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Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Summer League: Game Five Thoughts

The final buzzer sounded on the Las Vegas Summer League with a wild 109-107 win in OT. Despite playing without rookie sensation John Wall, the Wiz found themselves up 20 in the 2nd half, led by D-League stars, Lester Hudson and Cartier Martin, as well as rookie Kevin Palmer. But the Knicks put on a spirited comeback, getting , you know, actual stops, forcing turnovers and stuff.

Here are a few sentences on some key players, with game 5 numbers in parentheses. First, the guys with the best shot to be on the roster (in no particular order)…

Fields – (14pts, 2asts, 4rebs in 29:31) The kid was all over the floor. He looks the way you want a first round pick, much less a 2nd round pick, to look in summer league; like one of the best players on the floor at any given time. With Azubuike possibly injured to start the season, Fields’ versatility and energy may be needed.

Walker – (11pts, 1ast, 4rebs in 21:34) He never looked like he got his legs in Vegas in the games I saw. My big fear is that the bad habits on D didn’t melt away with the extra lbs.

Douglas – (19pts, 6asts, 3rebs, 2stls in 27:08) Douglas is turning into an excellent “true” combo guard (part-time PG, part-time SG). He’s not Nash on the screen and roll or Kidd on the break, but all things considered he’s pretty valuable.

Rautins – (3pts, 2asts, 2rebs in 20:54) It troubles me a little that he never got double figures despite having a green light. The stroke looks great coming off his hand, but I sense he has trouble getting free. Let’s see if D’Antoni’s sets help him get open during pre-season.

Jordan – (6pts, 0asts, 3rebs in 15:46) Summer league is difficult for all but the best big men. So, this was a chance to see the skill set. Jordan brings things to the table athletically; good hands, good feet, fluidity. But, he needs to add strength. Luckily, Walsh sees Jordan for the project that he is.

Now the other guys…

Lyons – (21pts, 2asts, 2rebs, 2stls in 21) Lyons had played well in limited minutes, but had a coming out game today. He was the “Good Leo” recognizable to Missouri fans; the guy who drives for and-1s and hits open shots consistently to 18 feet. Unfortunately, he’s still a 3/4 tweener without the functional strength to play the 4. He injured his shoulder on his last play trying to go up-and-under on a center to get to the FT line. He couldn’t even budge the guy and his shoulder just gave way. Hopefully he showed enough to get an invite to a camp, but more likely its back overseas.

Landry – (12pts, 1ast, 4rebs in 12:09) Marcus was solid in the hustle areas, as we would expect. He also got to the line. Unfortunately, as Mike alluded to in a previous post, I can’t see him earning a roster spot in NY, but he could very well stick with a team looking for a defense-first wing.

31 comments on “Summer League: Game Five Thoughts

  1. Thomas B.

    Watching the replay on ESPN now. I do like what I see from Fields. Knew nothing about him coming into the draft, but he looks like he could get a few minutes in the rotation.

    I’m not sure Rautins has the speed or seperation ability to make the best use of that stroke of his. If he played with a big man who drew doubles Wait! we have one of those now…

    Jordan is what I thought he would be: big project, but there might be something there.

    I still like Douglas..a lot. Agreed he could be a great combo guard backing up each position. I would have liked to see him check Wall as a way to see what he does against speed.

  2. dre mingo

    I just watched the last summer game on ESPN. I have to say I really like Fields he can handle the ball well even starting our offensive sets at times. The thing that impresses me the most is the way he always seems to be around the ball making a smart play. He is smooth and smart I like his game

    I like Douglas but his point guard instincts seems suspect, maybe he can work on that with better pick and roll guys in camp.

    I like Landry he reminded me of Tony Allen hustle guy, defender and can score in spurts. Don”t think he will make the roster though

    Rautins was bad in the summer league but at least his shot looked good lol

  3. Mulligan

    Guh. I guess this makes it officially the dog days of summer, eh? Wish I liked baseball more…

  4. Brian Cronin

    I believe you must be mistaken, David.

    I was told with great confidence by Chad Ford that Landry Fields was not one of the 100 best prospects in the NBA Draft.

    So therefore, he cannot be playing this well.

    Please reconsider your foolish position.

  5. Brian Cronin

    By the way, anyone here think the Knicks should use their financial muscle to snare a look see at Jeremy Lin?

    He’s been really impressive for the Mavericks so far, but they are pretty deep at the point. A project point guard, however, would definitely seem to fit in well on the Knicks.

