Las Vegas Summer League 2014: Game 2
This will be the last game in the preliminary rounds for the Milwaukee Bucks, winless in two tries. It will also be their second game in a back to back set, and third game in three nights. They need a win to avoid going quietly into the night and not even making the tournament. And they will be aiming to get one at the expense of the Utah Jazz. The Jazz had the last day for practice and reshuffling the deck. Spelling bee contestant favorite, Greg Somogyi, has returned to the team. And hopefully, so will defense.
It is fair to suggest that his return is somewhat a product of the poor interior play of the guys who are here. Or failing that, to at least light a fire under them. Utah will need every advantage possible tonight as they face off against a desperate Bucks team. Milwaukee HAS good players. They have actual NBA players. And they will be lead by Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jabari Parker, and Nate Wolters.
Giannis Antetokounmpo is showcasing a lot of ability, but like all players here, he's not perfect. He leads the Bucks with 31.4 mpg, and in that time is averaging 16.5 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 1.0 apg, 0.5 spg, and 1.0 bpg. He has gone 3/6 from downtown, and 10/13 form the three throw line (76.9 ft%). He is averaging 4.5 fouls a game, 4.0 turn overs a game, has a 0.25 assist to turn over ratio, and his team is -11 with him on the floor. He will be a handful. He shoots the ball once every 97 seconds on the court.
Jabari Parker is impressive as a rookie. In 29.4 mpg he is averaging 14.0 ppg, 10.0 rpg, 1.5 apg, and 1.0 spg. He hasn't been as solid from distance, going only 2/9 from outside, and is a little shaky at the line -- going only 8/13 (61.5 ft%). He takes a lot of shots, and shoots once every 73 seconds on the court. But he's only making 34.6 fg% so far. He could break out against Utah. Either of them can because I am not convinced Rodney Hood is going to be able to check either of them one on one.
Their point guard Nate Wolters was a steal last season, and impressed as a rookie with his sold, but far from spectacular, play. He's playing 25.4 mpg for Milwaukee, and is averaging 11.5 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 2.5 apg, and 1.5 spg. He has also been shooting poorly, and is only at 20.0 3pt% so far in Vegas. And he shoots the ball once every 87 seconds on the court.
These three players are the primary guys for Milwaukee. And for the Jazz to keep Milwaukee winless they'll have to match up pretty well. Trey Burke has to show us why so many of us have confidence in him and his game. Rodney Hood and Dante Exum will also have to be ready to play.
The Bucks aren't that big inside and so far I have not been that impressed with either Jajuan Johnson or Johnny O'Bryant III. Knowing my luck, this means they'll have big games tonight. But more seriously, the Bucks don't have a lot of overt talent after their big three. I would argue that the Jazz are more talented 1 through 6 than they are. I hope they prove it tonight.
Do I think that they will? Basically, yes. Ian Clark is going to be reigned in a little bit. Rudy Gobert and Malcolm Thomas aren't going to miss 10 free throws. And Rodney Hood isn't going to miss 10 open three pointers. Milwaukee is without a win, tired, and if we have a basic defense set in place (I'm sure that's what yesterday's practice was all about), then we should find a way to win.
If they try to counter Exum's dynamic ability with Giannis on him, that works in our favor as Exum will draw in the defense and still be able to find open guys around him. Utah would have carried the day against the 76ers had it not been for their inability to hit make-able shots. We're going to be the better team tonight.
If not, then well, I guess I'm going to have to be really worried for our summer league club.