Living Las Vegas: Vegas Summer League, Vol. IVAlso see: Vegas: Volume I | Vegas: Volume II | Vegas: Volume III
By NBA TV's Rick Kamla
Any choice regarding the lead for today’s column was stripped from my jurisdiction by Foye, who scored 18 of his 28 points in the fourth quarter of a memorable comeback win against the Mavericks. Foye grabbed me by the collar and non-verbally scolded me for calling Roy the better player in previous entries.
The Wolves ran virtually every fourth-quarter play for Foye (not unlike what Miami did with Dwyane Wade in The Finals) and he either got to the paint for a teardrop, the rim for a lay-up, or the line for two free throws.
The Mavs (and everyone in attendance at the Cox Pavilion) were mesmerized with Foye’s ability to get wherever he wants whenever he wants. The Dallas D had no clue what Foye was going to do, they played the entire fourth quarter on their heels, and Foye eventually ran them over on his way to a 10-point win.
The seventh overall pick out of Villanova has the rare ability to elevate his game on-demand when it matters most, the advantage of being able to go right or left with equal effectiveness, and the deadly combination of hops to remain airborne and strength to withstand contact.
All that said, I’m not flip-flopping in the Roy vs. Foye debate. I still would rather have Roy and his lethal combo platter of size, versatility, and quickness.
It’s been all good for picks Nos. 6 and 7 here in Vegas, but the No. 1 overall pick entered Thursday’s game in a bit of a slump.
Andrea Bargnani styled the crowd in his Vegas debut with 20 points on 7-of-11 shooting and two blocks, but he came back with 12 points and 10 fouls (DQ) in game two and then hit rock bottom with 10 points on 2-of-7 shooting and seven fouls in game three.
(He must have felt like yours truly at the blackjack table the other night when I couldn’t buy a win despite a parade of 18s, 19s, and 20s. The dealer was as relentless as she was ruthless and I’m convinced it was personal. I called over the pit boss to see if we could launch an investigation and he sternly told me to leave the table and never come back.)
Thank goodness Bargnani had a chance to come back and he was fantastic in scoring 21 points and grabbing 11 rebounds in a two-point loss to the Warriors.
The bad news is that Bargnani was short on a wing three that would have won the game at the buzzer, but the good news is that he mixed it up with Patrick O’Bryant and outplayed the Warriors’ lottery pick. Bargnani was fronting O’Bryant with success, he was driving left with confidence, and his jumper was right on time.
The plan is to have Bargnani come off the bench to start the season, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s starting at the three for Toronto at some point during the 06-07 season. I’ve got one more Bargnani game to call on Friday, and I can’t wait.
Golden State’s Jamaal Williams was the Toshiba Player of the Day for rocking the Raptors to the tune of 27 points and eight rebounds. Williams teamed with Roy to carry Washington to the Sweet Sixteen in the 2006 NCAA Tournament, and Williams carried his teammates throughout the second half of Thursday’s win.
Williams will be playing professionally next season, be it the D-League or overseas, as he impressed the scouts and GMs in attendance with a versatile offensive game, tenacious mentality and overall polish. I don’t think he’s ready for the NBA just yet, but he’s good enough to join someone’s system and go to work on his game.
Other who rocked the Cox Pavilion were Clippers’ forward James Singleton, who stuffed the stat sheet with 12 points, 11 rebounds, 5 assists, three blocks and a steal. Singleton went 2-of-11 from the field, but the word from Clippers’ TV analyst Michael Smith is that I shouldn’t sleep on Singleton’s offensive game.
Sorry, Michael, but I couldn’t help hitting the snooze button nine times during the Clippers’ blowout win over the Pistons.
I was also really impressed by Mavericks’ swingman Rawle Marshall, who swung between the NBA and D-League a season ago. Against my Wolves, he scored 27 points on 6-of-11 from the field and 14-of-16 from the foul line. With his long, slender body, active game and headband, he looks like a Josh Howard clone.
Finally, we were joined by reigning rookie of the year Chris Paul for the third quarter of the Raptors-Warriors game. The cross between Allen Iverson and Isiah Thomas brought tremendous analysis, refreshing honesty, and above-and-beyond-the-call humility to the broadcast. When I called him a lock to make the 2007 All-Star Game, he quickly changed the subject to his Hornets making the playoffs.
If there is a professional athlete in the world with better perspective than Paul, who signed EVERY autograph requested, I’d love to interview him. Although, I highly doubt he or she exists.
During the regular season, NBA TV fantasy expert Rick Kamla writes a weekly column, Living the Fantasy, on NBA.com. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org