Posts Tagged ‘John Henson’

Las Vegas Summer League: Day 11 Recap

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LAS VEGAS — Ian Clark is the essence of Summer League.

The 22-year-old out of Belmont was the Ohio Valley Conference co-player of the year. He was a two-time defensive player of the year and a four-time all-conference selection. He never shot below 40 percent in a season from behind the arc.

At the June 27 NBA Draft at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, Clark’s name was never called.

Undrafted and looking for his big shot, the unheralded, and mostly unheard of Clark — not Kent Bazemore or Draymond Green, but the 6-foot-3, 175-pound Clark — carried the Golden State Warriors, with seven 3-pointers and a game-high 33 points, to a  91-77 victory over the Phoenix Suns in the inaugural Summer League tournament championship game.

In the NBA playoffs they call that kind of performance a podium game because the player would be asked to appear at the dais to meet the media. In the Summer League, well, let’s call it a contract game. It might not come from the Warriors, whose well-stocked backcourt includes the impressive Bazemore (who was also voted to the all-Summer-League team). But there’s 29 other NBA teams out there that might want Clark, and only one has to make an offer.

At least a few, according to a Warriors official, have offered Clark at least a partially guaranteed contract. The 2013 Summer League championship game MVP, the official said, also has lucrative options in Europe.

“Hopefully,” Clark said of making an NBA roster after besting his career-high at Belmont by one point. “I just wanted to come out here and play hard, and I think that’s what Summer League is for, to come out here and showcase your talents.

Before the championship game, Clark had averaged 9.0 points, scoring 54 points in the previous six games.

The Warriors capped their Vegas run with a 7-0 record and made it consecutive summers without a loss. The Phoenix Suns, led by new coach Jeff Hornacek and key roster players Marcus and Markieff Morris, along with P.J. Tucker, suffered their first loss but may have gained a pretty good player as they continue to rebuild next season.

Late first-round draft pick Archie Goodwin had an impressive run and ended it with 18 points. The lanky, 6-foot-5, one-and-done guard out of Kentucky consistently outplayed Kendall Marshall, the Suns’ lottery pick from last season. Goodwin averaged 13.1 ppg and shot 50 percent from the floor.

So that will do it for the 2013 Las Vegas Summer League. The big boys are in town now for a U.S. Men’s National Team mini-camp that started Monday and runs through Thursday, when the intra-squad scrimmage will be broadcast live at 9 p.m. ET on NBA TV.

2013 All-Summer League Team

MVP: Jonas Valanciunas (Toronto)

Kent Bazemore (Golden State)

Cody Zeller (Charlotte)

John Henson (Milwaukee)

Jeff Taylor (Charlotte)

Henson’s Near ‘Triple-Double’ An Aggressive Summer Sign

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LAS VEGAS – A lot can happen in a year, and John Henson only had to glance at the end of the Milwaukee Bucks’ Summer League bench Tuesday for a reminder.

One year ago, Henson’s teammate Larry Sanders was trying to claw his way into a role with the Bucks. His summer work wasn’t all that special, though, and some scouts questioned his long-term viability – not just in Milwaukee but in the NBA – as training camp opened in October.

And then …

“I remember in a preseason game, Cleveland, the switch went on and he just took off,” Henson said.

Sanders’ game blew up in 2012-13 as he became a rebounding and shot-blocking menace in Milwaukee’s middle. He wound up third in balloting for the NBA’s Most Improved Player award and seventh for Defensive Player of the Year, and he’s in Vegas this week waiting for the USA Basketball Men’s National Team mini-camp to which he earned an invitation.

One year can make a huge difference, and Henson is eager to walk in his buddy’s shoes. In the Bucks’ opener Saturday, the 6-foot-11 forward from North Carolina had 19 points, 13 rebounds and three blocks. After missing the next game with a groin strain, Henson nearly got a “triple-double” Tuesday against Golden State – 15 rebounds (nine in the first quarter) with nine points and (gulp) eight turnovers. He blocked three shots again but shot 3-of-10 and got a little sidetracked in physical but fun matchup with the Warriors’ Draymond Green. Their rivalry dates back to college when Green was at Michigan State.

Green, who shot 2-of-12 himself, blamed Golden State teammate Harrison Barnes (another USA camp invitee) for “talking junk” to both Green and Henson to further stoke the matchup. Still, each got something out of it – Green coping with Henson’s length and Henson dealing with Green’s endless summer-league supply of bruising fouls.

