Hello everybody!! Before I get to my evaluation of Jeremy Pargo, Micah Downs, Austin Daye, and Matt Bouldin, I just wanted to thank Zach for doing such a great job with the site while I traveled across the country and got accustomed to my new job on the East Coast. I'm quite excited to be settled down in Boston, MA and to finally have the opportunity to break down what I have seen from the former Zags during NBA Summer League play in Orlando and Las Vegas.
The first guy that I had the opportunity to watch was Jeremy Pargo, who played with the Charlotte Bobcats in Orlando. In watching Pargo, I immediately noticed how much more comfortable he looks dictating the tempo from the point guard position. When he was at Gonzaga, Jeremy always had the ability to push the ball and dominate when the game was being played at a quick tempo. However, he struggled mightily when the game was played in the half court and he couldn't build a head of steam and attack the rim.
While I'm sure that Jeremy would have preferred to play in the NBA last season, I think the opportunity to play in a structured system in Israel, in which he had to learn when to score and when to distribute the ball, has allowed for him to develop his game. It's clear that Jeremy will never be a great shooter from outside the key, as he missed all six of his three-point attempts in the three games he played with Charlotte. However, with the Bobcats being short at the point guard position, and Jeremy able to average 5.3 assists during his three games, I wouldn't be surprised to see him earn a training camp invite.(note: Jeremy is now playing with the T'Wolves in the Las Vegas summer league. However, with Luke Ridnour, Ramon Sessions, and Jonny Flynn all under contract, I don't expect that to be a realistic landing spot)
If I had to bet on one of the undrafted guys to make an NBA roster, it would be Micah Downs. Micah is playing for the Milwaukee Bucks, which I think is a perfect fit for his game. Scott Skiles is a big proponent of guys who play tough and are willing to defend, which are the two strongest aspects that Micah brings to the court. With a point guard like Brandon Jennings, who is at his best when he can drive-and-kick out to the open shooters, the Bucks will be looking for guys who can hit the open shot from deep. In his first Summer League game, Downs hit both of his shots from behind the arc, scoring six points in 14 minutes. Micah was equally impressive on the defensive end, using his length and athleticism to disrupt the passing lane and force his man into difficult shots.
While both Jeremy and Micah have been impressive in limited minutes, the real star of the show has been Austin Daye. During his time at Gonzaga, and even in brief glimpses throughout his rookie year, Austin has demonstrated the ability to play the point-forward type position. After spending the off-season adding strength and muscle to his frame, Daye has looked tremendous orchestrating the offense for the Pistons. He has shot the ball very well from the field, minus the 0-7 performance he had yesterday, and has done an excellent job finding his open teammates and creating numerous scoring opportunities in the halfcourt offense. While I still don't think Austin will be able to beat out Tayshaun Prince for the starting SF spot next season, I wouldn't be surprised to see him earn significant minutes and have a large increase in his production.
In his debut for the Chicago Bulls, Matt Bouldin looked very comfortable and proved he could compete with the athleticism that is seen on a night-to-night basis in the NBA. Although he came off the bench, Matt had a nice impact on the game, scoring eight points and dishing out four assists in 25 minutes of action. The unique aspect that Matt can bring to a team is the fact that he can be comfortable in nearly any system because of his high basketball IQ. While most guys look to get their stats during Summer League, Bouldin did an excellent job finding his teammates and working within the confines of the offense. While I'm still not sure if Matt has the athleticism to become a rotation player in the NBA, it's impressive seeing how comfortable he looked in his debut.