While you always have to take Summer League production with a raised eyebrow, there have been some promising signs with this years group. While they lost the early leads, and the games, to the Thunder and Sixers, these teams sported 5-7 draft picks each, some quite high. Most of the opposing starters logged significant minutes in the league last year. The Green counter with exactly two drafted players, and those in the last 8 picks made, but already exhibit some of the trademark signs of the Celtics—help defense, ball movement, unselfish passes, and smart play. These are good signs in general and, in my opinion, a surprising number of the players look competitive to make the squad. Enough so that I would offer make-good contracts to half a dozen.
From the roster: Jaycee Carroll G, 6-2, 180, Utah State Semih Erden C, 7-0, 240, Turkey Tony Gaffney F, 6-8, 215, UMass Rodney Green G, 6-5, 190, La Salle Luke Harangody F, 6-8, 255, Notre Dame Matt Janning G, 6-4, 198, Northeastern Vyacheslav Kravstov C, 7-0, 270, Ukraine Oliver Lafayette G, 6-2, 190, Houston Art Parakhouski C, 6-11, 260, Radford DeShawn Sims F, 6-8, 225, Michigan Ryan Thompson G, 6-6, 220, Rider Ryan Whitman F, 6-7, 215, Cornell
Contrary to the opinions of many bloggers who panned Erden and Gaffney, I have liked their play—more and more each passing day. These two are already signed as is Oliver Lafayette although at least Oliver and Tony have non-guaranteed contracts. On the other hand many bloggers loved Lafayette who has speed, a good handle, and seems to shoot pretty well—but hasn’t a clue of how to run an offense, constantly dribbles and passes into trouble, and does nothing to enable his teammates. We have no idea of how well complementary players can contribute because they were basically shut out of the action. This is especially applicable to Gaffney since he is not a one-on-one player. He covered some tough offensive threats and rather well I thought. His shot is horribly flat but I can see him as a much longer Tony Allen with at least as good a jumper and dangerous with off-the-ball movement and on the break. I think this spider man may be just the ticket to stifle some of the potent swing men in the league.
Harangody continues to score and haul in rebounds in spite of lack of height and provides the hardnosed lunch pail attitude any team can use. To these I would add Sims who has a lively body and if he can cover SF’s could be the power three Danny has long sought. He hasn’t gotten as much court time as others but has made use of it, perhaps too much since he more than any other has been a get-pass/shoot-ball player. At least he shot well as the week wore on and has a good release and arc. My pleasant surprises have been Janning and Parakhouski. Janning has a very good handle and beautiful shot. He would have difficulty staying in front of quick point guards but might do just fine against backups. Whether at the 1 or 2 his outside shot would demand respect opening up the court for our other scorers. He actually had a much smaller percentage of his passes deflected than either of the “point guards” or Carroll who played some point but seldom made a productive pass. Parakhouski seems a magnet for rebounds and I would welcome the opportunity for Clifford Ray to work on the big man skills of both he and Erden. As for Erden he looked both jet-lagged and rusty Monday but I like his energy. The rap on him is uneven focus but I thought he hustled and battled well if awkwardly. Often when I backed up the recording to see who was second or third man getting down court on a turnover, it proved to be this seven-footer who was the cavalry coming to the rescue. He showed on the pick and roll, and recovered. He helped from the weak side. Considering he had exactly one practice, almost no command of the English language, and was a late arrival, I thought he showed excellent court awareness and understanding of the game.
As for the rest. Carroll is certainly unafraid to shoot but seems to lack the handle to be a primary ball handler, and seems to have had trouble adapting to the increased size and speed at this level. Rodney Green has a good handle for a large guard and is an aggressive driver. Unfortunately he displays a lack of recognition between good and bad opportunities and is too often out of control. He seems to lack the shooting eye to play the 2 and the judgment to play the 1. The good news is that Kravstov has 6 fouls, doesn’t mind using them, and usually levies a toll on the party invading his lane. The bad news is that those 6 fouls will only keep him on the court for about 5 minutes and he seems to lack any offense at all although with the pathetic point guard play it was hard to tell. As for Thompson and Whitman, neither seems to have the physical tools, defensive mobility, or the offensive game to make the jump to the next level.
So those are my conclusions after three games of summer play. Come to think of it if Danny has found 6 players (with the highest draft pick being #52) worthy of competing for a roster slot, that is actually pretty impressive. I hope to see Erden, Parakhouski, Gaffney, Harangody, Sims, and Janning playing in green in October. [Discuss on CG Forums!]
I was impressed with Janning too. I was hoping that he would stay with the team for the final two games but understand why he went to Vegas. He is playing well with Phoenix out there. I pretty much agree with your assesments. I liked Erden and think that with a little work with Clifford Ray he can be a player. Harangody will help the team if Doc plays him. I really liked what I saw from him. Ugly shot but it always goes in somehow.
I watched the first four games but was very disappointed with Oliver Lafayette's lack of PG smarts. Too much dribbling which got him into a bad situation often.
As far as Harangody is concerned I was pleasantly surprised as I remember watching him @ ND ….he showed an aggressiveness that reminded me of Hondo when he first entered the NBA. His shot was also terrible to watch but he kept improving its arc and consistency over the years. He has a terrific nose for the where the ball is going and his hands are like Hondo's. If he touches the ball he never loses it.