Friday July 25 2008 – 6:05pm Eastern 

I mentioned earlier in the week that I’d check in RE: my trip to Las Vegas last weekend … and I forgot to do so!  So here we go …

This trip to Sin City was simply a vacation – it wasn’t meant for work at all – but my wife is a big basketball fan as well so she didn’t mind heading over to UNLV to check out some of the Summer League action.  We decided to not go to Friday’s game … but we did head to Saturday’s final game … against Golden State.

Not only did the organizers do a great job of running things, but the crowd in Vegas was outstanding.  I was expecting to see a couple hundred people at the games … but there was more like a couple thousand.  And there were plenty of Raptors fans in the house.

Alvin Gentry, Joe Wolf, John Lucas, Rafer Alston, Ronny Turiaf, Etan Thomas, Pape Sow and even Keith Closs were just some of the folks spotted on that day alone (and Rafer still has a lot of love for T.O.).  Plus, the Raptors full brain-trust was in attendance as well — Bryan Colangelo, Masai Ujiri, Marc Eversley, Sam Mitchell, Alex English, Jay Triano, Mike Evans, and Gord Herbert (Maurizio Gherardini was overseas).

In the game itself … Joey Graham looked solid, but from talking to folks – including his father, Joseph - it was his least impressive of the 5 games Toronto played. 

I was keeping a close eye on Nathan Jawai and Hassan Adams.  Offensively, Adams wasn’t doing much early on but he was still playing solid D and I think he was taking a step back on offense, letting some of the other guys – the ones truly fighting for jobs – take a few more shots.  But down the stretch – in the 4th quarter - Adams was aggressive; calling for the ball and driving hard through the lane a number of times. 

Jawai was battling through his nagging groin injury but in the minutes he played he did show some flashes.  Considering this guy has only been playing ball for about 5 years … his foot work and hands are good.  He’s got those fundamentals down.  He’ll have to work on his touch around the hoop, but I’m sure that’ll come in time with the coaching and attention from Herbert and others as well. 

I don’t really know what will become of ”the others” … like John Lucas III, Daniel Ewing, etc.  Honestly, I’m not sure there’s a spot on this team for any of those guys.  But the one player that was outstanding - at least in the 1 game I saw – was Desmon Farmer.  He had a good touch, nice range, and went to the hoop as well.  I don’t know if he’ll be considered for the big club or not (I have a feeling they’re leaning more towards a veteran PG – someone to back up Jose Calderon and Roko Ukic) but he definitely opened my eyes last Saturday in the loss to the Warriors.

The rest of Saturday, Sunday, and Monday was spent poolside.  I wish I was back there again this weekend! 

Vegas Baby … Vegas.

E. Smith

7 Responses to “Lookin’ Back at Vegas”
  1. 1.

    Eric,

    Is Jawai’s nagging groin injury the reason why he’s not in the Australian Olympics team?

    - Beburg aka The relief pitcher
  2. 2.

    As you know I did a bunch of research on Nathan Jawai Eric. I really am excited about what he could become. I think the plan is to let him grow in the next 2 years and if Jermaine O’Neal is not coming back at that point Jawai is hopefully at a point to fill the roll at center. I think once people know his full story they will be impressed I know I was. You can’t help but want to cheer for this guy. So GO BIG NATE kick some BUTT!!!

    - James Borbath
  3. 3.

    Beburg … his workouts with NBA teams, etc. conflicted with the camp and training that the Aussies were having. So Jawai was left off the club this time around. It’s just a one-time thing though. Check out this link:

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2008/06/26/2287185.htm?site=olympics/2008

    - E. Smith
  4. 4.

    Hey Eric what are some of the names you have been hearing (if any) to fill the role of vetrean back up PG?

    - Paul O
  5. 5.

    Eric,

    How much heckling was going on during the games?

    I’ve heard some pretty legendary stories of guys heckling during SL …. I think OJ Mayo got it pretty bad this year.

    - Mike
  6. 6.

    It wasn’t too bad Mike … but maybe that was just the game I was at.

    - E. Smith
  7. 7.

    Paul … Sorry, I just saw your message now … and it seems like a moot point … given the announcement the Raps made yesterday

    Sorry

    - E. Smith
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