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.
- After a season of watching the point guard carousel in Dallas, it was a bit shocking to see Gal Mekel (14 points, four assists) take such clear control of the Dallas offense. His passing was too nonchalant early; Sacramento tipped a number of passes in the first two quarters of play. The second half saw Mekel adjust accordingly, he penetrated a little deeper into the lane before dishing and eased up on a bit of the flash he showed in the first half. He kept his dribble alive and forced the defense to commit to his penetration, freeing up his teammates for easy looks. Though his assist total was rather meager, he made the right pass repeatedly and many times the recipient was either unable to finish the play or not ready to make the catch. Mekel also hit two fantastic looking floaters, which is a shot he’ll have to make with the large and athletic defenders waiting in the NBA.
- Second year players Jae Crowder (16 points, eight rebounds) and Bernard James (nine rebounds) had unremarkable game one outings in Vegas. Granted, each gets judged more harshly than the remainder of the roster, if only because they’ve had a season of NBA experience under their belts. Crowder had a nice game statistically and played good defense, helping force Kings rookie Ben MacLemore into an atrocious 4 of 23 shooting night. But he also took six three pointers, all of them from above the break, where he made only one. In the 2012-2013 season, Crowder shot 28% from this area of the floor. Some improvement would be welcome, otherwise he may want to consider sticking to the corner where he shot 23 of 45 for 51% last season. Bernard James will continue to be an asset to Dallas simply because of his effort. Though he sometimes has trouble finishing around the rim, he has great hands around the rim. He challenges shots very well and uses his strength to hold his ground in post ups. One would like to see him score more against the King’s Summer League roster, but considering what he’ll be asked to do in the NBA, this was a decent first game.
- The biggest surprise of the evening had to be second round rookie acquisition Ricky Ledo (nine points). After a relatively quiet first three quarters Ledo arguably lead the comeback against Sacramento in the fourth, hitting a tough step back jumper, a baseline catch-and-shoot, and finding red-hot Josh Akognon for a three pointer. His defense on MacLemore was also enjoyable to watch as well. He obviously has a great deal to learn about basketball on both ends, but talent paired with effort could be the start of something special.
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.