“We both shot awful,” Green said. “But he’s always been active. He’s longer than a lot of guys in this league. He uses it well on the defensive end and offensive rebounds. We were able to kind of limit him in the post and he got a few turnovers, but overall I think John’s going to be a very good player.”

Said Henson of Green’s heavy contact: “That’s the summer league. I need that, so it’s cool. Just the physicality and crashing the boards and holding my position on the post. That’s all you can ask for.”

The Bucks are going to be asking Henson for a lot in his second season. He, Sanders, Ersan Ilyasova and raw draftee Giannis Antetokounmpo now form the core of their young front line. Veterans Samuel Dalembert and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute won’t be back, and while the Bucks battled the Warriors, warehoused big man Drew Gooden got shed via the collective bargaining agreement’s amnesty provision.

“Drew is gone? Aw [bleep],” Henson said, learning the news a few minutes after the game. “That’s kind of what’s going on. It’s everybody’s ‘first year’ with a new coach now [Larry Drew]. So we’ve all got to learn new stuff. It’s a new era.”

Henson doesn’t need a Sanders-like switch to flip in his game. His challenge was opportunity – he averaged 16.5 points and 12.9 boards pro-rated to 36 minutes. Problem was, he only had two games in which he played that much (17 points and 25 rebounds at Orlando in April and one week later 28 points and 16 boards at Oklahoma City). He averaged just 13.1 points for coaches Scott Skiles, then Jim Boylan.

This season, under Drew, the minutes should be there.

“He’s really working,” Sanders said. “He’s been working on his body, been working on his game. His awareness is really catching up to his body. So he’s figuring out where he is on defense, getting those boards. I think with experience he’ll keep getting better and better.”

Said Henson: “Some players like Larry, it happens [suddenly].”

He snapped his fingers, and continued: “Some people gradually build up to that level. I think I’m building up. Couple more years in, I hope I can be a force in this league. That’s kind of my goal.”

Las Vegas Summer League: Day 2 Recap

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LAS VEGASJonas Valanciunas looked like a man among boys Saturday night in Las Vegas.

The Raptors’ second-year big man was dominant early on, scoring 20 of his 23 points in the first half and grabbing seven rebounds in Toronto’s 81-72 loss to the Miami Heat in the final game of the day at the Las Vegas Summer League.

summer-league-logoValanciunas, who averaged 8.9 points, 6.0 rebounds and 1.3 blocks in his rookie season in Toronto, looked noticeably bigger and showed off a polished interior game, getting to the rim repeatedly for highlight-reel dunks and putbacks. He was energetic, clapping and motivating his teammates, and ran the floor well in 26 minutes of action.

With a season under his belt, it looks like the 21-year-old could be ready to make a major step in his sophomore season.

Non-rookie of the day: Milwaukee sophomore John Henson had a monster game as the Bucks cruised to a win in their first action in Las Vegas. The Bucks’ second-year big man had 19 points, 13 rebounds and three blocks in just 20 minutes of action as the Bucks blew out Denver 88-74.

Other notables: Andrew Goudelock, Bulls. The reigning NBA D-League MVP who filled in for the banged-up Lakers in the playoffs, lit up the scoreboard with 26 points on 9-for-15 shooting, hitting 3-for-5 3-pointers in the Bulls’ 81-67 win over Memphis. Teammate Marquis Teague looked composed running the point, tallying 12 points and seven assists in the victory. Tony Wroten, Grizzlies. The second-year guard out of Washington did a little of everything with 17 points, four rebounds, four assists and three steals in Memphis’ 81-67 loss to the Bulls.

Rookie of the day: C.J. McCollum, Trail Blazers. The Lehigh product scored 15 of his 22 points in the first half of the Blazers’ 82-69 loss to the Suns in his first action since being taken 10th overall in the 2013 Draft. McCollum also had three rebounds and four assists while going 9-for-19 from the field (2-for-5 on 3s). The 6-foot-3 point guard showed off a quick first step and a killer crossover before stepping back for one of his two 3s on the night.

Other notables: Sacramento rookie Drew Gordon had 17 points and 10 rebounds in 24 minutes. Gordon, who went undrafted in 2012 out of New Mexico and spent last season with Partizan Belgrade, was 7-for-12 from the floor, missing all three of his 3-point attempts. Also notching a double-double was Butler product Matt Howard, who is getting a shot with the Grizzlies after playing overseas the past two seasons. Howard finished with 11 points and 11 rebounds in 24 minutes of action.

