The Danilo Barthel 2014 Summer League Experience Game By Game Review

Fraport Skyliner Danilo Barthel took part in the 2014 NBA Summer League in Orlando and Las Vegas. I take a look back at his experiences in both places from game to game.

Game one:

Around this time last year, Fraport Skyliner Danilo Barthel could have been taking part at his first German national team training camp at Kienbaum at the city limits of Berlin, but instead was quietly and as always 100% focused working diligently in humid uncomfortable gyms on getting totally healthy again as he had experienced extreme back problems towards the end of the 2012-2013 BBL season. If someone had whispered to him last summer that he would be playing in front of the eyes of Michigan legend Juwan Howard and Boston Celtic general manager and member of the historic 80s Celtic teams Danny Ainge , the decent and conservative German  probably would have told you to jump into the Neckar river flowing by his native city Heidelberg to cool off and get some common sense. However a year later on July 5th, 2014, Danilo Barthel made his NBA debut against the Boston Celtics even if it was only an NBA Summer League game. The basketball life of the 22 year old 207cm forward from the Fraport Skyliners has had a massive turn up the basketball scale in the last year. The only thing missing from a high striker commonly seen at a carnival and to have the bell at the top be rung would have been if the Fraport Skyliners had at least reached the playoffs, but injuries and not winning crunch time games disallowed the 2004 Beko BBL champion to reaching the promised land again since their last visit in 2011. However other than that, it was an amazing year for Danilo Barthel who went from 2012-2013 stats of  4.3ppg, 2.9rpg to stats of 11.3ppg, 4.9rpg, 1.4apg, FGP: 57.4%, 3PT: 31.1%, FT: 78.4% in 34 games in 2013-2014. Barthel had to take responsibility last season and did scoring in double figures in 21 games including a 25 point outburst in a biter 82-81 loss in Braunschweig. Barthel was a common fixture in the starting five of head coach Gordon Herbert and his season wasn´t a fluke as he was rewarded with All-German Bundesliga Most Improved Player, All-German Bundesliga Honorable Mention and German Bundesliga All-Domestic Players Team. If his extra ordinary good season warranted an automatic invitation to the NBA Summer League is hard to comment since there were a few other young Germans who also had good seasons like Daniel Theis and Elias Harris who also were invited. A main reason for Barthel being able to nip at NBA air is through the excellent work of scorers 1st Sportmangement for letting their contact prowess go to work. Not every player can go this luxury route as ex Tuebingen Tiger Michael Jenkins explains who played in Italy last season. “I’m not sure how it worked for everyone else, but for me I had to work my way onto this squad. I got invited to a 3 day free agent mini-camp the beginning of June. I played well enough there to get an invite to play in Orlando for the Brooklyn Nets

Instead of being in Berlin this July 4th weekend with his teammate Konstantin Klein and the German national team getting ready for 2014 European qualification games, he was in Orlando, Florida getting ready to take part in the 2014 Summer League with the Miami Heat that will also take him to Las Vegas after. If Barthel was able to catch some of the July 4th fire works at Lake Eola in downtown Orlando is unknown since he had to be ready for his NBA summer league debut on Saturday at 11am probably the earliest he had played a game since possibly youth basketball. Barthel had arrived in Miami a few days earlier and had the chance to practice with his temporary new teammates. Perhaps Barthel could of asked his friend Niels Giffey some advice on how to slow down a Shabazz Napier driving into the lane once he had beaten his man. Napier is the headlining name for the Miami Heat as he enters the NBA with two NCAA rings with UCONN and for the Boston Celtics it is Marcus Smart. The 2014 Miami Heat Summer League team is younger than most teams as there are guys like 2013 Atlanta Hawks draft pick James Ennis that looks like a young Patrick Flomo, Andre Dawkins from Duke or Tyler Honeycutt from UCLA. In his first NBA Summer League game, Barthel had very nameable young opponents like the two Boston Celtic 2014 first round draft picks Marcus Smart and James Young as well as guys like Chris Babb and Phil Pressey with NBA experience with the Boston Celtics. The most known player on the court was 2013 Boston Celtic first round draft pick Kelly Olynyk who was a freshman together with Bamberg forward Elias Harris at Gonzaga in 2009 is impossible not to notice on the court with his long blond hair and black head band and with his hair dyed black could have passed for ex Barthel teammate Dane Watts when observing him from behind on the fast break. Barthel wasn´t the only international player on the floor as the global flair was present with Dairis Bertans from Latvia and Nobel Boungou-Colo from the republic of the Congo.

Barthel made his 2014 NBA Summer League debut at the Orlando Magic training facility within the Amway center. It was the first game and with each team only having been together a few days, one couldn´t really expect much. Barthel entered the game for the first time near the end of the first quarter wearing #54 and sporting a full, but trim beard. One could sense quickly that the German wasn´t the main or second or even third scoring option in the Miami Heat offense, but what do you expect when you have the future of the Miami Heat Shabazz Napier running the offense. Barthel showed his proper team play qualities something he has shown in Frankfurt the last three years. On offense he did a good job moving without the ball, setting picks, grabbing key rebounds and finding the better positioned man. His first big play wasn´t a dunk or shot, but a mega block on Marcus Smart. This was possibly the first moment where assistant for player development for the Miami Heat Juwan Howard must of noticed that there are white men that can jump. In the NBA Summer League players obviously also want to display their individual skills and Barthel couldn´t hold back as he drove to the hoop as well, but put up an air ball in the second quarter. After hardly playing in the second quarter, the German returned in the third quarter and played more than half of the quarter and hit his first field goal in the NBA Summer League hitting a high rainbow from behind the top of the key something he does with regularity in the Beko BBL. An inspiring thing to see was that he didn´t hesitate from firing as he did every so often last season with the Fraport Skyliners, but shot upon arrival something he may have taken from the game of ex NBA player sniper Andrew Rautins who could hit from any corner of the building and who played four months with the German last season before getting injured. Barthel also missed a few more shots that quarter He came in in the last minute of the fourth quarter where the game was as good as decided. One noticed that Barthel got no post up assignments, but was mostly hovering around the three point line. There were also at times where he just didn´t get the ball at all in the offensive sets. The Summer League is a short period, so the German won´t have much time to get more noticed with stellar play, but it would be nice if he could get more involved in the offense. Barthel finished the game with three points, six rebounds, one steal and one block and 1/6 shooting in 13 minutes. It was a solid debut for the Heidelberg native and one thing is for sure, he can definitely compete with these aspiring NBA hopefuls. Barthel gets his next chance on Sunday when he will play against the Brooklyn Nets and guys like Mason Plumlee, Dajuan Summers, Marquis Teague and Donte Greene.


