Bynum's Defense Shows Improvement in Pickup Weds.

The team was pretty much complete today for the pickup game sessions at McKale Center. One freshman didn't play because of an injured knee and one veteran chose to play only briefly. Otherwise, there were some very good signs from some returning sophomores that highlighted Wednesday's action.

8/28 pickup Box Score:
Salim Stoudamire-34 points, 3 rebs, 1 ast, 2 stls (15-24 FG; 4-11 3s)
Will Bynum-29 pts, 3 rebs, 8 asts, 2 stls (13-22; 3-7)
Isaiah Fox-22 pts, 10 rebs, 1 ast, 1 stl (11-16)
Dennis Latimore-20 pts, 12 rebs, 1 ast, 1 blk (10-18; 0-2)
Chris Rodgers-17 pts, 3 rebs, 4 asts, 2 stls, 1 blk (8-19; 1-3)
Andre Iguodala-16 pts, 6 rebs, 1 ast, 3 stls (7-7; 2-2) three dunks.
Jason Gardner-16 pts, 7 rebs, 6 asts, 2 stls (7-20; 2-6)
Channing Frye-14 pts, 8 rebs, 1 blk (7-11)
Hassan Adams-14 pts, 3 rebs, 1 ast, 4 stls (7-12; 0-1) four dunks.
Luke Walton-11 pts, 10 rebs, 10 asts, 2 blks (5-10; 1-1)
Rick Anderson-2 pts, 4 rebs, 1 ast, 1 blk (1-2) limited action.

Most Impressive Players:
*Of everyone that played in Wednesday's pickup game session, Will Bynum stuck out the most. And not for the reasons one would normally think of when associating "Bynum" and "pickup game" together either. Will "the Thrill" showed much improved defensive skills and gave Jason Gardner fits all afternoon. It is clear that he must have worked on lateral quickness and anticipation in the offseason, because now Bynum can stay in front of his man a lot better. Of course, we'll see if he continues to do so once practice and real games begin. Offensively, Bynum showcased his textbook jumper and soft touch while creating his own scoring opportunities. He passed the ball well, handled the ball well and ran his team with confidence. Basically, Will Bynum really looked like a guy who could spell Gardner at the point if need be. Much more so than he did a year ago.

*Andre Iguodala and Hassan Adams arrived late after finishing up some classes, but once Iguodala got into the game he once again proved that he is someone who will make things happen almost immediately. Iggy made all seven shots he took, including two nice-looking threes, and also hit nice mid-range jumpers and had three very impressive dunks. His length is such an advantage for him defensively that he should get at least one steal per game just because ofhis wingspan. Andre's real strength is on the glass, where once he gets the ball, he forces the action down court for transition opportunities. Can't say enough about this kid. Pickup or not, he is the real deal and he will make a difference from Day One this season.

*Salim Stoudamire looks like he put on some muscle in his upper and lower body. What was once a skinny high school kid from Lake Oswego has now become a chiseled young man solid all the way around. He showed Adams and Iguodala who the real number one on-the-ball defender was today as well. If Adams and Iggy attack the ballhandler, I don't know what to call whatever it is Salim does (assault, maybe?). He played tremendous defense this afternoon and he also showed everyone in attendance that he hasn't lost his touch on his shot either when he made 15 field goals in 24 attempts. More impressive than his outside shot, however, was his consistent ability to take his man to the hole and finish difficult shots at the rim. After a very successful first year that saw him earn Pac-10 Freshman of the Year honors, Stoudamire is a cagey veteran now and he acts and plays like it.

*Dennis Latimore's game has really evolved into something that might soon become flat out scary. He still has a problem with keeping the ball too low in the paint and he hesitates a little too much when he gets the ball, but when he does decide that he's going to score, not many people can stop him. He's too strong and too athletic for most defenders to handle. You can really tell when he's "just playing" instead of analyzing every part of the game. On the offensive glass is where he's most dangerous. When he puts everything together, he'll be more than good, he'll be dominant. But how long that takes is anyone's guess. It's up to him.

*Luke Walton had a triple-double. Oh and in a related story, the A's won again last night. Ho hum.

*Isaiah Fox was very impressive with his jumper today and his moves around the hoop also. He consistently buried q 16 to 18-footer that was very pretty and with plenty of backspin. I really like his post moves. He made some people look silly guarding him at times. He also added ten boards and played aggressive defense on both Latimore and Walton.

Other Notes:
*Freshman forward Chris Dunn sat out the day's games with a banged up right knee. He appeared on the floor very briefly before the games started but had an icepack taped around his knee and then wasn't seen again. The injury is very minor in nature, though.

*Chris Rodgers, another freshman, seemed out of sorts today. He did a much, much better job of taking the ball to the hole for scores but he struggled with certain situations where he probably should have passed the ball instead of going for the score. He had Hassan Adams WIDE open for a transition alley-oop but decided to try and go over Luke Walton himself and got his shot blocked. Adams did not look happy. In fact, he sat down for a minute to compose himself…and then went back out and had one of the most emphatic alley-oop dunks in recent memory off of a long pass from Gardner. Adams expressed his frustration by yelling as he hung on the rim.

*Rick Anderson has definitely put on some muscle, most notably in his arms, but he isn't cut the way Bynum, Stoudamire and even Walton are. It's still a good thing that he added bulk though. He only played for about five minutes today and it seemed as though he was frustrated from not getting the ball very much from his teammates in the afternoon's first game. No one would pass him the ball. He sat out the remainder of the day and wasn't seen again. He has also dyed his hair blonde once again.

*Most impressive thing about today's session:
--Will Bynum's defense on Jason Gardner. The sophomore from Chicago harassed the three-time All-American all day long and more than held his own in all of the other areas as well, outscoring Gardner 29-16 and handing out eight assists to JG's six. Not bad for a guy many thought would transfer this offseason.

--Walton's team didn't lose one game all day.


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