The headbands were a nice touch to a real good teammate. (The Associated Press calls it Kevin Martin's idea.) But the better homage came from the young big man, Spencer Hawes, who had Brad Miller type game.
15 points on 11 FGAs, 7 rebounds, 3 assists.
The per-games for Miller's first All-Star season (in 2002-03 with Indiana): 13 points on 9 FGAs, 8 rebounds, 2.6 assists.
Hawes has plenty of room to grow -- he's still getting outhustled and outstretched for 3-4 boards a night, he's got to learn how to defend slashers and penetrators without hacking, and his renowned flat-footed "jumper" isn't nearly as potent as advertised.
His successful plays aren't nearly as jawdropping as those from Thaddeus Young or Julian Wright or Jeff Green. But they're repeatable and show tremendous court vision and that so-called "feel" for the game. It shows up in breakaway layups. It shows up in easy buckets off broken plays (like driving the lane when Beno Udrih draws a double on the post). It shows up in blocks off opponent offensive rebounds.
Great game. Great potential.
Around the roster:
- Brilliant second-half from John Salmons. Amick's game story captures some good Salmons personality insight, which is incredibly rare -- I've talked to a few other folks who have tried to interview Johnny, and they confirm he is about the most reserved guy in the league. Observationally, I still haven't put my finger on what makes Salmons succeed in the starting lineup but hurts him off the bench. Statistically, I haven't figure it out either. We know he needs space to operate offensively (Salmons mentions that in the Bee story) -- theoretically, out there with minor offensive weapons from the traditional second unit, he'd have plenty of space. It could be that Martin is clearly Weapon #1 in the starting lineup, while Salmons veers toward the focus himself off the bench (from the opposing defense's standpoint), even though Francisco Garcia (who Salmons often plays with) is far more aggressive. But hey, we've got a whole summer to consider it. I still think this guy's a keeper. Cheap and potent ... and maybe the best defender on the roster (according to John Hollinger).
- Quincy Douby and Shelden Williams played awesome, for the most part. You want points from QD and rebounds from The Landlord. Douby scored 13 in 19 minutes; Shelden had 7 boards in 22 minutes. Good work.
- Francisco Garcia is not rejecting to Bobby Jackson comparisons. He's had a most terrific homestretch. I pay inordinate attention to his turnover numbers ... only one in 30 minutes last night. Terrific.
- Kevin Martin do what Kevin Martin do. He hit the boards early Friday night, which is always a good sign. (Also, my goal this offseason is to make everyone realize Martin is the best rebounder for his position on this team. Unless you consider Salmons a two-guard, Martin's the only regular King who outrebounds his position. One-dimensional? Psh.)
- Beno Udrih is looking fine. Barring three disastrous games to finish out, I think he's earned the full mid-level, or at least a starting salary of $5 million even.