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Old 04-13-2009, 07:36 PM   #10
NBA sixth man of the year
Thorpesaurous's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 7,751
Default Re: Portsmouth Invitational Tournament

Wesley Matthews showed off his total package of skills today, doing a great job of playing within his team’s offense while still finding a plethora of opportunities to score for his team. Matthews’ constant motion off the ball and ability to recognize how to attack seams in the defense is very impressive, and he takes full advantage of it with strong drives to the lane and finishes at the basket. Matthews is looking a bit more athletic with the ball than we expected, having at least adequate athleticism for the NBA with his playing style, going strong to the whole while angling his body well to protect the ball.

Matthews’ ball-handling has been a mixed bag, at time showing impressive crossover drives while attacking the basket in either direction, but at others he’s struggled to maintain his handle, specifically in traffic where he is prone to lose control.

Matthews did a good job in other areas as well, showing very good court vision and decision-making ability while dishing out quite a few smart passes. His outside shot wasn’t falling today, though he didn’t force the issue with it, instead taking advantage of his slashing game as aforementioned. On the defensive end, Matthews played his usual tough defense, stifling the likes of Ryan Toolson.

I've mentioned on the college board too, but I love Matthews. He's a great player. He's really one of those do a little bit of everything type of guys. When James got hurt, this guy took over so much responsibility. Much moreso than his teammate, Jerel McNeal, who's a better scorer, and seemed to draw more media attention because of it. But Matthews seemed to be asked to take the bigger shots. He's a really good rebounder at his size. A very good defender both inside and out. And his ball handling, while apparently not sharp here, looked good to me. He was asked to initiate a lot offense down the stretch last year. I actually fear his all around game won't play in the NBA. He won't be a star, and he's not good enough at any one thing to be a true role player. I hope he sticks, but he may wind up an overseas star. He reminds me a little of Ryan Gomes, but he's not quite as good a shooter.

-Ahmad Nivins had a much better performance today with 17 points, 11 rebounds, 3 blocks, and 2 steals, abusing opposing bigs Bamba Fall and Men McCauley, who were simply no match for his physicality and size. Nivins scored on a lot of simple moves, cutting to the basket, sealing his man beneath the rim, or finishing on the pick-and-roll, getting off a lot of high-percentage lay-ups even though he played quite below the rim. Today he matches with Marcus Cousin and Tony Gaffney, so it’ll be interesting to see if he can still perform in the lane against more formidable defenders, something that has always been a question mark due to his average athleticism.

I love hearing about Niven's because it reminds me of a very good book, The Miracle of St. Anthony's, about Bob Hurley's last perfect season, with a team of misfit pieces of whom none were big prospects. A sophomore Niven's was probably the best of the bunch. A great read though.

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