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Default 7/28 ESPN INSIDER - Best Summer League rookies - 07-28-2003, 09:29 AM

Rookies find their summer groove
By Chad Ford
NBA Insider
Send an Email to Chad Ford Monday, July 28
Updated: July 28
9:30 AM ET


It's not a time when stars are made or broken, but we did learn a few things about the Class of 2003 in the last three weeks during the NBA summer leagues.


First, LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony both look like they're ready for prime time. Both players, on occasion, dominated during the last three weeks. James' best game came on July 14th at the Reebok Pro Summer League versus the Celtics. He scored 25 points, grabbed nine boards and handed out five assist. He abused third-year forward Kedrick Brown when he moved to small forward and showed that all-around game that has had scouts drooling for the past two years. Anthony's best game was on July 20th at the Rocky Mountain Revue when he dropped 22 points on the Pacers.

Second, there seems to be more talent than ever falling into the second round. Maciej Lampe (Knicks at No. 30), Zaur Pachulia (Magic at No. 42), Keith Bogans (Magic at No. 43) and Brandon Hunter (Celtics at No. 56) were all among their respective league leaders. Pachulia, Bogans and Hunter all earned multi-year deals because of their play this summer and Lampe's sure to get one as well once he works out a buyout with Real Madrid in Spain.

Third, those international men of mystery are groovy. Lampe, Pachulia, Zarko Cabarkapa and Zoran Planinic all dominated at times. Boris Diaw gave the Hawks exactly what we expected and Leandrinho Barbosa was inconsistent, but showed flashes of being special. Only Mickael Pietrus and Alexsandar Pavlovic proved to be first-round disappointments.

Finally, don't put much stock, if any, in all of this. Loren Woods once scored 28 points in a summer league game. Do we need to say more?

Summer League Top 10 Rookies

LeBron James, Cavs


James
Stats: 15.8 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 4.3 apg in Reebok Pro Summer League
The skinny: The biggest thing about LeBron was that he looked like he belonged. His confidence with the basketball is extraordinary at his age. He's at his best right now when he plays small forward. When he doesn't have to concentrate of running the offense, James unleashed his full offensive arsenal. He's lethal moving without the ball and posting up his man on the block. He looks more ordinary running the point, but consider this -- name the last 18-year-old point guard to start in the NBA. If the Cavs truly plan to keep at the point, and Paul Silas insisted to me that they are, then it's going to take some time.

Carmelo Anthony, Nuggets


Anthony
Stats: 20 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 1.3 apg on 51 percent shooting in Rocky Mountain Revue
The skinny: It took him a few games to get warmed up in L.A., but once he hit Utah, he was ready to roll. Anthony played in only three games in Utah, but it was enough to convince us that he should lead all rookies in scoring this year. He isn't going to be shy looking for his shot and he shouldn't be. However, there were a few minor red flags that stood out last week. One, he was 0-for-5 from beyond the arc. Two, he had a two-to-one turnover to assist ratio in his first three games. If he's going to be the point forward some had envisioned, he's got to get his teammates more involved.

Maciej Lampe, Knicks


Lampe
Stats: 17.2 ppg, 7 rpg on 51 percent shooting in Rocky Mountain Revue
The skinny: Lampe got off to a horrendous start at the Reebok Pro Summer league, but by the third game, he started to get a clue. By the time he hit Salt Lake, he was ready to go. His best game was a 25-point, 11-rebound outburst on July 23rd versus the Mavs. While Lampe did lots of his damage on the outside (he shot 45 percent from three) it was his work in the paint that had Knicks coaches drooling. Lampe doesn't really have the quickness to play the three, but when the team moved him to center, his ability to face the basket or post up his man in the paint made him a matchup problem. Not bad for an 18-year-kid who slipped all the way to the second round on draft night.

T. J. Ford, Bucks


Ford
Stats: 13.6 ppg, 7.2 apg in the Reebok Pro Summer League
The skinny: Say what you will about Ford's lack of size or a consistent jump shot. Both weaknesses may come back to haunt him once the regular season gets underway. But in Boston (as well as Orlando where he averaged 6.8 apg) there wasn't a better point guard on the floor than Ford. His quickness and knack for always making the right play has already won over several skeptics who claim that averaging 7.2 apg in the chaos known as summer league is akin to averaging 10 or 11 apg in the NBA regular season.

Zarko Cabarkapa, Suns
Stats: 16.8 ppg, 7.4 rpg, 2.2 apg in the Rocky Mountain Revue
The skinny: Everyone knew that the big 6-foot-11 small forward was a dead eye from outside, but Cabarkapa's (pronounced Char-BAR-kapa) all-around feel for the game had assistant coach Marc Iavaroni drooling. "He seems to be in the right place at the right time," Iavaroni said after Cabarkapa scored 25 points from just about every where on the floor during one game. His rebonding numbers also gave the Suns hope. The Suns already have two strong rebounders at forward in Shawn Marion and Amare Stoudemire. If Cabarkapa can give them that lift off the bench, as well as stretch defenses with his outside shooting, he could be poised for a significant impact this year.

