A week ago, an A.P. article was run on Yahoo.com, detailing the need for Alexis Ajinca to step up this summer. Here is an exceprt:
A little-known Frenchman, Ajinca arrived not ready physically or mentally to play consistently. He appeared in 31 games as a rookie-mostly getting pushed around in the paint-and had a stint in the NBA Development League before spending the beginning of the summer trying out for the French national team.
Brown went over to watch, and didn't like what he saw.
"I could have strangled him watching him," Brown said before last season. "I was going there to drink the wine and eat the food and enjoy myself. After watching him, nothing tastes good. ... He showed no interest in making their team or playing hard."
So, yeah, that's not great.
The Charlotte Observer discussed some things learned in Bobcats summer league play already, including some notes about Ajinca.
He's gained some weight, but obviously he still isn't strong and bulky enough to hold his ground in the lane. And often his reaction time seems slow. As good an athlete as he is for his size, basketball doesn't come naturally to him at the NBA level.
There are more optimistic pieces out there, including a few positive notes from D-League Digest:
But the longer Ajinca has been with the Claws, the more we have seen him look to establish himself in the post for some hooks and baby jumpers as well as several power moves to the bucket and finishes off lobs. I've been impressed more than anything else in the progress of his philosophy at the offensive end.
Some comments from Draft Express:
Offensively, Ajinca flashed the talent that made him the 20th overall pick in 2008, but struggled at times as well. In his first game he finished with 5 turnovers and just 11 points, apparently playing through a minor illness. He came back strong a day later, finishing with 21 points on 9-14 from the field.
While the results of the second game were far more impressive, Ajinca made some impressive moves in both, including an essentially unblockable hook shot from the right block in the first and a pair of smooth face up drives in the second. Possessing excellent touch, Ajinca was able to overcome his lack of physical strength and toughness at times, but is still very much a work in progress as a player on both ends.
As Maurice mentioned, this is a very raw player. The Mavericks must see the talent as a real payoff if the light can come on. He is just 21.
Finally, a couple of videos: