Vegas Summer League Game One: Nuggets 100 – Knicks 90

Ah the summer league…

All potential. No consequences. It’s kinda neat actually. Instead of the sturm und drang of LeBrocalypse/obsessively following twitter for rumors about gossip about hearsay, one can watch an actual basketball game. Novel idea, I know

For those who missed it (or, you know, have a life), the ‘Bockers lost to the Rocks 100 – 90. SL games tend to be a rather haggard affair and this tilt was no exception as the Nix engaged in a bit of a hack-a-palooza, compiling 46 fouls in 40 minutes of play. But before your humble correspondent focuses his oh-so keen powers of observation and/or scouting acumen upon our hardwood heroes-to-be, lemme spew a few random/general observations…

Oddly enough, the game played out in eerily similar fashion to the Nix regular season affairs for the past few years. They quickly fell behind by double digits, crawled back with some hot shooting, couldn’t get over the hump, and then lost by ten. They also didn’t play a lot of defense and scored primarily from the perimeter/threes. Strange. Considering these cats have only been in Vegas for a few days, it’s impressive/vaguely nauseating that they’ve managed to absorb the Knicks’ basic DNA so quickly.

Was Kenny Atkinson wearing parachute pants?

For some reason, the Knicks didn’t have uni numbers on the front of their jerseys. This isn’t an SL-wide phenomenon as the other teams seem to have managed to iron-on some plastic onto their very YMCA-looking shirts. Did someone forget? Is it some convoluted, “You have to earn a front number” motivational technique? I must have this information!

Seriously, I think Kenny Atkinson was wearing parachute pants. And to make matters worse, they were practically riding under his armpits. Kenny, Dude!

Ty Lawson is hella good. Knickerblogger-istas far and wide were royally pining for this guy a year ago and, hot damn, it’s not hard to see why. He truly toyed with the Knicks out there, penetrating at will, finishing w/ease, and finding teammates all over the court. He pretty much controlling the game to the tune of 28 points, 10-16 from the field, 7 dimes, and 5 steals. Lawson then proceeded to plug the oil spill in the gulf, reveal the identity of the second gunman on the grassy knoll, and develop a diet soda that actually does taste as good as the real thing. He’s just a got a complete and polished game. If I were Denver, I’d send him home ASAP. He really has nothing to learn/prove here.

They were beige parachute pants too. Ugh.

THE GOOD

Toney Douglas did what Toney Douglas do. His jumper is silky smooth and effortless, even from 30 ft. out. He snuck into the passing lane a few times and converted a really acrobatic and-one on the break on the way to amassing 27 points, 6 boards and a couple of steals. As far as PG skills, eh. I counted at least four occasions where he missed a cutter in the lane. His tendency, still, is to look for his own shot first. The Felton signing, though, will allow him to be a score-first PG off the bench – the role he’s really best suited for.

Landry Fields has a really nice nose for the ball and tends to play within himself (Wow. I’m really starting to master the use of these bball/sportswriting clichés. It’s like sticking a hatpin in your cerebral cortex. Stuff writes itself!) Where was I? Oh yeah, Fields Landry or whomever looks like a nice small forward, though nothing about his game jumps off the page. His jumping, ironically, does.

THE BAD

Andy Rautins sure was channeling his inner Eddie House today. Like Free Eddie, he shot with utter impunity but aside from a stretch in the 3rd, was laying serious bricks. During the regular season, unless he’s Steve Kerr-ing it at a 40% or better clip, it’s hard to see him getting a lot of pt.

Jerome Jordan – It’s still hard to avoid typing Jerome James – is raw.  He is both big and tall and long and those things tend to come in handy. Aside from that, it was hard to tell what the skill-set he brings to the court might be.

THE UGLY

Tweet! Bill Walker just fouled somebody again. Aside from Asst. Coach Atkinson’s aforementioned sartorial splendor, the ugliest part of this afternoon’s tilt was the game that last year’s late-season find, Bill Walker had. He seems to have lost a lot of weight and with it his ability to play professional basketball. His jumper was strangely high-arced and he generally was sluggish and seemingly disinterested out there, leading to 9 fouls and 7 turnovers. Granted, game one, but the SL is a setting where a cat like Billy Sky Dubs should dominate.

C’est tout. Next time hopefully Charles Garcia and PEJr. get some spin.

Okay – maybe they weren’t parachute pants, but if not, they were some oddly wide, beige sweats that he for some ungodly reason insisted tucking his polo top into.

Can someone please run to The Gap in Vegas and buy this man a set of khakis?

