Okay, I have to admit there are days that I feel like the Jon Lovitz character in that famous SNL/William Shatner clip--especially when it comes watching NBA Summer League games. Yesterday was one of those days, insomuch as I have a bone to pick with the league. Why block streaming of the summer games just because they're going to be shown locally or on NBA TV? IT'S THE SUMMER LEAGUE, for pity's sake! What in the world can any executive be possibly worried about to allow both streamed and broadcast versions? You'd think we were trapped in one of Star Trek's famous plot lines, where the villian wants matter (broadcast) and antimatter (streamed video) to co-exist. Goodness.
Thankfully, I used a VPN client from my work to change my IP address, which allowed me to watch the game real time. A little geeky perhaps, but I have kissed a girl...
As for the game, there were two guys with "Net IQ": Love and Bayless. Kevin has some real smarts. I'm going to be extremely interested in how he uses them to match up again better front court talent. The Blazers Steven Hill--a big bearded center out of Alabama-Birmingham--blocked shots effectively last night, and gave Love a real challenge. Love however, after getting rejected, made a change to kiss the ball higher off the glass, making better on court adjustments than any of the Wolves coaches at Vegas. The other thing Love has going for him is that he's determined. He got rejected a lot last night, but was able to get a second or third chance at a score. Doggedness and a improved jump hook will be of great use to him in the paint.
Bayless on the other hand, simply gets to the free throw line. He's not going to get the same calls right away when real league play starts, but as I mentioned before, he's playing with a chip on his shoulder, and the lad has a ton of quickness and athleticism. Another potentially decent pickup for Portland.
How much talent can the Blazers acquire anyway? It seems right now they aren't misfiring on any of their draft choices OR trades; even guys like Jarret Jack whom they dealt to Indiana to get Bayless have enough value to get moved if they don't quite measure up. An amazing front office job done by Kevin Pritchard.
Overall, a nice win for the Wolves though. Turnovers killed the Blazers last night; Portland hit at a 55.8% clip last night, but turned the ball over 25 times. Since the Wolves summer roster forgot to include anyone who could play much defense, a lot of the turnovers were unforced. Corey Brewer absolutely struggled, but Craig Smith celebrated his contract signing with 10 points off the bench. Pooh Jeter is playing better as the games continue, but I don't think it's going to be good enough to get an invitation to a roster. Jeter nailed some key jumpers last night as Portland was trying to make a run in the fourth.
I think the Wolves will certainly be spinning that they got what they needed out of their Vegas stint. They didn't find anyone to shore up the point guard position, but Love has been the player they thought he was when they acquired him on draft night. If his performance translates as well to regular league play, it's another forward step for the club.