Orlando Summer League
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  1. boomtown
    boomtown
    Posts: 272

    Posted 07/20/2012 6:07 PM

    Not sure how many of you are watching the summer league as regularly as I am, but I'm a big fan of NCAA hoops and I wanted to see how guys would do since college.  I haven't been working, so I've had plenty of time to watch and dissect.  I guess I'm watching b/c I'm a fan, but I've also played hoops and hope one day to be an analyst or scout, so I pay attention to many intangibles the average fans don't... well, I pay a lot more attention than many of my friends.  Last year I recorded as many games as I could and just guessing I probably saw 200 different NCAA teams play.  I like to follow high school players, see who signs where, read up on all teams before the NCAA season begins, then follow the progress, strengths, weaknesses, injuries, transfers, coaching changes, etc.  I don't know why except that it's all interesting to me.  I like to be able to predict how well guys are going to make the leap to the NBA, see who's ready, who's not, and just follow the game.

    Following the summer leagues allows me to see how the guys have progressed since college, what they've worked on since the season ended, how ready they are, and it's nice to see how the guys did that I wanted Portland to take... and maybe one day we'll see some of them get traded to Portland.  But I lose track of many guys once they get in the NBA.  

    Getting to it... 

    There were 8 teams in the Orlando Summer League.  Record wise I'm guessing the Celtics and Pistons were the best.  Here's why:

    Celtics are loaded with talent.  Their top picks were Sullinger and Melo and they played pretty good.  Well, Jared "eat fresh" Sullinger was solid.  He looked motivated to prove he was a lottery pick.  But I also think he's just that good.  I didn't want him in Portland b/c he doesn't bring anything to the table Aldridge doesn't already have.  But watching him and Melo play was fun.  I'll tell ya, many times melo looked like Tim Duncan.  Hands in the air, he sorta slouches like Timmy.  He rebounds well, active, better blocker than timmy.  One time I saw him do this sweet turn around jumper from in front of his bench.  Swished it down.  Real impressive touch and range for a big guy.  Everyone says sullinger's slimmed down, but he's still got a lot of cushion for the pushin'.  I think both should have good nba careers, especially sullinger, but it depends how long he keeps his chip on his shoulder and how he manages his diet b/c I could see him putting on 30 pounds and looking like a beached whale out there.  So will he work like Kevin Love or Benoit Benjamin?  We'll see.

    Fact is, Boston could use guys like them.

    Equally I liked Dionte Christmas.  He was only invited to the Orlando S.L., but he did so well, they invited him to Vegas.

    E'Twaun Moore I'd guess was their top scorer... him or Jared.  and JaJuan looked good to me.

    Overall, I didn't see anything any different in these guys than I saw in college.  But Dionte looks like a real sleeper to me.  He's got some size like a guard, looks a bit bigger than beal, he attacks, heady player who dumped off when he had to.  someone to keep an eye on.

    Pistons have a good group of guys that were interesting to watch. Austin Daye of Gonzaga is thin and tall, and all the talk surrounding him is that he has to prove himself and what I saw was pretty impressive.  He was stepping out, hitting deep shots, but very active, also grabbed a lot of rebounds.  I don't know if there's an Orlando and Vegas MVP, but Daye could or shoulda been considered for Orlando MVP.

    Drummond looked like he did in college... lost puppy.  Listen, this guy has the athleticism of Dwight Howard, he's got the physique too.  He has a great ability to block shots, and people keep questioning his motor, but the problem is his talent, and knowledge.  I mean, he doesn't look like he's been taught many aspects of the game and sometimes he simply doesn't know what to do, so he's sorta standing around, passively waiting... lost.  unsure.  It's too bad.  At times he shows glimpses of a polished pro, other times a 6th grader learning the game.  I wish he'd stayed in school.  Being taught by the NBA is great, but I'd like to flash forward 3 more years to see where he is.  Tim Duncan is such a solid pro b/c he stayed in school and was ready to start upon graduation.  So few guys come into the league ready anymore.  

    Detroit also had Singler (Duke) whose gotten bigger and has scrappy hair now.. I heard he signed a deal.  Casper Ware was reliable handling the ball, Yancy Gates was on the roster and he played quite a bit, didn't do too bad, but still like he was at Cincy... not assertive enough.  Kim English looked real good, poised... didn't rush things, took good shots, made a lot of deep ones, he can drive, he's got good size for a guard.  I liked him in the draft, had hoped maybe he could be a 41st pick for Portland.  I fully expect he'll be getting good minutes this year.  If Austin Daye wasn't Detroit's MVP, then Brandon Knight was. Knight had at least a couple dominant games that I saw.  He ran the point to precision, drove the lane a lot.  He looked polished.  I think Knight had like 28 points and 14 assists in one game if I remember right.  


    Orlando probably finished with a good record too because they got really good play out of Kyle O'Quinn and Andrew Nicholson.  O'Quinn's very active.  Tweener C/PF, he has a long reach, blocked some shots, but very underrated player.  I fully expect he'll make the team and may find his way into the starting lineup, but he'll be real effective off the bench; active player who can be disruptive and piss some guys off.  Nicholson could use a bit more size, but watch this guy.  He's from St. Bonaventure... the Bonnies... and nobody here talked about him before the draft, but I liked him in college.  sleeper.  He has big hands, long span, solid footwork and a really smart guy.  The announcers said he changed from a chemistry to physics major in college.  lol.  Anyway, he can step out and shoot long range, but he'll also bang in the paint with the big boys. He's just a player and he was already drawing double teams in summer league games.  If Howard's not back  (and maybe even if he is), I expect Nicholson to play a big role in the offense.   I also saw the Hurricane Dequan Jones land a couple monster jams that got big ooohs and ahhhs from the crowds, but I'm not sure if the few glimpses into his explosive athleticism is going to garner a spot on the roster, but other teams might want to keep an eye on him.  I saw Charlie Westbrook do a couple sweet crossovers... one time his opponent dropped his jock.

