Wright, a 6’7 swingman out of Texas A&M playing in his first NBA game showed a few flashes of brilliance, but looked frustrated and confused for most of the afternoon and could do little to stop his team from getting blown off the court by the far superior Mavericks team. Wright, who finished with 14 points, was a volume shooter against the Mavs. He managed to get up 21 shots in 35 minutes of action, but converted only 5 of those attempts including an 0-5 output from beyond the arc.
Outside of one nice end to end sequence in the third quarter when he blocked a shot on one end and converted a layup on the other end, He appeared to be forcing the action and was perhaps a bit overwhelmed by the situation.
His shot selection was no where near where it needs to be for him to be effective at the NBA level. I will reserve judgement on Wright as he may have just had an off day, but he did not make a strong first impression.
The Mavs squad coached by Avery Johnson appeared to be focused on defensive intensity and played a much more disciplined basketball game. Devin Harris didn’t have a particularly good game with 7 points 3 assists and 2 steals in 23 minutes of action. Daniels was solid and played like you would expect a third year guy to play. His game was effortless and polished.
Other notable performances in this game were from Mavericks Big Man DJ MBenga a 7’0 245lb Center from the Congo. MBenga is a specimin with an unbeleivable NBA body similar to Amare Stoudamire in his build. He was an absolute beast down low posting 5 blocks and going 8-9 from the floor in 29 minutes. MBenga is a freakish athlete who runs the floor and has a feathery touch on his turnaround jumper. He is raw and appears to not fully grasp all the rules of the game, but if he can stay out of foul trouble, watch out!
Former U.S.C. Trojan Power Forward Sam Clancy was a standout for the Nets Squad postiing 17 points and 6 boards in 22 minutes of action. Clancy is an undersized power forward who stands only 6’7 but has a 7’3 wing span and specializes in posting up larger players and can shoot it out to 18 feet(Sound Familliar?).
Misc: Pavel Podkolzine is still in street clothes, but this guy is the largest man I have ever seen in my entire life.
Former Warrior draft pick Derrick Zimmerman played 19 minutes at PG for the Nets and was solid on defense and showed some promising offensive moves. He does not, however run the offense very well or create easy shots for his teammates (0 Assists with 3 Turnovers in 19 Minutes) which is the primary role of a PG.
The second contest featured the Portland Trailblazers and the New York Knicks and a plethora of exciting draft picks.
The key matchup in this game was the battle of two of the fastest PG’s in the NBA, New Yorks Nate Robinson and Portlands Sebastian Tellfair.
First of all Nate Robinson is a player. I mean we all knew that to begin with, but you can’t really realize to the extent that he is a player until you see him live. Imagine Muggsy Bogues in his prime with a perfect jump shot and spud webb hops. He simply is unstoppable on the offensive end. He is small, but extremely quick and litterally jumps out of the gym. His first layup in warmups was an alleyoop to himself off the backboard for a reverse slam. I have no doubt that if this guy entered the dunk contest he would win easily. I am scared to think about teams trying to guard the knicks backcourt with Nate and Marbury on the floor together.
I had never seen Tellfair play live before and his skills are simply jaw dropping. He has a lightning quick crossover and can finish with either hand in traffic or stop on a dime and set up a teammate for an easy dunk. As fast as Nate Robinson is, Tellfair routinely got past him with his superior first step. His court vision and ability to find cutting players with pinpoint passes makes me think this guy will be an elite player in this league within two years.
Backcourt of the Future:
Portlands number 6 pick in this years draft is supposedly a high school player named Martell Webster but the guy wearing his jersey was a six year veteran with a polished floor game and the sweetest stroke of anybody in the gym. There is no way the guy I saw is right out of H.S. Webster has an NBA body and more importantly has the basketball intellect of a veteran NBA player. He plays under controll, can handle the ball, lets the game come to him and simply strokes the rock from any spot on the floor with pin point accuracy. His long arms and low center of gravity make him a strong candidate to be able to play both ends of the floor. Simply put, the trailblazers backcourt is very young and extremely talented.
Did you want Frye’s with that?
Former Arizona Wildcat Center Channing Frye looked confident and mature patrolling the paint for the Knicks. He has excellent footwork and a suprisingly polished low post game. He is skinny and will be pushed around by many NBA PF’s and C’s but he is quicker than most of them and can get himself to the free throw line with his array of drop steps and spin moves. The one thing he will need to learn is to dunk the ball when he gets to the rim. At times he tried to lay the ball up or release it quickly instead of taking it up with authority. Once he has five or six shots thrown into the fifth row he will learn to be more aggressive. His outside shot is smooth and should be good out to 15 feet. Defensively he was better than I thought, an aggressive shot blocker who tries to block everything and provides good weak side help. He got credit for one block but probably altered at least three or four shots in his 29 minuts of action.
David Lee put up a solid performance on both ends and was a monster on the offensive and defensive boards. He is an excellent leaper and is probably quick enough to guard two positions in the NBA. His offensive production will come mostly from garbage points and putbacks but he looks like he will be a double digit rebound guy right away.
Trevor Ariza has an excellent floor game and is an explosive slasher/scorer. He needs to work on his outside shot as it is a bit erratic but he is allready a better player than Tim Thomas.
Ha Sung Gin or whatever he calls himself is a 300lb Korean guy that stands 7’3 and can actualy play a little bit. He is pretty agile for a man that size and seems to be responding well to the coaches instructions.
Travis Outlaw is an unbelievable leaper and easily dominated the competition for 32 points on 12-17 shooting (mostly dunks). If Portland can keep these young players together for three or four years while they mature, they have a chance to be a very good team down the road.
I wasn’t able to stay for the Suns, Kings game or the Wizards, Bulls game. But will be scouting those teams later in the schedule.
Who was in the crowd? Not many celebs in the crowd today but a couple of notables Isiah Thomas, George Karl, Don Nelson, Jerry Tarkanian.
Tomorrow we get our first look at Chris Paul, Gerald Green and others. Warriors don’t play until Friday.