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J.ROSS: Impressions From The California Classic

The very first impression was the overall event.  Well done Sacramento.  The Kings organization did a great job of hosting the three day event.  The star of the event though was the fans.  Over 50,000 fans attended Summer League basketball in July in Sacramento.  WHAT?  That is incredible.  The energy on opening night for Kings and Lakers was actually about as good as it gets.  This is not an hyperbole, it truly was amazing.

Kings fans were there to watch 5 players.  Everyone was intrigued by Fox, Mason, Jackson, Giles and Bagley.  De’Aaron Fox was terrific.  He only played in game 1 of the Classic and that was enough.  He did exactly what you want a soon to be 2nd year pro to do.  He dominated his only game.  Fox got to his spots and played a controlled game that ended with a stat page filled with impressive numbers.

Frank Mason had his moments.  He was good in games 1 and 2 but dropped off in game 3.  Mason had more of an impact in the game that Fox played.  He hit the biggest shot of that game and looked the part of a back of point guard.

Justin Jackson made most people, myself included, very nervous after his first game.  He was quiet, he wasn’t noticeable and that was a problem.  The problem though was quickly fixed as he responded in games 2 and 3.  Jackson finished strong with back to back 20 point games and you hope this is the start of something.  The small forward position is open and he has every opportunity to fill that this season but hasn’t taken advantage of that chance.

Harry Giles stepped onto an NBA floor for the first time in a Kings uniform.  Giles looked raw but also looked like he has some serious potential.  He is clearly not polished yet but he shouldn’t be.  Giles needs a little more of everything but the fact that he seems to have a lot of layers to his game is encouraging.  Giles best attribute to me is how he competes.  It looks like it bothers him to struggle and to lose.  These are healthy things.  He has worked hard to get here and I do believe he will work hard to get better.  His passing ability wasn’t on display as much as I thought it would be but overall I like what I see in Harry Giles.

Marvin Bagley started about as strong as you could possibly imagine.  The first game against the Lakers he had a LOUD game.  He played well, he played hard and you noticed him.  He had an in your face poster dunk and that shook the arena to its core.  We all know there is more to hoops than just dunks.  Game 2 he faced an athletic, experienced Warriors front court that bothered him.  He got his shots up but really struggled with efficiency.  In game 3 he primarily face a shorter but super athletic Derrick Jones Jr.  I was surprised of how difficult it was for Bagley to get to where he needed to.  He floated, he had little impact and left Kings fans questioning their top pick.  I can tell you that I am not the least bit worried.  He definitely is left hand dominant.  He either needs to get to his spots to make the stellar left hand work or find a counter move to work against the upcoming defenses that he will see.  He didn’t get many easy baskets and I think that will happen for him when he plays with the best players the Kings have to offer.  His best game was with Fox in the lineup and I see a young man with a lot of potential.  He works hard and much like Giles seems bothered by the less than stellar performance.  He will have to work, he will work and he has the skill to be good.  I think in time it will happen and all this worry will be forgotten.

The next step will be how the team plays in Vegas and then the next couple of months of player development.  I am glad we had the chance to see some hoops in Sacramento and already can’t wait for the start of next seasons.

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