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SUMMER LEAGUE 2021!

Discussion in 'Houston Rockets: Game Action & Roster Moves' started by kjayp, Jul 3, 2021.

  1. J.R.

    J.R. Contributing Member

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    Chris Duarte, Pacers

    This one will be a bit quicker. One would expect Duarte to be terrific at his first summer league. That was the whole impetus of drafting him. He’s a 24-year-old guard who is seen as ready-made to enter an NBA rotation. Everything he showed at summer league makes that look like a likely outcome. He hit nearly 50 percent of his 3s, coming off of screening actions well with real speed and getting on balance before shooting. He handled the ball with confidence, pace and poise, looking exceedingly comfortable. His instinctual awareness defensively was superb, as he was always ready and in the right position, waiting to attack. He shot passing lanes, dug down onto drivers from the strong side, and was always ready with a strong closeout. He even showed some strong weak-side rim protection and swatted seven shots in four games.

    He’ll be ready for whatever the Pacers ask of him as a rookie role player.

    Bones Hyland, Nuggets

    The Bones and Bol Show was one of the most fun at summer league, as Hyland and Bol Bol had instant chemistry playing together for the Nuggets. Hyland hit him with multiple flair-soaked passes for dunks and lay-ups out of ball screens and out in transition. But it went beyond that. Simply put, Hyland’s incredible handle and ability to get defenders off-balance translated in an enormous way. His crossovers were successful to a pretty high degree, and he used his long limbs to extend past defenders, and then extend and finish at the rim. He has incredible confidence, deft touch both around the basket and from 3, as well as range out beyond 30 feet. That’s a pretty great combination of skills!

    I wouldn’t necessarily expect Hyland to make a sustained impact this year just because he’s still incredibly skinny. It’ll be an adventure on defense because of that. While he has pretty good off-ball instincts, I’d expect he’ll be a magnet for switches due to his lack of strength. But I bet we look up at some point in February and Hyland has 18 points in a big spot for the Nuggets after a couple of injuries force him into the lineup. He can play on offense right now.

    Alperen Sengun, Rockets

    I was high on Sengun entering the draft, ranking him as a top-10 prospect. He basically did what we expected him to do on offense. He scored around the basket and looked like every bit the offensive prospect we thought he was. He showcased real perimeter creativity as a driver, and threw a couple of highly impressive passes that showcased vision that we haven’t always seen, potentially giving him some latent potential there as a young player that is still developing as a highly productive teenager. He averaged nearly 15 points and 11 rebounds as one of the youngest players in attendance, which bodes well for his early success in the NBA.

    But the thing that stuck out most to me was the defense. Sengun’s defensive ability around the basket was better than I anticipated it being. He was very reactive and willing to rotate and slide across to provide an impediment. He establishes his position quickly and at a good distance away from the rim, and has great fundamentals when it comes to staying vertical. He finished third in blocked shots at the event, swatting three per game. It’s still going to be an adventure for him defending out on the perimeter when guards get him on an island, but he’s a bit bigger and has a bit more bounce than what he typically gets credit for. I don’t think he’s going to be some defensive anchor, but if he can get to league average as a rim protector that might be enough in order to get the most out of the tremendous potential he has on the offensive end due to his skillset. I thought he was probably the best rookie big man in attendance at summer league (sorry, Luka Garza, who somehow made second-team All-Summer League over Sengun, Omer Yurtseven, Precious Achiuwa, Udoka Azubuike, and Bol among just the big men alone that were in Vegas for reasons passing understanding. He was really good for a second-round pick, but that was a flabbergasting selection based solely on hype and attention on the Pistons due to Cunningham at this event).
     
  2. J.R.

    J.R. Contributing Member

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    Quentin Grimes, Knicks

    Much like Duarte (albeit in a bit of a different skillset package), Grimes did exactly what is expected of an older rookie at summer league. He hit 40 percent of the nine 3s he took per game, and defended at the level he showed at Houston over the last two years of his collegiate career. But they weren’t just your typical standstill 3-point attempts. He made some off of screen actions where he had to take a dribble into a pull-up. He made some pull-up transition 3s behind early screens. He looked really fluid off the bounce, showcasing some of the point skills that seemed to have been dormant in his game over his collegiate career, even.

