Classic example of the difference between the NBA summer league and the real-life NBA: Yesterday’s matchup pitting #2 pick Hasheem Thabeet against #3 pick James Harden drew a good-sized crowd at the Thomas & Mack Center in Vegas, and later headlined NBA TV’s “Gametime” highlight show. But wait until the regular season, whenever the Grizzlies and Thunder play each other for the first time. Half-empty gym, and it probably won’t even make the nightly highlight shows unless it happens to be A.I.‘s first game with Memphis or Kevin Durant scores 50 … Thabeet (9 pts, 2 rebs) was rocking a mohawk and still doing the t-shirt under the jersey thing while he’s still got a few games left before having to dress like an NBA player. Harden (4 pts, 3 asts) only made one field goal, a driving dunk in traffic where he showed more ups than a lot of people thought he had … If they ever make The James Harden Story, are we absolutely sure Delroy Lindo is too old to play the lead character? … Marcus Williams (the UConn version) was back on the court, handing out 17 assists for Memphis with just one turnover. If he’s got his head on straight and he’s in shape, Williams could actually be a good pickup for the Grizzlies. Their PG situation is still shaky with Mike Conley and Mr. Adriana Lima … Classic example of summer league nepotism: OKC has Tony Durant on its roster. That would be Kevin’s brother, a 6-7 forward out of Towson University who otherwise wouldn’t be sniffing the NBA right now … Shaun Livingston has looked alright with the Thunder in the last week, although he’s being held out of back-to-back games. Supposedly he’s 90-95 percent healthy, but is still trying to get his quickness and explosiveness back, which honestly may never happen. It’s clear by now Livingston won’t become that superstar Magic Johnson-like PG scouts envisioned in high school, but how good do you think he can be? What is Shaun’s new ceiling: NBA starter, above-average backup, take-him-or-leave-him rotation guy, or will he forever be on the fringe of being in or out of the League? … Brandon Jennings had 23 points, eight dimes and five steals against Cleveland … George Hill scored 25 points (11-11 FT) to lead San Antonio over the Hornets, while DeJuan Blair added 13 points and 10 boards. Marcus Thornton had 22 points, six boards and two steals for the Hornets, and Darren Collison had 19 and six dimes … Remember during the ’06 Finals when the Heat used Earl Barron to simulate Dirk Nowitzki in practice, and D-Wade and Shaq and those guys swore up and down Barron was really lighting them up? Ever since then we’ve kept Barron on the radar, but he never panned out. Now he’s on the Hornets’ summer team; he could possibly make the roster, especially if they trade Tyson Chandler before the season … Speaking of next-big-thing types, Julian Wright is overdue for his breakout season. He was good yesterday — 15 points, seven boards, two steals and three blocks — but the fact that he’s even still playing summer league shows he’s not progressing enough … Joey Dorsey (the Dwight Howard of the Vegas Summer League) posted eight points, 16 boards and four blocks in Houston’s win over Minnesota. We don’t envy whoever is coaching the Wolves. (Come to think of it, who is coaching them? The franchise doesn’t have a head coach yet, and presumably dumped all of Kevin McHale‘s assistants.) Getting Jonny Flynn (11 pts, 7 asts, 7 turnovers) and Wayne Ellington (4 pts, 2-12 FG) on track is one thing, then they’ve also got to work Corey Brewer (14 pts) back into the fold, and since the Bobcats don’t have a summer team, Gerald Henderson is being loaned out to the Wolves. Of course Charlotte wants Henderson to get in as much work as possible, but why would Minnesota play Henderson at the expense of developing their own guys? … Chase Budinger looks like a 6-foot-7 Child of the Corn. How he remained so pale growing up in San Diego and playing beach volleyball every day, we don’t know … The Boston Globe says the Celtics will cut back Paul Pierce‘s minutes next season — along with Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Rasheed Wallace, we’d presume — to keep him fresh for the postseason. Pierce, 31, did appear exhausted at points during that grueling seven-game series with Chicago, and told the newspaper he was totally fine with not playing as much in the regular season. And that’s the kind of perspective a championship can buy. Let the C’s try to cut Pierce’s minutes three years ago and see what happens … Sunday at midnight was the first time teams could offer contract extensions, and Pat Riley reportedly texted D-Wade around 12:01 a.m with a max offer that would keep Wade in Miami through 2014. But, as he’s said all offseason, Wade is going to wait. “It’s no rush,” Wade told the Miami Herald. “We all know that.” … Wade and Alonzo Mourning put on the annual Zo’s Summer Groove event this past weekend, with yesterday’s charity game featuring Chris Paul, ‘Melo, Caron Butler, Roger Mason, Mike Beasley, Darius Miles, Udonis Haslem, Mario Chalmers, Rasual Butler, Daequan Cook, Dorell Wright and Tim Hardaway. LeBron was supposed to play, but he had other committments in, of all places, Idaho. Apparently he’s about to buy the entire state … We’re out like Earl Barron …
Smack / Jul 13, 2009 / 12:02 am
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