Blazers finish their 2nd game of the 2010 NBA Summer League with a victory. We again will forego our regular Re-Thoughts and simply review the starting lineup. Also, make sure to check our twitter for constant updates live from Vegas.
Dante Cunningham (6-for-12, 14 points, 2-2 FT, 5 rebounds, 4 turnovers)
The differnce between Games 1 and 2 from Dante Cunningham were like night and day. In Game 1, Cunningham seemed hesitant and almost floated along as others stood out. In Game 2, Cunningham was aggressive and really put his stamp on the ball game. Early on DC had some stand-out moments. On his first offensive touch, Dante caught the ball on the baseline and immediately attacked off the dribble, going left and finishing in the paint. In an early defensive possession, the Blazers deflected the ball out of bounds and Cunningham was seen clapping and talking to teammates, showing flashes of leadership we had yet to see from the 2nd year player.
That’s not to say he’s a completely new player, but it’s good to see him attempting to expand his game. Continuing to develop a mentality of attacking offensively can only do him well. There were times last night where Dante looked a little unsure of what to do when help defense came on his drives. That should get better with time.
Jeff Pendergraph (4-for-8, 11 points, 6 rebounds, 3 blocks, 7 fouls, 3-5 FT)
In Game 1, Pendergraph was very aggressive offensively. In Game 2, he more or less let the game come to him. Coup thinks that he doesn’t look much different than last year. When analyzing Pendergraph’s performance this summer, I think it all boils down to expectations. I think last summer, no one had any expectations for Pendergraph. This summer, there might be higher expectations which is why people may be a little more down on him.
Defensively, Pendergraph was better than in Game 1. He had more energy, more talk and a couple of really good rotations in the pick-and-roll. Offensively, I’m a little concerned that a lot of his touches are coming in between the three point line and the post. Or as I like to call it, the Zach Randolph zone, because that’s where Z-Bo would post up and start wagging his left hand. I’d like to see him get better position and then work from there.
Luke Babbitt (4-for-9, 9 points, 1 rebound, 0-2 3PA, 2 FTA)
The thing I continue to notice about Luke Babbitt is how crafty he is offensively. He may not be the quickest of the bunch, but he knows how to use his body to get position. He finds ways to do the little things to give himself space, both on and off the ball. He does a great job of getting separation. Coup does not like the way his shot looks off the catch at all, thinking there’s not enough lift. I’m fine with it, the shots will fall. He’s got enough offensive talent. The biggest question mark continues to come on the defensive end.
Babbitt got minutes at the 4 last night, and all I’m going to say is Blazer fans should not entertain the idea of him playing the 4. He looked overwhelmed. Babbitt was getting punished on the block, not by Paul Millsap or DeJuan Blair, but by Kyle Hines. Also, Babbitt looked lost guarding the pick-and-roll, not knowing whether to hedge or switch. That kind of hesitation led to his man getting to the foul line.
Armon Johnson (6-for-12, 15 points, 5 assists, 3 steals, 3 TO)
If you ask me, Armon Johnson continues to be the most impressive of the bunch. Simply put, the kid can play. He continues to display excellent body control and is showing off a change of pace with his hesitation. He also finishes strong at the room. I also like his mentality on defense, constantly working. Sometimes he tries to gamble for steals, which may work in SL but will cease existing in the Fall.
One complaint is that at times he can disappear. I mean, Matt Winer didn’t even know he was on the court on Sunday for the first 5 minutes.
Patty Mills (6-for-9, 18 points, 3 rebounds, 5 TO’s, 3 steals, 3 assists)
And here is the most polarizing of all Blazers so far this Summer League. Mills has drawn praise from a ton of people with his play. It’s hard to argue with his talent. He’s showed off a lot of his skills. It’s almost a shame to see such a talented player not come back. The play where he split the defense off a pick and roll and then finished in the lane was impressive. At the same time, perhaps one of the reasons he’s shined so brightly in this Summer League is that he’s one of the few *actual* point guards in town.
Our major problem with Mills’ play this Summer is that there are still question marks surrounding his PG skills. He was not very accurate with his passes last night as they looked a little soft. Not to mention, getting ripped at halfcourt after a completely unnecessary fake pass was a bit embarrassing. He is a very skilled player, but is he a PG? Is he better than Armon Johnson for this team?