2009 Summer League: Game 1 Recap

New York’s first summer league game didn’t go as planned for their two first round draft picks. Jordan Hill hit only 6 of 14 and failed to block a shot. He showed tenacity on the glass (8 rebounds in 28 minutes), but like I noted after New York drafted him most of his created shots were turn around jumpers or fadeaways that were away from the hoop. Hill seems to shy away from contact on the offensive end, and only drew 2 free throws. In post game reports, he admitted to being out of shape, not exactly what you want to hear from the #8 pick. Hill’s draftmate, Toney Douglas, had an even worse shooting night. Playing point guard he shot a miserable 2 of 13 (8 points) although he racked up 11 assists without turning the ball over.

As for the rest, Morris Almond is making a pitch for shooting guard with his 17 points on 12 shots. He had a Houston-esque boxscore doing little else, grabbing only 1 rebound and notching just a single assist. One thing Almond didn’t do is take a single free throw, surprising considering his propensity to draw contact in the NBDL & NBA. Considering his outside shooting, I’m curious how he gets to the line. Is it Miller-esque jump into your opponent after the fake, does he post up, or can he take it to the paint?

Tskitishvili started much to my surprise, and just as surprising played well. He connected on 3 of 5 from downtown and blocked 3 shots. I’m still skeptical of the 26 year old all of a suddenly learning how to shoot. Joe Crawford had 10 points on 9 shots and beemed confidence on the court. On one play he drive right at Thabeet, and on another he badly missed a three point shot.

On the other hand Sene only played 11 minutes, and blocked 3 shots as well, but failed to score a single point and coughed up the ball twice. Sharp shooter Blake Ahearn struggled with his shot, hitting 1 of 8 (including 0-4 from three), although he was an automatic 6-6 from the free throw line. Korolev and Noel never made it on to the court.

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Mike Kurylo

Mike Kurylo is the founder and editor of KnickerBlogger.net. His book on the 2012 Knicks, "We’ll Always Have Linsanity," is on sale now. Follow him on twitter (@KnickerBlogger).

28 thoughts to “2009 Summer League: Game 1 Recap”

  1. I really liked what I saw from Douglas. Granted his shot was off, but I thought he ran the point well, made nice dishes off penetration and was disruptive on D. Hill does look raw, which would be more acceptable if he was a 20th pick and not the 8th. I guess right now I’d be hoping for him to be a Noah type, although I hope the ceiling is higher.

    Nice interview with Gallo, BTW, I’m really hoping that kid stays healthy and has a breakout year.

  2. Eleven assists and no turnovers against Marcus Williams, who was coming off a huge game, is an encouraging sign. It’s also worth noting that Douglas is only four months younger than Williams.

    Thorpe’s Twitter said, “Douglass now with 11 assists. As expected. He’s been schooled extremely well at FSU as to how a pg is supposed to play.”

    Maybe, as some people have speculated, his low assist numbers in college were the result of a less than talented supporting cast and weren’t a huge reflection of his PG abilities.

  3. I was pretty impressed with Douglas on both ends – as noted, D was strong and he actually looks like a PG. He moves with purpose. He’s old for a rookie, which lowers the ceiling, but he seemed solid.

    We can only fantasize that Hill turns into Noah, who’s 3 inches taller, blocks shots and almost led the league in offensive rebounding. I wouldn’t argue with a Lee for Noah trade…

    I feel the same way about Hill as D-Mar does… he’s ok, but when you pick a guy at #8 you want at least a chance that he’ll be a breakout star. It’s a little weird to get out of shape between the draft and training camp, but what the heck.

  4. I have to say I’m cautiously optimistic about both Hill and Douglas. Douglas seems like the better player out of the gate and hopefully can log some good point guard minutes this year. But Hill will be a good player eventually as well. His post moves and ball handling still look very raw, but these are things that can be improved on. He definitely has a motor which can’t be taught. When he adds strength, he could easily be a Biedrins type of player, but hopefully a more successful scorer.

  5. “One thing Almond didn’t do is take a single free throw, surprising considering his propensity to draw contact in the NBDL & NBA.”

    My guess is that Almond decided to showcase one of the main things the Knicks’ need – outside shooting. In fact, his agent may have told him to do that. I’m still a big fan.

    It may be early-on for the Knicks’ summer league play, but one thing that impressed me was the fact that none of our guys received more than 5 fouls. Aside from Hill’s 5 and Toney’s 4, no other Knick was even in foul trouble. I seem to remember guys like Frye continually getting 6, 7, 8, + fouls per game. Although, the Knicks didn’t have an answer for Darrell Arthur, but he had 7 fouls on 28 minutes. He would have been pulled much earlier had this been a real game.

