by Kurt at Forum Blue & Gold
They keep playing Summer Pro League games in Long Beach and I keep going. What follows are some notes on Rudy Gay, who finally signed then suited up for Memphis, and a couple of the Washington Wizards (who came in to Long Beach on Friday after finishing up in what Long Beach organizers treat as the summer league that shall not be named).
If you want more, check out my first post on the league, or if you want Laker info click on the link above to head over to my blog (I’m not going to force Henry’s loyal Trailblazer readership to read about the finer points of Andrew Bynum, even if it would be good for them). Once again a caution about perspective: I’m a blogger and a hoops addict, but I’m not an NBA scout, so make sure you take these notes with a grain or two of salt.
Rudy Gay: Sure it’s summer league, but putting up a double-double in your first pro game is something to be proud of. More impressive was the way he did it. On offense he was fantastic in transition, he drilled a three and looked comfortable from deep, showed a mid-range game, the ability to take someone off the dribble and even pulled out a hook shot from about 8 feet. However, the highlight reel plays would be his two put-back dunks that had other summer players watching from the seats leaping out of them. Gay hustled for boards, pulling down 10 of them, four on offense. His length made him a solid defender and he blocked a shot. He finished with 21 points on 10 of 20 shooting plus (1 of 2 from beyond the arc). All of it in just 24 minutes of play. One game is just one game, but Gay looked like a prototype three for the NBA game.
Two other quick notes: Hakim Warrick continues to impress with a varied offensive game I don’t remember from the regular season, including great touch from the midrange — he finished with 23 points on 11 of 16 shooting; second-round pick Alexander Johnson had his best game in Long Beach against Dallas on Thursday, he seems to be figuring out better how to use is strength to get rebounds and position, and he finished with a team-high 25 points and 13 rebounds.
Andrey Blatche: All of his seemingly unlimited potential was on display against the Lakers, but with little of the bad decision he is know for and, by all accounts, frustrated fans in Vegas. He showed amazing ball-handling skills for a guy 6-11, leading the break a couple times, finishing once and dishing another time. He moved well without the ball and showed great body control getting off shots in the lane. He dunked with authority and hit from the midrange. He hit a floater off the glass on one drive. He finished with 26 points (on 8 of 16 shooting and hitting 9 of 10 free throws) plus he pulled down 7 boards, 3 on the offensive end. He was the best player on the court Friday night against the Lakers, but since the questions around him are not about potential but consistency, we’ll see what he does next game before anointing him.
John Ramos: This was supposed to be the summer the Wizards found out if The Ramos Project was going to bear fruit. Well, it’s just one game but he was unimpressive, getting outplayed by 18-year-old Laker Andrew Bynum. Offensively he showed little touch around the basket despite decent looks and finished 2 of 8 from the floor, plus he pulled down five boards. Defensively he couldn’t stop Bynum’s power moves nor his drop step and picked up four fouls in 25 minutes in the process (Bynum finished with 19, although not all came on Ramos). Again, one game does not a summer make, but that’s not what I’d want to see out of a guy playing for a contract.