Poll: Who Will Be The Breakout Player Of Summer League?
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  1. DHawes22
    Posts: 6488

    Posted 07/09/2010 11:28 AM

    Who will be the breakout player this summer league?
    Luke Babbitt (9)
    Dante Cunningham (8)
    Armon Johnson (5)
    Patty Mills (14)
    Jeff Pendergraph (5)
    Other (0)
    Summer League is quickly approaching as the first game is only two, short days away. With that said, who is going to be the leader of this team? Who will step on the Vegas court and "Wow' everybody such as Jerryd Bayless did in 2008? What has Dante, Jeff, and Patty added to their games since the last time we saw them? And what do the Nevada boys have in store for us? For players such as Patty and Armon, this Summer League is make it or break it as they do not have a guaranteed contract and are looking for an elusive roster spot with the Portland Trail Blazers. So whose star will shine the brightest in Las Vegas?

    Luke Babbitt

    The Case: Summer League is meant for the point guards and wing players, with most of the action coming from the perimeter and not down low. Starting at the 3, Luke should get a lot of touches and looks at the hoop. If he gets hot from the outside, look out, because it's over. This will be the first time I've seen Babbitt play live, so it'll be interesting to see if he possesses a killer instinct or not if he does catch fire. From all reports and interviews though, he's got it.

    Dante Cunningham

    The Case: Of all the players on the roster, Dante comes in with the most polish and the most NBA minutes under his belt. Last year saw Dante open the eyes of Trail Blazers fans everywhere with his smooth jumper and high IQ plays on the court. Usually, Summer League 'Vets' don't play as much or often, but considering Dante and Jeff are battling it out for backup minutes to Aldridge, I fully expect both players to go all out. Dante's game is definitely more suited for the SL though, as he has the ability to play both inside and out.

    Armon Johnson

    The Case: Of all the players on the roster, Armon's got the most to prove, which will only fuel his fire. Already touted as a 'Junk-Yard Dog' on defense with a nose for the ball, he could cause a lot of havoc for opposing point guards, leading to easy points in transition. A lot of people have compared his style of play to that of Coach Nate, so if he can play with Nate's aggressiveness and toughness as well as making plays happen, the Blazers could have found themselves another gem late in the draft.

    Patty Mills

    The Case: Many might not remember, but this is Patty's first Summer League after breaking his foot the year before. It's a guard's league, and he'll definitely not have any problem getting his shot off, but like Bayless last year, I want to see if he's got the point guard skills to create easy baskets for others In the end, both Patty and Armon bring different, but great skill sets to the table, whomever can 'run the show' the best will probably have a leg up in the race for the third point guard spot.

    Jeff Pendergraph

    The Case: Dubbed the 'Penderbeast' by Blazer fans, I can't think of a better big man to have for this style of play. He should have no problem getting out on the break and creating highlight reel after highlight reel, much like he did against the Warriors on Fan Appreciation Night. We know he can dunk and energize the team, but for him to take the next step, he's got to block a few shots and own the boards. He possesses the right attitude and lays it all on the line every second he's out there, but if he can learn the tricks of the trade and the little things that makes a great rebounder great, he could be the surprise of Las Vegas.
    I am a fan of
  1. DHawes22
    Posts: 6488

    Posted 07/09/2010 12:00 PM

    here's a good run down of what to look out for from these players from the guys over at RipCityProject-

    • Jeff Pendergraph: Want to see a more physical presence on the boards and defensively. Easy to expect a lot from someone in their 2nd summer league, but let’s keep the expectations low. Pendergraph has shown potential to be a ‘junkyard dog’ or ‘enforcer’ for the Blazers, this platform will give him a great avenue to continue working on those things. He’s already shown an ability to hit a mid-range jumper, so how he operates on the low block is more important. Stronger post defense and an even more beastly attitude on the glass will go a long way.
    • Dante Cunningham: An ability to defend against smaller, more athletic players. I don’t know if he’ll get the chance, but if Cunningham can start guarding 2’s and 3’s, the Blazers become even more dangerous. Then, you can throw Cunningham out there at the 4 and switch all sorts of ballscreens and cause havoc defensively. Improved perimeter defense from Cunningham will soften the blow of losing Martell Webster’s activity on that end. Also, we’d like to see more aggressive offense from Cunningham. At times he can look hesitant and unsure of himself. In his second year, those jitters should be gone. You know what else wouldn’t hurt his cause? An improved mid-range jumper. Coup and myself both stated last year that if he could stick that mid-range jumper, he’ll be in the L a long time. He’s shown he can, now he needs to take it to the next level.
    • Luke Babbitt: From Babbit, I’ll be looking for a couple things. Babbitt has the offensive skillset to potentially explode at Summer League. I want to see if he’s able to get his shot off easily against longer, athletic opponents. I want to see if he can create offense on his own, or if he’s going to have to have it created for him. If it’s the latter, there isn’t much difference between Babbitt 1.0 and Webster 6.0. Also, I’ll be looking at how he plays defensively. The easy thing to try and see is if he can keep guys in front, which is important. However, I want to see how physical he plays. How he rebounds and how he fits into a team defensive scheme. There are a lot of poor defenders in the NBA who look better because they fit into the team’s scheme.
    • Armon Johnson: An ability to finish at the rim. His tagline is that he is a physical, slashing guard who can finish. Similar to Bayless in some respects. At Summer League, playing the off-guard, he should have the ability to show off his ability to create.
    • Patty Mills: Comfort running the show. A part of us died last summer when Mills was injured and could not participate. What Mills has to show, is a comfort in running the offense. We know about the quicks and the potential, but can he groom that into consistency. He could prove to be a vital piece for the Blazers in the future, I’m just excited to get an extended look at him.

