The Difference is a reflection on the game that was, with one bullet for every point in the final margin. Summer League is less about wins and losses and more about trying to determine what players can contribute on the NBA level.
- If there was ever any question as to why unproven big men often go high in the NBA draft, the Mavericks-Bobcats game was brief refresher. Cody Zeller (21 points, 13 rebounds), widely regarded as skilled but with serious questions about how his athleticism would translate, punished Dallas from the opening tip. With Maverick center Bernard James missing the game with an undisclosed illness, the various unheralded big men on the Maverick roster were left to try to slow the number four over all draft pick. Interestingly enough, the smaller, quicker Jae Crowder was the only Maverick with any really success slowing Zeller down. It’s unclear what, if anything, the various Dallas Summer League big men would bring to an NBA roster. N’Diaye plays hard but seems unsure of himself, Dewayne Dedmon looks out his element (I’m not sure he has an element), and Christian Watford seems undersized and the release on his jumper is very slow. Jackie Carmichael showed a bit with his ability to finish around the rim, but still looked completely out-matched by the more talented Charlotte big men.
- The first half was an exercise in frustration as Maverick after Maverick settled for long jumpers which refused to go in. Gal Mekel (11 points, four assists) attempted to get the offense going with a variety of drive and kick opportunities, but the lid on the bucket combined with horrific fast break defense saw Dallas dig a double digit lead at half time. Mekel’s abilities on the pick and roll might be confined to the drive and kick and his own shot making during Summer League. None of the Dallas post players have shown any ability to be a consistent roll threat in two games. He did, however, continue to show his shot making abilities with another fantastic floater and a nifty lay in to end the game.
- It was another mixed bag for Jae Crowder. On the one hand, he played hard defense, and irritated Cody Zeller. He was also active off the ball defensively, causing a variety of problems for Charlotte, particularly in the second half. But he managed only two rebounds in over thirty minutes of action. Offensively, the things he does inside the arc are fun to watch. In the first half he nailed a turn around jumper off of a short corner post up. Crowder made a fantastic pass to a cutting Terrico White who got fouled on the shot attempt. He also made a circus layup for an and-one. But he continued to chuck from deep, going 2 for 7, bringing his two game total to 3 for 13 from beyond the arc. All but one of his looks have been above the break and as mentioned in Saturday’s post, he historically hasn’t shot these very well (28% in 2012-2013). It’s one thing if he catches the ball off of a drive and dish, but he’s taken at least four attempts off the dribble, which isn’t his game. If he’s to stick in the league, it will be as a “three-and-d” style player. Right now, he’s looking good defensively, but the three point shot needs to become more consistent.
- The most interesting play of the day was waived off because of a foul. Little used forward D.J. Stephens attempted a weak-side block of a Tyler Zeller hook shot that saw Stephens get ridiculously high off of a flat footed jump. Dedmon fouled Zeller on the shot, but if not, the Stephens block at the peak of Zeller’s shot would’ve been a highlight defensive play for Dallas.
- I’m unclear why Justin Dentmon and Josh Akognon are a part of this Dallas Summer League team. Though they scored the majority of the team’s points against the Bobcats(34 points on 11 of 22 shooting), each is 27 years old. I understand each has played solid or even great basketball in the NBA Developmental League, but it becomes a question of what either of these players would bring to an NBA roster. Akognon apparently has free reign to toss up whatever shot he feels like. Though he kept Dallas in the game against Sacramento, he arguably shot Dallas out of the game against the Bobcats, tossing up a number of bizarre attempts that really hurt Dallas as they closed the huge deficit from the first half. A 5’11″ shooting guard doesn’t have a real place in the NBA. Dentmon was much more stable, but if his skill set is getting to the bucket, he had a tough time finishing against a good Bobcat front line and did not make any useful passes out of his penetration. It’s not that either of these players are bad, rather, it’s a question of why they are getting so much burn in a league meant to gauge what prospective players can bring to the NBA. By this time, it should be clear what, if anything, these two players can contribute to an NBA roster.
- It was a tough outing for Ricky Ledo (four points, six rebounds) who couldn’t get an outside shot to fall, finishing 1 for 8 from the floor. He was also tasked with guarding the much older and experienced Jeff Taylor (19 points), who scored with ease against any Dallas defender. His outlook should remain optimistic; he lead the team in rebounds with six and played very hard for his second straight game. Offensively he didn’t force any plays, though it’s unclear if he has the explosiveness needed to get by players on the NBA level. Look for him to have a better outing Tuesday.
Be sure to check out TMG’s Bryan Gutierrez as he contributes to ESPN Dallas during LSVL.
Kirk is a member of the Two Man Game family. Follow him on Twitter @KirkSeriousFace for ranting about Dallas basketball, TV, movies, video games, and his dog.