I’m in Las Vegas, the home of fun decadence and what do I do? Act like I’m at home. Instead of taking in a nice show with lots of pretty women (I’m not really that interested in seeing those Thunder Down Under Hunks — eight or so guys built like Dwight Howard), I decide to take in two movies after watching two basketball games. Instead of gambling my money away, I check out “Predators” and the midnight premiere of “Inception.” So the quickie Las Vegas review (not revue) is “Predators” is a pedestrian storyline with no new special effects and the typical stereotypical characters. It was so blase that it took me five minutes to remember the name of the movie this morning. Still, if you want a little summer boom, boom it’s all good.
At the end of “Inception” the audience clapped, I think more-so at the ending than at the very complicated sci-fi storyline. I was a little tired after taking in John Wall and the Wizards so I might have dozed off for a minute or two, but this one might be a cult favorite. The concept is so provocative that you’ll need to see it twice to see what you missed the first time. In essence Leonard DiCaprio plays a independent contractor who steals his target’s deepest thoughts by entering their dreams. After botching a job, his original target promises to return his life to normalcy if he does what most think is impossible — instead of stealing secret thoughts, he wants DiCaprio and his team to plant a thought in the head of a corporate legacy. The problem is that the team must get deep enough into the target’s thoughts that he believes the planted idea originates with him and not the intruders into his mind. The complication for the viewers is that the dreams take place on different levels which the movie tries to show the viewer simultaneously. It is as confusing as being in hell, heaven and on the Golden State Warriors all at the same time, but it is a captivating premise. I would suggest thinking about seeing this one if you love science fiction. I can see this as a series.
The movies thematically fell in line with the games I decided to watch yesterday. If Golden State v. Phoenix represented “Predators” ( in that I couldn’t remember a damn thing without notes), then Washington v. Dallas was more like “Inception” with lots of stuff happening at different levels.
The Thomas & Mack Center was packed. Everyone wanted to see John Wall, the star of this year’s crop. They cheered at his fancy pre-game dunks and he received the only ovation during the starter introductions. You can see that he is mentally built to be a star, at least in his mind. He is very confident and was very interactive with his teammates. But, as quickly as the Wizards, a team of “vets, started to run away with the game early, Wall was not the reason. Guards Lester Hudson and Cartier Martin were popping tres and JaVale at 7”-0 was beastly under the basket. Peaceman’s boy, the one he wanted us to draft, Hamady Ndiaye, was also strong under the basket after he missed his fumbled his first dunk opportunity.
John Wall was good; he was probably just trying to hard to impress the loving crowd and the resident heckler dressed in his red and blue clown suit. Wall constantly over-dribbled in an effort to beat his man off the dribble from a standup position at the top of the key. He missed too many free throws and offered up an air-ball amongst some bad shots. There is no doubt he’ll have more success when his teammates successfully execute the pick and roll instead of the “Pick and Offensive Foul” for moving the pick too early. When he is able to beat his man, he is strong to the basket. He also showed great speed which was not as impressive in the half-court sets. He also exhibited decent court vision and a nice passing touch especially when interacting with his big man under the basket.
Still Wall was not the overwhelming best guard on the floor. His court mate Lester Hudson looked good alongside Wall. Very nice handle and long range shot. But, the Mavs had two very impressive guards too: Jeremy Lin (Harvard) and Dominique Jones.
Jeremy Lin, a 6’3 undrafted guard from Harvard, who happens to be Asian is sweet, sweet, sweet. Although John Wall seemed to break his ankles once (it might have been an effort slip) Lin was Wall’s equal if not better in this summer league game. Remember this is a Summer League game, but Lin has a very nice handle sort of like Jonny Flynn’s and he is able to split defenders and get into the paint with great quickness. He was not afraid the move the ball forward towards the basket instead of from side to side. But here is the nice part: not only can Lin finish, but his vision and ability to pass in traffic is pure. He threw a 3/4 Magic-Johnson type bounce pass through traffic to a teammate running in for a lay-up. Nice, nice, nice. The real positive is that the Predators, I mean Wizards, had a more mature NBA lineup that Lin looked nice against. This undrafted kid better get a contract. HEY D’Antoni. Oh never-mind.
Another very nice passer inside paint traffic is 6’4″, 215 lb Dominique Jones out of South Florida. he was drafted 25th by Memphis and traded to Dallas for cash. He has a solid build, kinda wide and knows how to create space and get the ball into the basket. He sorta reminded me of Zach Randolph in how uncannily he gets the ball in the basket while in traffic under the basket without jumping too high. With some NBA moves under his belt, like some Aguirre post-up action (although he is smallish) he will be very, very tough. He also can defend. Oh and so could Lin, who had very good lateral movement. He may get beat off the dribble, but it is not a gimme.
Previously, I had the opportunity to see DeMarcus Cousins of the SacKings. Physically, he is ready to play NBA ball right now. He is imposingly big and potentially quick. Seems to have very nice hands a a bit of a handle. Still, I did not like what I saw. He seemed like a whiner and was extremely lackadaisical as he constantly trailed in transition. Constantly. When he missed shots, instead of hustling he would clap his hands in disgust, constantly, while everyone else was still playing. We do that shyte at the Y. (I know I do, but at least I wait until I miss three in a row which is one of the 120 reasons I’m not in the NBA today. LOL). Anyway, if this kid demonstrated the same attitude as a Blake Griffin, he could regularly be the best player on the floor.
I also got a chance to check out JJ Hickson for the Cavs. I did not understand why he didn’t play more during the playoffs. JJ Hickson is very skilled with nice hops and a good motor. He looked a little out of place with the rooks because his NBA status is as firmly established as some of the sophs not at the games.
Hey folks, I have not done much blog housekeeping since I’ve been out here but a couple of happenings are worth noting. Bloguin has added two new blogs that look pretty good: a New Jersey Nets blog, Whoop-de-damn-doo, and an Atlanta Hawks blog, Hawks Highlights. Check them out.
Ok, I feel a little guilty that I don’t like doing touristy type things when I travel. I come to Vegas and other than the Summer League, I just hang with my nephew and go to the bookstore to blog. Really boring — a true reflection of me, but that’s what I like. Still, I should try to do different, so I am going to see if I can get some Rihanna tickets for tonight’s show before I head home tomorrow. As I mentioned earlier, today’s Knicks game is the last one I’ll watch. I’ve read other write-ups on the Knicks’ games including yours and I don’t think I’ll come up with anything new or different to offer after today. Really, it is what it seems it is.
(I’m on the run, so this piece is to be continued as I get a chance)