Game two:

After making his 2014 NBA Summer League debut in a 85-77 loss against the Boston Celtics steering three points and six rebounds and a monster block against Celtics number #1 draft pick Marcus Smart, the Heidelberg native had little time to reflect or rest his muscles as he returned back to the Orlando Magic training facility 30 hours later to square off against the Brooklyn Nets. After not really being a real option in the Miami Heat offense against Boston where two time NCAA champion with UCONN Shabbaz Napier had an off day on 3/15 shooting, Fraport Skyliner Danilo Barthel witnessed a very much improved Napier who deleted his jitters from game one returning with a 17 point and seven assist evening and 2013 Atlanta Hawks draft pick James Ennis stole the show from every one pouring in 29 points. Despite all this fire power from other teammates, Barthel quietly did his job on the floor on both ends and still was able to improve his stats form his debut against the Boston Celtics.

The Miami Heat got rolling right form the get go and never looked back having their biggest lead at 21 points and Barthel helped add on to the lead in the first quarter when he scored six points. Barthel can do a lot on the court, but one thing that has kept improving in the last year is his smartness and alertness on the court especially reading plays. After not being totally aggressive in his debut, the German stepped on the court and was very aggressive, wanting and getting the ball and finishing strong. His first bucket was off a pick and roll, his second bucket was a beautiful running hook shot something Frankfurt Skyliners fans saw with regularity in the 2007-2009 seasons when Ilian Mr swish Evtimov had incorporated it into his offensive arsenal something Barthel might remember watching when he was a kid at games. He also made a smart play on defense where he got a charge call on ex Sacremento Kings forward Donte Greene.

In the second quarter, Barthel played the first minute and then departed not returning. Miami got needed production from Shabbaz Napier and Justin Hamilton while James Ennis caught on fire at the end of the second quarter. The Brooklyn Nets continued to play catch up basketball and would have been down by 30 points had Mason Plumlee not been at the top of his game. Barthel returned in the third quarter at the 5.24 minute mark. His best play was grabbing an offensive rebound and making the put back. Barthel continued to be involved in the offense more than in the first game and despite so many other Heat players having consistent scoring. Barthel was blocked on one play, but made the heads up play retrieving the ball to find teammate Tyler Johnson who was unable to get the shot off as the shot clock expired. In the fourth quarter, Barthel got into the game again playing some more minutes and his best play was making his first assist in the NBA Summer league. In his best Jacob Burtschi manner, the ex teammate of Barthel in Frankfurt who at times would pass up an open shot for the better positioned player even if he had a shot into the ocean , the German found guard Tyler Johnson who connected on a three pointer and went 6/6 from the field finishing with 14 points something he never did as a senior at Fresno State as his best shooting there when hitting six shots was out of seven tries. In the end the state line of Danilo Barthel read eight points, four rebounds, one assist on three for four shooting in 12.48 minutes of play. Barthel improved vastly form his debut against the Boston Celtics and it will be interesting to see if he will be rewarded with even more playing time. On a court with many very talented Americans, Barthel doesn´t have to hide as he continues to play with the NBA boys. Barthel next faces off against the Detroit Pistons Tuesday and ex teammate Tim Olbrecht.


Game Three:

Last summer it was exciting to tune into Dennis Schroeder playing Summer League games with the Atlanta Hawks and to see how he would fair against the other young talented NBA hopefuls, while this summer despite Germany having as many candidates playing like never before, Danilo Barthel remains the most desired player for me to watch simply because I have seen every game of Barthel in the last three seasons with Frankfurt except three against Artland, Giessen and Bremerhaven. So after his second game where he helped defeat the Brooklyn Nets with a very solid 8 point, four rebound performance, I quickly checked the schedule when game three would take part and I right away had an upcoming dilemma where I would have to let my eyes and ears go to work in the same fashion an animal does when always having to be alert when danger may come while for me it would mean watching two round balls move on the soccer pitch and on the basketball court. Going from watching the first half of the 2014 World Cup semi- final Germany-Brazil  where you  see world class players like Manuel Neuer, Thomas Mueller, clashing with guys like Dani Alves, David Luiz and a guy by the name of Hulk who isn´t green, but could be the incredible Hulk´s little baby to watching a normal NBA Summer League game between the Miami Heat and the Detroit Pistons couldn´t be more of an extreme, but sometimes sport is cruel and one just has to suffer and watch two screens at the same time. The fact that Barthel would clash against ex teammate Tim Ohlbrecht who he hadn´t shared the court with in 27 months as teammates with the Fraport Skyliners was just an added bonus to a full packed Sports evening.

I had my doubts that I could really enjoy watching the third NBA Summer League game of Danilo Barthel and the clash against ex teammate Tim Ohlbrecht, but with Germany leading 5-0 at half time against a totally shocked Brazilian squad, I actually was able to enjoy this game without having any guilt complexes about not really focusing on the World Cup game and the possibility of even more goals coming. However one can´t forget a few years back the German national team had a 4-0 lead against Sweden and after 90 minutes it was 4-4, but I had no worries that a repeat effect was going to happen as the shock factor in the stadium in Belo Horizonte was so huge as the only way Brazil would come back was if Neymer came out in the second half reborn hand in hand with Ronaldo who wanted to get back even with Miro Klose with 16 goals. However with the soccer game running in the back round, I was able to focus on Barthel vs Ohlbrecht, because Germany only scored two more goals in the second half. After heightening his game in the first two games, Fraport Skyliner Danilo Barthel was inserted into the starting lineup against the Detroit Pistons. The Miami Heat didn’t´t get off to a good start trailing 10-2 quickly. The Heidelberg native played seven minutes, but how much he was able to get involved on the offensive end reflected the first game against the Boston Celtics where he wasn´t getting the ball as much. He was also hit quickly with two offensive fouls. The highlights of Barthel in the first quarter was his one field goal where he penetrated using the strength of his big body getting position under the hoop and finishing with his left hand as he had waited until his defender was in the air. On another play, one could see the exceptional ability of Barthel to run the floor, but lost the ball after not getting a good pass. As always Barthel had an eye for the open man, but Shabazz Napier couldn´t connect on an open shot. Ex Barthel teammate Tim Ohlbrecht who has played three NBA games for the Houston Rockets and spent last season in the D-league with Ft Wayne was his usual big presence under the basket getting  two offensive rebounds, but being absolutely no option on offense in finishing. Since leaving Germany after the 2011-2012 season, it is apparent that Ohlbrecht has gained muscle on his body. If he were to return to the Beko BBL this season, he would definitely be a different kind of player, a definite force in the league.

