After a day studying WNBA road-trends and the injury-report for Gambia’s soccer team, I’m shakin’ like a frat’tastic white-boy in a New Orleans jail-cell (not fun…I’ve heard) for some diamond action today. While the 1st half of MLB ATS action was nicer than a Polack strollin’ thru the DePaul campus, just like in the NBA, everybody knows Mr. Gamble gets filthier than a pop-star without Underoos in the 2nd. Of course, with my long-time basketball scouting blood (U-14 Mid-Suburban Church League Scout) still shootin’ threw me like a pass thru the hands of Muhsin Muhammad, I have to give ya a lil’ NBA Summer League action to feed my fix. Don’t worry, you don’t have to thank me, I do it out of luv Homeboys. So without further ado (unless you bastards just skip this and check the pick and hottie), I give you my NBA ‘Crappy’ Summer League notables:
MARCUS BANKS, PG, 6-2, Phoenix Suns
1 gm, 32 min, 42 points, 6 reb, 13-19 FG, 4-5 3-pt, 12-14 FT,
2003, 1 round – 13 pick, Memphis Grizzlies
GM Steve Kerr should sit Banks the rest of the summer, even including practice, and madly work the phones to trade the lightning-kick, turnover-prone, former Runnin’ Rebel before he returns his trade-stock to Speedy Claxton territory. While Banks strength, speed, and balance enables him to breakdown anybody up-top, once in the paint he struggles to make the right decisions and doesn’t understand how to control the flow of the offense…not a good selling-point for a point guard making $17M ova the next 4 years! If I was helping Stevie, I'd tell him to call Sacramento cause they have a boat-load of bad-contracts to choose from.
JELANI MCCOY, PF, Denver Nuggets
2 gm, 26 mpg, 13 ppg, 13 rpg, 2.5 bpg, 92 fg%
1998, 2 round – 33 pick, Seattle Supersonics
Out of the NBA since he played 10 games for Atlanta Hawks during 2004-05 season, the former UCLA Bruin looked like a dominating YMCA vet looking to show-up the youngsters back from college. The NBA vagabond made 12 of 13 shots, leads the summer league in rebounding, and made some awesome angry-old-man faces every time he swatted the rock. While it may not be with the Nuggets, I’m guessing McCoy’s performance just purchased himself another ticket to the big-show. And more importantly, now that he’s finally back I expect him to bounce around to at least 4 or 5 teams ova the next 5 years…Chucky Brown style baby!
LOUIS WILLIAMS, G, 6-1, Philadelphia 76ers
5 gm, 34 mpg, 25 ppg, 5 rpg, 5 apg, 49 fg%, 41 3pt%
2005, 2 round - 45 pick, Philly 76ers
While the Warriors rookie Marco Belinelli has been the obvious surprise star of the summer, the former High School draftee has quietly added some strength, improved his playmaking, and surprised everyone in his ability to sneak some rebounds with his 6’1” frame. A remarkable athlete with more similarities to Monta Ellis than Allen Iverson, Williams is one of the few undersized HS guards that came-in with a freelance style to really dedicate himself to changing his overall approach. While this improvement can be most notably found his shot-selection, if he hopes to maximize his potential he needs to continue to develop as point-guard, and not a scoring guard. No reason to think he can’t do that, and no reason to think you can’t start braggin’ about this up-n-comer to your friends.
KELENNA AZUBUIKE, G, 6-5, Golden St. Warriors
2 gm, 29 mpg, 21 ppg, 6 rpg, 47 fg%, 50 3pt%
2006, Free Agent, Golden State
While the trade with ‘His Airness’ was a no-brainer for GM Chris Mullin (Jason Richardson for Brandon Wright), it was even easier than a professional athlete at a strip-club to pull the trigger with the hardworking former Kentucky Wildcat's unexpected success last season. Azubuike already has the strength and speed to compete nightly on the wing, and overall, reminds me of a better shooting, less insane, version of Rueben “Drop your Pants” Patterson. As an owner of Warrior Zubaz, I’ve patiently waited for the unbelievable potential of Mickael Pietrus to develop past 4 fouls in 10 minutes, but I think it’s finally time to give his minutes to the England-born Azubuike. With Baron Davis playing defense half-the-time and Monta Ellis undersized, Nellie desperately needs his toughness, unselfishness, and court-awareness. But the real reason I think Azubuike’s summer results are important, I think it gives Mullin more confidence to throw Ellis or Pietrus in a deal to finally go get KG!
NEW YORK YANKEES (-1.5) (+110) @ TAMPA BAY D-RAYS
Having lost 13 of their last 14 and playing in a mind-numbingly boring park, you think the D-Rays are excited to get back to Tampa. Not to mention, the All-Star break was probably like Spring Break to the all the D-Ray youngsters showing-off their major-league smiles back home, I have a felling the desperate Bronx Boys are licking their chops for a much needed sweep. I know Andy Pettitte is in his annual “Righty-version of Chan Ho Park demonstration” and Scott Shields has been one of the few bright spots for Tampa, but I’m looking for the Yankees to come out in the 2nd half on fire like Andre Rison’s ol’ crib…Yankees by 3-5 runs