So much for drama. The Vegas Bucks got out to their customary deficit early on, but this time around there was no comeback. Atlanta's superior guards weren't out of this world--Jeff Teague and Jordan Crawford combined for a modest 25 point on 21 shots--but against the Bucks' backcourt it didn't matter. Fortunately this is Vegas so it doesn't matter. On to the player discussions:
Larry Sanders - 34 min, 4/11 fg, 8 pts, 13 rebs, 4 stl, 3 blk, 3 to, 7 pf
It was a Ben Wallace-type night for Sanders, as he got a handful of garbage buckets but mostly made his impact by rebounding and creating turnovers on defense. He struggled to find post position all night--Alade Aminu and James Augustine did well fronting and denying him position on the block--and only had one shot in the first quarter as the Bucks struggled to get him involved. He then started to press a bit with his jumper,missing a few contested chances on his way to an 0/4 first half. The Bucks' beleaguered guards found him over the top for a couple buckets in the second, and he also converted a pair of putbacks to finish 4/7 in the second half.
Fortunately it was more of the same from Sanders on defense. For a purportedly raw guy, he just seems to have a good sense of defensive spacing, which along with his quickness means he's always around the ball. Sanders' activity level also extends beyond just shot-blocking--he just makes plays. I'm not sure that he'll be a terrific defensive rebounder immediately, simply because he doesn't have the strongest base at this point. But those long arms and active hands always seem to be deflecting passes, poking the ball loose, etc. It's a bit easier to do that in Vegas without real foul limits, but Sanders' pesky, defensive style is exactly the kind of thing that earns minutes on Scott Skiles' teams. Anyone else excited to see this kid in November?
Tiny Gallon - 23 min, 4/11 fg, 1/3 threes, 9 pts, 5 rebs, 7 pf, 7 to
Gallon seems to get in good positions around the hoop, which is always easier when it's impossible to push you around. But he seems more convinced of his own shooting ability than he should be (note: the three he made tonight was banked in) and it just doesn't seem like he knows what he's doing sometimes. Not much discipline as a screener. Defensively he moves well for his size but he's still a big man who can be exploited in P&R, and his lack of leaping ability means he's not a factor protecting the rim. Then again, the fact that he's playing with Sanders probably doesn't help him look good.
In short, he's about what you'd expect from the 47th pick in the draft...there's talent there, but it's hard to imagine him being much of a factor this year. The underrated Richard Hendrix (14 on eight shots) exploited him on defense, which really shouldn't be too surprising given where they each are as players right now. The Bucks haven't used the D-League since Hammond/Skiles took over (exiling Joe Alexander there doesn't count) but Gallon could certainly benefit from the consistent minutes (run him into shape!) a trip to Fort Wayne would provide.
Sean Williams - 14 min, 4/7 fg, 2/2 ft, 10 pts, 3 reb
I haven't written much about Williams, mainly because I don't think the Bucks have room for him on the roster. Still you don't have to see him on the court much to see that he's clearly an NBA talent--and he hasn't even been blocking shots like he normally does. At 6'10" he has both some basketball skills (namely nice touch 15 feet and in) and the athleticism to match most any NBA PF. So long as he keeps his head on straight (I know a big if) there's no reason he shouldn't be on an NBA roster.
Deron Washington - 32 min, 6/10 fg, 3/4 ft, 0/1 threes, 15 pts, 2 reb, 1 ast, 1 blk, 4 to
Washington is the only Bucks wing player with a vague claim to an NBA roster spot, and he showed tonight that he can still score even when he's not spotting up for threes. I questioned his in-between game the other day but to his credit he looked better putting it on the floor tonight.