  6. Also, even with an underwhelming performance from Hill, Thabeet didn’t show me much, either, so who knows?

  7. “It’s a little weird to get out of shape between the draft and training camp, but what the heck.”

    I don’t want to read too much into it but, yeah, it’s more than a little weird. Have to figure he was in the best shape of his life leading up to the draft, knew he was playing in summer league, knew there were parts of his game he needed to work on if he wants to succeed in the league… to show up out of shape is a definite red flag. It’s nice to see him acknowledge that he’s out of shape, but why is he out of shape in the first place? Let’s hope he’s learned his lesson and dedicates himself to being a great basketball player all year long from now on. I have a feeling that if LeBron or Kobe were told yesterday that they had to play in summer league they’d still be in the best shape on the court; although, LeBron might get dunked on and confiscate every video camera in the arena…

    A couple of problems with the Noah/Beidrins comparisons: both are excellent shot blockers and very efficient scorers. There’s no sign Hill will be a shot blocker, in fact, he blocked less shots per minute in college than Channing Frye. Noah and Beidrins both score efficiently in large part by staying close to the basket (especially Noah, who lives on dunks). Hill seems to favor jumpers to some extent over the pounding of playing inside, not necessarily a good or bad thing just different from those two. Both are also excellent rebounders, which maybe Hill will be. I think Hill can be a good player, I just don’t know if Noah/Beidrins are the best comparisons. Hopefully for us Knicks fans he can be a strong interior defender, even if he’s not a shot blocker.

  8. The second part of my comment comes across the wrong way a little. I should mention that part of my point is that Hill might actually have a jumper, while neither Beidrins or (especially) Noah has anything you could recognize as a jump shot. I would be surprised to see Hill making his living without moving more than a few feet from the basket, especially playing alongside Lee or Curry. His jumpers have to actually fall and he can’t fall in love with them, but if nothing else I think he’ll be a much better jump shooter than Beidrins or Noah.

  9. The thing about Hill… height aside (he’s PF-size, not a center like Noah or Biedrins) – he’s never been a great defender, shot-blocker or rebounder. So it takes a big leap of faith to think he’ll suddenly do those things in a big way, in the NBA.

    He was pretty good at these things at Arizona — but if he’s the 6th or 7th best college rebounder in the country… well, that doesn’t translate to NBA greatness. Noah for example was a genuine college star.

    I’ve heard that Hill has only played organized ball for 5 or 6 years (like Thabeet) and so he might have more “upside” than the average college junior… let’s hope so.

  10. Yeah, I take back my Hill-Noah comparison, I guess my first thought was of another guy with long dreads. Really hard to assess Hill at this point, or what he will develop into. His first reg. season NBA game will tell a lot as to how he handles opposing 4’s and rebounds against primo competition.

  11. Actually Bosh seems like the best comparison (not just the hair) as he is more of a scoring (shooting) big. I’m not a huge fan of Bosh as he doesn’t do the work of a banger like Lee or Biedrins, but isn’t an optimal scorer like a boozer in the post. Of course, Hill has a long way to go before he whiffs the Bosh level, but Hill seems to have the NBA body (good length and hops at 6’10”) and the high energy… now it’s a matter of if he’s going to be a ‘student of the game’. As far as his conditioning, I’m not too worried about that. He wanted to excuse his average play… I mean, he looked to be in pretty good shape. He just needs to get his on-court wind back. It’s nice to have a big where you are not really concerned about about his athleticism and desire (paging Mr. Ed Curry…)

  12. “The thing about Hill… height aside (he’s PF-size, not a center like Noah or Biedrins) – he’s never been a great defender, shot-blocker or rebounder. So it takes a big leap of faith to think he’ll suddenly do those things in a big way, in the NBA.”

    He’s 6’10” with a center-like wing-span and standing reach. He’s athletic with a 35″ vertical. He was productive, average 21 points, 12.7 rebounds, and 2 blocks per 40 in an excellent basketball conference (by comparison, David Lee averaged 19 points, 9.9 rebounds, and 0.7 blocks/40 his junior year). He was All-Pac-10 defense. He’s only been playing basketball for 5 years. What else do you want?

    Last night’s ugly brick notwithstanding, I am actually quite optimistic about him. He has a GREAT motor, which is so nice to see out of someone who actually has real talent and has the logo NYK on his shirt.

  13. watching the replay of last nights game and have already seen 2 blocks hill had that were negated by other peoples fouling of the player in the air. also both of his turnovers were off of travels and those will go away

  14. Hill gets the ball early and does that annoying fall-away shot of his.

    Skita with another three.

