The Bucks opened up their Summer League schedule with a victory, defeating the (Anthony Davis-less) New Orleans Hornets 76-68. The Bucks were led by rookie Doron Lamb (20p/4r), current roster member Tobias Harris (19p) and relative unknown Jarrid Famous (13p/11r). So yeah, basically who you thought was going to star, right?
Both Lamb and Harris came out shooting the ball well, connecting on almost all of their shots in the first quarter. However, once they cooled off, so did the team. After a brutal quarter and a half, the Bucks found their stride again, taking a double-digit lead into the fourth quarter. The Bucks once again extended their lead, only to see it disintegrate after a 15-2 Hornets run.
The same Hornets that shot 19-of-57 for the game were within a possession or two of taking the lead in the game. The only thing keeping them in the lead was Famous, with a guest basket by Harris or Lamb here or there. With about a minute left in the game, forward Xavier Gibson drew a foul and had the chance to give the Bucks a little bit of breathing room. The second free throw clanked off the rim to the left, but Famous snatched the ball and went back up, putting the game out of reach with the made basket.
In short, I’m giving my (totally made-up but actually super important) MVP award for the summer league debut to Famous, who helped clinched the game with a few drawn charges and said offensive rebound down the stretch.
Though Famous was a more-than-pleasant surprise, Bucks fans should be more excited about Tobias Harris’s strong outing and Doron Lamb’s great pro debut. Harris showed that he has what it takes to take large strides in his game for the upcoming season and Lamb showed that he belongs (and that he can just flat out ball, period). It was encouraging to get a positive showing from the players you need to be your best players, to say the least.
And then there was Larry Sanders.
As one of two current roster spot holders, Sanders was expected to be one of the players to watch for the Bucks. He only amassed 4 points and 6 rebounds in 21 minutes; minutes in which he managed to foul out during. The odd (and now somewhat discouraging) part about Summer League is that a player is allowed 10 personal fouls instead of the usual 6 before fouling out.
Sanders was aggressive, blocking three shots in his time on the court, but he won’t get the experience he desperately needs if he can’t refrain from fouling everyone on the court (I swear I saw him try and foul a referee, a couple fans, and a handful of the concession workers). If he can play a little more knowledgeably (aka stop using two hands to block shots and taking jumpers from an uncomfortable range), he should begin to see more minutes and much better results.
The Bucks’ next game is Wednesday against Bradley Beal and the Washington Wizards. Bucks’ first-round pick John Henson is expected to make his debut, as he missed Monday’s game due to a stomach virus.