I was a bit skeptical as the Portland Trail Blazers headed into their first summer league game in Las Vegas on Monday night before beating the Washington Wizards, and wondering exactly what would come of this make-shift squad. For their first game, they didn’t look horrible considering the countless turnovers and how each player gets 10 fouls.
Gotta love summer league.
I was actually anxious to see how 6-8 French forward Nicolas Batum looked (note he’s being guarded by new Blazers teammate Jerryd Bayless in prior national competition), that was until I actually watched him play. After his first couple trips down the court -jacking up a few shots and an air-ball along the way – all I could think about was a saying my dad used to throw around from back in the day.
Whenever my dad and I watched sports together – especially baseball or basketball – he would quickly pass judgment on a guy who was being hyped up to be a stud but instead was unimpressive. It was like clockwork if a guy botched an open jumper of booted a routine ground ball.
“This guy doesn’t show me anything,” my dad always said.
Batum earned that saying last night.
Okay so it is summer league. I feel bad for crucifying the kid a bit. In Vegas, it’s all about getting your shots and I get that. If you are a big man in summer league, good luck in getting noticed. It’s basically a chance for guards to go for theirs. And as much as Batum tried, he just couldn’t make it happen but you could tell the kid was straight jittery.
He finished with 3 points.
Fellow rookie Jerryd Bayless by the way…..that kid made me a believer, and now I’m not even so sure Blazers back-up point Sergio Rodriguez’s future in Portland is that secure (if it ever really was). I give Sergio one more year in Portland for the “Rudy Factor” alone (read: Sergio’s food friend and fellow Spaniard is now a member of the Blazers, thus the organization entrusting Sergio to help ease Rudy’s transition. Or at least that is my theory). But if Sergio “doesn’t show me anything”, Bayless could easily take his place.
Tick, tick, tick…..
Besides the Bayless piece that ran on HOOPSWORLD today, also check out the story on Indiana Pacers forward Danny Granger – also a Tuesday feature -who is working his tail off this summer fixing to take over the number one spot for the departed Jermaine O’Neal.
Now Granger shows me something…..