Summer League Recap: Bobcats 84, Knicks 71

USA TODAY Sports

The Knicks fell to 1-2 in the Las Vegas Summer League regular season. :(

The SummerKnicks lost to the SummerCats. Cody Zeller's pretty excellent and Jeffery Taylor played splendidly as well. Let's talk about a few Knicks, shall we?

- C.J. Leslie stood out the most to me in this game, for reasons both positive and negative. He handled the ball a lot early, which hasn't consistently been a good look for him and probably wouldn't be the look in a real NBA setting. He produced off the dribble, though, with an early drive-and-kick to Jeremy Tyler, and a couple angled blow-bys toward the rim. He's got a quick first step, which, combined with his overall gangliness, makes him an easy target for fouls on the move. Leslie's just eminently trip-able. He also reliably followed his shot, dropping in a couple put-backs and keeping some caroms alive (Dylan pointed out that Leslie lands "dynamically" like Carmelo Anthony does, with knees bent so he can transition easily into a second jump). He did try to over-create a bit and, especially in the middle of the floor, got himself into trouble when driving with head down and no apparent plan in mind, often missing passing windows in the process. Anyway, Leslie projects to be more of an off-ball player if he makes it up, and he continued to do good things in that context, too. He knows how to fill lanes and make quick decisions once the ball arrives, both in transition and on the weak side of pick-and-roll stuff. His jumper, though, looks different every time. If Leslie's gonna stick around, he'll need some Hoplattention. Nice game, though.

- Toure Murry didn't see as many minutes or make as much of an impact today as he did yesterday, but had his moments. We saw the drives and finishes-- even with the left hand, though he clearly doesn't want to go that way. We saw savvy use of space and productive passes out of the pick-and-roll, if not needle-threading bounce-passes or anything. We saw the diligence to get over picks and the arm length to pick pockets when he got beat. He did get beat a bit too often, though, on silly, basic stuff like poor positioning and careless close-outs. Murry's jump shot doesn't look like a sure thing (though we've seen him pull up way more than we've seen him catch and shoot), but he does have a useful righty floater.

- Jeremy Tyler hurt his ankle and didn't get to show much, but I heard him say afterward (while limping) that he'll be okay.

- Terrence Jennings keeps blocking shots, which is nice, but the same arm-swinging instinct that earns him blocks gets him a ton of unnecessary foul calls (five in 20 minutes today). He did a nice job battling Zeller for rebounds, but got sealed and cooked a few times as well. Jennings was 5-9 from the field, but not, as I remember it, as deadly with that funky pick-and-pop jumper as he had been.

- J'Covan Brown played very well in 21 minutes. He was the only Knick to hit outside shots with in anything resembling a convincing fashion, and he just generally made quick, wise decisions with the ball, like timely outlet passes and swings around the perimeter and stuff. I suspect Brown's not big enough to get serious training camp consideration, but he managed to stand out today.

- Jerome Jordan looked pretty slow and pretty weak on defense. He too often compounded poor positioning with a flimsy challenge on the ball. Offensively, Big Rome just kept turning smooth post moves into missed shots. Unless I missed something, he made precisely one of his drop-steps out of the post into a basket.

With all the Metta World Peace excitement (post coming up with some media stuff from his impromptu Vegas introduction), I'd be lying if I said I noticed anything about the way Eloy Vargas (1-7 from the field, but 7 rebounds and a couple big blocks), Justin Brownlee (started, but I can't remember a single thing he did), Tony Mitchell, Liam McMorrow, or Chris Smith played. If they moved smartly off the ball or rotated well on defense or gave good high-fives or something, I didn't notice.

Up next: THE PLAYOFFS! Not sure when we'll find out the schedule/match-up stuff for the postseason, but I'll let you know when I know. <3

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