    Remember: Grimes was a top-10 recruit in the country as essentially a lead guard when he was in high school. There was a point in his career when he had some of those skills in his bag. Then it all went wrong at Kansas, and he had to rebuild his game from the ground up at Houston as more of a 3-and-D wing. But he still has that latent ability there, at least somewhat, even if he’s not a crazy athlete that you could expect to be a point guard going forward. He seems to have some of that verve and confidence in those skills. I regret not ranking him as a first-round pick, having seen the halfcourt skills we saw at summer league. He has a real chance to be something of a starter, and I understand more why the Knicks felt like they could let Reggie Bullock walk based upon if they feel some level of confidence in what Grimes can do.

    Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody, Warriors

    Let’s close on this duo. The Moody conversation is a bit easier to have, so let’s start with him. He was every bit as solid as you’d expect. He averaged about 16 points and hit 38 percent from 3. He played solid team defense. In general, the 19-year-old just keeps things so simple and steady that it’s easy to imagine him having a role early on with the Warriors. He hits the open shots when they’re presented to him. His timing on 45-degree cuts is perfect. He attacks closeouts and can get to the rim. He made a couple of nice floaters. Over the next few years, Moody’s goal should be to expand a bit more off the bounce and tighten up his handle, but there is real potential there. I loved Moody entering the draft, and he performed well by just being himself.

    Kuminga might take a bit more time, as the overall picture at summer league was a bit more hit-or-miss. He shot 37 percent from the field and still isn’t making 3s. His engagement level was better defensively, but he still needs to work out some awareness stuff. But man, were the flashes there. He wasn’t nearly as consistent overall as Scottie Barnes, but the flashes in the halfcourt as a creator were better, in my view. Whether you felt one or the other had a better summer league is dependent purely upon how you evaluate an event like this. Are you looking for tools, or are you looking for consistent performance day in, day out. I don’t think there is a right or wrong answer. But what I do know is that the little moments of brilliance you hope to see from top-half-of-the-lottery picks were absolutely on display. It’s probably going to take a little bit more time with him, and there’s no guarantee he gets there.

    But if he hits, he’s going to hit as a big-time wing creator. He’s very physical and plays through contact with ease. Some of the contorting layups at the rim were incredibly impressive. When he gets a head of steam, he finishes far above the rim. Some of the development in terms of change of pace handle has been solid since we last saw him in the G League. His on-ball defense when he was locked in was indicative of a potential shut-down defender. It’s all a game of consistency and becoming that level player all the time, and being in Golden State hopefully will be good for him to develop that killer instinct to bring it every possession, and to develop the basketball IQ side of the equation as a young player next to Draymond Green and Stephen Curry. The poor decisions, when he got stranded and decided to take it on his own, were there a bit too much. This might result in Kuminga spending a pretty sizable portion of his year in Santa Cruz. But that’s fine; the Warriors are in a good position on the wing, having signed Otto Porter and Andre Iguodala to go with Moody, Andrew Wiggins, Juan Toscano-Anderson, Jordan Poole, and the returning Klay Thompson. They can afford to let Kuminga work out the kinks in his game and take some time. He’s absolutely a player type worth investing in. If it goes right, it’s going to go really right.
     
    D-rock, Scarface and CXbby like this.
  3. Rockets34Legend

    Rockets34Legend Contributing Member

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    #3443 Rockets34Legend, Aug 20, 2021
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2021
  4. Houston77

    Houston77 COOKIES AND CAKE, MY TEAM BAKED!
    Supporting Member

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    ? He’s mentioned.
     
  5. Rockets34Legend

    Rockets34Legend Contributing Member

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    Crap, my bad. I see it now. It's a long ass article! :)
     
  6. J.R.

    J.R. Contributing Member

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