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Rockets' Summer League Impressions

Discussion in 'Houston Rockets: Game Action & Roster Moves' started by jogo, Jul 18, 2016.

  1. jogo

    jogo Member

    Oct 25, 2003
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    Here's a place to put opinions about our players from the SL. No need to be excessively negative and don't bother posting opinions if you didn't actually watch games.

    Overall: These games were pretty blah overall. But it's summer league so that's to be expected. Many of our players were forced to play in ways that they won't do in the league (Harrell dribble driving and shooting excessive 3's, Onu hardly ever receiving the ball down low, KJ running the offense). I tried to look at players based on what I think our team wants them to do in the future if they make it to the NBA.

    Dek: Looks fluid offensively and explosive. Cuts well and finishes well on the break. Had one good game from 3 but the rest were poor. Defensive is a concern. Will his fluidity translate to NBA level players?

    Harrell: Kind of all over the place. Has energy, yes, but might need to reign it in a bit. He won't be expected to dribble drive or shoot too many 3's (I hope). I'm a bit worry he gets too excited and this can hurt his decision making (getting into it sort of with 19(?) year old Thon Maker). Can he not be overly emotional in games and rebound well enough to see playing time?

    KJ: I really liked what I saw out of him if you ignore his dribbling and creating (he won't be asked to do this in the L). Forces steals and blocks and can defend. He won't be asked to provide a lot of offense when he's on the floor and I think he has value as a 3 and D. If he can hit around 35% from 3 he'll be pretty good. All talk of trading him for a second round pick is nonsense. He made good passes on the fast break and made some bad fouls as well (and 1's). Decision-making could use some improvement, but hasn't shown that he's a knucklehead so he can get better. Coach him up.

    Beas: He's a chucker! Threw up way too many shots in his only appearance.

    Wiltj: Some games he looked pretty good as a catch and shoot player, while others he looked really bad. Has a lot of trouble with defense, though it's possible that could be hidden somewhat with team D. If he hits his shots regularly he can make it in the L (as a bench player). I don't think there's room for him with the Rockets this year, however. And those games where he stunk it up were pretty bad. If he makes it to the L, then his playing time may be dependent on matchups (i.e., is he facing a PF that is not super athletic and fast). Vipers bound.

    GPII: I liked what I saw from him. He played a quiet game and a half but our team looked a lot more in synch with him at the PG than some of our other players. He made good decisions, rebounded well, and knew how to run an offense. The team looked much worse after GPII got injured. I have hope that he is signed as our end of bench player.

    Onu: Did nothing offensively, but I think that's because he was rarely given a chance to get the ball down low. Spent most games handing the ball off around the 3 point line. If we had a PG that could get the ball to him down low then we'd get a chance to see more of his offense. But that's not a big deal because he's not here for offense. He was a superior defender and rebounder in college. Hard to see the defense in summer league, though that could be because there doesn't appear to be much of a defensive scheme. Onu did rebound well in two games and poorly in the other two. He has quick hands of defense, getting a few steals that led to fast breaks. Correction: he did contribute on offense with superior passing to ignite fast breaks. He made good passes to the right players after securing defensive rebounds. He'll be fine, needs to be coached.

    Tonye: Eh, not to much playing time.

    Freeman: Not much there. Cannot play PG.

    Gaines: He can shoot okay. Not really a PG so no real reason to keep him. Vipers?

    Taylor: As a longhorn alumnus, I wanted Taylor to look good. He was pretty marginal. Played better in the later games, at least. His strength in college is his speed and ability to get to the hoop. I'm not sure that's going to translate to the pros. Had an okay awareness of what the offense was trying to do (which is that there really isn't an offensive plan in summer league). I thought he made good decisions with the ball for the most part. His defense was not very good. He won't make the team, maybe Vipers bound.

    Everyone else: only garbage time in the last game.

    What did other people see from our players in summer league?
    1 person likes this.
  2. Captain Hook

    Captain Hook Member

    Oct 21, 2010
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    I like what I saw from KJ. I think MDA can turn him into a poor mans Shawn Marion. He just has to improve his jumper a bit.
  3. jchu14

    jchu14 Contributing Member

    Sep 2, 2000
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    -Dekker -
    I think he has great instinct for the game. He's somehow always involved in the play in both offense and defense. I get the same impression that I had last summer league, that he's will definitely be at least a role player in the NBA. He's kind of a jack of all trades, master of none, style player right now. But if he can develop one elite skill, he'll have a long career.

