We're almost two weeks clear of the 2007 NBA Draft and the NBA's summer league has begun with some interesting results. Well, interesting is probably too strong of a word. The NBA is boring enough (just ask any Nielsen family about the 2007 Finals) but now we're talking about exhibition basketball with minor league rosters and it's getting covered like the Superbowl. And I get this: the draft was big business for television's sake and the players in the draft currently are very newsworthy (though ESPN doesn't think any of them are Now) and so it makes sense that the coverage has been pretty in depth so far. It just bores me to tears, is all.
Apropos of nothing else, let's look in at some of the feature players from the 2007 draft class and see how these younglings are adjusting to life in the NBA (summer league).
Former Ohio State center and would be season POY, NCAA tournament MOP and still the #1 pick had he stayed for another year (though I'm not bitter...and I love that picture) had an auspicious start to his NBA (summer league) career. In his first 20 minutes wearing that Trail Blazers jersey, Oden managed to score six points and two boards, eventually taking a seat with foul trouble. And by foul trouble, I mean he fouled out, something that is rather tough to do in the NBA (summer league) where 10 fouls get you a front row seat on the bench. This is not characteristic of Oden, who played very intelligently in high school and college when fouls became an issue but that, I guess Oden left that sense in the same place he left all the checks from OSU boosters: back in Columbus (see? I can make Ohio State jokes, too.)
Kevin Durant (#2)
18 points is not bad. 5-17 shooting, 1 board and no assists is bad. The former Texas standout was praised during the season and throughout the draft for his ability not only to elevate his game above the field, but also to get others involved in the action. The single rebound and poor shooting barely elevate squat. And the fact that I have more dimes in my pocket than he had in the game (ZING!) means he that he wasn't helping out too much, either.
Now you're saying that this space should be saved for a higher pick or at least a name that people outside of the NBA might know, but young Marco turned in the performance of the summer so far. The Warriors 1st rounder had 37 points on 14-20 shooting, 5-7 from the arch. Belinelli's night was the second best turned in in NBA (summer league) history behind Keith Bogans's 38 point night in 2004. Oh yeah: unlike the first two picks in the draft, #18's team actually came away with the "W". So he's got that going for him...which is nice.