Summer League Action is in Full SwingFirst, I want to correct something that I wrote in my earlier summer league post: there is not a no foul out rule during summer league play, but players are allowed 10 fouls--instead of the usual six--before they are disqualified. With four extra fouls and eight fewer minutes of game time, it is difficult--but not impossible--to foul out.
The Vegas Summer League has now completed play but NBA TV taped the games and is broadcasting doubleheaders in the evening for the rest of July. Although most of the summer league teams are being helmed by assistant coaches, many head coaches and GMs are in attendance, so you never know who might show up at the broadcast table for an impromptu interview while the game is going on.
During my appearance on BetUS.com Radio on Tuesday, I mentioned that Brandon Roy and LaMarcus Aldridge performed well for Portland in Las Vegas. Portland acquired Roy in a draft day trade with Minnesota for the rights to Randy Foye and it should be pointed out that Foye also is having an excellent summer: he averaged 24.8 ppg on .530 shooting from the field in Las Vegas and was selected as the league MVP. John Lucas (Houston), Roy, Kevin Martin (Sacramento), Amare Stoudamire (Phoenix) and Ryan Gomes (Boston) joined him on the Vegas Summer League First Team. Stoudemire played in three of the five games, averaging 20.7 ppg and 6.0 rpg. Number one overall pick Andrea Bargnani averaged 13.2 ppg and 3.8 rpg, earning VSL Second Team honors.
New York Knicks' rookies Renaldo Balkman and Mardy Collins did not put up gaudy statistics but both played well. They have the ability and willingness to play defense. Balkman displayed ballhandling and passing capabilities that no one--other than perhaps Isiah Thomas--realized he possesses. Collins' game resembles that of fellow Temple alumnus Aaron McKie. I expect that Balkman and Collins will make positive contributions during the regular season. Isiah Thomas plans to install what he terms the "Quick" offense. This is the same system that he ran when he coached Indiana and, as he points out, Jermaine O'Neal and Brad Miller blossomed into All-Stars under Thomas' tutelage and Al Harrington developed into a good NBA player. "Quick" combines principles from John Wooden's UCLA offense, Bobby Knight's Indiana offense (very familiar to Thomas, of course, as a former Hoosier under Knight) and Tex Winter's Triangle Offense. "Quick" is a good system and Thomas will do well at teaching it. What I wonder is will Stephon Marbury and Steve Francis share the ball and accept that they cannot just dribble away every possession and, if either or both do not accept this, will Thomas bench his high priced stars in favor of guys who play team ball? I have no doubt that guys like Balkman and Collins will not only soak up everything that Thomas says about "Quick," but will also play harder and more tenaciously at the defensive end than Marbury and Francis. That will make the allocation of minutes very interesting. It seems that Balkman can play multiple positions, so he could conceivably share court time with Marbury and Francis.
How significant is it to be a summer league star? Last year, Chris Paul showed flashes of his ability by making the Vegas League Second Team before becoming the consensus Rookie of the Year. On the other hand, other members of the Second Team (Luis Flores, Linas Kleiza) and even the First Team (Travis Outlaw, Jason Maxiell) hardly distinguished themselves once the regular season began. Sebastian Telfair made the First Team last year and the Second Team this year. His game is well suited for summer league play, but don't expect him to show up on any regular season All-Star teams. He has some of the same weaknesses as his cousin Stephon Marbury--overdribbling, poor defense--and these problems are compounded by his small size and questionable outside shot. He is a good penetrator and can make some flashy passes but I think that by the end of his career he will have a bunch of All-Summer League awards but very pedestrian regular season statistics/honors.
posted by David Friedman @ 3:00 PM