Sunday, July 12, 2009
As the draft guru, I'm always intrigued with the unknown hoops player. While I follow basketball religously, there are still players in the basketball world that I just don't know anything about.
Last year, I came away pleased with our draft-day choice of Kosta Koufos. I thought he was a solid draft choice. However, when I went to the Rocky Mountain Review to witness our Jazz rookie league team versus San Antonio, I was dumbfounded to see that the Spurs had pulled a draft-day steal (of sorts) which had left moose prints on the face of our summer-league Jazzmen. George Hill from the Spurs, a late-first round draft choice (after the Jazz had selected), had absolutely dominated the Jazz in the rookie league game. His performance was so impressive that it made me sick-to-my-stomach, thinking that... "the hated Spurs had once again one-upped" the lowly Jazz, and made our drafting department look silly. Hill was a little-known ball player from IUPUI and no one had really heard of him. I had certainly never seen him play before either. Yet, here he was... killing our Jazz! Hill, by the way, went on to have a decent, to non-descript rookie season for the Spurs. However, who really knows how good he'll become in the future?
Just today, David Thorpe from ESPN.com handed out a true nugget of Summer League information. He divulged the next unknown quantity that may have slipped past the Jazz in the draft. No, it wasn't DeJuan Blair... (even though he seems to be playing fairly well) and it wasn't his teammate from Pitt, Sam Young... it was Rodrigue Beaubois from France, scorching the nets and dropping jaws, to the point where Thorpe wrote after seeing both Beaubois and Hill play... " Beaubois has been the best pure pg I've seen this summer. Until George Hill." Ouch!... A couple of point guards we passed on.
Beaubois, a little known PG from France ripped off a line of 34 points, 8 assists and 5 rebounds while hitting 7 three-pointers. George Hill followed that game with a solid 25-point performance of his own. I know that it's summer league... and we shouldn't get too overhyped by the performances that take place here... But... 34 points... 7-three balls. Wow. That's pretty impressive!
On the Jazz summer league front, we probably had the worst constructed team ever (with Kosta breaking his finger and Fes not showing up), and yet, we still managed to win 3 games. Eric Maynor had a semi-forgettable rocky summer, with several 2-9 shooting performances. And Goran Suton was pretty much an after-thought. He went "0-fer"... from 3-point land during the competition in Orlando. His best game was an 8-point, 10 rebound outing.
The guy who'll be taking this franchise to the top... to the promised land, is non-other than summer surprise Josh Duncan. He somehow developed an uncanny knack for hitting shots and making plays within the structure of the offense. That's hard to do for most rookies (and young free agents). It may have been enough to earn himself an invite to fall camp. After which... he'll be taking this franchise to the brink of a championship. Right? Josh Duncan!