Tuesday, July 8, 2008

NBA Summer Leagues: Like VH1 Reality Shows

One of my joys of summer is the arrival of the various NBA summer leagues, where top draft picks try not to embarrass themselves against the “hey, I remember that guy!” All-Stars. Sure, the highlights you’ll see on SportsCenter are of the Derrick Roses and Michael Beasleys of the world, but the obscure guys are what truly interest me about the various NBA summer leagues, as basketball's Maven Huffmans and Markus Schenkenbergs remind us that they are not, in fact, dead. Here are some of this year's obscure favorites:

  • Yuta Tabuse – Tabuse, “the Michael Jordan of Japan,” had a cup of coffee with the Suns a few years ago, and has kicked around the D-League ever since. His size (5-9, 165) precludes him from being any sort of NBA impact player, but his speed has made him an international fan favorite. Tabuse is currently playing with the Nets’ summer league team, and had four points in five minutes of play yesterday.
  • Ndudi Ebi – His name is pronounced “doody,” which also summarizes his professional career. Doody was the first Timberwolves first-round pick in three years (because of the Joe Smith debacle), and proceeded to reward the team by playing like, well, doody. In 19 NBA games, Doody averaged a whopping 2.1 points per game, and the Timberwolves actually petitioned the league to allow them to send him to the D-League in his third year. (Only first-and-second year NBA roster players are allowed in the D-League). Doody had five points in 14 minutes of play for “Team Oklahoma City” (their logo on the site is just the NBA logo with “OKC next to it) yesterday.
  • Stephane Lasme – Lasme went to UMass before becoming the first Gabonese player ever to appear in the NBA. He was the 2006-2007 A-10 Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year, and had four triple-doubles at UMass. Lasme had four blocks for the Heat in yesterday’s win over the Bulls, and also scored 10 points in 17 minutes of play. He could stick on the Heat roster with a solid enough showing this week.
  • Brad Buckman – Buckman played at Texas for what seemed like ten years, never traveling once inside the three-point line despite being 6-9 and 240 pounds. He apparently invented the “Buckman Bump,” in which he would pass the ball to his teammates by hitting it with his sizable ass. Unfortunately, that ass did not get off the bench yesterday for the Bulls’ summer league team, despite the fact that the Bulls started yesterday’s game by allowing 27 consecutive points to the Heat.
  • Vladimir Goulobovic – I’m a draft junkie, and I had no idea who this guy was. Neither do many Serbians, as the seven-footer wasn’t able to crack many Serbian youth national teams while growing up. He is described by DraftExpress as “lacking fundamentals and basketball IQ,” with a “modest skill set” and “unable to get much lift off the ground.” Luckily, he “doesn’t touch the ball much on offense or defense” for his local Serbian team. Of course, this glowing resume prompted the Pacers to give Goulobovic 18 minutes of play yesterday, during which he scored seven points.

As for the players that may actually earn a living in the NBA next year, yesterday’s summer league debuts showed for some interesting box scores. Beasley’s 28 points were of course the headline, but more impressive to me was the fact that he got to the free-throw line 12 times. Rose’s 10-point, five-turnover game can be chalked up to first-game jitters, as I don’t expect him to be turnover-prone come season’s start. Russell Westbrook had a solid 18-point, five-assist day. Brook Lopez’s zero rebounds in 20 minutes of play should be more concerning, as should the fact that Sean “the pot on Chestnut Hill is fucking AMAZING” Williams scored only two points. This year’s shitty Nets frontcourt should be just as incompetent as last year’s shitty Nets frontcourt.

1 comment:

Pepster said...

As a Heat fan, I am very ecstatic about the progress of this year's summer league team. Beasley is looking like the beast he can and should be, and players like Lasme, who played well with significant minutes at the end of last year really developing.