Austin Daye

Summer League: A look at Daye, Ayres and Denmon after Game 1

The San Antonio Spurs’ Summer League overcame an early deficit to breeze by the Sacramento Kings 85-69 last night in Las Vegas. I took a look at three members of the squad, while Paul Garcia kept a close eye on Kyle Anderson and Bryce Cotton.

Austin Daye

Daye led the team with 14 points in the game, but they didn’t come easily. He especially struggled from deep, usually his strong suit, but we’ve seen Summer League shooting slumps before and some players have been quick to shake off bad games.

The most impressive part of Daye’s performance was that he showed he can rebound, picking up nine in the game. Daye said afterwards that he has pride in his rebounding and it’s one part of his game that is often overlooked.

Aside from that, Daye ventured outside of his normal repertoire in this first game, but he looked slow in the half court, especially while defending out on the perimeter, and he’s not especially comfortable with the ball in his hands, and can be turnover prone when being pressured. He also got into some foul trouble, but that’s not much of a problem in Summer League.

It was a bit odd to see Daye trying to create offense inside, but he seemed to do well on turnaround jumpers and using his height over shorter defenders. Defensively though, Daye had several players blow by him, only leaving him with the option of trying to swat the ball out of their hands as they went by. This may end up being the biggest issue, as he can have his hands full with athletics small forwards and stronger power forwards inside.

Jeff Ayres

Ayres put up 10 points, but he seemed to be out of position quite abit. He ended up finding his way on the perimeter often, chasing and doubling a preimeter player and leaving his man open at the rim or getting caught in a switch and getting crossed by a faster player.

Ayres, like Daye, also found himself in foul trouble, and was of little help on the boards, picking up only four rebounds.

Obviously, if there’s any chance to try to improve weak areas of your game, Summer League would be one opportunity, but Ayres could probably do better in game situations by sticking to his strengths and using his aggression around the rim.

Marcus Denmon

One thing is for sure. Marcus Denmon can penetrate and score. He also showed he can drive and dish when nothing opens up for him at the rim. He finished the game with 11 points and five assists. He’s a speedy guard and has strength for his size. He also has the ability to stop on a dime and pull up after he gets by his defender.

The lone weakness I saw in his game was that he needs to learn when to give up the ball. He can be a bit of a ball stopper and put an abrupt halt to whatever the offense is running by holding on far too long and forcing the offense. If he wants to have a show with a pass-heavy team like the Spurs, he’ll have to learn when to give it up. One thing that went through my mind was a video I watched recently of Kyle Anderson saying he only likes to keep the ball in his hands for a max of four seconds. If he didn’t have anything in that team, he passed it.

The Spurs offense is like gears and cogs always in motion, and when the Spurs have stopped the ball in the past, that’s when they run into problems. Denmon has always seemed like more of a tweener, and he’ll have to get that point guard mentality.

About Michael A. De Leon

Michael founded Project Spurs in 2004. He started The Spurscast, the first Spurs podcast on the Internet, in 2005. Michael has been interviewed by the BBC, SportTalk, the Sports Reporters Radio Show, MemphisSportLive, OKC Sports Wrap and ESPN radio among others. He is a credentialed member of the media for the San Antonio Spurs and Austin Toros. He is also the founder of Project Spurs' sister sites, Toros Nation and Stars Hoops.