Getting there a couple minutes late, Key Dae informed me that I hadn't missed much. It was a short game, that just went over the hour, and featured a surprisngly good crowd, with an estimated 6,000 fans on-hand.
Instead of going through the game, which ended in a 71-71 tie, we'll go player-by-player.
Disclaimer: I know you all know this, but I just watched 30 minutes of basketball. This doesn't determine the outcomes for anyone.
Clearly the guy everyone showed up for. When I first sat down, the concerns of his iffy decision making and poor shot selection were the main thing on display. He was also noticeably soft when attacking the rim. He could get there, but mid-air, he'd shy away from drawing any contact and a potential foul. As the game went on, though, he started to figure things out, and eventually went on a dunking rampage. He had, give or take, 4 dunks in 4 or 5 minutes. He also put together a pretty nice set of throwdowns in an impromptu post-game dunk contest. Naturally, I recorded the least exciting one.
The same folks who said he made poor decisions on the offensive end also said he was a blur, had a good handle, and was an athletic freak. He can ball, but it's unclear how well.
Not too noticeable, to be honest. Key Dae pointed out that he was open quite a few times on the corner, but Ryan Evans (Wisconsin product) was open too. They were going to him, and he was hitting.
Robinson did have one decent putback. He was pretty active, but with a stronger set of bigs (and Shabazz), he didn't really get anything done inside.
Shveddy, according to Key Dae, was the only one right away who looked like he had an NBA season under his belt. When I saw him, frankly, he looked like the same Alexey that has been struggling for the last year and a half. An airballed 3-pointer (granted, it was at the buzzer), and some craziness around the rim.
I'm still of the belief that Shved is a good basketball player, but it's pretty clear that the NBA isn't for him. This game was another example.
Shabazz is relentless on the boards.— Tim Faklis (@timfaklis) July 10, 2014
That gentleman wasn't lying.
Shabazz's best quality last season carried over into this season. It's unclear how many boards he ended up with, but he was a beast on the offensive boards, and it really boosted his confidence. He started firing from mid-range and deep, and hit a couple of them in the process.
I can confirm that Bazz looks like he's gotten into slightly better shape. Key Dae and I discussed whether or not he should continue to lose weight to get into proper shape for a wing player. He plays like a power forward, and losing more weight may mess with the success he's having playing like that.
My favorite surprise: Kyrylo Fesenko
His size was the main (if not the only) factor, but he looked solid. Not only was he a massive beast of a man, he also threw down during the post-game dunk contest. Listen to the difference in crowd reaction for Fesenko's dunk compared to LaVine's.
A few final notes:
- No Gorgui tonight. Not sure why, but I heard he may have been under the weather? Maybe someone else has some info on that.
- Flip coached one of the teams, and it seemed as though Sam Mitchell was the head honcho on the other side.
- One team featured Shved and Shabazz, and (I believe) GRIII, while LaVine and Fesenko were the two main guys on the other.