    Utah was all about Alec Burks.  The dude was a scoring phenom and could not be slowed down by anyone.  If he wasn't the leading scorer, I'd guess it was MarShon Brooks or Lance Stephenson.  I wish I'd seen Deron Washington play, but never saw him on the court.  Michael Stockton is the infamous one's son.  He's ok, but far from walking in daddy's shoes.  

    Philly woulda done better if Harkless hadn't gotten hurt.  I forget what his injury was, but I don't recall seeing him after game 1 or 2.  Is it Philly who amnesty'd Brand?  I forget, but the talk was that Lavoy Allen could very well be starting this year and he looked tough in summer league.  I was impressed with Devin Searcy... he was getting a lot of rebounds.  Sheyer and Rosen looked weak.  Solomon Jones & Justin Holiday are worth keeping an eye on.

    Indiana did pretty well because Miles Plumlee looked really solid, I mean surprisingly solid.  Another potential MVP candidate. He was stepping out and hitting deep shots, rebounding, banging.  I am sure there were a lot of doubts about this guy coming out of college... him and his brothers are criticized constantly, but Miles looks like he could be in the mold of Kevin Love.  If he gets conditioned, well, I have to believe his ceiling is high given his IQ, work ethic and effort.  Lance Stephenson looked great.  Just great.  As I said above, this guy was one of the higher scorers and could be an MVP candidate.  Some people talked about Orlando Johnson before the draft as a good SG option.  He showed a nice touch and made some shots, had 1 good game, but I don't think if he's going to make the team honestly.  He may end up overseas.  I saw former Blazer Jeff Pendergraph... he looked tough as nails, but didn't get as many minutes to do him justice.  

    I was not impressed with Brooklyn as a team, but they have some talent.  First off, MarShon Brooks started slowly, but in his last game he stepped up and proved his worth.   He scored 34 points which I believe tied the summer league record.  Problem is, a lot of times it was only Brooks... kinda reminds me of Lillard actually.  He'd bring the ball up court and either shoot from the outside or drive, try to make something happen, he didn't pass any more than Lillard is.  And that's what I've seen a lot of in the summer league... guys fending for themselves... gotta get theirs.  I didnt see Ashton Gibbs play and that bummed me out b/c he was such a great shooter for Pitt last year and I'm hoping he makes it in the NBA.  Adam Morrison  is a spaz, I don't like him, but he did better as the tourney progressed.  The announcers said Adam (who was drafted I think back in '06?  I forget how long it's been, but) he said he doesn't want to go back to a development league, so if he's not on someone's roster, he may just quit basketball.  And from what I saw, other than one shining moment, well, I think he's done.

    One surprise that I hadn't heard of was Tornike Shengelia.  This guy looks like he could be close to 7 feet, or at least plays like it.  I saw him block a guy twice in a row.  He's a real fluid player... good post moves, knows where he is on the court, kiss off the glass, he better make Brooklyn's roster, if not, some other team will get him I guarantee it.  And Tyshawn Taylor looked like a guy Portland shoulda kept.  This guy was scoring, defending.  At Kansas he continued to improve as the season progressed and in the summer league he picked up where he left off.  Looked solid to me. Jeff Foote is a 7 footer out of Cornell who looks bigger than I remember.  Not sure if he's ready for the NBA or if he played last year, but he's got size and he got pretty significant minutes.  I'd maybe compare this guy to Przybilla, maybe not as tough, but he'll take it to the hoop strong.  I think he has a future, just not sure if the future is now.  If Portland isn't going to resign Prz, this guy is worth tucking away I think.  He's more developed and smarter than both Drummond and Thabeet... brings more to the table.


    Last team was OKC Thunder.  I saw Cole Aldrich once and I'm not sure his problem, but he seems to have forgotten how to play basketball.  Very bizarre.  He wasn't the same hopeful I remember in college.  But I also remember Przybilla and many other great white hopes going through growing pains early in their careers, so I wouldn't shut the door on him yet, but just weird.  disappointing.  Perry Jones did look okay before he got hurt, I think ankle.  I could see him blending in with the young nucleus in OKC.  Another young talent that makes their team strong.  He may be the 4th best scorer and I dunno, I called this guy a potential bust before the draft and I believed that to be true if he were taken in the lottery and high demands were put on him.  But if he can fill a need and play within a team where they aren't dependent upon his consistency, well, people are going to forget that people ever had expectations of him and he'll quietly go about his business.  Reggie Jackson is a strong guard out of BC who has good all-around skills.  I saw him throw down a solid jam... he's athletic, was one of the better scorers in the summer league, and it seems everyone at BC can defend; he picked plenty of pockets.  I have to believe he's got a spot on the team.  Lazar Hayward out of Marquette was also really solid.  The guy can score and rebound... a guy to keep an eye on.  Overall I wasn't impressed with this team, but they have some performers worth watching.


    Boston is the only Orlando S.L. team that also made the trip to Vegas and the players love it. I know there used to be a rocky mountain revue in Utah, and I'm not sure if the Orlando SL replaced that or just evolved, but it seems the revue is done and now the hot ticket is vegas.  I'm not sure what that means for the future of orlando's SL, we'll see.  Seems pointless to have both when they could just have all teams in Vegas and make it longer than a week.  The NBA didn't originally endorse the Vegas summer league... and you know the revue used to be about 3 weeks long.  It'd be nice to see everyone go to Vegas and increase it to 2-3 weeks. 

    Difference between the two leagues besides the fact that there's less teams in orlando is that I'm pretty sure every team played every day in Orlando.

    Anyway.  That's about all. 
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