Recap: NBA D-League All-Star Game

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HOUSTON, TX — If an NBA scout or GM wanted to evaluate talent for the NBA level, the NBA D-League All Star Game certainly wasn’t the best indicator of a player’s future success.

There wasn’t much, if any, defense being played and the game was so nonchalant

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Gibson Column: DaJuan Summers Left To Fry Under Tuscan Sun

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BARCELONA — Somewhere in Tuscany, DaJuan Summers is negotiating a buyout with Montepaschi Siena after playing only four games.

Between the offers, counter offers and number crunching, I hope both sides can put down their pens long enough to look at each other and ask: What were we thinking?

On the one hand you’ve got Siena, fresh off a Euroleague Final Four appearance as well an Italian Championship, their sixth in as many years. On the other, DaJuan Summers, a 23-year-old whose physical gifts far outweigh any sprinkling of success he’s seen in an uneventful two years with the Detroit Pistons.

However, with the departure of Malik Hairston, Montepaschi needed a scorer; and with the departure of the NBA, DaJuan needed a job. So they ignored the blaring sirens of incompatibility, covered their ears and partnered up.

But when you’re an elite team whose only real need is a shot maker on the perimeter, your big acquisition is supposed to make shots on the perimeter. Instead of encouragement (“You’ll hit the next one, DaJuan!”), it’s an ultimatum (“You better hit the next one, DaJuan.”).

There’s no room for slumps or mental lapses on a club that views losing as a sickness. Once the staff identifies the cause of the infection, they’ll cut it out. Out of the starting lineup, out of the rotation, or out of the team’s plans altogether.

Such was Summers’ fate, and now he’s picking up the pieces of his four-month, four (real) game European career.  In an interview with Yahoo! Sports’ Marc Spears, Summers said he noticed his first “red flag” when the regular season started and his minutes took a dip.

“In the preseason I was playing close to 30 minutes every game,” Summers told Spears. “But when the real games started I was getting 14, 15, 16 minutes. It was weird. I couldn’t understand it.”

Gibson column: Euroleague Preview

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By Nick Gibson of EuroleagueAdventures.com

Kevin Durant doesn’t seem too keen on spending his lockout overseas. Dwight Howard says he has a soft spot for China, but that’s what Dwight Howard does: says things. And though self-proclaimed Europhile Kobe Bryant has entertained overtures from Italian and Turkish squads (Chinese, too), not even the Black Mamba has inked a deal that would keep him busy while the NBA plays its games in conference rooms instead of on basketball courts.

So no, we haven’t seen the exodus of superstars predicted when Deron Williams left New Jersey for the Turkish club, Besiktas, back in early July. (Besiktas, by the way, did not qualify for the Euroleague, the continent’s most prestigious competition.)

Nonetheless, Europe has taken a generous gulp out of the NBA’s talent pool, skipping past the maxed-out megastars and targeting the league’s working class.

Jim Gray didn’t hold our hands through Alonzo Gee’s decision to leave the Cavaliers for Gdynia, Poland. There was no harshly worded letter in Comic Sans, or any other font, attacking his character. The citizens of Cleveland haven’t set the city ablaze with his #33 jersey, and Alonzo hasn’t had to respond in the third person to rationalize his move to Asseco Prokom.

But the Polish champions got themselves a starting small forward.

Likewise, the Pistons without DaJuan Summers will still be the Pistons. And Hornets fans aren’t canceling their season tickets in a fit of rage just because David Andersen fled New Orleans, taking his 2.7 ppg with him.

But Montepaschi Siena just took a Euroleague Final Four team and made it scarier. Winners of five straight Italian championships, these moves might have ensured a sixth.

Andersen is a three-time Euroleague champion (only Sarunas Jaskevicius has more among active players, with four) and Summers fills a void left by Malik Hairston’s defection to Milano. Add EuroBasket hero Bo McCalebb at the point, and you’ve got yourself a contender for a repeat appearance in the Final Four, which will be held in Istanbul in 2012.