  6. David Crockett

    Thomas B.: Watching the replay on ESPN now.I do like what I see from Fields.Knew nothing about him coming into the draft, but he looks like he could get a few minutes in the rotation.I’m not sure Rautins has the speed or separation ability to make the best use of that stroke of his. If he played with a big man who drew doubles Wait! we have one of those now…Jordan is what I thought he would be: big project, but there might be something there.I still like Douglas..a lot.Agreed he could be a great combo guard backing up each position.I would have liked to see him check Wall as a way to see what he does against speed.  

    Fields brings enough to the table in skills and athleticism, and is a quick enough study, to make you feel like there’s little reason to stray from the straight and narrow in pursuit of a wing player. It’s hard to put a number on what kinds of minutes Fields would get IF his current play holds up through camp and pre-season, but it should be more than Jordan Hill.

    My gut tells me that Rautins is not an NBA player, but I’ll certainly wait and see before making any pronouncements. To make it as a spot up guy at Rautins’ size you need feet like a ballerina. I see an NBA release, but not NBA feet. Rautins has JJ Redick’s feet, and it took Redick until his 4th season to hit 40% of his 3pt shots. We already have a bunch of guys that shoot between 35 and 40%. If he’s not going to shoot better than that, right off the bat, what’s the point?

  7. Robert Silverman

    I’ll join the chorus of Fields-fans. The D’Antoni comment from the SL game last week “He makes playing hard look easy” seems to really sum his game up best.

    Hard to say what his upside is, but a Matt Barnes/Doug Christie-type SF/SG is a pretty good haul for the mid-2nd round.

  8. JK47

    Would be great if Fields were to develop into a Shane Battier-esque wing– a heady, hustling, versatile, team-oriented guy who plays solid D. Of course it remains to be seen whether Fields will be an above-average defender, but from the descriptions I’ve read he does seem to posess some of those other intangibles.

  9. Mulligan

    Brian Cronin: By the way, anyone here think the Knicks should use their financial muscle to snare a look see at Jeremy Lin?He’s been really impressive for the Mavericks so far, but they are pretty deep at the point. A project point guard, however, would definitely seem to fit in well on the Knicks.  

    The highlights of Lin against Wall are great. I would love for the Knicks to sign him and maybe send him down to the d-league, but it seems like both the Mavs and Lakers are pursuing him…

    http://sports.espn.go.com/dallas/nba/columns/story?columnist=caplan_jeff&id=5387547

  10. Mulligan

    Also, this was brought up in the last thread too, but it is pretty amazing that Fields gets compared exclusively to light-skinned/bi-racial dudes. Prince, Battier, Barnes, Christie?

  11. Ben R

    I would like to believe we are the Eastern conference team in talks with Lin. We probably are not but if we are we would be a better fit than either the Mavs or the Lakers because we are the only team out of the three without a true backup point. So instantly he would be #3 on the depth chart with a good chance to log minutes this year. With the mavs he would enter a backcourt with Kidd, Terry, JJ and Beaubois all potentially logging minutes at the one and with the Lakers they have both Fisher and Blake signed long term. I would love to bring Lin in. Lin + Fields + Mosgov would seem like a pretty good haul of rookies considering we only had two mid second round picks. They all seem like at least late 1st round talent and potential long term nba role players. I doubt either Rautins or Jordan has done enough to warrant a roster spot.

  12. Brian Cronin

    Ben R: They all seem like at least late 1st round talent and potential long term nba role players.

    Perhaps Lin and Mosgov, but not Fields – he is not even Top 100 good (for the record, Lin was #89 on Ford’s list).

  13. BigBlueAL

    How about this quote from Wade in an article at fanhouse.com today:

    “If we lose a couple in a row this season, it will be like the World Trade (Center) is coming down again.”

    Safe to say he is getting alot of crap from people on Twitter right now.

  14. Robert Silverman

    Mulligan: Also, this was brought up in the last thread too, but it is pretty amazing that Fields gets compared exclusively to light-skinned/bi-racial dudes. Prince, Battier, Barnes, Christie?  

    Yeah, I realized after I wrote it that I was falling into that trap. You can add Euros to Euros (Gallo = Nowitzki, Kukoc, Schrempf), white, slow, combo guards to WSCG’s (Rautins = Kerr, Paxson), etc.

  15. DS

    @14. Ugh. I hate them. And not in a “they’re the bad guys. I want to see them get their asses kicked” way that Wade seems to think people perceive it… But in a “the playoffs are going to be boring for the next five to ten years because LeBron thinks a lame, contrived, synthetic dynasty is cool” kind of way.

    I’m done w/ the NBA the second the Knicks are eliminated this year.

  16. DS

    @15 – The White Chocolate to Pistol Pete comparison was especially egregious because they are the only two flashy white guys. When it looked like D. Lee peak as a “lunch pail” guy in his rookie year I thought I remember comparisons to Oakley, albeit only on the MSG Network.