In the second quarter, Tim Ohlbrecht played a few minutes, but wasn´t a factor, while Danilo Barthel reentered the game at the 4.02 minute mark. Miami was spreading the ball around the game nicely even though Shabazz Napier wasn´t  a factor. Every guy was getting looks even if Barthel seemed to be at the end of the shot list takers. Barthel had no real offensive highlights and got his third turnover as he was caught traveling. Barthel continued to clean up under the defensive basket. Miami had the comfortable 38-30 lead at the break. In the third quarter, Barthel was in for a few minutes, but was no real factor. Ohlbrecht was inserted with 2.39 minutes to play in the third quarter. He didn´t get any balls in the low post as both teams were unleashing shot after shot from outside or making buckets on the fast break. Ohlbrecht suffered a bitter offensive foul on a miscommunication on the pick and role. The two biggest highlights of the third quarter was a crushing Tony Mitchell dunk and an ankle breaker from Caldwell-Pope. Detroit had the slim 57-55 lead after 30 minutes. In the first few minutes of the fourth quarter, the executives, scouts and press were displayed very sloppy basketball until Barthel came back in at the 6.24 minute. The lead changes kept going back and forth and as rapidly as the goals were being made from Germany against Brazil. Barthel lost the ball near the end driving to the hoop and other than that was no real factor on offense, but he wasn´t getting shots. Cardwell-Pope got very hot in crunch time and Miami gave the game away at the end not executing while James Ennis missed two free throws with 12 seconds to play with Miami leading 78-77. On the last possession, Detroit won the game with a game winner from who else, but Caldwell-Pope who led all scorers with 26 points. Tim Ohlbrecht finished the game with four rebounds and three turnovers in 9.35 minutes and no field goal attempts. The stat line of Danilo Barthel read as two points, three rebounds, one assist and one block in 19.57 minutes on one for two shooting. The Germans combined almost played 30 minutes combined taking two shots. This shows that the German players have to be extra extra extra aggressive on offense and just want the ball almost having to slap the other Americans silly, but that isn´t the easiest thing to do when everyone is firing away trying to help their stats shine. One thing is for sure, Danilo Barthel may not remember it was this game, but in 20 years he will remember where he was during the historical 7-1 Germany crushing of Brazil at the 2014 World Cup. He was in Orlando and with Tim Ohlbrecht probably the only two Germans who didn´t watch the game on TV Live.


Game Five:

In the home land of Danilo Barthel in Germany, the last days have been buzzing with soccer talk and the world cup final between Germany and Argentina approaching  while in Orlando, Florida where the Heidelberg native is taking part in the Summer League, he can easily focus on basketball, basketball and basketball. He will be able to concentrate on this big sports event on his free day on Sunday in Las Vegas when he can sit back at noon time with a Vegas Strip Dog or paella valenciana and wash it all down with some Powerade or Gatorade while  enjoying some more records being done by Thomas Mueller or Miroslav Klose. However Before he could relax in Las Vegas before taking the court again, he had to take care of some last business in Orlando with his last NBA Summer League game against the Oklahoma Thunder. Barthel competed against some  well known basketball names like Andre Roberson, Mitch Mcgary or Nolan Smith, but there was one player he knew all to well about as he had lost twice last season to Michael Stockton and Ludwigsburg by not more than a combined three points in both games. In the first meeting Ludwigsburg were behind by 15 points until Americans Keaton Grant and CJ Harris pulled out their reserves and took apart the Fraport Skyliners while in Ludwigsburg, it was Coby Karl who drew a technical foul on Quantez Robertson and Adam Waleskowski that hauled down an offensive rebound and made the put back for the bitter 77-76 loss for Barthel and Frankfurt. Stockton and Barthel didn´t overly shine on the court then in Germany, but now had another chance to battle on the court as the German didn´t want to leave the court a loser against the Washington native three times in a row.

After having a DNP in the fourth game in Orlando against the Indiana Pacers, Barthel was back on the court again in a meaningless last game at the 2014 NBA Summer League in Orlando. After the Philadelphia 76ers had beaten the Memphis Grizzlies in the championship game, it was time for the last game of the day the game for seventh place between the Miami Heat and Oklahoma Thunder. Despite some high flyer names like ex Uconn Huskie Jeremy Lamb and Steven Adams sitting out the game and Miami Heat James Ennis not playing, the game had enough highlights and the announcement of Lebron James heading home to the Cavs may have been the buzz in the Orlando Magic practice facility, but at the end of 40 minutes North Dakota native Tyler Johnson had created his own electrifying verve that had scouts and GM´s putting that name down on their note pad. The Oklahoma Thunder had the better start in the first quarter and controlled the game and even had a comfortable 10 point lead as all five Thunder starters scored and it really didn´t matter where the Kevin Durant team shot from, they were perfect making 10 of 10 shots. Miami didn´t have a healthy Shabazz Napier who had a bruised right thumb that was severely hampering his play.  Barthel had some competition with Perry Jones and later Mitch Mcgary to defend. The first good offensive play was Barthel on the fast break finding Andre Dawkins for the easy lay up and assist. However this game lived from amazing highlights that started with a massive block from 6.4 guard Tyler Johnson on 6,8 Marcus Lewis. Johnson would have many more amazing plays for the ESPN Sports Center top 10 plays. What Dominique Wilkins was to the Atlanta Hawks as the human highlight film. people at Fresno State would be proud if Johnson was crowned with the mini human highlight film nickname. After a very high scoring first quarter, the Thunder had the 35-29 lead.

