Doron Lamb and Tobias Harris led an offensive burst in the game’s first ten minutes, and the Bucks rode an early lead to a 76-68 win over the New Orleans Hornets. The pair started the game by making their first six shots en route to a 34-27 halftime lead.
John Henson missed the game with flu symptoms, so the debut spotlight belonged solely to Lamb and he did not disappoint, scoring a team-high 20 points. Best of all, he was efficient — making six of 12 shots and getting to the free-throw line nine times (making eight). Doron exhibited wonderful decision making. He chose high-percentage shots, and he squared to the basket well on those looks.
Lamb also showed the best handle of any of the Bucks’ guards, which is nice to see, but it is also of an indictment of the point guards for the evening.
Can you say ‘combo guard’?
Co-MVPs: Tobias Harris and Doron Lamb
Tobias Harris could make a splash this season.
He finished this game with 19 points on 8-for-15 shooting despite getting zero help from a shoddy point guard tandem. He has a nose for the basket and he can maneuver his way to the rim on nearly every attempt with strong handle and an assortment of moves. He does well elevating and shooting over shot blockers, but in this game he also got tied up when help defenders reached in to get a hand on the ball during his gather. Playing with shooters that spread the floor should help in this regard.
Tobias can function as the ballhandler on the pick-and-roll, which may come as no surprise as a shooter, but he also made some nice passes in this game.
He played defense while sitting in a lower stance than he used on defense than last year, and worked well on the ball. In the first half, he looked a bit tentative off the ball as he leaned away from the play on a couple of occasions.
The one phase critical to rounding out Tobias’ offensive game is a three-point shot; Harris took four three-pointers in the flow of the offense and made one. This development is one to watch this week.
Co-LVPs: Larry Sanders and Aaron Miles
The rule for summer league games are not exactly the same as for regular NBA games. For one, players are allowed ten fouls before being disqualified.
To be more specific, Larry played 21 of a possible 40 minutes, scored 4 points, logged 10/ten/diez/X fouls, and finished a team-low -10 in plus/minus rating. He did manage to block three shots, but that fact is completely mitigated by the foul disaster. (Brian Butch picked up seven fouls of his own in limited action.)
Sanders is the longest-tenured Buck with the team in Vegas, and watching the game you would never know it. He makes bad fouls then compounds the issue by chirping at the ‘offending’ referee. Emotional control still escapes Sanders.
Speaking of experience, Sanders has developed a comfort level on offense to experiment with some new moves… and nearly all of them are frightening. He handles the ball too much, too far from the rim, and he’s putting in pointless stuff (such a behind-the-back dribble that eventually turned into a turnover) that is not going to help anyone score more effectively even when it doesn’t end catastrophically.
The worst is an ever-prevalent spin move before nearly every shot attempt that will leave fans dizzy with anxiety.
Then there was Aaron Miles. If anyone was hoping that the Bucks would find a pure point guard on the summer league team, those hopes were quickly extinguished. Miles did not run a smooth offense. For all the good looks that Harris and Lamb had to start the game, those shots had very little to do with Miles.
Miles had two points, six turnovers, three assists, and a nonexistant left-hand dribble. Every time he tried to dribble with his left, he had to look down to see where the ball was.
Cameron Wells largely replaced him for the second half (while wearing Monta Ellis’ number 11 jersey) and performed marginally better, but succumbed to turnovers late as New Orleans used a trap to fuel a late comeback.
Gettting Along Famously
Of the camp invitees, Jarrid Famous was a clear standout. He scored 13 points and collected 11 rebounds, and generally played an active role inside. For the game, he registered a team-high +20 in the plus/minus rating category. He played smartly (though he looked to be coming up short when hedging out of the pick-and-roll) and he played aggressively (four offensive rebounds).
The Bucks had a 15-point lead with six minutes left in the game, and the Hornets whittled it down to just one within the final minute. But Famous drew not one, but two charges in the final minute to help seal the game.
But do the Bucks need another hustle power forward?
Tweets of the night:
UFA Joel Przybilla is back on Bucks’ radar.
— Gery Woelfel (@GeryWoelfel) July 17, 2012
As Kevin Calabro so eloquently put it, regarding the play of Larry Sanders, “you only get ten fouls in summer league.”
— Kelly B. McGillivray (@kellybmcg) July 17, 2012
Doron Lamb: “I’ve got great players around me.”*teammates look around, point fingers, make questioning faces* #bucksketballsummerleague
— Eric Buenning (@eric_allenb) July 17, 2012
Final verdict: Two out of Three
This game likely featured just three players who will be on the Opening Day roster for the Bucks: Tobias Harris, Doron Lamb, and Larry Sanders. Two of those players showed that they belong.
But Harris and Sanders have prior NBA experience, so their pro games are — at least in small part — known commodities. Doron Lamb is attempting to make the transition from college, and tonight’s game was a gigantic positive development.
For the final word, below is what general manager John Hammond had to say about Doron in a second-quarter interview.
You know everybody says this in the draft, especially about their second-round picks, and we had him graded as a first-round pick. And when he fell to us in the second round, we were thrilled to be able to get him. I think he’s a guy that comes from that Kentucky tradition. What I really liked about him is that it was only two years, but he still walks away from the Kentucky program as the all-time three-point percentage shooter in a pretty well established program — a great place — so he can shoot the ball.
What I really liked about him is that he can play off the ball and, when needed, he played point guard for them. When Marques Teague came out of the games, John Calipari put the ball in his hands and he ran the team. I really think that he can be a combo guard with nice size to do so someday.
He’s a New York kid, and he eats, sleeps, and drinks the game and the NBA itself. That’s one of the first things… We didn’t have to say that to him. He said that to us.
We were kind of like, ‘Man, we never dreamt that you would be there. We are so thrilled to be able to get you in the second round’, but he goes, ‘Look. I’m happy to be here, and I’ll prove people wrong on that.’ So we’re thrilled to have him.
He really shoots the ball, but I like the fact that he has a really good feel for the game. He knows how to play. You look at his assist/turnover ratio at Kentucky — he’s somewhat of a mistake-free player. If you’re a coach like Scott Skiles and you say, ‘I can look down and I can trust a rookie to put him in the game’, I think that would be really critical and that will maybe help him get on the floor.