Thursday, July 10, 2008

Chalmers Continues Strong Summer League As Heat Lose

I think the question deserves to be asked, albeit at this extremely early stage of their NBA careers - was Mario Chalmers, not Michael Beasley, the real gem of the 2008 Draft?

The reason I ask is because, in Wednesday's loss to Indiana in the Orlando Pro Summer League, the Heat's Chalmers showed why he is a legitimate contender for the team's starting point guard job. He did have 7 turnovers, but this was a vast departure from his comparatively error-free Monday and Tuesday efforts. Super Mario finished with 23 points and 6 assist in the 95-84 loss to the Pacers. What has impressed (and surprised) is Chalmers emerging point guard talent - he drives to the basket hard (he finished 17 of 17 from the foul line in yesterday's game), he creates opportunities for other people (averaging 7 assists a game in summer league is pretty remarkable for someone who wasn't considered a true point guard coming out of college), and he's a shut-down defender. His stat line for the tournament reads thus far: 17.7 points, 7 assists, and 2.7 steals per game. He already outplayed Rose (and it wasn't even close). Thursday, he gets the chance to face fourth overall pick Russell Westbrook as the Heat take on Oklahoma City.

For Beasley's part, he posted 17 points and 8 rebounds, but hardly made a significant dent in the game. This is a positive development if we're looking at silver linings - when you score 17 points and grab 8 boards in an "off" night, you're probably an exceedingly special talent. Beasley was virtuoso on Monday, and quite pedestrian on Tuesday and Wednesday. Chalmers has been masterful in many different ways in all three games. Advantage Chalmers for now, advantage Heat in the long run for nabbing two players with such glaring promise.

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