In the second quarter, Fraport Skyliner Danilo Barthel was on the floor from the get go and was more involved with the offense than in game three. Every second on the court will help a player gain more experience, but as a young player you are still going to make mistakes and be up and down as was the case with the Beko BBL most improved player. He started off the second quarter with a soft two handed stuff where the Miami Heat displayed fine team basketball. Barthel played very solid defense in the first few minutes as he forced a turnover and one really notices how quick the German is especially when he is showing his lateral movement getting up to trap the guards and then being like a flash of lightening and getting back into the paint. His next big play was almost programed when Jones came down on the fast break from the left and Barthel was already at the hoop and was just waiting to sky high and swat the ball away which he did into the second row. There really wasn´t much Jones could have done on that play since he had no teammates to dish the ball to. In the last minutes of the second quarter, Barthel continued to get shots, but his three pointer just wasn´t falling as they were all open three pointers. He was beat a few times on defense and even put up an air ball that Justin Hamilton caught and made  a put back giving Barthel a lucky assist. Michael Stockton also came into the game and did a good job in the few minutes he was in to always be aggressive on offense with his playmaking and finding his teammates. Oklahoma had led by as much as 15 points, but Miami kept chipping away at the lead and cut the lead down to two points as the Thunder led 60-58 at the break as Mcgary made a buzzer beater bank shot. It was the highlight game for Johnson as the gym got loud when he dunked home a Dawkins miss. Dawkins had 21 points and Hamilton 15 points at halftime.

In the first few minutes of the third quarter, the game was very sloppy, but the Miami Heat were still able to shoot a very high percentage form the field at 52% and they even had the 69-66 lead. Barthel entered the game again at the 5.30 minute mark. The German did a good job rebounding the ball, but his shot continued not wanting to drop and he had a traveling call for a turnover where his pivot foot was sliding a bit. He got to the free throw line twice making three of four free throws as on one play he showed again how well he can and likes to run the floor on the fast break. Barthel stayed in the game at the start of the fourth quarter, but his misfortune continued as he couldn´t hit the ocean if he was standing right there on the beach in neighboring Sarasota. With there being no foul rule in the NBA Summer League, Barthel reached a milestone that no player playing in Europe will ever achieve not even a Baby Shaq Sofoklis Schortsanitis who can only get the five hit upon him in a 40 minute game as the German got his sixth foul and could have stayed in the game as you can keep playing. Barthel then did depart the game and Stockton came in again. Tyler Johnson wasn´t done yet either as he had that ESPN top 10 plays dancing in his mind and he had two more worthy for the countdown as he came in from the wing and dunked two handed and soon after came down on the fast break and fed Honeycutt perfectly for the hard ally-op dunk. Oklahoma kept their nerves under control in the last two minutes as Andre Roberson and J Huestis hit shots giving Oklahoma the 103-98 victory. The final stat line for Danilo Barthel was six points, four rebounds, two assists, two blocks and three turnovers on 1/7 shooting in 21 minutes. Michael Stockton had one steal, one assist and one turnover in 3.53 minutes played. Barthel was unable to get revenge on Stockton as he beat him again and now leads their head to head series 3-0. Barthel had a very productive week as he did many good things on the court, but also made mistakes. If he had hit half of his open three pointers against the Thunder, he would have ended with 15 points and had some more eye brows raised from coaches and general managers attending the games. The pace of the game is very fast and unlike in the NBA, defense does get played in the NBA Summer League, because players want to impress. The big winner of the Miami Heat squad was rookie Tyler Johnson. With his solid and spectacular play, he could land a spot in an NBA team training camp. If he doesn´t reach the NBA, he will be a very desired player in Europe. This guy could be a star in the Beko BBL. Barthel now heads off to the Sun city Las Vegas where he will play more games next week with the Miami Heat. He will hop a plane to Las Vegas and be back on the court Saturday night at 7pm against the Houston Rockets and battle players like Jabari Brown and a familiar face with Chris Kramer who has played in Germany since 2011. Barthel probably will get some shut eye on the plane ride to Las Vegas and could be dreaming about Manuel Neuer making the last save in the penalty kicks to help Germany win the 2014 World Cup or about one of the breathtaking Tyler Johnson dunks in Orlando.


Game Six:

In the Beko BBL, basketball life and road trips for Heidelberg native Danilo Barthel have been rather easy going in his first three years of his professional basketball career in Frankfurt as he has usually played once a week and not had longer road trips in the Beko BBL then a 560 kilometer bus drive or sometimes short plane trip to the nations capital of Berlin. However since his magical journey in the NBA Summer League started a week ago, he has been playing almost every day and also had to make his first NBA Summer League road trip jaunting cross country from Orlando, Florida to Las Vegas which in European standard distance is 3,270 kilometers  which is almost equivalent to  traveling to Berlin five times one way. Barthel arrived in the glitz and high flying city of Las Vegas where you might be able to walk down the strip and bump into more NBA stars than you might Hollywood stars on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood. The big 207 cm power forward of the Fraport Skyliners had only enough time to check into his hotel and check out the mystic view outside his hotel room window where seeing the breathtaking beauty of the Mojave desert is definitely a totally different experience then looking on to the taunus hills from the Main tower in down town Frankfurt.  Barthel had no real time to check out if there is a special Sun City surprise in his mini bar, but had to be on the court again for action against the Houston Rockets at the Cox Pavilion.

The first big difference to the two playing places in the NBA Summer League in Orlando and Las Vegas is the size and noise factor. In Orlando at times, the Amway center training facility of the Orlando Magic is so quiet that one could have heard a pin being dropped or if NBA legend Larry Bird were to whisper swish quietly after another jumper from highly talented Tyler Johnson out of Frenso State fell through the net. Only media, basketball executives as well as agents were allowed to watch the games in Orlando, but fans were prohibited from attending games. The Amway training facility also looks like a high school gym, so there was definitely nothing more to do than to focus on the task at hand basketball as one could easily have blocked out everything else happening around you. In Las Vegas. The difference from the Amway center training facility and the Cox Pavilion is like night and day and for Danilo Barthel like his training place in the BCM to a medium sized basketball arena in Germany like the Artland arena. The Cox Pavilion is a 78,300 square foot  muliti purpose indoor arena on the Nevada Las Vegas university campus connected to the Thomas And Mack center and is the home of the Nevada Las Vegas university lady Rebels basketball and volleyball programs. And every summer it is the home of the NBA Summer League as it holds between 2,500-3,100 patrons. The stage where the top young NBA hopeful players show their basketball cuisine also has served for small concerts, boxing events, theater style family shows, corporate parties as well as small trade shows. The Cox Pavilion also served as the Nevada Democratic debate in 2007.

