-Hickson is obviously the story in this one. He’s really trying to expand his game, and he was throwing a lot of stuff against the wall against the Suns. Sometimes it worked for him, and sometimes it didn’t — he had a nice step-back jumper from the free throw line, but also had his fair share of travels in the post and forced shots out of face-up situations.
Where Hickson really shone was in the open court — this Summer League is pushing EVERYTHING, and nobody has an answer for Hickson’s athleticism in full-court situations. Even when the straight-up break didn’t work, the break did a good job of scrambling Phoenix and giving Hickson some lanes to go through. On defense, I didn’t notice him either way, which represents major progress from the D-League game.
-Eyenga is still raw, but he’ll take your breath away. He jumped clean across Matt Janning for an offensive rebound early, and it was impressive. He just glides up there. His fast-break tomahawk was also very impressive. He looks pretty lost off the dribble, although he did have one nice one-dribble drive to the hoop late that everyone on the staff wants to see more of from him. I still think he’s a year away, but there’s real talent there.
-Green played more in control, but he’s being forced to try and do way too much on his own right now. He’s not a #1 option, no matter how much stuff gets run for him. He can really play, but Summer League isn’t a good opportunity for him to show his strengths.
-Pooh Jeter wants a chance somewhere. He’s confident, and he has some skills. Not sure if he has NBA talent, but he might be forcing the Cavs to give him a look.
-After the game, I talked with Danny Green and Byron Scott. Green was excited about the up-tempo style, wants to improve his consistency, and says he’s not letting the roster moves and rumors distract him — I actually had to tell him that Z signed with Miami.
When I asked him about what he’s trying to do to get the team out on the break, he says that he’s focusing on his defense, and that he’s looking to push the ball whenever he gets it in his hands.
When I asked Byron Scott why New Orleans didn’t play at a fast pace when he played there, he said they didn’t have enough athletic wings to make it work. Chris Paul was pushing the ball, but there was nobody there to run with him except for Tyson Chandler. With Cleveland, Scott thinks that wing players like Jamario Moon, Danny Green, and Eyenga will help the Cavs run, and that JJ Hickson will be a huge asset in the up-tempo game.
When I asked him if Eyenga would be on the roster or not, Scott called him a “work in progress,” but said he loved the way Eyenga had progressed. He wants Eyenga on the weak-side a little more, which would be a great way to utilize Eyenga’s athleticism.
Alright campers, it’s been a long day. I’m starting to like the young, run-first, athletic Cavs that nobody expects to do anything. Maybe it’s just being in Vegas — anything’s possible here, right? More tomorrow, everyone.