Originally Posted by thesciencedroppa
So, I watched the game a couple times, and I decided to over-analyze it. While watching the game the first time, Jawai looked tried and lost. Looked better the second time around, but here's my take on his performance.
First off, Jawai looked as tall or taller than everybody he was matched up against, and certainly bigger and stronger. The biggest wannabe Nugget was listed at 6'9 and 255, so Nate's advertised 6'10 may be true. The screen was super small, but I think we can say he's at least 6'9 and 265 and probably bigger. He's big enough to play center in the NBA. Forget about Maxiell and Turiaf, he's bigger than those guys.
Clearly not in peak game shape, as he was tugging his shorts most of the time, but he did show energy in bursts at all points of the game, suggesting he was taking it easy as well as being in his best form. Quite understandable with a groin issue. His most athletic play came with 3:32 left in the game, and he was moving most of the time he was out there, especially on D. If anything, it looked like he was saving energy for D.
This guy has pretty good feet, and got up and down the court pretty well for a guy his size. He hedged out on pick and rolls very far and very quickly a couple times chasing guys waaaay farther out than they wanted to be and then recovered pretty well. He did get called for a foul on one of those hedges. He got blown by once on the perimeter, by the 6'8 230lb (no way) Mike Hall. Understandable. He got off his feet pretty well too, I think the scorekeeper robbed him of at least two blocks in the first half and he at least altered a couple more. On his most impressive play, his put-back slam attempt, he got his head up above where the mesh straightens out and grabbed the rebound with his left hand and tried to throw it down. Watched it a few times- pretty impressive stuff, again when you consider his size and condition.
Nathan looked very comfortable on offense without the ball. He looked to post up nearly every possession, except when he was asked to set picks or start in the high post, and he usually got his man on his hip and got pretty low when he posted. This often resulted in him pinning his man under the hoop when he didn't get the ball, which was most of the time, or he was in a position to attempt to grab the offensive board. He only got one offensive board, but had a couple of dubious fouls called on him while he was going for them. He most always took his man right out of the play when he was posting, he was usually leaning on somebody on both ends, using his size the whole time. He didn't really get yelled at much on offense during set plays, he seemed to be where he was supposed to be, set good picks and had his eye on the ball the whole time. He only got yelled at to get in position faster.
When he did get the ball on the block, he showed excellent patience and made a couple of nice, crisp passes to the perimeter out of double teams- looks like he's used to being doubled, no hint of panic at all. He did try and split the double once and got stripped while attacking, but that was one of many dicey calls and no-calls that went against him. It should be noted he didn't get a good entry pass all game to lead him into a move, and he barely got the ball in the second half as it looked like they stopped calling plays entirely after the first minute or two. It turned into a guard free-for-all. He set a couple of picks and hustled up and down the court most of the time, but he really didn't get the ball at all and looked like he was really tired or coasting at times. It wasn't his kind of game because it wasn't really basketball. Seemed like the guards were desperate to show their scoring skills, but if they had just kept throwing the ball into Nate they would've gotten better looks and helped their cases much more. Just a high paced, turnover-filled mess.
Jawai's one bucket came off a pump-fake to layup which came off the end of a double turnover, which started with a pass intended for him in the low post getting intercepted. Nate immediately ran down the court to his own foul line, until the ball was intercepted by his own team, at which point Nate about-faced, ran back down to the low block ahead of the play and scored. Looking at the clock, he ran for about 10 seconds straight by my count and covered a court and a half. Probably the only reason he didn't throw it down instead of laying it in.
Generally, his awareness and comfort level on offense looked very good. Encouraging. He took two free throws, and his form looked OK. He missed the first and there was a botched lane violation charge on the second which resulted in a jump -ball at halfcourt. I didn't see him attempt a jumper.
His on-ball post defense is tough to comment on, nobody really posted him up or tried to go at him down low. He wasn't giving any space, but nobody really challenged him. He did get taken on the perimeter by a much smaller player, but that's about for him getting beat straight up. He got beat on a 2-on-1 underneath by a pass-off, but that's fine. At least he didn't give up an and-1. We'll have to wait until he plays a low-post big to see what he can do on the ball down low.
As for team defense, he was rotating well in man-man, always guarding somebody and hustling, again leaning on guys when he could. Didn't grab many boards, only 3 defensive, but he took his man out of the play most every time and cleared space for Giles or Akindele to grab the board. Again, he looked comfortable if not in shape. He did sail in for one defensive board after rotating well, and immediately turned around and whipped a great outlet pass to halfcourt which was relayed up to a cutter in the paint and converted for a bucket. The play took about 2 seconds. The Raps played a bit of zone, and he had his head on a swivel while being sure to clear the paint on his side. He doesn't look like an amazing help shot-blocker, but he didn't take many chances either. I do think he got a piece of a couple, and when he wasn't trying to help he was guarding somebody. He wasn't caught in no-man's land once, I don't think.
Overall, I'd say he showed better defensive awareness than a certain #1 pick has shown yet, and his size will let him guard bigger Cs. I really love that he was leaning on people most of the game, that's what smart bigs do when even they're tired as it takes little energy and it wears people down. His fouls were mostly BS, 3 on offensive rebound attempts and two cheapie-no-calls on the floor if I remember correctly. He wasn't getting beat or using his hands too much, and he wasn't slow to react on rotations. Again, encouraging.
One Summer League game, sure, but he looks like a player despite his numbers. What did you guys see?