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Summer League: Rockets 79 - Timberwolves 65

Chase Budinger, aka "Bud Light," attempts a jump shot against the Minnesota Timberwolves (Photo by Garrett Ellwood).
Chase Budinger, aka "Bud Light," attempts a jump shot against the Minnesota Timberwolves (Photo by Garrett Ellwood).


Canis Hoopus

Scrappy game from both teams.  And by scrappy, I mean ugly, but with effort.

Pleasant Surprise: Mike Green

Though Will Conroy and Garrett Temple have been the two most hyped point guards on our Summer League roster, former Butler Bulldog Mike Green has been very impressive thus far, getting the start in today's game.  He's very comfortable with the ball and is composed on offense.  He doesn't rush or force the action, and he looks like a floor general out there.  At the end of the day, Green was 3-4 from the field and only had one turnover.  Though he hasn't exactly wowed anyone yet (and he's not going to), he has yet to show any reason, other than a few defensive lapses, not to invite him to training camp.  Playing in Turkey looks like it has improved Green's game, though he was already the former Verizon league player of the year in college.  Hopefully he'll keep it up.

Disappointment: James White

I just don't see it yet.  Sure, he's athletic, and he can fly, both in the air in on the court.  But the NBA is filled with all sorts of athletes, and even though White may be one of the premier athletes in the world, athleticism alone just won't do it in the League.  He has yet to be of any significance offensively, and he's been taking some poor, long shots whenever he touches the ball.  For all the hype surrounding White, he hasn't come through yet.  I'm not asking for huge boxscore numbers either.  Unlike Jermaine Taylor, who hasn't scored much but has looked impressive, White has yet to show off any tools whatsoever, much less use them.

Other Observations:

-- Jermaine Taylor, when he chooses to be, can be an excellent passer.  He's got great vision for a guy billed to be a pure scorer.  However, the one aspect of Taylor's game that he needs to work on the most is his ability to finish in traffic.  He's a strong dude, but he's not Ron Artest; brute strength won't earn him a layup at his 6'4 frame.  He's going to have to be more creative.  Otherwise, he's looked very good, and I'm still convinced that he will look even better once his shot starts to fall.  Don't expect big numbers; we've got so many shooters on the roster who are going to pull it whenever possible.  But at this point, if I had to pick one wing player for the final roster, I'd take Taylor over White.  Neither is currently as good as Von Wafer, but each is cheaper, and that's what is going to make the difference come final decision time.

-- Chase Budinger is still shooting, and shooting well at that.  What "Bud Light" needs to prove, though, is that A) He can defend, and B) He's not going to end up like Corey Brewer or Joe Alexander, explosive athletes who would make great volleyball players but not necessarily good basketball players.  He doesn't look as composed with the basketball as others do on the court, and he still needs to be a bit smarter with his shot.  Luckily, Budinger's stroke is lethal enough to make up for other areas of his game that still need some fine tuning.  He's going to have a legitimate shot at making the team this fall.

-- Maarty Leunen is doing his best Steve Novak impression, although tonight wasn't his best shooting night.  He hasn't quite stood out elsewhere on the court, but his shot is his strength, so as long as he keeps making threes, he'll be under consideration for a training camp invitation, which I fully expect will happen.

-- Brad Newley continues to struggle, going 0-4 from the field.  It's clear that he's nervous and is rushing things a bit.  He yet to show that he can keep up with NBA talent.

-- Rod Benson could be reading this, so I should be careful is big, is long, and is very uncoordinated.  While I'd love to see a guy with his size contend for a roster spot, he's got some hands of stone.  That said, it could have been a bad day for Benson, and I haven't seen enough of him yet to determine what his future will be.  I do have that power, you know, to determine futures.

That's about all that stood out to me in watching today's third straight victory.  Dorsey is still dominating the boards, and is swatting everything that comes near him, so no surprise there.  The Rockets have the day off tomorrow, and don't play again until Wednesday, versus Portland.