Coming up: All 16 teams in action on Sunday have now played one game in Las Vegas. The Knicks and Wizards – and No. 3 overall pick Otto Porter, who had seven points on 3-for-13 shooting in his debut – tip things off at 4 p.m. ET while the Spurs and Raptors close things out at 10:30 ET in the Thomas & Mack Center. All games can be seen on NBA TV or online with Summer League Live.

Bulls Have No Go-To Scorer? Better Go To Offensive Boards





MILWAUKEE – When a team doesn’t have its go-to scorer, it needs something to go to down the stretch. In the case of the Chicago Bulls, that means having guys go to the offensive glass.

When the Bulls beat Milwaukee Saturday night at the BMO Harris Bradley Center, they shot just 39 percent (32 of 82) compared to the Bucks’ 43.2. They had 16 turnovers worth 15 points to Milwaukee compared to 10 and 7 by the home team. Yet Chicago beat the Bucks with some Chinese water torture – they made 25 of their 26 free throws vs. Milwaukee’s 7 of 10 – and by dominating them inside for second opportunities. And third. And fourth.

Bulls’ offensive rebounding
Season OREB% Rank 2CPTS% Rank
2010-11 29.4% 4 15.2% 3
2011-12 32.6% 1 16.4% 1
2012-13 30.5% 6 16.2% 3

Through Saturday, 11/24
OREB% = Percentage of available offensive
rebounds obtained
2CPTS% = 2nd chance points / Total points

The Bulls outrebounded the Bucks 54-40, including a 20-10 edge on the offensive end. Seven of those came in the fourth quarter and most of those came in the final minutes, when Chicago broke an 81-81 tie with a 12-5 run over the final 5:22.

It was a statistical edge and a psychological bonanza, as the Bucks had to stay in and reset their defense for a half minute, sometimes a minute at a time. The Bulls shot a lousy 31.8 percent (7 of 22) in the quarter, same as the other guys, but got eight second-chance points. They dominated that category, 25-5, even more starkly than the boards.

“There’s a lot of things that can break you,” Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said. “Sometimes you can block out great and the ball takes a funny bounce, you don’t get it. Or maybe it’s a result of, you get broken down off the dribble, you get help, rotation, now the ball’s up…

“So offensive rebounding. Defensive transition can break your spirit too. Those things reveal a lot. It tells a lot about the character of your team. People talk a lot about fast breaks, but the second shot is another part of easy baskets.”

By the second shot, a defense might already be broken down. By the third or fourth, a backup screen-setter can seem as dangerous as a missing MVP candidate named Derrick Rose.

For Milwaukee, it was starting center Samuel Dalembert who was missing. He was a late scratch prior to tipoff, with whispers that he might have arrived late to the arena, though coach Scott Skiles called it simply a “coaching decision.” Then there was rookie power forward John Henson, who had grabbed 18 rebounds off the bench in 27 minutes Wednesday at Miami. Henson logged only 1:18 vs. Chicago.

Mostly, though, it was the Bulls’ relentless work at chasing down their own misses that left Milwaukee in shambles late, as surely as if the guy in the No. 1 jersey had been doing the attacking. The Bulls rank fifth in the NBA in offensive rebound percentage (30.5). And this is despite the loss this season of backup center Omer Asik, whom NBA.com’s John Schuhmann shared had an offensive rebounding percentage of 14.2 over the past two seasons, best on his team.

“[Getting beat on the offensive boards has] happened to us before,” said Chicago forward Carlos Boozer, who got eight of his 19 rebounds on the offensive glass. “It’s kind of demoralizing, especially when you’ve played good defense for 22, 20 seconds. The shot goes up – they get the ball back! That’s tough.

“The more you go, the more you get.”

That’s A Wrap For the Rookies

GREENBURGH, N.Y. — The 2012 Rookie Photo Shoot took place at the Knicks’ practice facility on Tuesday, with 39 incoming rookies making the rounds, posing for Panini and NBA Entertainment. It was a six-hour day, broken up by a lunch break reminiscent of a SportsCenter commercial.

Every first round pick from this year’s draft, except for the Magic’s Maurice Harkless, was here. Also here were a handful of second rounders and last year’s No. 5 pick, Jonas Valanciunas, fresh off Lithuania’s eighth-place finish at the Olympics.

We had five guys from Kentucky, four from UNC, three from Baylor and three from Duke. There were three Mavs, three Pistons, three Warriors, three Rockets and three Raptors. But none of the Nets’ three rookies were at the shoot, so the new black-and-white Brooklyn uniforms are still very much under wraps. No. 2 pick Michael Kidd-Gilchrist was in the building, sporting the new Bobcats road threads though.

