Summer League Game 3 Recap: What Just Happened?

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Published: July 8, 2019

Confession: I wrote this after 3 quarters.

• Nickeil Alexander-Walker has some real confidence and a versatile game to boot. Aggressive player who is always looking to feed his guys, particularly his bigs. On the first play, he *unsuccessfully* tried to squeeze in a pass to Hayes. A play or two later, he was successful. He continued throughout the game to throw some absolute fire passes, pretty much all via his left hand and on live dribbles. Skip passes. Entries. Wraparounds. Wondering how he’d look in a lower usage role, because he takes serious chances with his passing, sometimes to great benefit and sometimes to TOs. In sum, I was still very impressed with his feel and passing instincts. He’s just going to have to learn to be selective about when he takes those chances.

o NAW also displayed a high IQ in other situations besides his passing. On one play, Coby White was chasing a ball out of bounds and NAW quickly realized who he would be saving to, intercepted it, and then fed it to Hayes for a jam. It is just summer league, but so far he looks the part of a real NBA player. He was the best player on the floor tonight.

• Hayes has some mitts. A lot has been made of his hand size and his ability to haul in awkward passes. This was pretty much confirmed on his first basket as he hauled in a fastball from NAW despite a temporary mishandle. His motor and athleticism were very much on display in the early going via his ability to run the floor and to jump over the top to snatch rebounds. He still looks very raw in offense beyond running/dunking. This is okay, because he straight up ended a Bull after NAW hit him with a wraparound pass in a side P&R. Hayes was also actively defensively and had several blocks. If he can fill out his frame, he is going to be a terror with his athleticism/motor/wingspan/aggression.

• Didi Louzada has some serious confidence in his shot and “looks” the part of a shooter in the NBA, and even flashed a little ball-handling on and in-and-out dribble to a 3. Also had a hard drive to his right where he used his left shoulder to create enough separation for a scoop righty layup. In addition to that, the way he moves and plays defense is far ahead of his years. That the Pelicans can stash him while he develops is a huge bonus.

 

In sum, this was a simply amazing Summer League game to watch. It is not often that you’ll confuse Summer League with actual NBA basketball, but the Pelicans played such a smooth game. Hayes, NAW, and Didi fit in seamlessly despite not even practicing until the AD trade was completed. If these players are truly as good as we saw tonight, then David Griffin absolutely murdered the NBA Draft. We should exercise caution in the meantime, but the 3 draftees looked great tonight and for now that is good enough.

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