Guard play is important in summer league basketball. It must be. That’s the only explanation for the Bucks 0-3 record that remains incredibly satisfying.
When the Bucks spent three draft picks on forwards and loaded their summer league roster up with undrafted free agents and D-Leaguers at point guard and shooting guard, everyone knew there would be some struggles handling the ball.
The struggles were on display again Thursday night. Milwaukee turned the ball over 17 times while tallying just 12 assists. Combine the sloppiness with the ball with a general inaccuracy from the field, evidenced by 40% shooting, and that’s how the result comes to be Atlanta 83 – Milwaukee 60.
Milwaukee point guards shot a combined 4-10 with seven assists and four turnovers.
As usual, there were bright spots. And as usual, the brightest bright spot was Larry Sanders.
After wowing with his 9-14 shooting effort on Wednesday, Sanders was a more, shall we say, realistic with how he scored his 8 points Thursday. Sanders finished 4-11 from the field and did not have the same touch on his jumper. Sanders didn’t bust out the jumper as often as he had been doing Wednesday and struggled at times finishing around the rim. Given his lack of general girth, it’s feasible that this could be a problem for him initially.
But Sanders rebounding and defense were as good as ever. His 13 rebounds represent a personal summer league high and give him at least seven rebounds in every summer league game. A line with three blocks and four steals always looks nice too. Sanders obviously has a bright future with regard to his shot-blocking and rebounding, but it’s fun to see him use his length to poke away passes from behind in the post. He could combine that skill with his quickness to really tally up the steals.
The only blotches on Sanders Thursday resume were his seven fouls and three turnovers.
- Tiny Gallon saw his first start of the summer, putting up nine points, five rebounds. Interestingly enough, each of his rebounds was offensive. Gallon was getting plenty of looks in the post early and started a very strong 4-6 from the field. After that Gallon didn’t get many good looks, relying mainly on tips around the hoop.
- Sean Williams hit a number of nice looking mid-range jumpers, finishing 4-7 from the field for 10 points. Williams athleticism and skill are evident and he’s been very vocal in his support of his teammates. Attitude, immaturity and unreliability have always been the Sean Williams bugaboos (and that bizarre situation when he wanted to play small forward), but I haven’t seen any of that in Vegas.
- Deron Washington was good again, scoring 15 points on 6-10 shooting. He didn’t hit a three for the first time this week, but he did have a number of nice moves to the basket.