NBA

Monday’s NBA Poll: Who’s the Best Unsigned, Restricted Free Agent?

July 20, 2009

Guard Nate Robinson

Nate Robinson Photo Credit: Icon SMI

Outside of a few select players, this summer’s crop of restricted free agents have largely suffered from the Rodney Dangerfield Syndome: they can’t get any respect.

The incumbent teams know the dollars on the open market are dwindling by the day, so they’re in no rush to offer more than the formal one-year tender. Meanwhile, the few teams with money to spend (and actually willing to spend it) have generally been loathe to pursue restricted FAs for fear of having their offer eventually matched and, in the process, losing out on other players during the seven-day waiting period.

Yep, good times all around for the likes of Nate Robinson, Marvin Williams, Ramon Sessions, etc… all young, talented, and sporting games that haven’t yet peaked. So you tell us: who’s the best restricted free agent still left hanging? Feel free to elaborate in the comments, too.

1 CommentPosted by Brian Spencer on Jul. 20, 2009 at 8:30am in NBA, NBA Polls

Welcome to Detroit (and Your Last Chance at NBA Redemption), Chris Wilcox

July 19, 2009

Pistons forward Chris WilcoxI’ve kind of sort of been somewhat of a minor Chris Wilcox apologist from time to time over the 26-year-old’s so-so NBA career. And yes, in case you didn’t notice, this isn’t one of those things I’m especially keen to go on the record about.

The Los Angeles Clippers made Wilcox the eighth-overall pick of the 2002 draft, and like so many Clipper draftees before him, the 6-10 bruiser from Maryland never panned out. After making only minimal contributions to the franchise in 3 1/2 seasons, he was traded to the Seattle SuperSonics halfway through the 2005-06 season.

It’s this roughly three-season stint with the Sonics/Thunder that put Wilcox at least somewhat back on the NBA map, and the one that Detroit Pistons fans should cling to as they evaluate the potential for their new big man to have one of those glorious mid-career rebirths guys like Chauncey Billups, Rasheed Wallace, and Antonio McDyess recently enjoyed in Motown.

Wilcox averaged about 13.5 points and 7.5 boards per in his first 2 1/2 years on those (very) bad Sonics teams; those were also the only times thus far in his 7-year career in which he’s averaged at least 28 minutes per over an entire season. Most NBA players are capable of posting decent stats when given the opportunity to do so, however, so it’s hard to put much stock in those numbers–really, it’s more of a “for what it’s worth” thing than anything else.

In 211 career starts, Wilcox has per-game averages of 13 points (53% FG), 7.2 boards, and… that’s about it. He doesn’t block a lot of shots, cause many turnovers, set up teammates, or shoot free throws particularly well.

In general, his defense could generously be called porous, and at this point he’s been labeled a loser, a guy who’ll post strong stats every now and again but who doesn’t contribute to a winning cause.

Maybe that’s true. But after signing a two-year, $6 million deal with the Detroit Pistons, Wilcox will for the first time since joining the NBA find himself on a winning franchise with a recent track record of success. One that wants to actually win. You can’t say the same of his Clippers, Sonics/Thunder, and Knicks teams.

His move to Detroit represents a chance to actually make something of his NBA career… and it’s probably his last chance. The Pistons have a habit of resurrecting the careers of unwanted cast-offs and vagabonds left on the scrap heap, and Wilcox certainly fits the bill.

But will he actually do it? Hard to say.

More on Chris Wilcox after the break…

Read the rest of this article »

No CommentsPosted by Brian Spencer on Jul. 19, 2009 at 11:00am in NBA

NBA Las Vegas Summer League a Balancing Act Between Illusion and Reality

July 17, 2009

DaJuan SummersFirst-round picks perform like future All-Stars. Undrafted prospects play like first-round picks. And unwanted cast-offs long labeled busts finally look like the players they were born to be.

It’s the NBA’s Las Vegas Summer League, where most everything you’ll see on the court is nothing more than another passing mirage in the dusty desert.

History has proven that Summer League performance is more often than not hardly an accurate barometer of how a given player’s talents will translate to the professional level. Last summer, Vegas MVP Jerryd Bayless dominated the competition to the tune of per-game averages of 29.8 points (48% FG), 4.8 boards, 1.3 assists, and 1.2 steals.

With only journeyman Steve Blake to compete with on the Blazers’ PG depth chart (sorry, Sergio Rodriquez didn’t count), Bayless looked to be in store for immediate PT and impact in his rookie season.

It never happened, with Bayless playing in just 53 games and averaging 4.3 points, 1.1 rebounds, and 1.5 assists in just over 12 minutes per… and it doesn’t sound like he’s in store in for more burn this season either (which is somewhat puzzling). Of course, Bayless faired much better than Vegas’ second (Donte Greene), third (Quincy Douby), and fourth (Alando Tucker) leading scorers did combined.

DaJuan Summers Photo Credit: Icon SMI

Watcher beware: the player you see this summer more than likely won’t be the same player you see come November when the big boys join the fray.

That doesn’t mean these glorified scrimmages aren’t fun to watch; they are. And that also doesn’t mean we can’t learn at least a little bit about these guys, or that we can’t help but be enamored by the standout performances and dream about it actually carrying over into the regular season, the playoffs, the careers. We’ll be the first to admit that Golden State’s Anthony Randolph has officially found his way to ETB’s mancrush list—the only thing holding this kid back from greatness is time, and unlike many of the prospects currently in Vegas, time is on Randolph’s side.

Two more crushes: Detroit Pistons’ rookies Austin Daye and DaJuan Summers.

On Wednesday gainst the New York Knicks’ underwhelming summer crew, Daye and Summers were both covered in that magical Vegas shroud that makes unproven talent look like bankable commodities. Both had already gotten high marks for their summer play, especially 6-8 second-round pick Summers, who could render Jason Maxiell irrelevant if he keeps this up.

More on DaJuan Summers and Austin Daye after the break…

Read the rest of this article »

No CommentsPosted by Brian Spencer on Jul. 17, 2009 at 3:18pm in NBA

« Previous


Back to top