The first opponent for Danilo Barthel and the Miami Heat were the Houston Rockets. Another difference to the Orlando Summer League in Las Vegas is that the rosters for the most part stay the same except for some additions of new players and others leaving and playing for other teams.. A Barthel could get very awe struck quickly with all the basketball personel, top current NBA players hanging around and seeing what new basketball talent is on the horizon or NBA legends walking around the Cox Pavilion. Barthel who has been growing a proper and trim beard for some time most likely saw James “fear the beard” Harden chilling in the front row and if he got any tips for  himself about how he might spice up his own face hair or asked him how the beard development carries on is unknown, but one thing is for sure, the German still has some way to go to reach the length that Harden possesses on his beard range.

The Miami Heat came into the game having had an unsatisfactory 1-4 record in the Orlando Summer League and wanted to come to Las Vegas and start of on the right foot and did getting past ex Jeremy Lin team Houston Rockets with a 92-81 victory as the quick cross country trek showed little flaws in their conditioning or shooting as they shot for 55% from the field and 47% from the parking lot. The duel of the game was between the two guard Nick Johnson who came out of Arizona and two time NCAA champion with Uconn Shabazz Napier. Napier who had had had problems in Orlando recently with his right thumb shot a lot better scoring 11 points on four of five shooting and dishing out five rebounds and hauling down three rebounds. Johnson almost had the identical stats, but had one assist more. The five turnovers of Napier didn´t shine to bright as Johnson won the head to head duel, but left the floor on the losing end. After playing the most minutes against Oklahoma, the minutes of Danilo Barthel dropped back  a bit to 15,21, but he scored six points, got two rebounds and had one assist. He had little luck against the Thunder where he missed many open looks, but had better shot selection and accuracy against the Rockets. The Miami Heat were led by big man Justin Hamilton who had 21 points and continues to impress and is doing his best to get back on the Heat roster and James Ennis finished with 19 points as he was his usual aggressive self finishing in so many different ways. Tyler Honeycutt rounded out the scoring with 16 points. Barthel next battles against teammate Aziz Ndiaye and the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday afternoon. Barthel will have Sunday off. He has so many interesting places of interest to visit in Las Vegas like the Neon museum(historical Las Vegas signs), The Freemont street experience, the Stratosphere tower or just testing the casino atmospheres and hotel and pool areas around the town. However on Sunday at noon time he was no where outside in the blazing Vegas heat, but was watching Germany win their fourth World Cup title and second against Argentina at the Hard Rock hotel. If Barthel was invited to celebrate at casa Agassi and Graf who reside in Las Vegas is unknown, but the German surely would have gotten further tips on his beard care from Agassi who had his beard faze back in the 90s.


Game Seven:


Living in Germany, one could have observed the 2014 World Cup final between Germany and Argentina in so many places like the famous fan mile in Berlin, the Commerz Bank arena in Frankfurt arena on the big screen where one is on the pitch where usually soccer players give their all, in any bar or of course in the privacy of your own home where one could have had a loudness contest with the neighbor above as too who was more boisterous in their cheering. However if someone has asked Fraport Skyliner Danilo Barthel two months ago where he would be watching the final, he probably wouldn´t have known completely where he would be with the German national team, but he most likely would never have expected it being Las Vegas, Nevada. On a rare day off during the NBA Summer Legaue in Las Vegas, Barthel got a feeling how Americans cheer for the worlds most famous sport soccer at the Hard Rock café. With the support of some German tourists, Barthel must of felt right at home watching Germany pull out a nail bitter 1-0 winning their fourth World Cup. It almost must have been a nice change for the Heidelberg native witnessing a very hard fought match where the home team won in crunch time, something he so often had misfortune doing last season with the Fraport Skyliners.

After posting a win with the Miami Heat in their debut in Las Vegas against the Houston Rockets on Saturday, Barthel was back at work again Tuesday battling against the Los Angeles Clippers. An exciting occurrence from game to game is competiting against so many talented players and at times also known faces. Barthel had the pleasure seeing  teammate Aziz NDiaye, the big man from Senegal who was a rookie out of Washington(NCAA) last season for the Fraport Skyliners. It was learning by doing for N Diaye last season as he had some big games like against Phoenix Hagen and often came from the bench and gave  a big presence in the zone on the defensive end. As big men, both guys had their moments during the season, but one could of described Barthel as the heavy dunker and Ndiaye as the soft dunker. It was just a shame as that Ndiaye didn´t play. The Los Angeles Clippers also boasted other very talented players on their rosters like NBA journey man Delonte West, or guys like Deandre Liggins and Keith Benson. There was also Jon Brockman who has played in the NBA and last season in France for Chalon and Wil Clyburn who Barthel will remember from the thrilling three OT win in Ulm and from the NBA Allstar game where he was in the dunk contest.

Danilo Barthel was in the starting lineup again and would play the most minutes so far in the NBA Summer League and he played in front of the watchful eyes of new Clippers owner Steve Ballmer and ex Boston Celtics head coach Doc Rivers. The first good play by Barthel was finding the open man Roberts who came hovering in from the wing for the massive slam dunk. Barthel didn´t have it easy playing defense against the very athletic Amath M Baye who put some spin moves on the German, but the Heidelberg Native stayed on his toes and played good hard nosed defense on him not allowing him to score on one play. Barthel also drew a foul in the first quarter where he made  a nice pump fake getting to the line. The game was low scoring in the first quarter as the Miami Heat led 19-18. Ex ratiopharm Ulm forward Wil Clyburn also got some minutes while Barthel played the complete 10 minutes. Barthel stayed in the game in the second quarter and scored his first field goal scoring with  a left handed shot after stretching the defense with a pump fake. He then grabbed a defensive rebound and left the game at the 8.06 minute mark of the second quarter. An NBA Summer League game wouldn´t be normal without some highlights and who not better than Tyler Johnson who is slowly becoming the mini human highlight film. He soared in the lane with his 1.93cm and dunked hard over the 2.03cm M Baye and drew the foul. Johnson doesn´t disappoint and should continue to be in the note books of many teams. Honeycutt also added a hard ally-op dunk to the highlight film reel and M Baye got some revenge on being dunked on nailing home a massive dunk where Barthel had enough time to look up and get out of the way. Barthel continued to play solid on defense, but did make a turnover where his anxiousness seemed him to lose control of the ball. Since coming to Las Vegas his three pointer has been way off the mark and Barthel knows it, but he seems just not too have the confidence at the moment. He also missed two free throws. At halftime the Los Angeles Clippers led 47-45.

