I wasn't around for the game chat, but I didn't see much discussion here on what we saw out of Mullens last night. I posted this on the front page, but was curious to see other's thoughts on the flashes he showed of a more versatile, well-rounded game:
If Mullens can further develop his post game, and learns how to strike the proper balance in shooting from deep and attacking the basket, then with his size and athleticism, I think he could be quite a load to handle. I know it may be too much to read into one game, but he at least showed the aptitude to do more than just shoot.Well this game was pretty much the Byron Mullens show. You can’t really have a coming out party during the summer league, as there have been plenty of other high scoring games by summer scrubs you never hear from again. But in this instance, we started to see many different looks from Mullens that aren’t too familiar to us, outside of when he gets into “Pop-A-Shot” mode from the 3-point line.
I think this was a perfect example of seeing Mike Dunlap’s coaching influence on the players. Whereas the previous games may have been less structured in order for the team to get their feet wet, this game seemed to rein in Mullens deep-heaving propensity, and started to reveal a more versatile repertoire that we’ve all been begging for since the Bobcats acquired him.
Mullens started out shooting from deep a couple times, and was able to hit early on. But instead of being satisfied and settling to keep shooting outside, he started to become more aggressive. After faking a pass on the perimeter, he drove hard to the basket, drew a foul, and hit a 15 foot floater. Then he started to post up on the block, where he showed nice footwork and the ability to get a couple hook shots off. He also received the ball at the medium post, and was able to maneuver his way into scoring position for another and 1 basket.
Another aspect of Mullens’ aggressiveness was his work on the offensive boards. He was able to beat his man to position several times, and used some strength and athleticism to gather the boards and finish through contact for a couple buckets. He also was able to tip the ball a couple times when he couldn’t corral it himself, keeping some plays alive for others to finish. This shows that he wasn’t just lazily standing around the perimeter waiting for the chance to launch another three, but that he was actually aware of what was happening on offense and figured out how to get the right spots. Very promising.
Another criticism of Mullens’ game in the past was him not running the floor hard in transition. He often was seen just trotting down the court, or trailing the ball handler and spotting up at the top of the key for a three. But tonight, I saw several times where he made it a point just to get down the floor into the lane, and on one such occasion, he was rewarded with a nice bounce pass from Jeff Taylor for a slam.
One of the most surprising, and promising looks Mullens’ revealed was on the defensive side. He actually has all the intangibles to be a very good defender, from good lateral quickness, footspeed, long arms, and jumping ability. He just has shown no awareness or understanding as to whats supposed to happen on that side of the ball. Today, I felt he was able to show his quick feet in showing out on the perimeter during pick and roll situations to prevent the guard from turning the corner. Although he didn’t get many blocks, he stayed disciplined and at home in the post instead of losing his man and allowing easy buckets.
And most shockingly, he dove into press row attempting a steal. Let me repeat, Byron Mullens reacted swiftly and decisively on a ball and knocked it out of bounds, then leaped to try to save the ball inbounds. I don’t recall any such effort from him before, or ever sacrificing his body in such a way. Then he again went for a steal off a trap a couple minutes later, knocking the ball out of bounds. I think Coach Dunlap has finally reached Mullens, and if he can develop all the tools he possesses, the Bobcats have an incredible weapon.
I think (hope) a lot of this transformation has to do with Dunlap's strong dedication to the press defense. Once these guys get in shape, sprinting down the court is an afterthought, the fact that they are going from Offense to Defense or Defense to Offense is going to be forgotten. Why this is a result of the press defense is, that defense is only effective if the Bigs sprint back and provide safety relief for the players trapping.
Once Mully gets used to sprinting back to stop a shorter/quicker wing, he realizes he is a lot faster than the opposing Bigs and gets early position and easy baskets. I'm not sure if they watched the game videos as a teaching point, but I hope they did (at least portions of it to highlight things they did really well, and things they didn't do so well). Just think, a year a go, Mully was getting his instruction for guys that were locked in a prison cell all night, now he's got a real Coach that seems intent on making each and every player a better athlete, demanding they are in shape and building up their confidence.
a guy of his size playing at the 4 will be a rwal problem for the opposing Power foward because its a mismatch in size. I was impressed with him the other night becasue he didn't settle for 20ft jumpers, he was posting up and shooting hooks.
He just really needs to utilize his size. 7' 275lbs with range is rare. If he can put together an inside game during the season, he will be phenomenal.
In Cho I Trust
i hate to be a buzzkill, but there is far too much weight being put into these summer league "games". i would expect for us to win all of them. we are basically playing 4 of our 5 starters against other teams recently signed rookies and journeymen. we should be winning. way to early to be talking transformations, wins next year and player improvements from last year.
sure mullens had a really good game but just 2 games before that he was a completely different player, one who thought he was ray allen. kemba is still making all the same mistakes, can't make a pass to the roll man off a pick and roll to save his life and still can't hit an open jumper. but good lord is he fast. biz is still terribly raw and probably shouldn't start next year, well except for degenerate tyrus is the only other option. mkg is the first player i am legitimately excited about since crash 4 or 5 years ago, but he is going to have all sorts of trouble offensively.
hate to sound like dad in the drivers seat yelling at the kid's in the backseat to quiet down or i will have to stop the car, but let's temper things until at least after the preseason.
He will have his poor shooting nights but if he can find some consistency with posting up and getting to the rim he will be a solid player for us next season.
Everything I'm seeing and hearing from Dunlap is very encouraging. Mullens has been working his arse off for Dunlap, and seems to be a sponge; really getting it. Biyombo supposedly is being coached late at night by Dunlap on improving his FT's, as well as the team's regular practices.
Funny how players that bust their butts playing D start to improve other aspects of their game...
Mullens has the ability to average 16 PPG in the NBA and with Dunlap as his coach he might just do that. Players who just have ability don't get very far, you need to have work ethic and be dedicated to the sport if you want to be sucessfull and i think thats what Dunlap is doing with Mullens.
I definitely agree that you can't put too much stock in summer league games.These are basically glorified ymca scrimmages.But i will give paul silas credit for recognizing that mullens was much better off at the 4 and moving him there.Even late last season it was apparent that he has more confidence and is better suited at that spot.It's nice to see him working hard with the new staff and i hope it continues.But as they say, we won't know until the curtain drops and the lights go on for real!