Summer Lovin' 1: Mavs Win DoJo Show In Vegas
Despite the top news recognized across the Metroplex on Sunday after the Mavs didn't to come out on top of the amnesty bidding process of ‘Scola Watch 2012' (he's Phoenix-bound) there was still other Dallas Mavericks business going on in the Las Vegas desert.
The Dallas Mavericks' Las Vegas Summer League squad made its debut.
The Summer League isn't always the most exciting thing or the prettiest thing, but it is definitely something. And if something Mavs-related happens, DallasBasketball.com jumps on it.
A Win is a Win: Despite not counting for anything, the Mavs winning their first Summer League game was a good thing if only for the simple fact that it's better than the alternative. After a late push in the first quarter, Dallas led by seven points and basically coasted from there to an 88-77 win over the Denver Nuggets. Although last year's athletic and very good rookie Kenneth Faried is on Denver's roster, he didn't play in today's game. Still, high draft picks Evan Fournier, Jordan Hamilton, and Quincy Miller did suit up for the Nuggets, making them a formidable opponent for the Summer League.
First-Rounder Sits: The main reason for anyone to even watch the Summer League is so we can all get our first glimpses at newly selected first-round draft picks of our favorite teams. For the Mavs, that will have to wait. As coach Rick Carlisle noted last week at the introductory press conference for the draftees, Jared Cunningham is still suffering from a hamstring injury he acquired during pre-draft workouts. Carlisle joined the NBA TV broadcast during the second quarter and shined some more light on his injury situation by mentioning Cunningham is also receiving treatment for Patellar Tendinitis. Cunningham seems to be trending toward sitting on the bench in street clothes for the duration of the Summer League.
Same Story: If this were his rookie year with Mavericks, MFFL Land would be absolutely buzzing after the performance of third-year guard Dominique Jones. Unfortunately for DoJo, this is not his first rodeo and no matter what positive things he does on the court, he won't turn any Mavs fans (or Mavs coaches for that matter) into believers with performances in the Summer League. He's done that before. (Does anyone remember his duel with John Wall in 2010?)
Jones played confidently all night, basically making the game his own from start to finish. As he usually is able to do, even while playing against NBA competition, Jones got to the basket. The difference in G1 was that he actually finished a lot of his chances at the hoop, though he was still a tad panicky at times when leaving his feet looking to pass. With 32 points and 8 rebounds, Jones also dominated the box score while maintaining the pace of play.
Again, nothing Jones does this summer will sway his critics, but he certainly won't hurt his chances with these kinds of performances. ... and if he is a trade-bait candidate, well, he helped that, too.
A Face in the Crowder: When drafted by the Mavericks in the second round of the 2012 draft, most scouting reports of Jae Crowder, and even Crowder himself, focused on what he brought to Marquette on the defensive side of the ball.
Crowder brought that well-documented defensive intensity here, but he also appeared quite comfortable with the ball offensively (though shaky as a jumpshooter). Crowder brought the ball down the court more than a few times to set up the offense and had no issues despite his size. Twice, he even created his own offense by hitting two jump shots off the dribble. There's no way to know if these traits are something the Mavs can rely on, but the confidence Crowder showed in his first game in a Mavericks jersey had to have at least caught the eye of the Mavs coaching staff.
You Got Bernarded: Bernard James' play in his first game as a Maverick wasn't glitzy or glamorous, but it was exactly as advertised. He was enough of a force underneath the basket to have a perfect night shooting (4 for 4), lead the team in rebounds (tied with Jones at 8), and help hold the Nuggets to just 31% shooting.
All in all, for the jaded Mavericks fan who has no interest in the Summer League and only worries about how Dwight Howard will someday land in Dallas, there isn't much to take from this game. No one will really care what any of these guys do in a game until it's under the lights of the American Airlines Center helping Dirk Nowitzki and Shawn Marion win in the NBA. (Though David Jelinek hit 3-of-4 from the arc towards his 11 points.)
Still, there were positives to take as all of the key Summer League players showed what they needed to in their first appearance. All they can do is keep improving.
So far, the results are all you can ask for.
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KBro Side note: Like girls? Like football? You'll probably like girls playing football.
On August 11th, Dallas' most talented, philanthropic, and gorgeous young women will get their game faces on for the third annual Blondes vs. Brunettes powder-puff football fundraiser that benefits the Alzheimer's Association of Greater Dallas Area Chapter. Blondes vs. Brunettes is a personal way to get involved and raise awareness for this grave disease that involves so many of our lives today.
Click on the links here or here to contribute.