Just wanted to rundown what I saw from Players last night
Kevin Love - pretty much chilled during the game. Loved his cut that Garland found him on. Unlike the rookies he is not worried about raising his 3pt % and has that early season too hard shot that is hitting the back of the rim. He looked quick and moved well. I like that.
TT - The big news is how he shot some terrible 3's, but the best part of his game was his passing. He was great on the boards and showed his scoring around the rim and in the pick and roll which looked good, but that pass he made to KPJ under the basket in transition for the dunk was his bets play of the night. We saw some of that last year. Not bad for a guy who was a complete black hole the first 8 years of his career. Didn't like him dribbling up the court or taking the 3's, but otherwise he looked great. Beilein says he needs to roll more. TT often screens just to get a guy open a la buddy ball getting Kyrie his shot, but he is a good finisher as a roll man, so Beilein said he wants to see more of that from him.
Delly _-New shot hasn't translated yet, but he provided a very steady hand for the bench. Nice to see and Jordan are instantly back on the same page. Spacing was good and he looks healthier than last year.
Jordan Clarkson -People are already roasting him, but this was my favorite use of him I have seen on the team since he has arrived. He got the ball in the on the wing or in the mid range instead of all the slithering dribbling and he was deadly. I am starting to think that him getting the ball like that as a "3" is the best way to use him. He is not going to pass the ball as much so use him as a play finisher which is what he is. All our frustrations with him are when he is the play initiator. He looked great. He is 27, and this is most likely going to be another one of his best years. I love the way he works in the Beilein system, and I am hoping he puts up big numbers and we can get something special for him. He really looked like a 66th man candidate instead of a chucker out there.
Sexton - We didn't get much info on where Collin is. He is still hanging back too far on defense to prevent the drive. He needs to get in guys airspace. I didn't realize this last year, but that is why he is scraped off by screens so easily. The screener can completely separate Collin from his man, because Collin is hanging back too far and isn't in his man's shirt. Otherwise shot looks good. We didn't see much initiation from him. He largely deferred to Love when he was handling the ball and didn't actually make any plays. I did like what I saw as far as him pushing the ball when the defense was sleeping.
Cedi- Looked much improved on defense. He overhelps in the post which leads to open threes, but he really got into guys as a defender and his hands were really quick last night snatching 5 steals. He seems to be seeing his guys well too as he handed out 5 dimes. He looked fantastic with Garland and Love. Those 3 together are going to be really good. Good to see him take it hard to the rack too. Needs to keep working on finishing. A Euro hesitation move would probably help him a lot. That hustle on the chasedown was great to see. Glad he is serious about playing d this year. Very solid all around game. Played well in the pick and roll with TT
Brandon Knight - The Star of camp did not quite twinkle last night. Didn't see much from Brandon. No Playmaking or explosive moves, which we had been hearing. I'm not really a fan of his. I'm hoping we can get a high second for him at the moment. If all he has to offer is scoring, it is going to be tough because there are better scoring rookies on this team.
Garland - Immediately showed his poise, pace, playmaking and tough shot making. He has an advanced handle where he can get anywhere he wants, and his decision making on passes looked great for his first game. He made a couple of wow passes. I thought his pass to Kevin on the cut was right on target and was pretty impressive and was just a natural read. That shot of his is wild. Such high arc it sort of reminds me of Mo Williams who had a nice arc. That first 3 was the first time they tried to go under on a screen from him and he just popped it back. He has really good foot work on a mini step back that just gives him a sliver more space to get it off. Mid range was money, 3 was money, and he had 2 nice finishes in traffic. Playmaking was one thing that really looked more advanced than I thought it would be, but his defense was also surprising. He flashed into the lane and showed after the other team received the ball from out of bounds in a very quick move that created a turnover. His lateral speed looks elite to me, and he had more natural defensive instincts than I thought he would. I watched some college tape of him dying on screens, but I thought he negotiated screens really nicely last night dancing around them. Bautista us a good screener and Garland was able to avoid it for the most part. A lot of people were saying that we just don't have that GUY yet. That might be true, but Garland is not definitely out as that GUY yet. If he keeps this up, he is going to have a very good year and will be in the ROY race, even if he can't beat a guy like Zion on wow factor. I was wowed though I have to say.
KPJ - Was every bit as encouraging as Garland in his showing. He was scrapping on defense and trying to check the ballhandler. He was agressive an got in early foul trouble for using his hands too much. I liked that he didn't back down from the vet at all, even if it meant he had to sit on the bench for a bit. Thet 3 he put up was quick and done without any thought. A lot of people were saying his shot was too slow and low. Looks like he has cleaned it up quite a bit. He didn't over dribble even though you could see that he really wanted to when he got it on the perimeter and nothing was there. He had a really nice sequence where he helped get a team stop on one end, then he ran the floor got the ball within 10 feet of the basket, and did his deceleration move to get the bucket. This is where I see the Harden comparison. He really freezes his defender with that deceleration move and it is awesome. Great finishing around the basket with great footwork. That turnaround move under the basket to twirl around the defender made me laugh out loud. It was really cool. Lastly those finishes through contact, holding the ball until the last second for the and 1 were beautiful. He is really strong, and his touch is awesome. Just a really good game for him. I was just really impressed how he didn't try to do too much, which i would expect from him. I won't say it was an easy 16 points, but he let it come to him, and then was aggressive when he needed to be. Loved his ability to speed up and slow down right around the basket. That change of pace is going to do really well for him. He also had one move where they expected him to go left and he turned on the jets in the last 5 feet and went right and he finished right. Too cool. He looks really good and just turned 19. Looks like we hit on 2 guys and the word about Windler and what we saw in summer league says we hit on all 3 guys and they are NBA players.
Dean Wade - Looks in way better shape since he was slow and moving poorly in Summer league. His hips are very stiff and he stands almost upright all the time. Still, he knew where to be, he was the smartest of the scrubs and made the right passes and shot the ball well and when he was supposed to. Showed off more athleticism on that dunk than I expected even if it was awkward. I expect him to get one of the 2 ways which so far looks deserved.
Thornwell - Inserted himself in every play he was anywhere near. Just creating havoc on defense. I like that type of dude. Looks to me that he is like Nwaba, but it more about disrupting off the ball more than just bodying guys up like Nwaba did. He made the right plays. He likely sticks and is a good guy to play situationally and is good for practice. He shot a 3 and it didn't look very good. Need more data there.
Bolden - Looked really bad initially. He was in the wrong spots and was not quick enough to set a proper screen. He settled down after he made a shot and looked much better. He is big, and he is fast enough to keep up, doesn't look heavy footed. He blocked some shots which was nice and he finished a couple of plays. I would likely keep him on the 2nd 2 way unless some of the other scrubs step up. Nobody else looked like they belonged on the floor.
Overall I would say, we couldn't have hoped for much better. The guys we want to trade aside from Knight are looking good and it looks like they will fit in this system. The defense looks much improved. The rookies look possibly better than anticipated which I hope is true. The only thing that was actually disappointing to me was that the dynamic Sexland pairing is not yet very dynamic. We need more from Collin. Otherwise there is plenty to be optimistic about.
You guys watching the scrimmage stream? Say what you will about TT and Clarkson (and rightfully so, their games are so annoying from a team aspect) but they are solid vets, genuinely looking out for the young kids. I appreciate that a lot.
Obviously Delly, Love etc are fantastic too, but that never was a question.
Since they played a game the night before, and have another this week, the scrimmage was strictly just a PR affair for the fans. They even got the fans involved. Just a fun night. Nothing to be taken out of the scrimmage at all.