"My rule was I wouldn't recruit a kid if he had grass in front of his house.
That's not my world. My world was a cracked sidewalk." —Al McGuire

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Buycks makes strong case in final Summer League game

With 39 seconds left and the Mavs leading the Spurs 74-72 tonight, Dwight Buycks was the furthest player from the hoop. He sprinted the length of the floor past the nine other players, caught the ball and double pumped in the air to get between Jae Crowder and 6-foot-8 Michael Downs to tie the game, drawing the final in a string of complements from the NBA TV announcers:

“Dwight Buycks again! He is a gamer.  I can tell you that he really loves it when the game is on the line.  He makes big shots and he makes big plays.  He is fearless.  You want players who want the ball in tight situations.”- NBA TV Announcer

Buycks won’t join  Crowder’s (21 points to lead the Mavs to the OT win) or Jimmy Butler (who was dominant again in the later game) on the updated NBA Summer League leaders list, he was the Spurs second best player behind Corey Joseph in an attempt to claim a roster spot.

BuycksJuly 21Crowder
5 of 10FGM-Att5 of 13
1 of 43 pt3 of 4
0 of 4FT8 of 10

The fact is both were even better than their stats.  Crowder missed two shots in the final few seconds of the 6-point win, and both drew fouls and made great plays that didn’t show up on the stat sheet.

On defense, Buycks simply shut down and dominated Tu Holloway – once considered a much better prospect.  With 3:54 to go, Buycks muscled up another point guard in the backcourt, dove to knock the ball away, and by the time the Mavs stole the ball and started up the court the Spurs were given the ball on an 8-second court.

Buycks strong from the start

By the time Buycks first entered the game with 2:52 to play in the first quarter, Crowder had already drained two treys en route to another dominant performance of 21 points and 6 rebounds.  However, with Crowder already having signed a contract, the focus in this match-up for Marquette fans was Buycks – an All-Rookie Team selection in the D-League this year hoping to see his first NBA action.

The announcers, who also bragged about Crowder who they first said was a linebacker, then decided a defensive end, also said nice things about Buycks starting with when he entered, with, “And here is Dwight Buycks, a guy we remember from Orlando (Summer League).  Offensively, Buycks has the ability to take over a game at any time.”

The question with Buycks has been whether he can keep an assist-to-turnover ratio while running the point.  His 2 assists and 1 turnover don’t tell the story of how well he handled both during 21 minutes of the floor – playing the point a good bit of the time.

Shortly after entering he had a nice feed, only to have a teammate rejected.  Moments later he had great penetration to draw two defenders, then had a beautiful dish to set up a dunk, drawing this:

“Nice dish off by Buycks, he set up that whole play.”

Buycks protect ball – draws 3 fouls in just 42 seconds

Holloway tried to pressure him starting at the end of the 1st quarter – and Buycks not only protected the ball but drew three fouls in less than a minute.  He drove past Holloway, and the Mavs big man had to foul Buycks with 5 seconds left in the 1st quarter.  Then Holloway fouled Buycks four seconds into the 2nd quarter, and fouled him again with 9:23 left (Summer League quarters are 10 minutes) as Buycks drove by him.  The only downside was that Buycks missed the two free throws en route to an 0 for 4 for the night, but the ability to protect the ball a good bit of the game and draw three fouls in 42 seconds of action against a quality opponent has to improve confidence.

In just one minute, Buycks drains trey, then sets up three teammates

With 4:08 to play in the half, Buycks drained a deep three.  He then had some bad luck.  He drove and kicked out to a teammate for an open trey with 3:56 to play and then again with 3:26 to play – but teammates missed both shots.  He then drew defense on the next trip and fired a nice pass to a teammate, but another teammate knocked the pass to the ground to deny the assist, even though it was still picked up and laid in with 3:08.  So with a little luck, Buycks could have had a trey and three assists in the course of one minute of action.

Buycks then stole the ball with 5 seconds left in the half and fed ahead for another missed open trey.

Buycks started the second half by hitting another nice, deep jumper, but his foot was on the line to limit it to a 2-pointer.  After another Buycks jumper gave the Spurs their first lead, 49-48, he drew more comments:

“You let Buycks get going and he can be a problem for you … he is stepping up and doing his job, and that’s what you have to do at the end of Summer League."

4th quarter
When he came in for the 4th quarter, Buycks again wasted no time driving and kicking to a teammate for an open 18-footer.  After Crowder overpowered a front line player for a bank shot, Buycks even ended up matched up with Jae the next trip and stuck with him well enough to force a missed 18-footer by Jae.

With 6:39 to play, he drove on Downs to draw a foul, then with 4:08 to play he exploded past everyone on the court to tie the game 68-68 with Crowder closing fast, before once again scoring in the final minute.

His excellent 55% eFG was almost even better as he had three very nice looking treys rattle out.  The only downside is the Joseph was even better, the four missed free throws, and two other jumpers that were forced bad shots.  All-in-all, a great final showing and some wonderful praise, that we hope will get him to the training camp either in San Antonio or of someone else who was watching.

Later in the night, Jimmy Butler topped even Crowder with 23 points on 10 of 10 free throws and 6 of 10 from the floor – and the best dunk of the night on a follow.  But they both know they are playing in the NBA, Buycks at least gave the Spurs and scouts watching reasons to consider if he should be in the league as well.

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