July 24, 2012
Raps rookie shines in summer ball
By RYAN WOLSTAT, QMI Agency
TORONTO - The numbers might not have been all that impressive, but Raptors rookie Terrence Ross had an encouraging showing at the Las Vegas summer league earlier this month.
Though rail thin, Ross still manages to get into tough areas both defensively and on the boards. When he felt like, it, Ross showed an ability to get to the rim and draw fouls.
He blamed much of his 37.1% shooting (25% from three) in the five games on fatigue — it had been a while since he had played that much basketball in a row and, indeed, the Washington product was shooting 46.7% before going 2-for-8 against New York in his fifth game in six days.
“Just a little off,” Ross said.
His form was smooth, making jump shots won’t be a problem once he adjusts to the NBA grind.
The play of Ed Davis on offence also was encouraging for the Raptors. Head coach Dwane Casey.
Davis’ revamped jumper was evident right from the start. It no longer looked like the disaster of season’s past and Davis was able to nail 72.5% of his free throw attempts, a marked improvement over his career average.
Davis also looked more comfortable in the post, showing an ability to go in either direction to complete plays, rather than only going left.
He still has a lot of work to do on defence though, as he is still too slight to hold his own down low.
Impressing in summer league is one thing, doing it for real quite another, but still, these guys looked particularly good in Vegas:
Damian Lillard, Portland — The first point guard drafted in 2012 looked horrible through 2.5 quarters of his debut before dominating the rest of the week from there. Averaged 26.5 points per game to lead the loop.
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Charlotte — Wowed the crowd in his lone appearance, doing a little bit of everything.
Josh Selby, Memphis — Nobody ever questioned his talent. Wasn’t a good fit at Kansas and didn’t play much in the NBA last season, but tore it up in Vegas.
Kawhi Leonard, San Antonio — No surprise, starter on league’s best team, dominated against weaker competition.
Donatas Motiejunas, Houston — Rockets pick played hard, the number one issue most had with him, and showed off an offensive game as advanced as any big man in Vegas.
Jeremy Lamb, Houston — Another of Houston’s exciting young crop. Averaged 20 points per game and was difficult to stop.
Cory Joseph, San Antonio — Pickering NBAer was great. Showed an improved handle, set up his teammates well and was hitting his jump shots. Averaged 17 points, 4.4 rebounds, 5.2 assists per game plus 1.8 steals, earning an all-star selection.
A few more: Klay Thompson, Golden State; John Henson, Bucks; Tobias Harris, Bucks; Malcolm Thomas, Chicago; Markieff Morris, Phoenix; Bernard James, Dallas.
And a few duds:
Dion Waiters, Cleveland — Averaged just 12.3 points per game on 30% shooting.
Kemba Walker, Charlotte — Yes, he led his team to wins, but he still shot 35%.
Kendall Marshall, Phoenix — Shooting was dismal and his turnovers were too high.
Thomas Robinson, Sacramento — Bad shooting and too many turnovers.
Jared Sullinger, Boston — The double-double was good, the 25.6% shooting, not so much.
ROCKETS SCORE AGAIN
Having already reeled in Jeremy Lin through restrict free agency, Houston doubled up when Chicago declined to match an expensive offer sheet tendered to backup centre Omer Asik. Asik is a premier defender with little offensive game to speak of. Chicago has cap issues and a three-year, $25-million US offer was too rich to match.
The U.S. Olympic team has looked a tad underwhelming in some of its tuneup games, but had little issues with Spain on Tuesday.
After falling behind early, the all-star laden group went on several runs in the final three quarters to assert control.
The two top-ranked teams, who met for the gold medal four years ago, played again, and once again, the Americans prevailed, this time 100-78 behind 27 points from Carmelo Anthony.
LeBron James also went off, scoring 25 points, while Pau Gasol had 19 for Spain.
Anthony, James, Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook each went on individual scoring streaks to power the visitors.
The U.S. went 5-0 in its exhibition leadup, but only beat Argentina by six on Sunday and had some less than stellar moments against Brazil as well.
AROUND THE RIM
Yahoo! Reports a three-team deal is close sending Robin Lopez and Hakim Warrick to New Orleans, Wes Johnson and a first round pick to Phoenix and an undisclosed return to Minnesota … Veteran forward Andrei Kirilenko has long been linked to the Nets and, according to ESPN, Brooklyn remains interested in signing the free agent Russian who has played overseas of late … Former Bulls guard Ronnie Brewer has signed with the New York Knicks. Brewer is a versatile defender … Staying with the Bulls, as was the word in league circles, a report emerged in the Chicago Tribune on Tuesday that superstar point guard Derrick Rose will miss most of the regular season. The report said Rose would be out “until likely March,” as he recovers from ACL surgery … Congratulations to CIA Bounce, the all-GTA comprised AAU team that finished second at the prestigious Nike Peach Jam 17 and under championship on Sunday. It was a heart-breaking, one-point defeat as a highly questionable foul was called on star forward Andrew Wiggins, of Toronto, in the dying seconds, leading to the winning free throws.