I thought that the title up there yonder, would have made this here post a little more exciting and video game-sounding. Not to say that the NBA Summer League is not exhilarating. It is our first real taste of
bullshit meaningful ball with little paramount consequence. It was this flavor of summer boredom crazy hype that yanked me out of my seat and down to UNLV’s conjoined basketball courts, the Thomas & Mack and Cox Pavilion (T&M-CP) for tonight’s kick off of your Chicago Bulls’ Summer Classico Fantastico! (or: first summer league exhibition)
One of my very first sights upon walking into the T&M-CP was former Bulls jobber – sometimes three-point specialist, Steve Kerr. If you have never seen this legend up close, let me assure you, he is every bit as douche-tastic as you imagine. Shortly after this brush with greatness, I realized that there were many basketball folk – ranging from obscure to great – all around me. I knew they were basketball-esque because they were giant/visually familiar. The problem was that, without blatant/distinct faces like Kerr or Bulls’ related features, I am horrible at recognizing people. I have been up-close to the likes of chums like Charles Barkley and it took a much-less-sports-savvy friend to point him out to me. Thing is, I do not get my kicks from seeing/meeting famous people and I have a wretched time with faces-to-names. Yet, that is not to say that I do not recognize the mug – I just cannot match it to a name. Ergo, my first ten minutes of walking around the Summer League “campus” was a constant “I know that dude,” without linking up the name. Within the first two minutes I saw Tyreke Evans, was sure I knew him, then heard two kids walking away from the Kings’ guard mention they nabbed his autograph. AND THAT! is how I am able to deduct the names of famous cats… i.e. when other people mention them.
But, boy howdy, am I a lock on your Chicago Bulls. While the Rockets and Trailblazers (I swear it is one word) were playing out their silly contest, Marquis Teague walked by me a few times – like one-f’n-OMG-row-in-front-of-me(!!!). As mentioned above, when it comes to Bulls player (so dear to my heart), I am able to pull the T-800 ability to lock onto their features and determine a Bull. However, my T-800 abilities end at visual identification, as I was not sure what syllable to stress in his first name (going with the French – and most likely wrong – accent), but he responded all the same.
I suppose I should take a second here to comment on the game at hand. Truth is, there was not a whole bunch to discuss. I quickly learned that Summer League games are glorified pick-up games. How could they be anything less? Teams’ staffs are given a very limited time to throw together a roster of prospects and hand them a blanket “game plan.” I will list the whimsical observations I came up with…
-Jimmy Butler is the paterfamilias! It was fun to watch Jimmy take over as the leader. More than doing things like directing movement on-court, Jimmy was active between whistles. He shouted out orders, consulted coaches, and yelled shit like, “Everyone up!” at the bench, when a a player was being subbed out.
-Marquis Teague was disappointing running the point… maybe. With the hodgepodge roster that the Bulls (and every Summer League team) feature, it is difficult to gauge how effective a player is running the point. With that justification, Teague had few creative notions while dribbling the ball at the top of the arc, usually looking for Butler to do something – when he was not dribbling off his foot or fouling someone.
-Leon Powe plain reminds me of a newer, more worn-down, smaller version of Kurt Thomas. If that does not sound encouraging, then you are correct, sir! Sam Smith recently acknowledged Powe as a… um… answer (to an unasked question). If the question was, “Who has bricks tied to his feet?” then Powe delivered a resounding: Y-E-MOTHER F’N-S!!!
-Lastly, Illinois’ Demetri McCamey was invited to the Bulls’ camp. Being a PG and the Bulls drafting Teague, Demetri came off the bench. Mr McCamey spent the last year in the Turkish League (after going undrafted), seemingly schooling on how to better to communicate with Omer Asik. Let us Illini fans hope that paid off, as his point guard play left one wanting for Teague’s minutes.
The crowd at the Summer League was a fascinating blend participants. Another list is in order:
-Bettors: Much of the crowd – being Vegas – was interested in betting among themselves. Whether this had to do with their teams already having played, total degeneracy, or booze, none could say. But random buckets at late intervals that rang raucous cheers were amusing, nonetheless.
-Jersey Chasers: Yes, there is a chance that some of the lasses that were dressed with ample skin on display had tight bonds to the players on the court. But my cynical nature tends to lean on these scantily-clad gentlewomen having aspirations for less Christian ideals.
-Scouts (or something): This type of event translates into many ‘o scouts attending and accessing. Yet, there seemed to be many scout-types (maybe retired?) that were there to gently jam-in advice to prospects. For the second half of the Rockets-Trailblazers game, I sat behind a scout-portraying dude who shook the hand of every prospect who walked past him and was none-too-subtle to offer vague Yoda-like advice.
-Super Fans: I have a Bulls blog, which instantly makes me a sort of Bulls dork – but Jesus Christos (!) – I looked like an everyday lad compared to many of the supporters tonight. The way some of these folk got behind their team made me blush (or drink more merlot).
The Asik Front
I would not being doing my job if I did not get an update on the Omer Asik situation. Well, I asked an official-looking hand on the Houston bench*, “What’s the latest on Omer?” He pretended to ignore me – which I translate as the process being top secret.
Lo! I did not stop there, Bulls fan! I asked head coach of the Bulls Summer League Team, Adrian Griffin, about the same issue, AND… I think he may have smirked at me. READ INTO IT, Bulls fan. What does it all mean?! My guess is that they are waiting to get an official answer and break it to yours truly.
Lasting Summer Blooms
There was much more that went down tonight (quite true), but I am much too tired to go on (quite truer). The only extremely pressing matter is that I have not bothered looking up the origin of Fab Melo’s (Celts’ rook) name, but I hope it has to do with Mr. Fabulous from The Blues Brothers. (And yes, I understand he is Brasilian.)
All shitty photographs are from yours truly. You’re welcome.