George Hill- Spurs
I am a big George Hill fan. I liked him last year, but he only saw limited minutes in the later parts of the season. With a more extended look at him, I upgrade my status to no-homo-basketball-related man crush. Over the summer, he improved his jump shot. He seemed really comfortable shooting off the dribble and at the free throw line.
Next season, he's got to hope for a bigger role. Backing up Tony Parker, he still won't see tons of minutes. Hopefully Pop could try to fit in some time for him at the shooting guard spot. If he can get 15 minutes a game, that'd be a good start. He is a great piece and he's only 23.
Johnny Flynn- Timberwolves
I wish I could have seen more of Flynn. When I did see him, I saw a small, but very atheletic point guard. He seems to a good, not great jumper shooter. He played bad the first time I watched him. He's got to control his turnovers, but he looked much better in the last game.
The real reason I should give him the nod is because he finished in style. You have to finish strong and Flynn showed he knows how to do that. Anyone else see a bigger Nate Robinson in him?
Blake Griffin- Clippers
Of course. The obvious choice. Griffin was real solid. He showed what he can against subpar competition. I expected great numbers from him. He looked real athletic and he's going to have a big advantage over older big men. If he consistently runs the floor, a combination with a healthy Baron Davis could be lethal.
If I had to predict next years numbers for him, I'd say about 15 PPG and 10 boards a night. Write it down. I'll see how accurate that prediction is. I have a feeling he won't be rookie of the year though. There are other scoring rooks that might take that honor.
DeJuan Blair- Spurs
The second Spur on the list. He was what everyone expected: an undersized banger who grabs boards. He's a guaranteed summer league double-double. I want him to keep working on his jump shot. It looks good, but I know he and David Thorpe could get it better.
Next year, the goal for him is to rebound and play defense. Really no pressure for him in his bench role. I know he'll prove the GM's that passed on him wrong.
Honorable mention: Russell Westbrook
He only played one game in the Vegas summer league, but he proved what I already knew: he's a stud. He also improved him jump shot. His overall game is great. I want big things out of him in OKC this year. If there was a sophomore of the year, Westbrook would be my guy.
Who'd you see in summer league that impressed you?