  15. I like the Douglas pick a lot better. The Knicks needed either a franchise PG or a solid backup PG for Duhon. I would have preferred the former, but considering how late in the draft we got Douglas, I’m happy we seem to have found solid player for backup. His shot will start falling. He was fine in college. You don’t suddenly become bad shooter.

    Drafting Hill didn’t make any sense to me draft night and it really doesn’t make any sense now. I’m hugely skeptical of the talk that Hill can play some C with Lee at PF. IMO, he’s clearly a PF! Unless Lee or Harrington is out, what do we need a backup PF for? I hate to jump to conclusions because I’ve only seen two games and he’s a very late starter to basketball. But I don’t see this kid ever being more than an “average” to slightly “above average” PF. We don’t need that at all.

    I don’t see how this draft improved the Knicks much.

    Douglas is fine, but whose minutes is he going to be taking that makes the Knicks better now?

    If anything he’ll take some minutes from Nate and that will probably make the team worse. The only real plus is that we may get more out of Duhon because he won’t wear down in the 2nd half.

    I see no way for Hill to improve the Knicks. He’s either going to take minutes from Lee at C or PF or take minutes from Harrington at PF. Both are negative.

    I think the entire hope of the Knicks improving this year falls on Gallo being healthy and good, Chandler improving a little, whoever gets Qrich’s minutes, and resigning Lee and Nate. Otherwise, this year has disaster written all over it.

  16. Yeah, I have enough faith in Walsh and D’Antoni that they must have some reason for having Hill on the team, but boy, I don’t see it as of yet.

  17. “Actually Bosh seems like the best comparison”

    I can see some similarities. Not as good a scorer in college as Bosh, though. Bosh’s best attribute is his efficient high volume scoring, so I don’t know how well that bodes for Hill. Bosh’s rebounding and shot blocking #s are pretty average, and his passing is solid but unspectacular.
    As a freshman Bosh put up a 64.32% TS%, while Hill was at 59.97% on his career. His career rebound numbers are very close to Bosh’s. Bosh was a better shot blocker (2.1 blk/30 vs. 1.6 career and 1.4 last season).

    “What else do you want?”

    For him to be the kind of force that turns the Knicks around and into an instant contender… It’s unfair, but that’s what Knicks fans are looking for. Once he actually gets out on the court in the regular season I think expectations will slowly cool to more realistic levels.

    Here is a comparison of Hill vs. some other college bigmen that he’s been compared to at some point:

    Age..Height..Weight..Body Fat..Wingspan..Reach..Max Vert..Bench..Lane Agility
    Jordan Hill….22..6’10.25″..232..6.0%..7’1.5″..9’0″..35..11..12.23
    Chris Bosh….19..6’11.5″….225..8.0%..7’3.5″..9’1″..33..9….11.80
    Chris Wilcox.20..6’9.5″…..218..NA…..7’1″…8’11.5″..34.5..20..11.43
    Channing Frye.22..6’10.5″..244..NA…7’2.5″..9’2.5″..31..19..11.60
    Ronny Turiaf..22..6’9.25″..238….NA…7’1.5″..8’10.5″.33..15..11.50
    Joakim Noah..22..7’0″….223….4.8%.7’1.25″..8’10.5″..37.5..12..11.79

    NCAA Career
    Jordan Hill….27.0..13.8..59.97%..3.1..8.7..1.6..0.6..2.2..0.9
    Chris Bosh….31.0..15.2..64.32%..3.0..8.7..2.1..0.9..2.3..1.2
    Chris Wilcox..16.6..14.3..52.87%..NA..8.5..1.8..0.9..1.9..1.8
    Channing Frye.27.7..14.6..60.82%..3.0..7.2..2.1..0.7..1.6..1.4
    Ronny Turiaf…25.5..16.0..60.33%..2.4..7.9..1.7..1.0..2.4..1.2
    Joakim Noah..21.1..14.9..65.32%..2.8..9.0..2.4..1.3..2.5..2.4

    Final NCAA Season
    Jordan Hill…..35.7..15.4..56.69%..3.5..9.3..1.4..0.7..2.4..1.2
    Chris Bosh…..31.0..15.2..64.32%..3.0..8.7..2.1..0.9..2.3..1.2
    Chris Wilcox…24.1..14.9..52.87%..3.4..8.9..1.8..1.0..1.8..1.8
    Channing Frye..31.0..15.3..61.17%..2.7..7.4..2.2..0.9..1.7..1.9
    Ronny Turiaf….31.2..15.3..58.28%..2.3..9.2 ..1.8..0.4..2.2..1.5
    Joakim Noah…25.9..13.9..64.11%..3.0..9.8..2.1..1.3..2.9..2.6

    I think he can definitely become a good NBA player if he works hard. His rebounding should be somewhere between solid and good. Turiaf might be an encouraging sign as far as developing as a shot blocker (I am completely ignoring pace with these stats, btw), but he’s the worst shot blocker of the group. Not that shot blocking directly correlates with defensive aptitude…. His junior season scoring efficiency was a real clunker, but he has the tools to become an efficient, medium-to-high volume scorer for D’Antoni. Low steal, TO, and assist numbers aren’t particularly encouraging, but might reflect a poor feel for the game due to picking it up late that can be somewhat corrected through work.

