The Charlotte Bobcats (summer league team) won by 34! The Charlotte Bobcats (summer league team) won by 34!
Listen, it's the first day of the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas, okay? But, as the NBATV announcers (God bless them) admitted, "A win is a win is a..." they didn't actually finish what they were going to say, but you get the point. The Cats scored 121 points in 40 minutes tonight in Las Vegas and used a pressing, suffocating defense to do it.
Wipe your eyes...121 points. I'm not sure 121 points in 121 minutes would have been possible last year.
There is no reason to get too excited over one summer league game. Aww hell, who are we kidding? There is plenty of reason to get excited over one summer league game! This team won seven games last year and endured countless jokes on twitter!
We all realize that this game does not equal immediate/lasting/sustained/legitimate/actual/real success. But if you watched last year at all, and you compared it to the display tonight in Las Vegas you had to recognize the difference.
The Cats applied pressure THE ENTIRE GAME. Even up 119-84 with 25 seconds left they pressed as they did from the opening tip and it was fun to watch. No they can’t do that for a full 82-game season in the NBA. So what, who cares?
To be completely fair, the Sacramento Kings probably weren’t gameplannig against the summer league version of 40 Minutes of Hell, although the math actually worked out. Also, Thomas Robinson brought the ball up a lot and had eight turnovers to show for it.
Robinson was one to watch tonight because it was widely believed Charlotte would select him with the second overall pick. Rich Cho and company selected Michael Kidd-Gilchrist instead and certainly have to be pleased with the results tonight.
Again, no one is hanging any banners based off tonight but Kidd-Gilchrist impressed with his quickness to the ball and the basket and his ability to anticipate in the passing lane. Charlotte’s pressure defense was really a collective effort but Kidd-Gilchrist was certainly striking in his debut as a pro racking up 18 points on 7-12 shooting to go along with eight boards, four steals, and five assists in 21 minutes of play.
He forced the issue with success early on, showing an ultra quick first step and a great ability to get in the lane.
It’s intriguing to picture Kidd-Gilchrist and Kemba Walker maturing together. The two have a collective energy that could be fun to watch.
Walker also had a nice night (16 points, seven assists), displaying the quickness and ability to penetrate that has so many fans hopeful. He also relied on those quick step-back jumpers that we’ve all become so familiar with to varying success. Still, it’s undeniably good that Walker is playing.
So to for Bismack Biyombo and Byron Mullens.
What you want to see from these guys that have at least a year in the league is some sort of comfortable confidence. These guys have some experience, and for the most part they played as such. Still, being only the first game there was still a lot of Mullens outside shots (six of his first nine shots were three-pointers) and Biyombo stull has a long way to go offensively and on the boards.
Mullens was easily moved out of the way by Robinson under the basket early on. Robinson was whistled for a foul that wasn’t. Mullens was in awful position to get a rebound of any kind but benefited by a horrible call. Hopefully Mike Dunlap and company will help in this area. Biyombo still has to learn how to use his body in getting position for rebounds as well.
Perhaps the brightest spot was second-round pick Jeff Taylor. The rookie out of Vanderbilt was very impressive on both ends of the floor scoring his first 15 points on nine shots and defending with great athleticism. He finished with 17 points and 2 rebounds including 3-4 three pointers. He and Kidd-Gilchrist really led the way on the wings.
It was ultimately a good night for Dunlap in his debut as the head coach of the Charlotte Bobcats. He has, without a doubt, impressed his plan on this team so far. Charlotte played arguably the most impressive game of the first day in Vegas. It may not seem like much but this bench was fully invested in a game that was decided, in a gym that was (at best) half full. If nothing else, he gave those watching a reason to believe the Bobcats have things headed in the right direction.