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  1. ***Jason***
    Posts: 259

    Posted 07/09/2010 12:38 PM

    It seems like Dante and Jeff both did really well last year. Put that with some pretty good rookie playing time during the season and I think those guys are ready to blow up at summer league. Sounds like Mills is playing some good ball right now too, and summer league is all about the backcourt, so I can't seem him doing anything but going off too. This should be one of the best summer league teams the Blazers have had in a while. Monte will be missed though. I'm ready for some basketball. Can't wait!
    I am a fan of Im a fan of the nba, players and owners, doing what they have to to earn the fans back.
  1. Tobyus Sanchezo
    Tobyus Sanchezo
    Posts: 1669

    Posted 07/09/2010 12:51 PM

    Release the Pender-Beast!!

    I am a fan of multiple All-Stars on the Blazers roster this season!
  1. DHawes22
    Posts: 6488

    Posted 07/09/2010 8:51 PM

    I'm rollin' with Babbitt on this one. The coaches are apparently really high on him and believe he'll be an impact rotational player. If he can get his shot off the dribble and spotting up as well, he should have no problem dropping a ton of points this July.
    I am a fan of
  1. Kingfisher
    Posts: 64

    Posted 07/10/2010 2:41 AM

    Patty is close to being at peak form at the moment.  What you see in summer league will be the Patty that we have seen at International level, Olympics and otherwise.  I'm excited.....
  1. Crim
    Posts: 398

    Posted 07/10/2010 8:38 AM

    babbit's gonna disappoint because he wants to impress our crazy fan base, and we equally want him to succeed, possibly even more just because he wants to be here. It'll be good for him to get the jitters out though.
    Patty's gonna steal the box score, while dante's gonna make us keep watching every minute.
    I am a fan of Not Feeding the Trolls.
  1. DHawes22
    Posts: 6488

    Posted 07/11/2010 11:56 AM

    I don't think anyone will disappoint. Its only Summer League, expectations should be low. I'm just excited to his his style of play.
    I am a fan of
  1. ClydeFrog
    Posts: 975

    Posted 07/13/2010 3:17 PM

    After watching Armon's cat-like quickness on offense and his Gary Payton-like defense, I'm sold. Nate is going to love this kid and you can tell he still has a lot of potential to be tapped into.
    I am a fan of Watching Elliot Williams Take Flight!
  1. Kim~
    Posts: 1137

    Posted 07/14/2010 6:43 PM

    GP defense ?  I'm not sure  he's all that, but his d is impressive. 
      Once again I have to say, I <3 Dante's game, he is always in the right place, he deserves minutes Nate !!
    I am a fan of scrapping !
  1. ClydeFrog
    Posts: 975

    Posted 07/15/2010 12:25 PM

    Dante's shot has been way off this summer, but hopefully he'll get back into a rhythm. He's too good of a shooter to be this inconsistent.

    So far, Patty has been a nice surprise, but he needs to take care of the ball and quit trying to make the flashy passes all the time. Also, the defense needs major work. Jumper looks feathery though!

    Babbitt has been as expected. Able to create his own shot, put in on the deck, score in multiple ways, but also needs to learn team defense a little better and bulk up so he can handle his own on defense as well as help extend his range. I'm sure Medina will get him ripped.

    Armon's been the 'Breakout Player' so far. He's definitely the Dante of this year's summer league as he's looking like he should have been a sure fire first round pick.

    Jeff's play has been a bummer so far. I'm not feeling his game, at all. Quit shooting jumpers and quick hook shots and just crash the glass, rebound, put back the garbage points, and block shots. That is his niche in the league and he should focus on mastering that craft instead of adding other parts of his game. I did like what I saw from him in the 2nd half against NOLA though, he went back to his scrappy roots.
    I am a fan of Watching Elliot Williams Take Flight!
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