  18. “Douglas is fine, but whose minutes is he going to be taking that makes the Knicks better now?”

    Tim Thomas was the back up point guard for a few games this year. Even if he turns out to be Mardy Collins bad, he still wouldn’t hurt us in the W/L department playing 20 minutes a game.

    “I think the entire hope of the Knicks improving this year falls on Gallo being healthy and good, Chandler improving a little, whoever gets Qrich’s minutes, and resigning Lee and Nate. Otherwise, this year has disaster written all over it.”

    I really don’t see any way that this season could be a disaster. We’ve seen disasters. They happen when the Knicks acquire mediocre players attached to terrible contracts. This season will be a success if any of the above happens. Does anyone expect a trip to the conference semis this year??

  19. I don’t like Hill’s “jump shot”. It’s not really a jump shot, but more like a hook shot whle fading away. I hope he’s not another big man who can ony play with his back to the basket.

    Douglas had better improve his shooting percentage or that’s another 3 million down the drain.

  20. Douglas can shoot a higher percentage. It has been two games. From what I have seen and read about Hill playing with his back to the basket isnt his strong point.

  21. I think we really need to take it easy on our impressions from summer league games. I’m not sure that summer league tells us anything about how they’ll play in real games. We’ve had two games playing with unfamiliar players in an unfamiliar system after what, 4 days of practice? Some quotes from previous summer leagues that show us how little these games can mean:

    “In [player X], [Team X] selected a dynamic point guard who possesses the rare combination of size, speed, athleticism and vision. But the 19-year-old looked somewhat shell-shocked by the magnitude of the moment early on Monday. His first pro shot was a woefully short airball and things didn’t get much better for him in a shaky first half. He did get better after the half, showing his tremendous burst as he got to the rim a couple of times for layups. But overall, Rose said he was already looking forward to today’s second summer league game.

    His final line — 10 points, four assists, five turnovers — wasn’t horrible, but his five missed shots, four wayward free throws and general passiveness frustrated him.

    “You don’t want to know what I think [about how I played],” [Player X] said dejectedly. “I think I played bad. We didn’t win and I think I played horrible. But tomorrow is a new day.””

    Player X = Derrick Rose

    Example 2:

    “The [Player Y] Factor, by contrast, is looking as solid as it can after a couple games at the Cox Pavilion on the UNLV campus. The Italian, taken No. 18 overall by the [Team Y] in last month’s draft, announced himself with a stunning 37 points in Saturday’s debut and followed that up Monday with 23 points in [Team Y’s] 94-87 victory over Philadelphia.

    “I think he’s been sensational,” [Coach of Team Y] said.”

    Player Y = Marco Belinelli

    Example 3:

    “You heard it here first…”the steal of the draft”. [Player Z] was the 59th player selected in the June draft. He had an excellent showing in Vegas averaging 15.6ppg and 6.4a playing out of position at PG. He pushed the tempo, penetrated and kicked out to open shooters in the half-court and finished at the rim with big time athleticism. But as good as he looked offensively, his defense was better. He’ll make [Team Z] a better defensive team, and should contribute right away. Very versatile, Can play and guard three positions on the floor. Will make the roster!”

    Player Z = DJ Strawberry

    Even the King was relatively disappointing in summer league. So I have trouble really getting too worked up over these things.

    What I do like is that both Hill and Douglas seem to be taking this seriously at least. Both have great motors and really get after it. That can’t but help during practice to get the Eddy Currys of the world trying a bit harder.

  22. Wow, very sobering info Frank, for those thinking that Austin Daye (27 pts., 13 reb. yesterday) will be the next KG. I really have to start ignoring Berman in the Post, today he’s announcing the end of the world as we know it based on the Knicks 0-2 start in summer league, and chastising Walsh for not taking budding superstar Anthony Randolph over Gallinari. IT”S THE SUMMER LEAGUE, STUPID!!!

  23. Berman’s an idiot who has to scrape the barrel now that Marbury is no longer texting him his storylines.

  24. Yeah, I make a conscious effort not to read Berman, even though the NY Post is usually wide open on my coworker’s desk.

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