2010 Report Card: Toney Douglas

Douglas’ initial season with the Knicks was filled with ups and downs. His NBA career started on a sour note, as some New Yorkers were upset that in a point guard rich draft, the team failed to fill its void with either Brandon Jennings or Ty Lawson. Following the draft, Douglas had a poor showing in summer league, shooting a feeble 28.8% eFG%. However at the start of the season, he played well enough to make the rotation. In mid-November on the heels of a 21 point outburst off the bench, D’Antoni made him the starting shooting guard. The Knick rookie played well enough, dropping 23 in a loss against the Hawks.

And that’s when things took another downturn for Douglas. The next night he would come off the bench, and following that his minutes would begin to fluctuate. He started on November 18th, but only managed 12 minutes of court time. By then Larry Hughes was on a shooting streak, and D’Antoni would stick with his hot hand playing the veteran over the rookie. Even when Hughes crawled into the coach’s doghouse in mid-December, Douglas would find court time sporadically. It wouldn’t be until early March that D’Antoni would awaken Douglas from his winter hibernation and allow him to see regular action again. From March 12th until the end of the regular season, he played 25+ minutes in every game save for two.

Douglas-Minutes-Per-Month

Perhaps what surprised me most about Douglas’ 2010 season was his efficient scoring (57.1% TS%); prior to the start of the season I envisioned him having a TS% under 50%. However I remain curious if he can keep this efficiency so high. Douglas didn’t earn a lot of trips to the free throw line and shooting percentage is volatile season to season. To his credit an overwhelming majority of his shots (73.4% according to HoopData) come either from downtown or point blank. Perhaps his scoring competency relies more on his ability to take intelligent shots.

Although his shooting might be suspect going into next year, his vigorous defense isn’t likely to wane. Douglas remains vivacious on defense, continually moving his feet. He’s a threat in the passing lanes and plays good ball denial as well. Another area where his physical ability and his intelligence make him an asset to the team.

Report Card (5 point scale):
Offense: 3
Defense: 4
Teamwork: 4
Rootability: 5
Performance/Expectations: 5

Final Grade: A-

Similarity Scores:

z-Sum FLName Year Tm PER TS eFG PTS ORB TRB AST STL BLK TOV
.000 Toney Douglas 2010 NYK 14.9 57.1 54.5 15.9 1.3 3.6 3.7 1.4 0.1 1.8
.037 Leandro Barbosa 2006 PHO 15.1 58.9 55.8 16.8 0.7 3.4 3.6 1.1 0.1 2.0
.039 Kevin Gamble 1989 BOS 15.8 58.4 55.9 18.0 1.1 4.0 3.3 1.3 0.3 1.8
.047 George Hill 2010 SAS 14.7 57.2 52.9 15.2 0.7 3.2 3.6 1.1 0.4 1.6
.055 Mike Glenn 1979 NYK 15.5 56.7 54.1 17.9 0.9 2.5 4.2 1.1 0.2 2.0
.064 Reggie Miller 1989 IND 15.7 60.2 53.8 16.8 1.0 4.1 3.2 1.3 0.4 2.0
.066 Rudy Fernandez 2009 POR 15.5 58.8 55.2 14.7 0.8 3.7 2.9 1.2 0.2 1.6
.078 Kyle Macy 1981 PHO 14.5 56.7 52.3 16.2 1.1 3.2 3.9 1.9 0.1 2.3
.084 Jim Paxson 1981 POR 16.9 56.4 53.7 18.0 1.0 2.8 4.0 1.9 0.1 1.7
.088 Chris Mullin 1987 GSW 15.8 58.0 52.4 18.8 0.6 2.7 4.0 1.5 0.5 2.3
.091 Hubert Davis 1994 NYK 14.0 55.8 52.4 16.6 0.6 1.8 4.5 1.1 0.1 2.1

It’s good that great players like Reggie Miller and Chris Mullin appear on this list, but Douglas sees himself as a point guard not scoring guard. It’s no secret that D’Antoni has a disdain of playing combo guards at the point. Douglas would be wise to work on his passing skills this offseason.

The silverlining on his comparables is the guy at the top of the list: Leandro Barbosa. The Brazillian Blur thrived under D’Antoni in Phoenix, so perhaps Douglas is playing for the right coach. Barbosa did increase the number of free throw attempts and points per minute as he progressed, so that is another barometer on Douglas’ development.

Between Barbosa and Gamble, it appears that Douglas ceiling in the NBA is as a reserve guard. Perhaps his defense, coupled with a strong playmaker at another position (ahem LeBron) could make him starting material.