Thabeet makes NBA debut in style

thabeet hawk

Hasheem Thabeet: Fashion icon?

Hasheem Thabeet sure knows how to make an entrance.

In the Grizzlies’ first Vegas Summer League game against the Thunder Sunday --the first of Thabeet's NBA career -- the No. 2 pick busted out this snazzy mohawk. Perhaps he was trying to hone his inner Kid from those zany "House Party" flicks, or maybe he caught a glimpse of how stylish new football recruit Yawin Smallwood looks, because at certain angles, it looks like Theebz is sporting a hi-top fade. Maybe Theo Huxtable is his barber.

Thabeet claims that his new "fro-hawk" was some early rookie hazing, but I wouldn't be so quick to dismiss the possibility that he's just a misunderstood fashion icon in the making. Us regular Joes don't just make up 24-letter words to describe their "swag."

Thabeet’s performance was also pretty snazzy. In 20 minutes, the big man scored nine points on 3-for-4 shooting, grabbed two boards and blocked one shot. The stats might not show much, but all the reports out of Vegas say that Thabeet’s presence on defense was felt in a big way.

From the L.A. Times:

"Thabeet is a barrier in the paint and will put a question mark or two in the shooters' psyche, as Oklahoma City shot 37% overall in his first pro game."

From ESPN.com’s TrueHoop blog:

"If you're the Grizzlies, Hasheem Thabeet's debut was encouraging. The Grizzlies haven't had a banger like Thabeet beneath the basket ... ever, really. He intimidated Serge Ibaka and anyone else on the Thunder who stepped foot into the paint. Will Thabeet be able to have that effect against a legitimate, veteran NBA center? If the answer is yes, Memphis will be an improved defensive squad in 2009-10, if nothing else."

Although it was against competition slightly better than what he faced in the NCAA and against a team that had just played five games in five days in Orlando, this is a promising sign that Thabeet’s defense can be just as effective in the L. Marcus Camby even told The Times he was impressed: "He's definitely going to be a dominant defensive force," Camby said.

The woyah also seems to be enjoying Vegas, not only because he’s getting more shuteye, but also because his Sunday performance was far better than anything he did with the Sixers/Nets co-op in Orlando.

Adrien scored 10 points and pulled down four rebounds in 17:33, all Summer League highs. He was also able to get to the line, where he was 6-for-8.

But out of the 56 UConn players on the Grizzlies, Marcus Williams clearly shined the most. In 28 minutes, the Puerto Rican All-Star Game MVP dished out 17 assists to go along with seven points. He shot just 33.3 percent from the field, but he had 17 ASSISTS.

I mean, I know crazy stat lines in summer league games don’t mean much, but it just shows how even after a few months away from the NBA, Williams is still a cut above most in Vegas. Just watching this clip (starts around the 60-second mark (UPDATE: Forgot to put the link in. Sorry!)) you can tell he has complete control on offense.

Still, as TrueHoop's Kevin Arnovitz points out, there were some Williamsian moments that remind you why he fell out of the league in the first place.

"It helps when Sam Young is nailing jumpers and Darrell Arthur is finishing with authority, but Williams simply controlled the game. ‘He did a great job getting into the paint,’ Memphis assistant Dave Joerger said. ‘We ran different pick-and-roll looks and he picked the defense apart.’ Williams is a frustrating player to figure out. His pure point skills are apparent almost every time he takes the floor. His court vision is otherworldly. But as selective as he is as a playmaker getting other guys nice looks, he takes a lot of iffy shots himself -- to say nothing of his defense, where he doesn't seem to care all that much."

I’d say that’s a pretty spot-on assessment.

Williams couldn’t break into the rotation for the Warriors, whose defensive philosophy was to let the other team score so they could get back on offense quicker.

But even in a five-second clip, it’s clear his other tools are good enough for the NBA. He needs to be on a roster somewhere next fall.

Hasheem Thabeet made his NBA debut in style.

In the Grizzlies’ first Vegas Summer League game against the Thunder Sunday, Thabeet busted out this snazzy Mohawk [LINK]. Perhaps he was trying to hone his inner Kid from those zany "House Party" flicks [LINK] or maybe he caught a glimpse of how stylish new football recruit Yawin Smallwood [LINK] looks, because at certain angles, it looks like Theebz is sporting a hi-top fade. Maybe Theo Huxtable is his barber.

Thabeet’s performance was also pretty snazzy. In 20 minutes, the big man scored nine points on 3-for-4 shooting, grabbed two boards and blocked one shot. The stats might not show much, but all the reports out of Vegas say that Thabeet’s presence on defense was felt in a big way.

From the Commercial Appeal: [LINK]

"Thabeet, 7-3, used his length and athleticism to force the opposition into hoisting wild shot after wild shot. […] Thabeet, though, altered a number of shots and played a large role in the Grizzlies holding the Thunder to just 37-percent shooting."

From ESPN.com’s TrueHoop blog: [LINK]

"If you're the Grizzlies, Hasheem Thabeet's debut was encouraging. The Grizzlies haven't had a banger like Thabeet beneath the basket ... ever, really. He intimidated Serge Ibaka and anyone else on the Thunder who stepped foot into the paint. Will Thabeet be able to have that effect against a legitimate, veteran NBA center? If the answer is yes, Memphis will be an improved defensive squad in 2009-10, if nothing else."

Although it was against competition slightly better than what he faced in the NCAA and against a team that had just played five games in five days in Orlando, this is a promising sign that Thabeet’s defense can be just as effective in the L.

The woyah also seems to be enjoying Vegas, not only because he’s getting more shuteye [LINK], but also because his Sunday performance was far better than anything he did with the Sixers/Nets co-op in Orlando.

Adrien scored 10 points and pulled down four rebounds in 17:33, all Summer League highs. He was also able to get to the line, where he was 6-for-8.

But out of the 56 UConn players on the Grizzlies, Marcus Williams clearly shined the most. In 28 minutes, the Puerto Rican All-Star Game MVP dished out 17 assists to go along with seven points. He shot just 33.3 percent from the field, but he had 17 ASSISTS.

I mean, I know crazy stat lines in summer league games don’t mean much, but it just shows how even after a few months away from the NBA, Williams is still a cut above most in Vegas. Just watching this clip (starts around the 60-second mark) you can tell he has complete control on offense.

Still, as Herny Abbott points out, there were some Williamsian moments that remind you why he fell out of the league in the first place.

"It helps when Sam Young is nailing jumpers and Darrell Arthur is finishing with authority, but Williams simply controlled the game. ‘He did a great job getting into the paint,’ Memphis assistant Dave Joerger said. ‘We ran different pick-and-roll looks and he picked the defense apart.’ Williams is a frustrating player to figure out. His pure point skills are apparent almost every time he takes the floor. His court vision is otherworldly. But as selective as he is as a playmaker getting other guys nice looks, he takes a lot of iffy shots himself -- to say nothing of his defense, where he doesn't seem to care all that much."

I’d say that’s a pretty spot-on assessment.

Williams couldn’t break into the rotation for the Warriors, whose defensive philosophy was to let the other team score so they could get back on offense quicker.

But even in a five-second clip, it’s clear his other tools are good enough for the NBA. He needs to be on a roster somewhere next fall.

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