Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Serving Notice

One of the things I love about the last day of the regular season is that a few young guns get their first chance at significant minutes and serve notice that they have some serious talent. A couple of guys that stood out today and might make some noise down the road:

- Amir Johnson, Detroit. The former high school prep from L.A. lasted until the second round of the 2005 Draft and spent most of the last two years bouncing back and forth between Detroit and the D League, but in the last three or four games he has displayed some real ability. Tonight he had a Josh Smith type line with 20 points, 12 boards, 4 blocks, and 3 steals in 37 minutes off the bench. Between Johnson and Maxiell, the Pistons have some emerging young frontline players that will need minutes. Webber will probably be gone (New York?), so that opens up 48 minutes, but they still have Sheed, McDyess, and the artist formerly known as Nazr on the roster.

- Rajon Rondo, Boston. Rondo has been doing good things for the C's for months now, but he really played a terrific game tonight in the 91-89 loss to the Pistons. He missed only four shots and committed just one turnover on his way to 19-9-4 with a whopping six steals. Rondo also had a 7-steal game recently and is averaging 2.4 thefts per game as a starter (25 games), which would be good for the lead league over a full season.

- Walter Herrmann, Charlotte. The Fabio look-a-like has been balling for the past month and finished it off with 22 points and four threes in the finale. The 'Cats might need to find a place for him next year as he can stretch defenses and put the ball in the basket. Plus, if I have this right, Herr is German term for a man (like calling someone "mister"), so his name is either Walter Mister-Man or Walter Man-Mann. Which is awesome.

- Luke Jackson, Toronto. This isn't so much of a "serving notice" situation, as it is a "holy crap, Luke Jackson isn't playing in Europe!" situation. The former Duck and wasted Cleveland lottery pick got a surprise start at small forward for the Raps today and threw up 30 on 12-for-16 shooting. What?

- Randy Foye, Minnesota. They say that NBA players often take the biggest leap forward in their second year (which may explain the lack of support for a Deron Williams "Most Improved Player" award), and if that is the case, Foye got a jump start on the process by going for 26-8-6 on 10-for-15 shooting with 3 steals in his best game of the season. Luckily, Foye's good play at the end of the year didn't keep the Wolves from tanking their way into the bottom 10, which allows them to keep their pick (finishing out of the top 10 sends the pick to the Clippers).

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