We’re all done
Finally, after 10 long days (and nights), the curtain has come down on the NBA Summer League as the Suns beat the Clippers, 86-70, in the Thomas & Mack Center. Blake Griffin, the summer league’s Most Valuable Player (you heard it here first), had 16 points and eight rebounds. Next stop, Valley High School for USA Basketball’s minicamp Thursday. Blake’s older brother Taylor had four points for the Suns.
Nuggets prevail in Triple OT
The Clippers-Suns game started late because the Hornets and Nuggets duked it out through three overtimes before Denver finally prevailed, 107-105, on Coby Karl’s two free throws with 26 seconds left. Denver’s Sonny Weems had a chance to win it in the second OT when he was fouled with seven-10ths of a second left and the score tied at 103. But he missed the first free throw and his second knotted the score to set up a third extra two-minute period.
Mrs. Gurg courted by Clippers
It’s already been reported that the Clippers have offered current Nuggets assistant and former UNLV coach Tim Grgurich a job in L.A. Sunday, general manager-coach Mike Dunleavy visited with Grgurich’s wife Kathy in the Thomas & Mack stands while the Nuggets were playing the Hornets. No doubt Dunleavy was extolling the virtues of Southern California in trying to sell her on a possible move. For his sake, Dunleavy hopefully forgot to mention the Clippers’ woeful legacy to Mrs. Gurg. That could be a deal-breaker. Baron Davis also dropped by to watch the Clippers-Suns game. Perhaps he too should have had a word with Kathy G. in “recruiting” her husband.
All-Summer League Team
Blake Griffin, Clippers (MVP)
Jerryd Bayless, Trail Blazers
Jonny Flynn, Timberwolves
Tyreke Evans, Kings
Marcus Williams, Grizzlies
Nick Young, Wizards
Austin Daye, Pistons
DeJuan Summers, Pistons
Joey Dorsey, Rockets
Anthony Randolph, Warriors
DeMar DeRozan, Raptors
Anthony Morrow, Warriors
Rodrigue Beaubois, Mavericks
Othyus Jeffers, D-League Select
Chase Budinger, Rockets
Adam Morrison, Lakers
Jodie Meeks, Bucks
Brandon Jennings, Bucks
Ja’Vale McGee, Wizards
Jordan Hill, Knicks
Jason Thompson, Kings
Ty Lawson, Nuggets
Underrated All-Summer League Team
These guys may have flown under the radar and deserved to get some love for all-summer league:
James Johnson, Bulls: Rookie forward from Wake Forest showed quick feet along with an ability to get into the lane and create offense for himself and his teammates. Averaged 16.3 points and 7.5 rebounds.
DeAndre Jordan, Clippers: High-flying second-year forward was a nice complement to Blake Griffin, averaging 13.8 points and 8.3 rebounds. May have gotten his confidence back in Vegas.
Gary Forbes, D-League Select: Former UMass star averaged just under 20 a game. Helped himself a lot in trying to land in the NBA.
Coby Karl, Nuggets: Not only did he score consistently, averaging 14 points, he took a couple of charges every game and was a better than average defender.
Sam Young, Grizzlies: With everyone fixated on Hasheem Thabeet, the Pittsburgh guard did a lot of nice things, especially playing with Marcus Williams. He’s going to turn out just fine for the Griz.
Final random thoughts …
Consider the following some well-meant, constructive criticism from someone who sits through 10 days of the summer league year after year.
— First, when the No. 1 pick is in town and there’s 100 media people wanting to talk to him, don’t put him in a narrow corridor that is dimly lit. When Blake Griffin debuted last Monday, they could have utilized the Thomas & Mack press room to make everyone comfortable and maximize the time allotted.
— Second, lose the dance contests during the timeouts. I know having 5-year-old kids gyrating around is cute and all, but when they don’t move at all, as was the case more than once, that’s not good. Maybe the Laker Girls can come to town for a day and perform, or something similar under the auspices of “NBA Cares” or some other worthwhile charity. Or maybe have some local high school cheerleading squads or dance teams perform on a rotating basis. Those “Junior Rebel Girl” dance teams and gymnastics clubs are fine too. I understand “Adorable Sells” and I’m cool with that. Perhaps the NBA can free up some money to increase the entertainment budget. But the dance contests should mercifully be put to rest.
— Third, I know Dick Calvert can’t be in two places at once and Jake Gutierrez can’t work every game, but please, please, lose the public address guy in the Thomas & Mack who thinks he’s Mason, the P.A. guy from Detroit. Mason happens to be very good and very entertaining. He’s the original, just like Lawrence Tanner, the anti-style master of the Lakers. But this Mason wannabe is irritating, obnoxious and you can’t understand him half the time. Dude, you’re NOT Mason.
— Finally, a memo to the NBA: Bring back the D-Leaguers in 2010. They were the most fun to watch and they played harder and together more than any other team out here.
The complaint department is closed.
More hoops to come
The end of the summer league doesn’t mean the end of summer basketball in town. Quite the contrary. Starting Wednesday, things are going to really heat up as the three high school tournaments tip off at gyms all over the city. That also means my cell phone will be ringing nonstop for five days as I field calls from coaches and media types alike asking, “How do I get to Foothill High School?” and “Which 215 do I take to get to Centennial?” My advice? Rent a car with a GPS system.
On Thursday, USA Basketball begins its mini-camp at Valley High School. It’s closed to the public, so don’t waste your time going over there. However, there will be an intrasquad scrimmage at 8 p.m. Saturday at the Thomas & Mack. For as little as 10 bucks, you can see Kevin Durant, Greg Oden, Kevin Love, O.J. Mayo, Derrick Rose and the rest of the USA young guns. Hopefully, “Clipper Darrell” will be back in L.A. by then.