June 22, 2006

NBA Players Camp: Thursday morning

Richmond, Va.-The Dallas Mavericks couldn't pull off a NBA Championship, but at the NBA Players Association Top 100 Camp the Mavericks are one of the top squads with talented players like Patrick Patterson, Alex Legion, and James Anderson. But the little engine that is making this train run is Jai Lucas.

More of a penetrate and score point guard playing with the Houston Hoops, Lucas' full range of abilities come to life with such talented players around him. Lucas is still creating plenty of scoring opportunities for himself in the mid-range, but his is also hooking up his teammates for plenty of good looks.

Patterson is shooting better than ever from the outside, Legion is thriving as a scorer, Anderson had a marquee game yesterday morning, and today Marcus Morris tore it up from behind the arc.

A play from this morning that signifies Lucas' continual development as a player was a left handed drive down the lane, ending with a 7-foot left handed runner for a bucket.

As already mentioned, Marcus Morris had an outstanding morning shooting the ball, and he has looked good shooting the ball yesterday as well. An inside/outside threat, Morris has a solid all around game, highlighted with his soft touch from outside.

His twin brother Markeiff Morris, who is more of a back to the basket player. He doesn't have the range of his brother, but Markieff can hit the 15-foot face up jumper.

Alex Legion has also been a consistent scoring threat from the outside. Legion has been very good when he has played his role as a scorer and has kept his ball handling and passing simple. When Legion has tried to play the role of a playmaker, he has turned the ball over more than making productive plays.

James Anderson has not matched his first game performance in his other two games, but he did make three critical defensive plays down the stretch of the Mavericks win Wednesday morning.

Along with making jump shots, Patrick Patterson fared very well in his match up against Nayal Koshwal. Patterson made it difficult for Koshwal to score around the basket. Not that Koshwal played poorly, but he was not the dominant player like he was Wednesday night, and Patterson was slightly the better player.

Guard Play

Senario Hillman and Rico Pickett, one of the better future guard tandems in the 2007 class, are getting a taste of playing together here at the camp. The Alabama commitments possess special athleticism and have the instincts to put it to use.

Playing on a camp team that is overly loaded with guards, both guards have been unselfish, yet have played hard and taken advantage of their touches.

One of their teammates, guard Eshaunte Jones has played well here at the camp. He has knocked down a healthy percentage of his three-pointers, and instead of having lapses where he disappears like he is prone to do, Jones is staying involved in the game as more than a scorer. He has done a nice job both rebounding and passing the ball up the court.

Lighting it up again this morning was Villanova commitment Corey Stokes. He lit it up for around five three-pointers, but even more impressive was the way he got into the lane with the dribble and scored against contact. Several of his three-pointers also came off the dribble while utilizing ball screens.

Kalin Lucas has a way of making his opponents look bad, but after struggling against Lucas in his first outing, Georgia commitment Keegan Bell has played confident and strong basketball in his last two outings. Bell has exercised restraint shooting the ball and has distributed the ball proficiently. He has also played with energy and passion on the defensive end.

The Big Men

Kosta Koufos looked good yesterday, and the Ohio State commitment looked very good today. Playing against another Ohio State commitment Dallas Lauderdale and Anthony Randolph, Koufos controlled the game. Playing more facing the basket than with his back to the basket, Koufos is putting the ball on the floor and zig-zagging to the basket with a Euro flair. Not the swiftest of foot, Koufos does, nonetheless, have strong ball handling skills and advanced footwork.

Continuing to impress, Clint Chapman can run the floor, catch the ball and finish inside. Looking more confident today, Chapman played with more aggression on the boards and on the defensive end. He is a year in the weight room away from being an impact player on the high-major level.

DeAndre Jordan struggled during his morning game with traveling calls and some tough misses in the paint, but he also showed some signs of development. The lefty is looking comfortable finishing with his right hand around the basket and is now a threat to score turning to either shoulder.

Not known for his emotional maturity on the court, Jordan did get frustrated during the game, but he did not have the emotional meltdown that he would have had last year. He continued to run the court and didn't hover around half court like he has been known to do.

Sorely in need of gaining strength, Jordan soon will be able to execute his post moves without traveling when he gains the lower body strength to play lower to the floor.

Still a ways away from being a consistently productive player, Jordan is at least taking baby steps towards achieving his enormous upside.



 

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