Danilo Barthel started the third quarter and started off right away with a turnover as his happy feet danced one too many steps. However he quickly made up for that mistake showing once again how well he can run the floor as he got ahead of the pack of the Clippers transition defense and laid in a left handed shot. The third quarter also was filled with big  spectacular plays starting with two Johnson plays where on one he drove by Delonte West and got to the hole falling to his left and somehow banking the shot in. Johnson then blocked West, but West made  a good recovery getting the ball and shooting over Johnson on the second attempt. Then came the best play of the game as it was M Baye getting the perfect ally-op pass from West and dunking the ball home as Barthel had a first row seat under the basket. Miami played their best basketball of the game at the end of the third quarter making a comeback and 15-0 run to lead 68-64 after 30 minutes. James Nunnally hit some big buckets leading Miami back into the game. Barthel was in the game again to start the fourth quarter and was aggressive on the offensive end drawing a foul and hitting two free throws. The game continued to be tight and Barthel left at the 7.30 mark. Barthel came in again at the 4.20 mark, but he nor his teammates could hold Lorenzo Brown in check as he hit some big shots including a jumper over Barthel for the 88-85 lead which sealed the win. There was absolutely nothing he could do as good defense was beaten by better offense. The Los Angeles Clippers beat Miami 91-85 as the Miami Heat fell to 1-1 in Las Vegas. M Baye led all scorers with 27 points while Brown chipped in with 22 points for the Clippers. The Miami Heat were led by Scott Suggs with 14 points and Tyler Honeycutt produced 13 points. The final stat line of Barthel read eight points, three rebounds, one assist and two turnovers on 2/5 shooting in 33,34 minutes. Fraport Skyliner Aziz Ndiaye didn´t get into the game as he sat at the end of the bench and was able to observe how  his teammate Barthel has improved over the last two months. The Miami Heat next square off against the Washington Wizards on Tuesday.


Game Eight:

It is always very interesting and intriguing to witness how the future new young professional athletes come on to the scene and commence to battle each other for glory and success like now in the NBA with top point guards ShabazzNapier and Marcus Smart or in professional tennis on the side of the ladies with Eugenie Bouchard (Canada) and  Sloane Stephens (USA), on the mens side with Gregor Dimitrov (Bulgaria) and Nick Kyrgios (Australia  and in men’s football Adnan Januzaj (Manchester United and Belgium), and Alen Halilovic (Barcelona and Croatia). However another really fascinating duel that should develop in the next years especially in the German national basketball team is Fraport Skyliner Danilo Barthel and new Bamberg player Daniel Theis. Both players have been more and more in the focus the last months and in many ways Theis had received more adulation concerning his talent and where he is at the moment in comparison to Barthel, but stats don´t lie as last season in the Beko BBL Barthel averaged  in 27 minutes 11.3ppg, 4.9rpg, 1.4apg, FGP: 57.4%, 3PT: 31.1%, FT: 78.4% while Theis averaged in 20 minutes 7.3ppg, 4.7rpg, FGP: 52.6%, 3PT: 38.1%, FT: 69.0%. One has to add that Theis has received more experience the last two seasons playing playoffs and Eurocup, while Barthel did not. Both guys will play a role in the future of the German national team and one can be excited about seeing many more duels. A few months ago, none of them would have expected a rare meeting in Las Vegas on the court, but that is what happened in the NBA Summer League as Barthel and the Miami Heat met Theis and the Washington Wizards. So far Theis hasn´t played as of a major role with Washington as Barthel has been with Miami as he has solidly been getting minutes and in Orlando played  4 games averaging 4.8ppg, 4.5rpg, 1.0apg, 0.5spg, 1.0bpg, FGP: 31.6%, 3PT: 9.1%, FT: 75%. If someone asks them in 10 years about what meeting they will remember most head to head then it is likely both will name the 3OT win by the Fraport Skyliners rather than this NBA Summer League meeting in Las Vegas.

When looking at the Washington Wizards roster, Barthel as always has the chance to look forward playing against some players with NBA ties like Kim English who played with the Detroit Pistons and last season in France for Chorale, 255 pound beast Daniel Orton who played for the Orlando Magic and with ex ratiopharm Ulm guard Edgar Sosa at Kentucky(NCAA), Otto Porter and Glen Rice Jr of the Wizards or Maalik Wayns of the Los Angeles Clippers. He also had the batch of lesser known players coming out of the NCAA or playing outside the NBA like Khem Birch, Ian Chiles or Charles Gracia that last played for Al Muharraq (Bahrain-Premier League). Another interesting face to observe was new Mitteldeutscher BC guard Frantz Massenat who is a rookie coming out of Drexel(NCAA), but he sat on the bench and didn´t get inserted.

The Miami Heat entered the game with a 1-1 record in Las Vegas while the Washington Wizards waltzed into the game with a 2-0 record. A disastrous first quarter broke the back early for the Miami Heat and despite winning the last three quarters, they suffered a tight and bitter 85-83 loss. Fraport Skyliner Danilo Barthel started very slowly and didn´t get going until the fourth quarter were he was  a big help in the Miami come back while Daniel Theis started off roaring, but finished with a discreet yelp. The Washington Wizards got going quickly in the first quarter and before the Miami Heat had fully realized what had happened, they were behind 28-6. Timely shooting from Glen Rice Jr and Otto Porter helped lead the Washington charge. Barthel started the game again and played the first 10 minutes, but had no real flashes in the game except for  a big block early. He coughed up the ball twice and had had two fouls while missing a shot. Barthel was the only player on both teams that played the full 10 minutes. In the second quarter, Washington inserted Daniel Theis who was aggressive off the get go and got to the free throw line and grabbing some rebounds while also being hit with two fouls. Theis would make four more free throws to go into half time with 6/6 from the free throw line with one turnover and Washington led 51-38 as the Heat had massive problems rebounding. The only bright spot for Miami were the 11 turnovers for Washington.