In addition to posing for still photos, the players spoke with NBA TV’s Dennis Scott and the youngest member of the media, 16 year old Karl Towns Jr., who was interviewing players for MSG Varsity. (Here he is with Draymond Green.) Towns is the high school star from New Jersey who played for the Dominican Republic national team this summer and was about five minutes away from being an Olympian. And he’s already about as tall as Valanciunas.

Speaking of Olympians, Anthony Davis brought along his gold medal, and I believe that’s a first for the Rookie Photo Shoot.

Detroit’s Andre Drummond and Oklahoma City’s Perry Jones each tried their hands at the DJ table after lunch, but there was no impromptu dunk contest like when Terrico White stole the show two years ago. And apparently, the Carolina guys like old school R&B, because Kendall Marshall requested some Barry White and John Henson was seen singing along a few minutes later on the other side of the gym.

The photos have been taken, and soon the basketball cards will be printed. Now that the Rookie Transition Program and the Rookie Photo Shoot are over, it’s time for these guys to get back to getting ready for the season.

Las Vegas Summer League: Day 10 Recap

By Drew Packham, NBA.com



LAS VEGAS — After 10 days of basketball and 60 games, Summer League action came to a close Sunday afternoon in Las Vegas with just three games and a familiar face once again stealing the show.

Adam Morrison, who earlier in the week was heckled by a few fans, got nothing but cheers – and even a short-lived “M-V-P” chant – after he took over in his finale, scoring 26 points and hitting four 3-pointers to lead L.A. to a 92-77 win over the Celtics.

“I’m used to it,” Morrison said of the heckling. “For some reason, people see me as a polarizing figure. I don’t know what it is. I’m a nice guy, I’m not rude or anything like that. Some people just like to pick on me, which I understand. It’s their right. But I guess I did OK to keep ‘em quiet for a little while.”

Morrison did more than OK in his five days here. After Sunday’s performance, Morrison boosted his average to 20.0 points and 5.0 rebounds and shot 55 percent in 33 minutes per game. The All-Summer League Team was announced — without Morrison on the list — before Sunday’s game, but Morrison is just trying to show he still belongs in the league.

“To be honest with you, it’s all about pride really,” Morrison said. “Obviously I want to make it to the NBA, but I wanted to say that I gave it my best shot. If it doesn’t work out, I can turn the page and do something else with my life.”

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Selby, Lillard Named Co-MVPs

By Drew Packham, NBA.com

LAS VEGAS — Memphis guard Josh Selby and Portland point guard Damian Lillard were named co-MVPs of the Las Vegas Summer League on Sunday.

Selby, the Grizzlies’ second-year guard out of Kansas, led all players in scoring at 27.5 points per game as Memphis went 2-2 entering its final game Sunday. Selby shot 59.3 percent from the floor — including 70.6 percent on 3-pointers. Selby made at least five 3-pointers in each game, talling 24 in the four games (24-for-34). Selby was also active defensively, averaging 2.5 steals.

Lillard, whom the Blazers took sixth overall in the 2012 Draft, averaged 26.5 points, 4.0 rebounds and 5.6 assists in four games. Lillard shots 43.8 percent from the floor, highlighted by a 31-point, seven-assist performance in Thursday’s 84-78 win over Atlanta. Lillard finished second in scoring (first among rookies) and sixth in assists (third among rookies).

All-Summer League Team:
Josh Selby – Memphis Grizzlies
Damian Lillard – Portland Trail Blazers
Malcolm Thomas – Chicago Bulls
Bradley Beal – Washington Wizards
Tobias Harris – Milwaukee Bucks
John Henson – Milwaukee Bucks
Jeremy Lamb – Houston Rockets
Dominique Jones – Dallas Mavericks
Cory Joseph – San Antonio Spurs
Jimmy Butler – Chicago Bulls
Kemba Walker – Charlotte Bobcats
Donatas Motiejunas – Houston Rockets
Jae Crowder – Dallas Mavericks

Observations From Las Vegas




LAS VEGAS – Some thoughts just before leaving summer league, minus comment on the mean, mean lady standing on the other side of the table with an obvious anti-media bias constantly dealing 12s, 13s and 14s while turning face cards for the house:

  • The Bobcats are intriguing. Really. How will Mike Dunlap, a respected basketball mind but a surprise hire, do as a first-time NBA head coach? Can Bismack Biyombo, a project as a 2011 lottery pick who had some encouraging progress last season, take a big step toward becoming the ferocious defensive presence many envision? How will Dunlap find time for rookies Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Jeff Taylor when both are small forwards? That’s a lot of prominent storylines at once.

