The Thunder dropped to 0-2 with a 78-74 loss to the Pacers and it raises some serious questions. Do they need to make a trade? Is the Jackson-Hayward-Aldrich core good enough? Is Mark Bryant on the hot seat? What’s going on with Marquez Haynes and why isn’t he playing more? Do the Thunder need to shake up the starting five?
Oh that’s right, Summer League. Anyway, grades for the roster guys and a few general thoughts:
Reggie Jackson: B
His line is ugly — 13 points on 5-15 shooting, four assists, two rebounds, three turnovers — but I really felt like Jackson played a pretty solid game. He looked extremely comfortable running high pick-and-roll sets with Cole Aldrich, attacked the rim well and at times looked like he couldn’t be guarded.
Where Jackson had his most issues was defensively where he was just a step slow at the point of attack. Lance Stephenson torched him, and it was mostly off of dribble penetration. Jackson is quick, strong and big, but he got caught peeking for a coming screen a few times and that gave Stephenson the first step to the rim.
Perry Jones III: C+
Not nearly as impressive from Jones — eight points, four rebounds — but he made smart decisions, took good shots and played within his own game. I think it might’ve been tempting to come out and really try and showcase a bunch of skill after yesterday’s buzz, but he played a collected game.
I’m still a little shocked at his size though. Twice he overpowered people in the lane for baskets at the rim. He’s a big 6-11 and has a bunch of bulk on him. Everything I saw of him while he was in college seemed like he was this skinny kid, but Jones is built.
Cole Aldrich: C
Cole Aldrich finished today’s game with seven fouls. (You can’t foul out of Summer League games.) He just doesn’t seem to have much feel right now. I’ve never though he had incredible hands by any means, but he’s fumbled more rebounds and passes than I’ve ever seen. Like I said after Game 1, Aldrich is the type of player that’s going to benefit from the players around him on the floor. The better the people he plays with, the better he’ll be.
The main thing I’m disappointed with is the fact he’s not making an impact on the offensive glass. He’s active, but just isn’t getting anything.
I’d like to see more post touches for him though. Why not? The games don’t matter. Give Aldrich some touches on the block and see what he can do.
Something he’s doing very well: screening. He’s setting some crushing picks and creating a lot of space for Jackson off the dribble.
Lazar Hayward: A
I’m telling you, I like Lazar Hayward. I don’t think he’s ever going to have some kind of rotational impact for the Thunder, or probably anyone else for that matter, but he’s just a solid, fundamental player. He handles the ball well, rebounds, passes and can hit an open shot. He’s just a complete player, albeit, a not exceptionally talented one.
A few other notes:
- After sitting out the first game, Latavious Williams saw his first real Thunder minutes and impressed the heck out of me. He went 5-8, scored 10 points and grabbed nine rebounds… in 17 minutes! He’s just always around the ball. He’s got really long arms and his timing on the glass is exceptional. The Thunder have that 15th spot open and I’m definitely pulling for Williams to get it. He’s got talent and he just produces when he plays.
- Mo Almond and Garrett Temple hit a few shots. And other than that, I forgot they were on the team.
- Lance Stephenson is a bully. And I mean that in a good way. He plays rough, gets after people and uses his size to make it tough for whoever is across from him. He’s a Summer League superstar. Also, what was up with his shorts? Was he doing a cheerleader rollover move with the waistband? Come on now.
- Perry Jones tweaked an ankle late in the game. He left and did not return. He iced it on the bench and limped to the locker room. His status for Wednesday is unknown.