  17. Kikuchiyo

    There’s an interesting thread on a Suns blog about Amar’e's departure (two apostrophes in “Amar’e's”?), for those of you who are interested:

    http://valleyofthesuns.com/2010/07/17/a-tale-of-two-superstars-exits-of-amare-stoudemire-and-lebron-james-could-not-be-more-different/#comments

    My favorite comment from Suns68:

    “I too admire Amare’s classy exit, although I want it on record there were some fans who think it was a mistake to let him go. I’m rooting for our new ensemble cast, but it just won’t be the same without the big kid flying at the rack. It does give me one thing I never had before – a reason to root for the Knicks in the East.”

    It’s been a long time since other teams’ fans showed interest in the Knicks.

  18. massive

    Any chance we can pull off a trade for Xavier Henry’s draft rights? Seems like Memphis doesn’t want to pay him.

  19. slovene knick

    There is nothing much too add to what has been done. I think that Donnie(hope he stays healthy) has done a decent job and there is no need for Knicks to rush anywhere now…please no Rudy for Chandler or something like that.Rudy is nice,long, fast, flashy player a nice piece in theory for D’s offense but Chandler in my opinion has got a higher ceiling.
    In last two or so years here on KB I haven’t read anything(very little) positive about Will – give him one healthy off-season and he is big piece on any team.
    And please don’t get lazy here on KB now during that long hot summer. I’m hooked on this site and the dose was quite plentiful lately.
    Reed you.

  20. dmull

    Personally, I liked what I saw from Rautins. He doesn’t appear quick enough to keep much anyone out of the lane, but he wasn’t quite as bad as I thought he would be on defense and his signature step-in to the passing lane for the steal that he developed into an art at Syracuse popped up enough that I think it will translate.

    He made some exceptionally intelligent passes including on the pick-and-roll and on the break. While often they didn’t result in actual assists, he has a great feel for getting the ball to the right guy on the break and in general on offense.

    David Crockett – very interesting analysis of his footwork which I can see, however I’d say that for one, we are dealing with an extremely small sample size (and a big thing to note is Rautins over his career at Cuse was a very streaky three point shooter, as are most), the Summer League offense really looked nothing like what D’Antoni’s regular season system should look like (which is one that is VERY friendly to 3-point shooters and intelligent passers) and that what Rautins possibly lacks in footwork he might make up in range. I think he has the ability to shoot it from beyond the line with his frame and based on some of the shots he made at Syracuse. Certainly there is an adjustment period for any 2nd-rounder, but I actually liked what I saw from Rautins more than anyone else. He proved to have some major weaknesses but at least I feel confident in some of his skillsets.
    As much as Fields looked better in the Summer League, I just struggle to see his skill-set translating to the NBA game. It was more encouraging than I thought he would be, but does anyone really think he’s going to be able to dribble past NBA defenders and score at the tin despite limited athleticism with such ease?

    I do agree on the analysis of Douglas, he looks like he could be a valuable little combo-guard off the bench.

    Walker will just probably never be much of a defender, he needs to rebound and block a few shots to be worthwhile. Clyde was saying that when he lost weight before one year it took him a while to get used to it, he felt like he was moving too quickly. I believe he said he just put the weight back on. I wonder if Walker wouldn’t be better off the same. Ideally, he’s best suited as a 15 MPG role-player off the bench anyway, so the weight probably isn’t a huge issue to me.

    Jordan flashed jussssst enough here and there to make you wonder didn’t he? My roommate was trashing him each game but everytime you were ready to say “He’s just not a NBA player” he did something to make you think twice.

    Landry is a real like-able guy, I hope he sticks somewhere.
    Good for Lyons too, great collegiate player, he’s the basketball equivalent of a AAAA player probably, should carve out a nice career in Europe I’d bet though.

  21. Ted Nelson

    Besides the skin-tone thing, the Fields comparisons seem to be largely to excellent defensive players with limited offensive games. Maybe I’m wrong, but I see Landry Fields having more offensive upside than those guys but less defensive upside than a Shane Battier (one of the best wing defenders in the league)some of the guys he’s been compared to.

  22. gbaked

    What I like about Fields is the same thing I like about Pretty Toney. They are smart ball players.

    I remember Toney saying early on in summer league (sorry, I dont have a link) that what was great about Fields was they would explain something once, then he would go and do it correctly.

    With only 2nd round picks, it seems that Donnie was able to find a body for our rotation. That is awesome. We didnt need to find the stud sleeper of the 2nd round (something that may just not exist). What we needed was players to help round out our roster for little cap space. We got that in Fields.

