The game got off to a rocky start with the first possession. Biedrins
was given the ball in the post and having allready made his mind up
about what he was going to do he was unable to react to the defensive
pressure and turned the ball over. The very next Golden State Warriors possesion
Monta Ellis airballed his first three point attempt. I was starting to
get a little nervous. Then things turned around a bit.
Ellis made some nice plays including setting up Diogu for an easy dunk
and although his shooting was eratic he appeared to be able to get to
the rim at will. He won’t have problems getting shots up at the next
level, and he is a very good rebounder for his size. He did a nice job
guarding Webster in the first half as well. He is clearly the best
guard on this team and In my opinion has a strong chance to be the
third PG/Combo guard on the roster. His transition to the Point will be
tough, but he is a good enough combo guard to play in the league right
Biedrins, as usual, had some nice strong finishes around the basket and
looks to have improved his footwork in the post. He has a knack for
getting to loose balls and tipping rebounds. Unfortunately his downfall
is going to be free throw shooting. He is simply awfull and other teams
know it. Another problem I see with Biedrins is the fact that he has no
concept of passing out of the post. When he is double teamed or
pressured down low, he will turn the ball over or get fouled and when
he goes to the line it’s the same as a turnover.
Zarko was dissapointing at best finishing with only 9 points in 24
minutes. He simply has too much talent to not be the leading scorer for
this Warriors team. He was forcing the issue on offense, trying to do
too much and his defense was non-existant as he was often out of
position and could not even contribute defensive rebounds. Hopefully he
will bounce back in the next game. If he continues to play inconsistant
minutes he will have a difficult time cracking the rotation next season.
The tale of two halves:
Ike Diogu was non existant in the first half and appeared to be lost.
At one point he even forgott to take the ball out of bounds and left
the PG alone on the other end of the court. Another mental lapse almost
cost the Warriors a possesion when he nearly caught the inbound pass
while standing on the out of bounds line. In his defense, he had
limited touches and the two post up moves he made he was able to get to
the foul line and convert.
For whatever reason, late in the third quarter, something just clicked
with this kid and it was like a light bulb went off. He became a low
post monster the likes I have not seen since Larry Smith for the
remainder of the game. He brought the crowd to there feet no fewer than
four times in the fourth quarter with thunderous put back dunks, two
handed power moves and ferocious blocked shots.
His fundamentals on both ends are flawless and he can’t be guarded one
on one in the painted area. He hasn’t mastered passing out of the
double team yet and he is going to have to figure out a way to maintain
his intensity that he had late in the game. But after his display in
the fourth quarter I am very optimistic about the future of Mr. Diogu.
The highlight of Ike’s evening was his incredible blocked dunk on
Travis Outlaw late in the third quarter where he came from the week
side and just swallowed him up, took the ball away and sent him
hurtling to the ground. He was whistled for a foul on the play even
though he got all ball but he got a raised eyebrow from Mr. Mullin
sitting to my right. Chris Mullin has seen a lot of basketball and
doesn’t react to much…but he reacted to that.
He is going to be a crowd favorite in Oakland. He is definately a blue
collar guy…He brings his lunch pale and goes to work. There is no
showboat in this guy. He maintains even keel and works hard…but when
you push him past the edge…He becomes…THE BEAST!!!! “You will like
him when he’s angry”!!!!
The debut performance of Chris Taft was impressive. He tallied 5 points
and 4 rebounds in just twelve minutes of action. He played under
controll and didn’t try to force the action. When he touched the ball
on offense he seemed to have soft hands and a nice back to the basket
game. He doesn’t have the smooth release on his shot like Diogu but he
seems pretty comfortable in the low post.
I overheard Chris Mullin talking to one of the Warriors equiptment
managers about Taft and Mullin appeared to be very high on Taft and
laughed about the “So Called Motivational Issues”. The equiptment
manager was impressed with all three rookies and there work in
practices earlier in the week.
Jawad Williams is the living embodyment of Joe Smith. He played well in
his 12 miutes of action putting up 6 points on 2-3 from the floor and
2-3 from the line. He also added three rebounds. I think he will play
in the league, but probably not for the Warriors.
Damir Miljkovic has a perfect looking shot from three point range, but
might be the worst Point Guard at running a club or setting up
teammates that I have ever seen. Marque Perry was not much better,
imagine Nate Robinson without the jumping ability, shooting ability,
passing ability or quickness and you have Marque Perry. Obannan was
awfull, Gay was…well not very good, Ray Young and Guy Moya were just
taking up space on the court.
Despite there total lack of a true Point Guard, the Warriors actually
competed in the first half of the game due to there defensive intensity
and a bit of a hangover by the Blazers backcourt… but in the second
half, Webster, Telfair and Outlaw just simply took over the game.
Oh yeah, there was other games today. The Celtics played the Mavs and
the Pistons played the Suns and I didn’t stick around for the Bulls
Magic or Wizards Hornets.
For the Celtics it was my first glimpse of Gerald Green and he gets a
mixed review. While his athleticism is clear, he is very raw in terms
of his Basketball IQ. He was not very aggressive in terms of looking
for his shot and from what I could tell his role in the offense was to
catch it beyond the arc immediately pass it to a teamate without
dribbling then run directly into the lane, getting in everybody elses
way while bringing his man toward the ball handler causing chaos,
turnovers and terrible floor spacing. He has the tools to be good in
four or five years, but I can definately see why the Warriors passed on
him. He isn’t as good a prospect as Monta Ellis at this stage in my
opinion, let alone Martell Webster.
For the Pistons, Acker and Maxiel both looked good and Carlos Delfino
is an intriguing prospect. Milicic is simply not a good five on five
player…I don’t know any other way to say it…Perhaps he was at one
time and his confidence is just gone, but he looks like he really
doesn’t care and is just going through the motions. You would think he
would see this summer league as a chance to show what he can do but
unlike Skita he doesn’t even want to dominate at this level. He did
look really good during layup drills however. Other than that…Pistons
The Suns are Barbosa…Barbosa is the Suns. He is pretty much the only
notable member of there summer league team other than some interesting
european players that look good in warmups and Joey Graham’s brother.
Dijon Thompson is a decent player along the lines of a Jawad Williams
and will probably play in the league. I am quite sure nobody in this
league can stop Barbosa from getting to the rim.
Stephen Graham gave me a good indication of why his brother went so
high. This guy is an amazing athlete with not many basketball skills,
but if his brother even has a few skills he is going to be a serious
player in the league. Rodney Billups played only four minutes for
Detroit and contributed nothing.
A Giant Sighting:
Pavel Podkozin suited up and played for the Mavs today as owner Mark
Cuban looked on from the bench. Pavel is Huge and fairly agile with the
ball in his hands. If you can get into a halfcourt game and walk the
ball up he can be a Mark Eaton type player without the shot blocking or
rebounding ability of course. If teams are up and down in transition he
will be lucky to make it past half court. He is the slowest most
plodding man I have ever seen and I am including Gheorge Mureson in
Tomorrow I will be reviewing three games, The Suns Clippers, Knicks Wizards and Warriors Cavs. Until then… -30-