    Super energetic. I think he would be a great spark off the bench for 5-10 minutes a game, but not much more. His energy is contagious, so I think it'll be great to have him on the bench as a cheerleader and on the floor when the team is playing lackadaisically (we saw plenty of that last season). His offense and defense are limited in the NBA level. He won't be able to drive past NBA level defenders and I didn't see much back to the basket game either. Given his athleticism and energy level, his rebounding is also underwhelming. So he won't excel as a garbage man type player either. His passing is surprisingly decent though.

    His penchant for 3s is interesting. I wonder if it's the coaching staff realizing his limitations and though the only way for Harrell to have a successful career is to have a specialty skill like shooting 3s. He attempted over 4.2 3pt per game in the dleague. He can't possibly be trying this many 3s without the coaching staff's blessing.

    KJ did not excel in the summer league games which is worrying. He picked up in the last couple of games, but still a very disappointing showing overall for player going into his 3rd year. Unlike Dekker, KJ seems to lack confidence in his shot and play making abilities. He still looks lost on offense without the ball in his hand. He looked good on defense though. I can see him being a good 3-and-D player, but he won't be successful at that unless he actually starts making 3s at a good clip.

    Intriguing, but don't see him having a career in the NBA. Just being an elite shooter isn't enough to keep you in the NBA. His defense, play-making, rebounding, and finishing ability around the hoop are all sub-par. He looked comfortable doing one thing only, that's camping outside the 3 pt line and wait for the ball. He could land on a team if the team really really needs a shooter at the 4 and can make up for his deficiencies elsewhere. I think the Bulls would be a good team for him. I don't see him getting a spot on the Rockets unless there's a huge 3 for 1 trade.

    My expectations were low so I wasn't too disappointed. The game just seemed to be going too fast for him at this point. He always seems to be a just a hair slow on getting to the ball on a rebound, catching a pass, or making a pass. He did make some good outlet passes to start fastbreaks though. He has good instincts from what I saw. We'll have to see if the game slows down for him after some time in the d-league. Personally I think he'll grow to be a fine role player off the bench, which is about all you can hope for in a 2nd round pick.
  4. JayZ750

    JayZ750 Contributing Member

    May 16, 2000
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    I didn't watch with the same level of analysis and focus as I do during the regular season.

    That said, overall, I can't draw any meaningful conclusions from the summer league. I mean, I guess you can conclude which players are either never going to make it or really have to improve their game overseas for years before landing a role. But even then, you might miss something.

    As far as the players that might have at least some value.

    Harrell - didn't see any improvement in his game. Which is a bit disappointing. Strikes me as the same player we saw last year. Maybe older is wiser and the game slows down for him a bit, plus with MDA, and he can provide 10-15 mpg of energy.

    Dekker - there's potential there, but there's also the potential that he's the type of player that will always be ok and above average against this level of competition, in the d league, in certain overseas leagues, but in the NBA just isn't quite there in terms of speed, agility, ballhandling, shooting and defending. And his back injury might have something to do with that, unfortunately for him. It's impossible to make any kind of judgement about his real NBA career potential.

    KJ - Meh. You can see the potential, but you can also see why he hasn't put it all together and might struggle to do so forever.

    Chinanu - Ehhhhh, damn. LOTS, LOTS, LOTS of work to do. Hopefully its just a game-speed thing.

    My biggest conclusion from watching them in summer league is that watching Zhou Qi in the Olympics MAY be more promising than anything.
  5. hajkov

    hajkov Consummate Member

    Jun 17, 2003
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    Dekker, Harrell & KJ: slight improvements but far from NBA material. To me, we should trade one or two of them for new prospects at C or PG.
    Dekker might be worthy holding on, he should have other chances with first team.
    The others already had some shots and their little progress is just disappointing.

    Wiltjer: Intriguing. People talk about him being a pure shooter, but his pivot dribbling skills reminds me of a poor man Tony Kukoc.
    He didn´t showcase that much in SL (as expected, with all the ballhoging in the SL). But you see his plays in Gonzaga and moves are there.
    With this team supposedly having a lot of open shots, I bet he will have some success in H-town soon.

    Onuaku: Today´s NBA centers survive by having freakish strenght and/or atleticism. He doesn´t have any. He is slow, seems heavier for a guy his weight while lacking strenght for a C.

    GPII: I liked him and seemed to be able to make plays and organize well the team. Too bad he got injured early, exactly when the team could be creating some chemistry and his playmaking skills trully being showcased.

