The biggest thing we've been trying to figure out here in Las Vegas is how to evaluate what we are seeing on the basketball court. It's basketball so, yes making shots and winning games is still good, but there is more to it than that. The style of play here is nothing like these guys will see when training camp starts and especially not when the 2013-14 campaign begins.
What to watch for with your favorite prospect:
1.) Quality shots. It's not the end of the world is a guy like Ben McLemore turns in a 4-23 performance from the field. Honest. What you want to see is that he's not forcing shots or taking bad shots. We saw Quincy Miller take some good three-pointers against the Bucks in Denver's first game. Erick Green attempted open jumpers and open floaters. Same goes with Evan Fournier and Jordan Hamilton. Perhaps their field goal percentages will go up, but it's not the most important factor when you're watching them play.
2.) NBA moves. Watch how guys perform in the pick-and-roll - from all angles. Look for the ball handler to make the right decision with the ball - whether it be a pass, open jumper, or lane penetration. Watch and see how the pick man sets the screen and then what he does after - see if he rolls hard to the hoop or if he moves laterally for an open "pick-and-pop" look.
On the defensive side - the guard/forward should be fighting through the screen or switching onto the big man. The big-man should hedge and recover or stick with the ball-handler. You don't want to see either guy getting caught in no-man's land and giving up open jumpers or dunks to the roll man.
Watch for how guards penetrate the land and what they do with the basketball once they get there. Check for drop passes and how they finish in traffic. Forcing the issue can be good, but we've seen plenty of guys that have steamrolled defenders leading to easy charge calls.
Check for how big men are operating in the post. You want to see if a guy has some moves or if he's a deer in the headlights once he gets the ball down low. And obviously you want to see guys crashing the boards and showing that they will make the hustle plays in any situation.
Nuggets vs Bulls:
We didn't get to see Preston Adams, Joel Barkers, Ramon Galloway, C.J. Harris, or Chace Stanbeck against the Bucks. We got to see plenty of Luke Harangody and Darius Johnson Odom. Ben Uzoh showed that he has the experience to run a team. O.D. Anosike and Rich Howell didn't wow in their first games and we can put a little of that on it being their first games. We all want to see more out of Jordan Hamilton, Evan Fournier, Quincy Miller, and Erick Green - they had their moments and passed a lot of the tests above for various reasons.
The Bulls feature Marcus Teague and Malcolm Thomas - who both played with the team last season and rookies Tony Snell and Erik Murphy. And former Laker Andrew Goudelock led the team against the Memphis Grizzlies with 26 points on July 13th.
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