Monday, July 16, 2012

Barnes, Thompson Strong in Summer League

The Warriors started their summer league off strongly this weekend, defeating the LA Lakers Friday and watching their top picks from the last two drafts flourish.

Barnes Looks Ready
 In his unofficial Warriors debut, Harrison Barnes showed exactly why the 'Dubs were so ecstatic he was around at pick-7. He displayed all sorts of attributes vs. the Lakers Friday in Vegas, more than I was expecting out of him this early on. Granted, it's basically a rookie league, so he'll be facing much stiffer competition come October, but still, he was going up against fellow players his age and he was dominant. He had no trouble shooting the rock, as we all expected, but he played much better defense than I was expecting and had better handles as well. Coming in, scouts were making him out to be a catch-and-shoot player who doesn't create much for himself, but he showed more than that. What I liked most about the 20 year-old UNC stars game though was the basketball IQ he displayed. Watching the highlights, I have to say I was probably most impressed with his drive to the basket in which he sort of went up an into a Laker defender in order to draw some contact on layup attempt. Those are things you normally see out of the 10-year vets in this league, not a 20 year-old rookie playing his first summer league game. Barnes finished 8-14 from the field, including 4-4 from beyond the arch, and finished with 23 points in 25 minutes.

Thompson Has Improved
The guy Barnes will be lining up next to most nights also had his way with LA's summer league team. I was stoked to see Klay Thompson commit to the Vegas summer league this year, as it shows true leadership abilities. Instead of lounging around waiting for camp, Thompson wanted to build a better rapport with the incoming rookies. The Warriors bright young shooting guard basically did whatever he wanted out on the floor in Friday's game. He scored 25 points, pulled in 6 boards and dished out 5 assists in under 25 minutes of play. Thompson went into the offseason with a plan to improve his all-around game, and the early dividends are there. Most his damage done on the court his rookie season came from shooting the ball, but he's really got all-around talent to go with that sniper shot. I didn't see the game live, just saw highlights, but every time I saw Klay Thompson moving the ball, I was thinking I was watching Steph Curry. K.T. can handle the rock! Even when the Lakers were sending 2-3 defenders at him, he was making stuff happen. I know it's only summer league, but this Warriors team sure has some young talent to be excited about.

Health Watch: The Warriors got some good news over the weekend regarding David Lee's surgically repaired leg, as the power forward is set to begin strength and conditioning work. He should be 100% ready to go by October. That's one of the "big three" that look to be in the clear. The W's haven't said much about Steph Curry and Andrew Bogut's current status, but both are still expected to be ready to play in time for season opener.

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