Charlotte’s 84-71 dismantling of the New York Knicks on Monday is honestly what we should expect from this Summer League squad; after all, the team is leaning heavily on players that have already logged big NBA minutes together. That level of talent and familiarity should easily elevate them over the patchwork groups that were cobbled together for a few weeks in July.
A win is still nice, though, especially when it comes paired with a few good individual performances and a solid team effort. Charlotte’s defense was the deciding factor, with the Knicks held to 34.6 percent shooting on the afternoon. The Bobcats’ 41 free throw attempts helped, too, giving them an efficient 84 points on just 58 shots.
Cody Zeller had another big game, scoring 18 points on 7-of-11 shooting and grabbing 10 rebounds. He did that in a variety of ways, working the mid-range shot effectively and showing off some nice footwork along the baseline. He’s been especially effective at slashing to the basket when the defense is out of position, showing off some nice ball-handling for a big man.
He did show a few weaknesses, however. Especially early, the team gave up a few too many offensive boards. Zeller has good hands and a good sense of positioning, but he doesn’t always seem to be aggressive at grabbing contested boards. His individual defense was also exposed at times, with CJ Leslie blowing by him for easy buckets on a few occasions.
Jeffery Taylor led the game in scoring, finishing with 20 points on 6-of-14 shooting. He’s been very aggressive this summer, taking the most shots on the team and averaging 21 points a game. He’s been efficient, too, shooting 46 percent from the floor and 38 percent from three-point range. That kind of scoring would help on the second unit next season, and especially when the team goes small.
It was another blah game offensively for Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, who’s focusing on his jumpshot this summer. He’s still playing hard on defense and staying active, but he seems content to focus on his weak spots and defer to others when he can. MKG’s shot may still be ugly, but he looks confident and made two of his six attempts outside the paint Monday.
Bismack Biyombo had a very Bismack Biyombo game. He finished a perfect 1-of-1 from the floor, hit an even 50 percent of his free throws, had a few very sad moments on offense, and erased a few shots on defense.
The schedule for the team’s next game isn’t set yet, due to the single-elimination tournament that caps this year’s Summer league. They could play Wednesday or Thursday, according to Rick Bonnell at The Charlotte Observer.