    Toney is gonna surprise people. He may not be the best distributor right now, but having Felton to work with is gonna do wonders for him.

  23. Thomas B.

    David Crockett:

    Fields brings enough to the table in skills and athleticism, and is a quick enough study, to make you feel like there’s little reason to stray from the straight and narrow in pursuit of a wing player. It’s hard to put a number on what kinds of minutes Fields would get IF his current play holds up through camp and pre-season, but it should be more than Jordan Hill.

    My gut tells me that Rautins is not an NBA player, but I’ll certainly wait and see before making any pronouncements. To make it as a spot up guy at Rautins’ size you need feet like a ballerina. I see an NBA release, but not NBA feet. Rautins has JJ Redick’s feet, and it took Redick until his 4th season to hit 40% of his 3pt shots. We already have a bunch of guys that shoot between 35 and 40%. If he’s not going to shoot better than that, right off the bat, what’s the point?  

    (Quote)

    I guess the point is that I need to work on my sarcasm. I do not see in Ruatins the physical tools to make the best use of his stroke. I’m pretty sure that should have been clear from draft camps and workouts, so why the knicks did not take Lance Stephenson–a player with at least the physical tools–is unclear. I get LS has some personal issue but you should be swinging for the fences with a 2nd round pick. Oh well.

  24. Kevin McElroy

    Fields reminds me of all those guys who play for Spain and Greece and Argentina at the Worlds who we’ve never heard of and don’t seem all that athletic, but somehow they get 3 put-backs and a couple 3′s and free throws and one nice dribble drive and end up with like 16 points and 8 rebounds on 6/10 shooting without any plays being run for them. I really, really like the idea of having him coming off the bench — nice change of pace from the raw, often-misguided athleticism of the Azus and Randolphs and Walkers that will be populating the wings for much of next year.

  25. Robert Silverman

    Anyone else think the uber-mad genius MD’A will trot out this starting lineup next year?

    PG Felton
    SG Gallo
    SF Randolph
    PF Stoudamire
    C Turiaf

    Chandler (first big off the bench at SG/SF/PF) Douglas (First guard at PG/SG)

    And then either Azubuike/Walker as time permits

  26. Z-man

    I don’t get the “lack of athleticism” criticism of Fields. He certainly seemed athletic enough to me. He has a 39″ vertical leap, no? I mentioned before that he reminded me of Thunder Dan Majerle, and having looked at Majerle’s college and early career stats, I am hopeful that he can fill that role on the Knicks.

    I liked this scouting report:

    http://www.cbssports.com/nba/draft/players/overview/1143253

    I am particularly impressed by the following:

    1) the 25 ppg and 12 rpg vs. top-25 competition

    2) the consistency with which he got his points, not a feast-or-famine type (this continued in summer league.)

    3) his lack of fouling in college, meaning that he could probably become a better defender by getting stronger and more agressive

    4) that he led his team in blocks and steals

    5) that he played 36+ mpg

    6) that he made a HUGE improvement between junior and senior year

    7) he is smart (Pac-10 all-academic)

    I think he needs to get NBA tough, but definitely has lots of upside, especially for a 2nd round pick. Good job, Donnie!

  27. JK47

    How about some zone defense? The Felton/Gallo/Randolph/Stoudemire/Turiaf lineup would be very long and could probably play some pretty irritating zone.

  28. Ted Nelson

    Robert Silverman: Anyone else think the uber-mad genius MD’A will trot out this starting lineup next year?PG Felton
    SG Gallo
    SF Randolph
    PF Stoudamire
    C TuriafChandler (first big off the bench at SG/SF/PF) Douglas (First guard at PG/SG)And then either Azubuike/Walker as time permits  

    I think Azubuike will play as the roster stands, if healthy. He’s a good all-around player and shoots the 3 well. The “uber-mad genius” is uber-mad about 3-pt shooting and you’ve only got 2 of 7 guys in your rotation who can actually shoot the 3.

  29. Ted Nelson

    Kevin McElroy: nice change of pace from the raw, often-misguided athleticism of the Azus and Randolphs and Walkers that will be populating the wings for much of next year.  

    I don’t know this it’s fair to say that about Azubuike. How does he “misguide” his athleticism? He’s very low TO, a good rebounder and shot blocker on the wing, an average or so defender, has a career .557 TS% on a just below average volume and .409 3P%… For a guy who went undrafted that’s a pretty good use of his athleticism and skills.

    I would also say Randolph puts his athleticism to good use (based on rebound and shot blocking #s as well as finishing inside), but needs to improve his basketball skills. That’s really semantics, though.

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