Vegas Summer League: Aldridge vs O'Bryant
by Roland Beech, Founder 82games.com
Also see: Day 1: Bargnani debuts
LAS VEGAS, NV - Day two of the summer league featured five games, including another strong effort from Randy Foye (30 pts), an excellent follow up effort for John Lucas (25 pts, 9 ast on the heels of a 26 pts, 10 ast opener), and a 21 point, 8 rebound performance from Amare Stoudemire. Still the game I had circled was Golden State versus Portland for being an interesting matchup of Patrick O'Bryant of the Warriors facing LaMarcus Aldridge of the Blazers.
Now, as it usually turns out, the players didn't go head-to-head at all times, with Andris Biedrins guarding Aldridge most of the time early on. Still there were a number of post-ups featuring the combo in action, and both players had extensive minutes.
The official lines --
* players are allowed ten fouls per game in the Vegas Summer League
...and here's my unofficial plus/minus read (Blazers won the game 87-70)
So on the surface it looks like a pretty clear "victory" for Aldridge in the head to head comparison, not too unexpected given that Aldridge was drafted #2 to O'Bryant's #9. The general thinking is also that O'Bryant will take longer to be an NBA contributor, and the Blazers summer league team certainly appears on the surface to have more talent overall (the Warriors had included Ellis and Diogu on the roster, but both were out with injuries).
Of course, both Aldridge and O'Bryant are expected to make their presence felt on defense, and that's where some additional game tracked stats might be revealing...
ALDRIDGE on Defense
Some nice numbers indeed, and I credited Aldridge with six blocks, not the official four...but then I was sitting right underneath the basket so had better visibility on some plays (and perhaps a more lenient take on matters).
O'BRYANT on Defense
So O'Bryant wasn't getting destroyed on defense by any means, and even made a great play on help defense at one point of blocking the shot and corraling the ball after the block. It should also be noted that this was Aldridge's second Vegas summer league game, to O'Bryant's opener, and there is no doubt that the game experience must be a help (along with being more familiar with your teammates).
The Verdict: at this level of competition, Aldridge looks like a star, whereas O'Bryant as was perhaps expected, figures to take more time to get to that level. O'Bryant did have his good moments though, including throwing up a hook shot after moving into the paint, so both players will be ones to watch for how they develop.
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