Cavs' draft pick struggles in first summer game, but shows flashes of what may be to come.
By SAM AMICOFS Ohio
NBA summer league observations:
Dion Waiters had a so-so debut. What I didn't like: Too much standing around. Waiters appeared out of shape and winded too often, especially when it came to getting back and buckling down on defense. On the bright side, a training camp with coach Byron Scott ought to change that.
What did I like about Waiters? He's gutsy and explosive. Waiters shot poorly, but as former NBA coach current NBA TV analyst Sam Mitchell said, even his misses had a certain "wow factor." I really liked Waiters' two makes – including one that consisted of a crossover dribble and layup in traffic. The other was a long jumper in the final minute to give the
Cavs a one-point lead.
Talent-evaluators will tell you Waiters can really fill it up, that he's more of a scorer than a shooter. I like the fact that he's cocky and plays with an edge. That alone, of course, isn't enough. But let's give him time.
That said, I was mostly impressed by Tyler Zeller. Like Waiters, he played within himself and didn't force anything in his summer debut. Zeller was obtained in a trade with the Mavericks (drafted 17th overall) and displayed good footwork and athleticism for a 7-footer. He also buried a 15-footer with a defender in his face and showed an ability to put the ball on the floor. Looks like a solid find.
As for the Bobcats, I'm a huge Kemba Walker fan. He too shot the ball poorly (2-for-10) but made them when they counted. Walker is said to be extremely coachable and while he's not the biggest or most-skilled guy, he's the type of winner you want on your side.
I was not impressed, however, with Cavs big man Tristan Thompson in his summer debut. It mostly seemed like he wasn't even on the floor. In fact, the only time I noticed Thompson was when Bobcats center Bismack Biyombo was taking Thompson to school underneath. But I keep reminding myself, "It's only one game."
So much for the doubts about Bobcats swingman Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (if there ever were any), the second overall draft pick. Kidd-Gilchrist compiled 18 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists and a whopping 4 steals in his summer debut. All that in 21 minutes, too. Not bad, huh?
Kidd-Gilchrist didn't play in the second game vs, the Cavs. But either way, I think the Bobcats have a chance to suddenly become a young, exciting team. Maybe Michael Jordan has a clue, after all.
I don't care for their new uniforms, though. But only because the pinstripes were so cool.
Scott told Mitchell in an interview that the Cavs aren't targeting anyone specific in free agency. Scott basically said if the Cavs can find the right fit, then maybe. Until then, they'll OK going forward with the current roster.
Meanwhile, Bobcats GM Rich Cho told Mitchell that the organization has an eye on former Cavs forward Antawn Jamison.
The NBA TV broadcast crew discussed the rumored trade that would send Dwight Howard to the Lakers and Andrew Bynum to the Cavs. I found that interesting. And applaud the league's network for admitting that rumors seem to make the pro basketball world go round.
I'll have considerably more summer notes, right here, all week. So keep checking
FOXSportsOhio.com for updates.