One certain outcome, at least, will be to play Kidd-Gilchrist and Taylor together, an option since both are versatile and talented defenders. Dunlap sees them as capable of guarding either backcourt spot and, if the opponent goes small, either forward.

The Bobcats didn’t get the chance to test drive the look because MKG, the No. 2 pick, missed four of five games with a sore left knee, an absence they termed precautionary. But it was easy to see why some teams thought Taylor, who was picked at No. 31, could have been drafted eight or 10 picks higher. He’s smart, has improved his jumper a lot, is athletic and defends. That’s a nice future for a second-rounder.

“He reminds me a lot of Shane Battier,” Dunlap said. (more…)

Las Vegas Summer League: Day 6 Recap

By Drew Packham, NBA.com
 


 

LAS VEGAS — Adam Morrison looked like the Adam Morrison of old Wednesday night.

And as the player of few words put it, “the shots just went in.”

Morrison scored 23 points to help the Clippers to an 86-80 win over the Spurs, going 9-for-13 from the field (2-for-3 from beyond the arc) and was aggressive in both taking the ball to the hole and hitting the step-back jumpers that drew raves since his days at Gonzaga.

“I got it going, and guys did a good job passing me the ball,” said Morrison, who played 31 minutes for the second straight game in Las Vegas.

Morrison, trying to make a return to the NBA, latched on with the Brooklyn Nets in Orlando, averaging 5.2 points and 4.0 rebounds in 19.0 minutes per game. Here, though, he’s seeing more playing time and through two games is averaging 17.0 points and 5.0 rebounds.

“I’m just trying show people I can play,” Morrison said. “Move around, show them I’m healthy. We’ll see what happens.”

Non-rookie of the day: Tobias Harris enters his second season trying to find a spot in the Bucks’ rotation. The small forward made a nice case Wednesday, scoring 24 points and grabbing 12 rebounds in the Bucks’ 78-75 loss to the Wizards. Other notables: Jimmy Butler scored 24 points with seven rebounds in the Bulls’ 96-88 loss to the Raptors, a night after putting up 25 and seven in a loss to Boston.

Rookie of the day: The nod goes to John Henson, the Bucks’ No 14 pick, who had 20 points and nine rebounds. Henson looked nice in the low post, controlling the boards and showing off some nice interior moves. Henson missed Milwaukee’s first game with the flu, so this was the NBA’s first look at the long big man out of UNC. Other notables: Houston’s Royce White had a double-double in his final game of Summer League, tallying 15 points and 10 rebounds. Other Rockets stood out in their win over Chicago: Terrence Jones had 17 points and nine rebounds, Jeremy Lamb scored 16, while undrafted point guard Scott Machado had 20 points and six assists. Raptors rookie Terrence Ross scored 21 in Toronto’s win, while Atlanta’s John Jenkins scored 21 in his finale for the Hawks in their 67-61 win over Dallas.

Coming up: Two teams wrap up their Las Vegas schedules Thursday: Raptors (4 p.m. ET vs. Knicks, NBA TV) and Kings (6:30 vs. Celtics, NBA TV). Two other games will be televised on NBA TV: Clippers-Lakers at 8:30 and Bobcats-Nuggets at 10:30. Also showing on NBA TV replay: Cavs-Wolves at 3 a.m. ET.

Report: Bucks To Keep Ilyasova




The Milwaukee Bucks didn’t make the playoffs last season, but their offseason has already been a success. Sources confirmed a report on the basketball Web site HoopsHype Sunday afternoon that the club was close to a deal that would keep forward Ersan Ilyasova in Milwaukee on a five-year, $45 million deal.

Ilyasova was one of the top free agents on the market at power forward, a “stretch four” who finished tied for second in the league in three-point percentage last season (.455) with Warriors guard Stephen Curry. But he also averaged 8.8 rebounds to go with his 13 points per game, posting 20 double-doubles for the Bucks and finishing second to Orlando’s Ryan Anderson in voting for Most Improved Player.

The Nets had significant interest in signing Ilyasova, particularly if they were unable to make a trade for Magic center Dwight Howard. But one source said Sunday that Milwaukee had never been very concerned about Brooklyn, surmising that the Nets couldn’t create enough cap room to make an offer that Ilyasova would have to seriously consider. The Raptors also were reportedly interested, and Ilyasova had offers to play in Europe as well.

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