The win/loss really isn’t important in Summer League games.
And it isn’t really even about the way that this team lost the game, either. It doesn’t matter that they were up 14 with about five minutes to go. This Kings team seemed a lot more fluid offensively than they did Friday against the Pistons.
The problem is that these guys proved to be either errant or lazy at the free throw line. The 20 turnovers were ugly. There were missed alley-oop passes with some of them flying off of the court. There were more outside shots that weren’t contested with most of them coming at the end of regulation when the Warriors made their run.
The Kings players for the most part got complacent towards the end of the game, played sloppy offense, and lazy defense. Sure, it’s just Summer League but at the same time, you want to see more competitive fire with them.
Now let’s get to the players on the floor and how they looked because Summer League is much more about individual performance and growth than overall team record.
DG had a terrible shooting game. He finished 5/17 from the floor and 1/3 from the free throw line. His 12 points were woven in a slew of bad pull-up jumpers off the dribble. It isn’t so much that he missed the shots; it’s the way he missed them. He tried to do too much to make up for the fact that Anthony Randolph was torching him on the other end. His rebounding was still pretty good with seven (three offensive) but nothing made up for the fact that he couldn’t cover Randolph (24 points, 10/13 FG).
Omri had just a terrible game from start to finish. He wasn’t fluid with the ball, he missed easy lay-ups, and he turned the ball over. He was forced to play with some adversity because of his terrible play and the crowd getting on him because they were restless and siding with everything Stephen Curry. But he did bounce back a little bit with a couple of threes to finish with 11 points. It will be interesting to see how he responds, now that he’s had such a potentially disheartening performance.
Jason Thompson thinks that he isn’t rebounding because he’s being doubled when shots go up and that the scouting report says he’s the Kings rebounder. Everybody else thinks that it’s because he’s playing slow and not being active on the boards. On a pretty key play late in the game, he was slow to a board that bounced on the ground. The Warriors scooped it up and the Kings second chance points opportunity was gone. But he did score pretty efficiently and forced the smaller Golden State squad to get into team foul trouble early with being more physical in fighting for post-position. He was pretty impressive being a face-up offensive weapon and knocked down a couple of shots. He finished with 17 points but missed five of his 12 free throw attempts.
McNeal played great defense on Curry and helped force him into a 0/8 effort in the first half. He knocked down all four of his shots and even blocked a lay-up attempt. He didn’t have a statistically impressive game but did a lot of those cliché intangibles that don’t show up in the box score. This was a great game towards getting him a final roster spot on some roster.
He’s always the most active guy on the boards, no matter who is on the floor. He grabbed seven rebounds in just nine minutes, including a tip-in off a missed Evans lay-up. If he doesn’t find a way into the Kings’ rotation this year, it’s going to be a travesty. He’s a great backup option at the power forward position for 15 to 20 minutes (max). His height is obviously a concern but he makes up for it with instincts, work ethic, and his surprising leaping ability.
Landry has proven to be the best shooter on the floor from three for the Kings. He made four of his seven attempts from long range and finished with 14 points. He might be an option to make the team if they feel they need a reliable shooter. He probably isn’t a guy you can play for extended minutes but maybe he’s best served in a Steve Novak-type of role.
Roberts played extended minutes (20) for the first time this summer and had a couple of nice moments. He finished with four assists and forced a miss from Curry at the end of regulation to send it to overtime. He could find a place in the D-League with more performances like that.
And now for your daily Tyreke Evans fix:
The jumper is still very suspect. He took a lot more in today’s game than most people would have liked but a lot of that had to do with the Warriors trying to clog the middle. When he did attempt to drive, he often got where he needed to go. He made a couple of threes in five attempts and looked comfortable on four of the shots. He once again wasn’t able to finish many lay-ups in which he got fouled, which took away three-point play opportunities. And his free throws were very poor with hitting seven of 12.
He did a fantastic job on the boards with 10 and racked up five assists with basic passes to his teammates coming off of screens for open jumpers. He wasn’t nearly as controlled going to the basket as he was in the first game. He fell down while dribbling a couple of times. He threw some sloppy passes to go with his basic assists.
His defense was questionable as well. He gave up quite a few scores to Cartier Martin, who finished with 27 points. There didn’t seem to be an urgency to close out on shooters like there was the previous day.
Overall, the numbers were impressive and the actual play was pretty close to justifying them. As a young combo guard being asked to run the point (especially in such a sloppy, Summer League environment), the turnovers are going to happen. And I’d actually be shocked if he kept it to fewer than four in any of these games. But the important thing to remember is the outside jumper looked a little bit better despite the poor mechanics. He gets to the basket whenever he needs to. And his performance on the glass was nice to see in case his supposed-rebounding teammates (JT) don’t make the concerted effort to clean the boards.