Brandon Hunter, Celtics
Stats: 16.8 ppg, 8.2 rpg at the Reebok Summer Pro League
The skinny: The knock on Hunter (who slipped all the way to No. 56 in the draft) was that he was undersized to play power forward in the pros. Hunter did his best to prove scouts wrong in Boston. Using his amazing strength and above average athleticism, Hunter literally out muscled and out hustled the competition in Boston. Like other undersized rebounders, Hunter used aggressiveness to grab the ball away from bigger players. His play was so impressive that Danny Ainge quickly inked him to a two-year deal once the league was over. ''Brandon had a fantastic summer league and we think he has a chance to be an excellent NBA player. When we drafted him, the one thing that we lacked was rebounding, and he's proven in college and in the summer league that he can rebound.''

Dwyane Wade, Heat
Stats: 13.4 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 4.6 apg in the Pepsi Summer Pro League
The skinny: Wade got his first taste of playing point guard in the Pepsi Summer Pro League, having to match up against the likes of LeBron James, Reece Gaines and T. J. Ford in Orlando. While Wade's turnovers were on the high side, he really seemed to settle into the role by the end of the week. The rest of his all-around game looks just fine too. If the Heat can find a way to pry Lamar Odom from the Clippers -- they're looking at three versatile players (including Caron Butler) who can run the offense and score at will.

Marcus Banks, Celtics
Stats: 15.5 ppg, 6.2 apg in the Reebok Summer Pro League
The skinny: Banks used his quickness and aggressiveness offensively to break down defenses. He was relentless taking the ball to the basket and during one three-game stretch got to the line an impressive 26 times. However, until he improves his perimeter shooting (he shot just 36 percent from the field) defenders will sag off him to avoid the penetration.

Keith Bogans, Magic
Stats: 19.4 ppg, 4 rpg in the Pepsi Pro Summer League
The skinny: Bogans was yet another second-round player playing with a chip on his shoulder. Offensively, he was dynamite for the Magic. His perimeter shot was falling nicely and he also showed the ability to get to the rim. Bogans' play earned him a guaranteed contract for next year, and given the dearth of two guards behind Tracy McGrady in Orlando, there's a chance he could earn a spot in the Magic's rotation.

Chris Bosh, Raptors
Stats: 15.8 ppg, 5 rpg on 45 percent shooting in the Summer Pro League
The skinny: A solid summer for a kid many thought was several years away from being able to contribute. Credit Bosh's weight program (he was listed 20 pounds heavier than his playing weight at Georgia Tech) and a solid set of fundamentals for helping him strive. Bosh was at his best when he was aggressive on the boards, but still tends to favor the perimeter game at the moment.

Honorable Mention: Jarvis Hayes, Wizards (15.5 ppg); Brian Cook, Lakers (13.6 ppg, 7.3 rpg); Josh Howard, Mavs (21.7 ppg, 8 rpg); Zaur Pachulia, Magic (12.6 ppg, 8.6 rpg); Michael Sweetney, Knicks (13.8 ppg, 7 rpg); James Jones, Pacers (11.8 ppg, 5.5 rpg)

Summer League duds: Travis Outlaw, Blazers (4 ppg, 1.7 rpg, 32 percent shooting); Kirk Hinrich, Bulls (8.5 ppg, 3.3 apg 30 percent shooting); Mickael Pietrus, Warriors (7.9 ppg, 6.8 rpg on 32 percent shooting)

Around the League

Insider obtained some exclusive confidential 2003 free agent contract information over the weekend. There were several interesting surprises surrounding the contracts of a few free agents.

The Jazz's offer sheet for Corey Maggette gives him a starting salary of $7 million, not $5.6 million as previously reported by several media outlets. That may explain why the Clippers struggled to find a way to keep Maggette, Elton Brand, Lamar Odom and bring in free agent Gilbert Arenas. The Clippers have until July 31st to match the Jazz's offer sheet.

Juwan Howard's deal with the Magic is for six years, $36.9 million, not the five-year, $28 million deal reported earlier. Howard does have a player option on that sixth year.

Andre Miller's salary will count for a little less than $8 million on the Nuggets' books for next season. However, during the 2004-05 season, his base salary will fall to $7.3 million. Overall, his deal is worth six years, $41 million plus $10 million in signing bonuses.

There have been conflicting reports on Kenny Thomas' seven-year deal with the Sixers. According to the information obtained by Insider, the deal is seven years, $50.4 million. Thomas has an early termination out after year five.

