We have been waiting for months, and there has been much to get excited about. Last night I believe all the excitement was justified. I was thoroughly impressed with our performance. This team, even in a loss, even sloppy at times, is very fun to watch. I love how the team uses its youth and athleticism to run the floor and play defense. If nothing else, there will be an entertaining product on the floor at the hive.
A few things I took away from last night...
1. Although the book on Rivers was that he cannot breakdown NBA defenders, and isn't quick enough off the dribble, I thought he was the exact opposite. Several times he used a nice hesitation move to get by the defenders with ease. This broke down the defense, he drew contact, got to the line, then made it hurt by making free throws. With the exception of a few ill-advised shots, I thought he played within himself, and can be very nice off the bench.
2. Could this Aminu show up every night?? He looked amazing last night, on both ends of the floor. His shot isn't great, but he makes up for it with aggresiveness. He used his athleticism to get to the rim, and provided heavy momentum with some sick dunks. His defense was even better, showing great rotation and awareness. This is the Aminu we have been waiting for....
3. Only reason Aminu didn't completely blow me away and take over the SF position is because Darius Miller
continues to impress. No I don't think he is starter material, just yet. But man, this guy can be huge off the bench. He has the size, athleticism, and most importantly the basketball IQ to compete. He could be a future stud as a 6th man, as he seems to excel in that role. He also shows a nice touch from outside.
4. Vasquez may fill the PG role effectively. He has always been capable of making plays. He just needs to reign in the wild play at times. Last night he did a good job of pushing tempo when needed, and slowing it down when the opportunity wasn't there. He is also big enough to pose a mismatch for smaller guards in the post.
5. As with many Monty teams, the defense will reign this season. The offense looked good, but sometimes became stagnant. Not surprising when your scorer, Gordon, is unavailable. But the defensive scheme is tremendous. And all players seem to buy in and use their abilities to full strength.
6. Anthony Davis
is who we thought he would be... He will be a beast. Love the effort, and intensity. Also shows some of those guard-like ball skills.
7. Finally, while the game was so exciting, down the stretch you could see the offense fall apart. If for nothing else, this is why you pay guy "Closer" money. This is why you deal out a big contract to specific players. Gordon is on this roster for that reason. Last 2 minutes, offense needs somebody to take over. He needs to get on the court, ASAP.