The wind of chill. Losing streak and first losing week for the Drive, but there are still numerous hot things to watch

Fifth week of Grand Rapids Drive basketball started with "west coast swing". The Drive played in Salt Lake City with the Stars, and in LA with the South Bay Lakers. And boy it’s pretty cold in this regions of the US this time of a year. The Drive was playing without Louis and Sekou and sometimes was lacking firepower which resulted in two L. Thus our boys cut the trip and come back home to the sunny state of Michigan, where they were awaited by thousands of loyal fans closely registering their every move. At home they were joined by the two forwards and right away put an end to their losing streak by convincingly winning with Nick Ward’s College Park Skyhawks. Unfortunately, too frequent changes of climate combined with most games played in the entire league took its toll on the team. The Drive lost the last game of the week thus putting first losing week of their season.

The games played without Louis and Sekou give a chance to look closer at other interesting players on the roster. So after discussing our big fishes, who still are on fire, we turn to them, because they can be hot, too.

So Jordan was the only member of the "big three" that played in all games. And he was his usual self, even though in the first game he looked a little bit tired and was doing some unusual mistakes in first two games of the week on offense. This "usual self" still included some errors on defense and bunches of good to great plays, like these drives, passes (in which he shows, among others, growing proficiency in assisting, in various kinds of ways, off of P&Rs), triples (also in variety of types) or other jumpers and solid on ball defense. Jordan put again big numbers, averaging 20,8 PPG on 44,2 FG% and 41,4 3P%, with 5,5 RPG, 9,5 APG and 4,25 TOs. He looks very confident running the team, but needs some additional help to win games.

Sekou played in two games last week and was goooood. His numbers for the week: 19,5 PPG on 51,9 FG% including making 8 of 17 triples!!! He added 5,5 RPG but also committed 9 TOs. He again showed some nice drives, his step back jumper and his ability to pass the ball. But the story of his week were the threes – let me repeat, he was making 4 triples per game on almost 50% accuracy!!! – and two halves of Sekou. As regards the latter, I’ve pointed a few times that Sekou have moments in which he displays lack of urgency and determination. This is how it looked like in the first half of his first game of the discussed week. In that half, he was 2 from 8 from the field including 1 from 5 from tripleland. In the second half of the very same game he also showed what he look like when he plays with sense of urgency and purpose. In first parts of the third quarter of the game, Drive was down by 18 points. It’s when Sekou decided to turn on the NOS mode. And this is how he looks in full speed on offense, scoring 13 points in 3 minutes, and on defense.

Louis was camming back from minor injury. But he was able to make some nice plays on defense, where he also showed good communication skills. His offense didn’t lag behind his defense: he showed again some handsome drives and another sweet examples of his growing ability to create for others. But also for him the story of the week was his three ball. He made 6 of 10 triples, though he was less efficient from inside the arc.

It seems that Donta has become legit member of Drive’s "big fishes" core. It’s not only that he show great hustle on boards. It’s not only that he can be part of nice two men game (we’ve already seen plenty of examples of his P&R game earlier). It’s not only that he can run fast in transition. It’s not only that he can protect the rim with monstrous blocks, guard in the paint or against P&Rs. It’s not even only that it’s turn out that he can make great passes. The man started dunking over people!!! He makes sometimes little mistakes, but it’s looks like he’s on a mission to become a Montrezl Harrell type of backup center for the Pistons. His numbers for the season, as his play, looks very directing: 13,7 PPG on 72,4 TS%, 10,6 RPG, 1,7 BPG and 1 SPG.

Like I said the two games absence of Louis and Sekou provided the opportunity to see some depth of the Drive. We already know that Craig Sword is an interesting two-way wing prospect, even though he has some problems behind the arc and with decision making. And we already know that Todd Withers is another interesting two-way wing prospect, who also needs to work on his three ball (he connects on only 28,8% of his three points attempts). We were reminded that Dakarai Allen, who showed some flashes of solid combo guard in first game, but then lost his starting gig and with it some of his confidence, still can make plays. But now we also know that Pe’shon Howard is a solid Kalin Lucas type of guard (a little bit bulkier) who plays solid basketball. As well as that Khalil Iverson looks like a prospect of solid small forward who can make power plays on both sides of the floor.

We also can’t walk by another examples of Donnie Tyndall’s good coaching job. Namely these instances of ball movement, this cleverly organized trap defense and this P&R blitzing and following defensive rotations.

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