P.J. Brown's contract with the Hornets pays him $8 million each of four seasons totaling $32 million.

The Bucks spent a total of $8.8 million over the next two years on Erick Strickland (2 years, $3.1 million), Brian Skinner (2 years, $3.2 million) and Dainel Santiago (2 years, $2.5 million).

Still can't get over the $29.5 million the Cavs just spent to lock up Kevin Ollie and Ira Newble for the next five years. . . and just when I thought I was going to have to write something nice about Cavs GM Jim Paxson.

The Celtics gave Mark Blount a two-year, $1.98 million deal. Walter McCarty signed for three years for $3,712,500.

According to the Detroit News, Jon Barry is expected to get a four-year, $10 million offer from the Pacers today. That's a little surprising considering that the Pacers are already dangerously close to the luxury tax. Did the Pacers finally figure out a way to clear a little cap space?

Magic veteran point guard Darrell Armstrong reached a two-year deal with the Hornets over the weekend, according to the New Orleans Times Picayune.

The Raptors are on the verge of signing veteran two guard Anthony Peeler to a multi-year deal, according to the Toronto Star. The report claims that, because of the deal, the Raptors may buy out the last year of Lindsey Hunter's contract. That Raptors have $3.3 million of their mid-level exception left after signing Jerome Moiso to a two-year, $3.4 million deal.

The Denver Post reported that the Nuggets are expected to offer Earl Boykins a contract early this week.


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Default 7/28 ESPN INSIDER - Best Summer League rookies - 07-28-2003, 09:39 AM

I guess Howard just wasn't enough of a media darling to merit anything more than a mention. 21.7 ppg and 8 boards a game must not be good enough.
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Default 7/28 ESPN INSIDER - Best Summer League rookies - 07-28-2003, 10:15 AM

Quote:
Originally posted by: Drbio
I guess Howard just wasn't enough of a media darling to merit anything more than a mention. 21.7 ppg and 8 boards a game must not be good enough.
My thoughts exactly. I didn't have satellite and didn't get to watch any of the games, so I can't comment on how he appeared versus how other rookies appeared, but his summer league stats were the best of any player mentioned in this article, including Anthony, James, Ford, Bosh, and Lampe.

I hope Howard "quietly" surprises everyone. I'd be thrilled if the kid could give us 10/5 while playing good perimeter defense for about 20-25 minutes a game.

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Default RE: 7/28 ESPN INSIDER - Best Summer League rookies - 07-28-2003, 10:35 AM

How can you not have Howard in the top 10? Surely it wasn't because he sat out some games in the RMR?


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Default 7/28 ESPN INSIDER - Best Summer League rookies - 07-28-2003, 10:36 AM

Quote:
I hope Howard "quietly" surprises everyone. I'd be thrilled if the kid could give us 10/5 while playing good perimeter defense for about 20-25 minutes a game.
I know. This is really the best we can expect and some people insist on thinking Howard will be some kind of savior. These numbers would be great. These numbers also blow Najera's rookie numbers out of the water. Hell, they are better than Najera's numbers for any year.


At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

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Default 7/28 ESPN INSIDER - Best Summer League rookies - 07-28-2003, 10:50 AM

Quote:
According to the Detroit News, Jon Barry is expected to get a four-year, $10 million offer from the Pacers today. That's a little surprising considering that the Pacers are already dangerously close to the luxury tax. Did the Pacers finally figure out a way to clear a little cap space?
I read about this on another board. Interesting.

Do they plan on resigning Miller or is this his replacement? They also have Bender at sg.

We all know they're loaded at sf so maybe they're unloading a player there?


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Default 7/28 ESPN INSIDER - Best Summer League rookies - 07-28-2003, 11:40 AM

I figured everyone would point out Josh not being in the top 10. Is it me or is his stats as good or maybe even better than Carmelo's or Lebron's? The Mavs continue to not get any props from the media and the rookie is even starting to feel it before even playing a NBA game. We should be proud of Josh. Granted this isn't the NBA just summer league it is better to play well in summer league rather than not play well at all.





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Default RE: 7/28 ESPN INSIDER - Best Summer League rookies - 07-28-2003, 11:50 AM

Howard is a better player at 23 than Lebron at 18, at this moment. But Lebron might be better than Kobe at 23, and Howard never.

Besides, the media focus more in the top drafts, naturally. Who cares about a 29th? Only their fans.

It's the case of Dirk, but for other reasons.