In the third frame, the Miami Heat continued to claw their way back into the game as Washington couldn´t find that spice that had carried them so smoothly through the first quarter. Barthel was back in the game, but quickly got his third foul and made his first two points form the free throw line. Theis came in and played five minutes, but wasn´t effective as he got a foul and still hadn´t attempted a field goal. Washington still had the 68-60 advantage, but had an unacceptable 23 turnovers. In the fourth quarter, both Germans were in the game from the start and Barthel got going rapidly as he finally stopped his three point drought in Las Vegas hitting a three pointer and soon after made a field goal as Miami were threatening and gnawing at the Wizards lead. Theis attempted his first field goal after 12 minutes in the game, but missed. Barthel also dished out two assists including feeding Honeycutt for the dunk. However Miami couldn´t withstand a big bucket from Otto Porter and free throws that helped seal the Washington win. Usually when you make 28 turnovers, you lose, but Miami still couldn´t make up for 15 extra possessions the yhad due to 13 turnovers. Wizard Glen Rice Jr led all scorers with 24 points while Otto porter produced 19 points. James Nunnally led Miami with 19 points and Tyler Johnson had another effective game with 17 points. Shabazz Napier continues to struggle scoring eight points and handing out four assists, but shooting 2/16. The final stat line of the German boys was Danilo Barthel scoring 7 points on 2/5 shooting, getting three rebounds, two assists, one steal and one block in 28 minutes while Theis scored six points, had seven rebounds and three turnovers in 16 minutes.


Game Nine:

Luck and success sometimes come and go like the scoring ability of a Thomas Mueller  that has been successful at the World Cup the last two years or the misfortune for a Wayne Rooney in 2010 and 2014 and that happens just the same in the game of basketball where teams go on winning and losing streaks. It isn´t known if every member of the Miami Heat Summer League team sat through the incredible World Cup win of Germany last Sunday, but if they did, the players were unable to transport some of the German winning vibe on to the court for themselves as the club hasn´t been able to get a victory in two tries since Germany won their fourth World Cup game. Miami lost to the Clippers on Monday and a nail bitter against the Washington Wizards on Tuesday. Barthel had the chance to get some revenge against his teammate from the Fraport Skyliners Aziz Ndiaje who plays for the Los Angeles Clippers. However the Senegal big man didn´t get inserted again this time after getting a DNP on Monday. He did play the night after in a 83-60 losing cause against the Houston Rockets. In that game N Diaye played 8,53 minutes scoring two points, hauling down three rebounds, blocking one shot and getting a turnover. His problem continues to be fouls where he had four and his inaccuracy at the free throw line(2/4). With the 2014 NBA Summer League slowly coming to an end , it was the perfect chance for the players on both squads to get in some more good plays and woo the coaches and men in high places. However NDiaye sat on the bench again and had to wonder if he would ever face Barthel again in  a game or a practice down the road.

Tournament time had arrived in the NBA Summer League at Las Vegas with a do or die game between the two teams. Earlier in the day it has been reported by media outlets that James Ennis had been signed to a contract by Miami. Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra was in the stands looking relaxed checking out the action and possibly looking to add some more talent to his NBA roster as was Sam Cassell. The Miami Heat were without 2014 number one draft pick Shabazz Napier who was allowed to have the day off as he was off at the ESPY awards, but the club did get a top team contributer back with Justin Hamilton who had been out a few days. Danilo Barthel didn´t start the game, but witnessed from the bench as Hamilton got off to  a quick start as did Tyler Johnson who was inserted into the starting lineup as the mini human highlight film is usually good for one or two memorable actions that are packed into a ESPN moment just as Rajon Rondo does with one or two major fancy passes per game. Barthel came into the game at the 4.00 minute mark of the first quarter and got going right away scoring on a shuffle move and soon after hitting a catch and pop shot as it seems like his rainbow shot is getting brighter and brighter as the tournament progresses. On defense, he didn´t always have an easy time against Keith Benson. Clipper Cameroun Clark hit a buzzer beater at the end of the first quarter as they had the 21-20 advantage. In the second quarter, Barthel was in from the start, but played only until the 8.34 minute mark. Barthel wasn´t a factor on offense, but played solid defense. Miami went on a 10-0 run early, but the Clippers came back with big shots from Suggs and Nunnally. At the break the game was dead locked at 41-41.

In the third quarter, Barthel was on the bench as he watched the pace of the game improve and get quicker. There had been 10 lead changes in the game and five ties, but overall in the third quarter, the Miami Heat were able to heighten their offense a bit more as it was even more fluid. Miami really did a great job getting everyone involved and Shabazz Napier fill in Larry Drew was doing a superb job running the point and was clicking nicely with Justin Hamilton who he played with before in the D-League. In the last minute of the third quarter, the Los Angeles Clippers got some key buckets from Benson and Clark and trailed Miami only 69-65. In the fourth quarter, Danilo Barthel kept his red Miami Heat practice top on and at that point it seemed like his day was over on the court and he could sit back and await the Tyler Johnson  “What highlight play do you want next” to finally commence. The Miami Heat continued to get unselfish play from Frank Gaines who chipped in with big baskets off the bench and the Miami Heat kept the lead and would never relinquish it. Towards the end of the game, it wasn´t one massive high light play that had fans with major topic material to converse about on the ride home, but three massive plays that keeps one wondering if it is early enough for the rookie to get a NBA training camp invite. The first highlight was when Drew found Johnson cutting to the hoop and finding him for the dunk as he floated to the hoop without problem. The second play, he wasn´t far from center court and he somehow riffled a bullet pass to Suggs for the easy hoop and the third play he found Hamilton back door for the easy connection. In the end, the Miami Heat advanced with a 96-87 win and next play Washington on Thursday. Miami was led by Justin Hamilton with 18 points. Tyler Honeycutt had a huge game with 11 points and 15 boards and Larry Drew had 10 points and 10 rebounds. The Clippers were led by Keith Benson with 18 points and Deandre Liggins with 14 points. The final stat line for Danilo Barthel was five points, one rebound, one block and one turnover on 2/3 shooting in 5.26 minutes.


