Garuba departs from far behind

The preseason in the NBA is over. The next game, the next game, will be the opening of the 2021-22 season, the one that the champion, Milwaukee Bucks, will play on his court against the Brooklyn Nets next Tuesday. Next, the Lakers will host the Golden State Warriors at the Staples.

On the last day of testing, of matches blank, The Houston Rockets was swept away by the San Antonio Spurs (126-98) and closed their preseason with a single victory (in their first game, against the Wizards) and three losses, all three in a row. The Spurs relied on the trio Dejounte Murray (20 points, 7 rebounds, 7 assists), Derrick White (20 + 4 + 6) and Keldon Johnson (12 + 5 + 3) to prevail without any hurry (65-49 at halftime ) to the rookie Rockets, a team whose coach, Stephen Silas, has already has warned that the keyword for this season is patience. After being the worst team last season (17-55) it has added four 19-year-old rookies: Jalen Green (number 2 in the draft and the new hope), Alperen Sengun (16), Usman Garuba (23) and josh Christopher (24).

There will be no miracles in Texas, where rebuilding will take time. But the preseason has shown where each of those young people is. Green is the new franchise player, he will start and will have all the minutes he needs. Although it will be a problem his youth and that of whom he is intended to be his companion backcourt, Kevin Porter Jr (21). Against the Spurs, the first one had 16 points with a 4/12 in shots and the second, another 16 with a 6/20. Between the two, 2/11 in triples for a team that has repeated the same problems in each game: inexperience, defensive weakness, poor outside aim and many losses (see the first point: inexperience).

As for the others newbies, the hierarchy also seems clear, at least for the first weeks of competition. The Turk Sengun is going to play a lot. Silas has praised his ability in attack despite his youth (“He passes from the post, scores on the inside … surely he will play more than I expected a few weeks ago”) and, without Daniel Theis, against the Spurs he placed him as a starter next to the formidable (19 points, 19 rebounds ) Christian Wood. And Sengun fulfilled: 15 + 12 in 25 minutes. And later, a Christopher who will try to leave his impact in attack when he has minutes and un Garuba that it seems clear, for now, that he will have no place in the rotation. Not a fixed one.

That’s what it all points to: the Spanish did not have enough minutes. Theis loss did not open more and stayed at 5, again when Silas emptied the bottom of the bench, in the final minutes. He missed his only triple and caught a rebound. In the preseason he has played just over 30 total minutes (7.5 on average), with 1.7 points and 1.5 rebounds and only 8 total shots (3/8). The fact that Silas has not tested him with more minutes and in quintets with more headlines points in the direction that the Houston press has already moved after the Summer Leagues: the normal thing is that Garuba has to spend important sections of the season in the Development League. Yes, Silas has praised him: “He has been solid in defense, he is a pivot that we can use when we play with small quintets, he does different things well.”

The Dream Shake, One of the main blogs dedicated to the Rockets also points to Rio Grande Valley Vipers, the Rockets’ team in the Development League, as an inevitable step for Garuba: “How long is he going to be with the Rockets? The one that you hoped could have an immediate impact, that lowers your expectations. He is working on his shot of three, if in attack he is not able to open the court for his teammates, his opportunities will be very limited ”.

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The probable reality for Santi Aldama

The Grizzlies, who were a playoff team last season after upsetting the Golden State Warriors in the play in (and in San Francisco), they also closed their preseason with defeat (118-105 against the intractable Bulls), but with better sensations at a much higher and established competitive point: 3 wins and 3 losses in six games. The most interesting thing about this last game is that Taylor Jenkins, coach of Tennessee, wanted to do something similar to a real experiment, already with the starters in their most normal minute regime. That he settled the rotation in something more similar to what we are going to see in the regular season, and reduced the minutes of Santi Aldama. The Spanish played 5 and scored 2 points. In preseason he has shown touches of the reasons why he may end up having a hole in his team’s rotation, although it will hardly come from the beginning and regularly.

For the rest, the best news for the Grizzlies has been the excellent staging of Jaren Jackson Jr, who seems ready to take the step forward that, burdened by injuries and some recurring problems, has not been able to give until now: 29 points and 7 rebounds with a 7/12 in triples against the Bulls and, in preseason, 18 + 7.3 and 48% in triples shooting more than seven per night. The Bulls, for their part, have shown that they will be one of the funniest teams in the East and that they are ready to fight for the playoffs with the trio Zach LaVine (31 points, 6 rebounds, 6 assists), Nikola Vucevic (23 + 8 ) and DeMar DeRozan (19`4). Four wins and no losses for those of the Windy City at the gates of its most exciting season in recent years.

Luka Doncic doesn’t play, Stephen Curry does

Of the rest of the closing day of the preseason, another triumph (4-0 final) of some Mavericks stood out who have declared the state of optimism and that they beat the champion, the Bucks (103-114) although they did not play Luka Doncic, Kristaps Porzingis and Tim Hardaway Jr. Jalen Brunson (17 + 6 + 5) and the questioned Trey Burke (14 + 5 + 3) were the best at home to Giannis Antetokounmpo (26 + 10 in 25 minutes).

Ricky Rubio played less than 10 minutes for some Cavs who dosed their minutes a lot and won in Indiana (94-110). The Spanish added 4 points and 3 assists. And Juancho Hernangómez was on the track more than 19 in the incontestable defeat of the Boston Celtics (121-100) against the Heat (5-1 final) who look excellent after their mediocre last season. Juancho did not score, he missed the two triples he tried and captured 3 rebounds.

The last Show The preseason was put by Stephen Curry, whose Warriors finish 5-0 after beating (119-107) a Blazers who have not won (0-4) and who did not have Damian Lillard. CJ McCollum (26 points, 4 assist) did what he could, but the night was basically an exhibition made in curry: in 30 minutes the point guard scored 41 points with a 7/14 in triples. After his extraordinary last season, he arrives packed to this one too, hoping now that the team will accompany more.

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