    Others: Meh. don´t bother.
  6. bratna8

    bratna8 Member

    Jun 14, 2006
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    None of these guys should be higher than 11th on the depth chart if they do make it on the team.
  7. topfive

    topfive CF OG

    Jun 12, 2002
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    Not sure what you guys see in KJ. As athletic as he is, he couldn't manage to stay in front of his man on the perimeter and was constantly watching someone blow by him, then trying to catch up from behind for a block.

    His defense would be mediocre to poor for a guy who's offensive game was more than just the occasional spectacular dunk. For a 3-and-D guy, it's unacceptable. I had high hopes for KJ when we acquired him, considering his rookie half-year stats in Philly, but he's shown me absolutely nothing in a Rox uni so far.
  8. DaDakota

    DaDakota Contributing Member

    Mar 14, 1999
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    Not a single starter on the horizon.

  9. Verbal Christ

    Verbal Christ Member

    Feb 20, 2009
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    my impression is that the starters better play good next year
  10. chenjy9

    chenjy9 Numbers Don't Lie
    Supporting Member

    Nov 1, 2008
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    My impressions are that our guys are not ready for the NBA yet.

    Dekker projects to be the most consistently useful out of the bunch, but he HAS to get better defensively. He seems really smart though, so hopefully he develops into a solid positional defender.

    KJ was underwhelming, which greatly concerns me given the level of competition there. He might be good for a once in a blue moon fluke athletic play when playing actual, meaningful minutes, but at this time, I'm not high on the guy at all.

    As for everyone else, well clearly they are no where near ready.
  11. xtruroyaltyx

    xtruroyaltyx Member

    Jul 1, 2011
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    I'm really impressed with Dekker. That's about it. I liked what I saw from gp before the injury. But to me Dekker looks like a real baller. I would love to see him on the court with Harden.
  12. daywalker02

    daywalker02 Easter Egg Hunter - Tell me why? نحن عائلة

    Jul 17, 2006
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    We are not that good in SL either, we dominated for years
  13. CertifiedTroll

    Feb 1, 2012
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    No way Trez ever makes it through a season with 72 gp and no fights. Book it.
  14. Newlin

    Newlin Member

    May 22, 2015
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    If Dekker learns to knock down the three, he will do well.

    Onuaku is no Tarik Black.

    I think there is still hope for Harrell.

    KJ knocked down a few threes. He will have to do that to get playing time.
  15. dtitus1

    dtitus1 Member

    Oct 22, 2014
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    I want tyus jones!! no homo lolololol:)
  16. Dream Shake 81

    Oct 2, 2009
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    Agree with the consensus. Can add:

    Dekker: impressive coming off an injury and playing at his max athleticism, but his style of play is risky to staying healthy for a whole season.

    Harrel, Kj: To me, a year in the NBA should make you noticeably better than 90% of the the rookies. We saw flashes of that, but I expected them utterly dominate.

    Wiltjer: He showed he can shoot, why not pick him up and develop him?

    Onaku: too raw, and needs body type change

    GPII: Till we see that he can score when attacking.. He just seemed like an athletic Pablo Prigioni
  17. Bobbythegreat

    Bobbythegreat Member
    Supporting Member

    Jan 23, 2013
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    The main thing I took away was that Granny Shot's FT shooting is hilarious.
  18. Mathloom

    Mathloom Contributing Member

    Oct 4, 2008
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    I'm really rooting for Harrell. I hope he surprises us because we need someone with his attitude. I don't want him to tone his game down, I just want him to move his feet and box out better. Sports are like war, you can't roll with a bunch of nice guys no matter how good they are.

    KJ is irritating me. At this point I need to HEAR that he worked on his J all summer and hasn't improved much, that would give me MORE hope. This is a golden opportunity for him in an ultra up tempo offense with Brewer coming off a putrid season. We need him on the court and as an asset. Maybe this new player development guy we hired can jumpstart his development because it is stalling.
  19. D-rock

    D-rock Member

    Jun 29, 2006
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    Rockets Summer League sucked this year. A lot had to do with the coaching, but the players (outside of Dekker) didn't really do much. Love Trez-his energy, his attitude, but he needs to do more of the little things when he is not featured on offense.

    I pleaded for the Rockets to draft KJ when he came out, but I am shocked how little his game has improved in the last couple of years. He is still the same player when he was drafted IMO. Hope he kills it in preseason, there is still time, to either make the rotation or become an attractive trade piece.
  20. RedIsen

    RedIsen Member

    Nov 23, 2008
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    I'd be content getting 35 year old Shawn Marion's production out of KJ.

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