Well, I am glad that’s over.
It wasn’t the most entertaining game in the world that’s for sure. It was a lot of running around, turning the ball over, getting beat on the boards and knuckle ball jump shots. I guess the explanation was that it is just summer league, but I have to admit it was a bit of a letdown after some of the good play on display last week in Orlando.
Anyway, I don’t want to get too down about this. The summer league is a tool first and foremost. It lets the coaching staff see how the new guys play with and against their peers. It gives them starting points to work on with these players.
Some random observations:
- None of the “regulars” got big minutes. Harden, White and Ibaka all got less than 20 minutes, and Westbrook and Livingston got less than 25.
- The Turnovers as a team were really pretty bad. It was a lot of sloppy plays and disjointed offensive execution. Russell was the “reckless” Russell that we see sometimes; driving into traffic and getting swarmed and swiped. He had 4 turns in 23 minutes. By my notes, two were his fault, two were not.
- Ibaka was knuckleballing most of his shots tonight, but he’s been very efficient in the Summer league prior to tonight. He airballed a two foot hook shot.
- Speaking of Ibaka, I think the team is looking at him with a mind to see if he can get a few garbage minutes at the 5 next year. He’s a real run/jump kind of guy with a nose for the ball around the basket. If the Thunder want to play small/fast for a stretch he could be an option. He can make shots, but he’s not a pick and pop guy like White, Krstic and Mullins.
- D.J. White is a smooth offensive player who never seems to be in a rush, and doesn’t really force anything. He did have four boards in his 17 minutes.
- James Harden’s shot wasn’t on, but he did get to the line 4 times in 18 minutes. In a game without any really impressive highlights, Harden probably had the closest thing. He had the ball out on top of the arc and he got a little screen, he used it by dribbling around it to the left and drove right to the lane for a left hand dunk. He did that very same thing dozens of times at ASU. It seems to be sort of a signature thing with him, but what’s great is that he has such a good handle, and he’s such a great passer, that he has his head up the whole time he’s executing, and he is a threat at any time to pass out to an open jump shooter or for a dunk at the basket when the defense tries to rotate.
- Weaver was efficient tonight with his jumper going 3/5 from deep…including one bank shot. He turned it 4 times however.
- Lord Byron Mullins hit a jumper and a floater at the rim. I thought he did a good job defending Haddadi in the low post on a little running hook. The shot went in, but I thought he had good position and was able to stay in front of him
- Scott Brooks was being interviewed by Antonio Harvey and Rich Kamla and he was telling them that Mullins was 7-2″ and 270…..hmmmm. Well he measured out at 7’1.25″ and 258 at the combine, but what’s 3/4 of an inch and 12 pounds among friends right? Maybe Brooks is trying to strike fear into the hearts of the other opposing NBA Centers in the league.
- I’m not sure what Robert Vaden is doing. He’s a gunner, a scorer, a high usage guy. The scoring is a thing of need for the Thunder, but instead Vaden seems to be trying to play his way to Tulsa by proving he’s “multidimensional”. It’s like when Sly Stallone tried to be cast in serious dramatic roles. Puuuhleeese. Vaden needs to hit shots; he’s not even attempting shots. If he is ever to get minutes with the big club it is going to be as a guy who can bring some scoring punch off the bench.
- Devon Harden showed a little something around the basket with a put back and a block. He might be a junk/3rd Center for the big club. Somebody who will use some fouls to put the hurt on people and grab rebounds and protect the rim. He definitely can’t shoot, but he did hit his free throws.
- I noticed that several times the Thunder opted to double Hasheem Thabeet in the post. I guess they were hoping for a steal? Uhhm….don’t you usually double team somebody because they are hard to stop one on one? I don’t think Thabeet has established himself as an offensive threat with his back to the basket yet. He did pass out to an open shooter though.
- Tony Durant, the Kids big brother got a sniff in the fourth quarter. He doesn’t look like he shares one scrap of DNA with Kevin. He looks like a bull in a china shop. But really, for being a small college guy (Towson University?) he looks as good like he belongs as well as some of the other guys in Summer league play. He seems like an undersized Power Forward/hustle player.
The Thunder don’t play again until Tuesday night. There we get the Lakers and the fearless Adam Morrison. Be afraid, be very afraid.