Game Ten:

For Danilo Barthel, the NBA Summer League in Orlando and Las Vegas must of flown by like the 2014 World Cup did for most soccer fans except for countries like England or Italy who were faster back home than anyone really had expected. Barthel has been stateside for more than two weeks and his Summer League experience is winding down as he played his biggest game tonight against the Washington Wizards to see if the Miami Heat continue to march to the title game or not. It has been a very solid NBA Summer League for Barthel who In Orlando played 4 games: 4.8ppg, 4.5rpg, 1.0apg, 0.5spg, 1.0bpg, FGP: 31.6%, 3PT: 9.1%, FT: 75%. In Las Vegas, he has readily been as solid and really prospered from the absence of NBA player Justin Hamilton in the games against the Los Angeles Clippers and Washington Wizards earlier in the week averaging 31 minutes in the two games. He has been a team player and defended well at times with annoying fouls hampering him and his only real flaw on offense has been his three point drought ashis shot continues not to want to fall from the parking lot. In the last game against the Los Angeles Clippers, he played the least compared to any of the other games playing five minutes, but was still effective scoring five points and sat the entire second half. Dunking has been a speciality of Barthel the last two seasons in the Beko BBL, but so far in the NBA Summer League, he hasn´t really been able to showcase that dunking talent as his teammate 193cm guard Tyler Johnson from Fresno State has dunked at a Barthel rate would in the Beko BBL. One guy who has played with Barthel for three years for the Fraport Skyliners  Juinors is German Tim Oldenburg who explains that the invitation of Barthel from the Miami Heat is no fluke and he may know how to dunk, but is watching other aspects from the bench besides the spectacular dunks from NBA players. “I know Danilo since a while and since I know him his career has risen. His hard work ethic is a reason for this. It didn´t surprise me that he got an invitation. I am not a big NBA watcher and haven´t watched much NBA Summer League, but I understood what it meant when I heard that he had been invited. It doesn´t surprise me that he is doing well there. He isn´t only a great guy, but a great talent that continues to give his best to reach the next step. Danilo dunks because its easy for him. He has the athletic ability and coordination to bring the ball safely into the basket. When dunking is a safe thing for him, then it is always better than a lay up. I don´t think that he will try to copy the NBA players. The show dunks are those when you go 1-0 on the basket like on the fast break. Every other dunk is simply a basket that counts for two points, but still looks good. Danilo will decide against a dunk in a big game when he knows that he wont make it or if he knows he can score an easier way. Which coach wants a player that makes four spectacular dunks in 30 minutes, but gives up 20 points on defense and is nothing else except a passing station on offense and can only function when he is alone in front of the hoop and can jump? It is better to have  a player that defends his man well and is dangerous in many ways on the court and if there is a chance  then still has the ability to dunk it. I think that Danilo does a great job when dunking or not”, stressed Tim Oldenburg.

After a bitter two point loss a few days ago, The Miami Heat came into the game for revenge, but instead of playing like a team on a mission, they started similar to their first meeting Against Washington where they couldn´t hit the side of a barn door even if they were sitting on a horse next to the object. New York Knicks president Phil Jackson and the strong Washington Wizards back court of John Wall and Bradley Beal were on hand to check out the action. Danilo Barthel didn´t start the game, but would come in near the end of the first quarter. The Miami Heat just stunk up the house as they only had four points after seven minutes on 2/14 shooting from the field. Shabazz Napier had a rough start as one notices that the wear and tear of the game/practice schedule of the NBA Summer League can take a toll on rookies. Barthel came in at the 2.54 mark and that was when Napier started to get going scoring in bunches making seven consecutive points. Barthel tried to get into the offense through his defense and did  a good job contesting two shoots that didn´t fall. He also had some misfortune when he pulled down an ally-op pass with one hand  for a steal and looked like an NFL receiver who is reaching for an overthrown pass, but he fell so badly that he was called with a travel. Washington had the 17-11 lead after 10 minutes while both teams were shooting very poorly with  Miami at 23/20 and Washington at 26/20. In the second quarter, Barthel remained in the game and right away brought some light into a very sloppy game driving to the bucket and showing that a German basketball player can feel the basket putting up a shot in the lane. Ex ratiopharm Ulm forward Daniel Theis brought real energy to the game with two big defensive plays making two huge blocks. His block on a Honeycutt dunk attempt even had Wizard guard Bradley Beal showing reserved excitement “I don´t know who he is, but I think he is from overseas and that definitely would make the highlight film”.On the other end, Barthel made a pretty no look pass to the trailer James Nunnally for the basket. Theis then blocked two time NCAA champion Shabazz Napier and on the offensive end made a tip in as he was all over the court. Both players were out in the last few minutes. At halftime, Washington led 33-31. Both teams were shooting poorly with Miami at 28/25 and Washington at 28/10.

In the third quarter, both Germans were on the bench as the game remained low scoring and no club having more than a three point advantage. Miami did go on  a 7-0 run near the end of the third quarter, but couldn´t break away from the Washington Wizards. Miami had the 50-49 lead after 30 minutes as Napier ended the quarter with a three point bomb. Both teams were still shooting unsatisfactory, but were able to heighten their field goal percentage to 32%. In the fourth quarter, both Germans had sufficient playing time and Theis would help Washington considerably down the stretch. Barthel was aggressive getting an offensive rebound and kicking out the ball quickly to Suggs for the three pointer. Both Germans were matched up against each other and both fought to get the better of each other. Barthel controlled  a long high rebound over Theis and then the new Bamberg player came right back down the floor getting an offensive rebound of a missed free throw over Barthel and getting the put back. Theis continued to shine on defense staying with the quick Larry Drew and swatting away his shot as if he was an octopus that had escaped from the sea. Soon after Theis got an offensive rebound and found Rice for the bucket. Here and there he made a mistake getting  a traveling call, but the positives outweighed the negative sin the game. In crunch time, Barthel was out, but Theis remained in. Miami totally lost concentration at the end as Washington finished the game on a 12-0 run to win 78-67. There had been 14 lead changes and 10 ties in the game. Theiss finished with four free throws and some rebounds. Glen Rice finished with 22 points and 10 rebounds, Otto Porter contributed 14 points and Daniel Theis recorded 10 points, 11 rebounds, three assists and four blocks in 18 minutes. The Miami Heat were led by Justin Hamilton with 15 points while Shabazz Napier and James Nunnally had 14 points a piece. The final stat line of Danilo Barthel was two points, seven rebounds, two assists, one steal and turnover in 13 minutes. At the end of the game, both German big men gave each other a small hug.












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