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Default 7/28 ESPN INSIDER - Best Summer League rookies - 07-28-2003, 12:45 PM

Quote:
Finally, don't put much stock, if any, in all of this. Loren Woods once scored 28 points in a summer league game. Do we need to say more?
My favorite part of the article.
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Default 7/28 ESPN INSIDER - Best Summer League rookies - 07-28-2003, 12:52 PM

If howard can give you 7 points and 7 boards a game his rookie season that would be spectacular. The thing that always hurts the mavs is the inability to get rebounds from the small forward position.
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Default 7/28 ESPN INSIDER - Best Summer League rookies - 07-28-2003, 12:54 PM

Quote:
Originally posted by: jayC
If howard can give you 7 points and 7 boards a game his rookie season that would be spectacular. The thing that always hurts the mavs is the inability to get rebounds from the small forward position.
Be realistic - that would be the 2nd best rebounder on the team. I seriously doubt that Howard will get half that number of boards.
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Default 7/28 ESPN INSIDER - Best Summer League rookies - 07-28-2003, 12:54 PM

Quote:
Originally posted by: MavsFanFinley
Quote:
According to the Detroit News, Jon Barry is expected to get a four-year, $10 million offer from the Pacers today. That's a little surprising considering that the Pacers are already dangerously close to the luxury tax. Did the Pacers finally figure out a way to clear a little cap space?
I read about this on another board. Interesting.

Do they plan on resigning Miller or is this his replacement? They also have Bender at sg.

We all know they're loaded at sf so maybe they're unloading a player there?
Reports are that they turned down the Brandon contract offer for either Artest or Harrington, so they don't seem to be in play.

They are still looking for a vet PG.

Looks like current plans are for Artest a 2G, Harrington at SF, Bender at PF when JO is at C. When they play a tougher oppsoing C, then Pollard comes in and JO slides back to PF. At least, that is what I have put together from the different things I have read.

So, who do they have of value that would be the odd man out (other than Croshere)? Seems that Bender is the only one who fits that description.
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Default 7/28 ESPN INSIDER - Best Summer League rookies - 07-28-2003, 01:07 PM

Quote:
Originally posted by: MFFL
Quote:
Originally posted by: jayC
If howard can give you 7 points and 7 boards a game his rookie season that would be spectacular. The thing that always hurts the mavs is the inability to get rebounds from the small forward position.
Be realistic - that would be the 2nd best rebounder on the team. I seriously doubt that Howard will get half that number of boards.



You beat me to it. No way he comes in here averaging that. There are small fowards in this league who are vets and don't even average 7 boards. Like KG said, if he can come in and give you 10/5 which is a bit more reasonable because the guy look like he can go to the rack and he should see a couple of boards come his way. Remember Dirk and Fin average 16 boards combined so there is a bit more room for Josh to get some of those boards if we play some D.





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Default 7/28 ESPN INSIDER - Best Summer League rookies - 07-28-2003, 01:13 PM

Well stats are just stats..and the level of competition isn't the NBA by any means, but I'll say this about Howard from watching all of the games he played in (and do remember that he was held out of a few)...this kid has a "nose" for the ball that you just can't teach...he is ALWAYS around the ball...seems to have special instincts and a lot of intelligence..he just seems to know where the ball is going before anyone else does...whether it's a rebound coming off...or a pass about to be made.

That's what I like about him most...he seems very special in this one area.

And, yeah, I have the same problem as everyone else...just on stats alone...he should have gotten a much higher mention...let's just hope that his play carries over to the NBA...then we may have gotten a pretty decent deal with the 29th pick.


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Default 7/28 ESPN INSIDER - Best Summer League rookies - 07-28-2003, 02:17 PM

Too bad about Outlaw not doing so well.

But Howard should be 3rd on their list!


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Default 7/28 ESPN INSIDER - Best Summer League rookies - 07-30-2003, 09:37 AM

I'll take 3 rpg if he turns out a couple of 8 and 10 rebounds in a game performances, and, if they happen to be rebounds that decide games. That's one of the things I liked about Eddie his first couple of years. I was surprised to see his avg so low, b/c there were times when he got really key rebounds, and a few games where he'd get a rebound a minute. That didn't happen as much last year though...



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Default RE: 7/28 ESPN INSIDER - Best Summer League rookies - 07-30-2003, 12:06 PM

This
Quote:
Well stats are just stats...
and this
Quote:
...to see his avg so low, b/c there were times when he got really key rebounds...
are connected.

Stats don't reflex the real value of a player.

One easy example: The stats of LaFrentz with Denver are much better than with Dallas.

Other example using a question: Would you think that Garnett's stats would be that good playing for Dallas (without Dirk)?

Also, where are the stats to measure the screens, the moves, the making of open spots, taking charges, guarding to avoid shooting, preventing a rival player to get the ball, key rebound vs not-key rebound, trash minutes, making stats with the starters vs with the bench, blocking big guys or small guys, playing injured, playing more against eastern or western teams, playing more in one or other position, and so on.

The stats are a reference, but not a description of the player.



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