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Thread: Orlando Summer League Grades

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    Default Orlando Summer League Grades

    http://www.hoopsworld.com/Story.asp?story_id=16890 by Alex Kennedy


    With the Las Vegas Summer League dominating headlines recently, many have forgotten about the eight-team Orlando Summer League that took place just two weeks ago. Since the week was filled with disappointing performances and ugly games, this may not be such a bad thing.

    Overall, the quality of play and competition in Las Vegas was much better than in Orlando but certain teams did fare better than others. Summer League is about finding ways to improve the team, whether that means discovering new talent, developing players, or simply using the week as an evaluation period. Certain players passed while others failed miserably but at the end of the day, it's the teams that will each be graded for how they used the Summer League to benefit their franchise.

    Boston Celtics (1-4): C+

    With Avery Bradley injured, the Boston Celtics wanted to spend their week in Orlando evaluating Tony Gaffney, Oliver Lafayette, and Luke Harangody. Of the three, Harangody was easily the best and his four years of college experience were evident as he was prepared and looked steps ahead of the other rookies. But despite his impressive performance, the same questions about his game remain. Can he compete when the game is played at a faster pace in the regular season? Is he too undersized to keep on a roster? How will he fare when the ball isn't always in his hands? Gaffney was playing for the first time in months after breaking his foot and it showed. While rusty, he was able to contribute and could still earn a spot on Boston's roster if he plays well during the team's veteran camp. Lafayette did a great job distributing the ball but his turnovers and poor shooting were an issue throughout the week.

    While Danny Ainge, Doc Rivers, and Lawrence Frank sat on the sideline to evaluate their talent, there weren't many positives to take away from the week. On a veteran team like the Celtics, there aren't many young players who can crack the rotation or even make the roster but the team could have done a better job getting the two players they signed to non-guaranteed contracts last season involved. Rather than having Harangody take shot attempt after shot attempt, the team should have focused on Gaffney and Lafayette. Those were the players that needed to show progress and be evaluated but Boston missed that opportunity.

    Charlotte Bobcats (3-2): B

    The Charlotte Bobcats had two goals entering the Orlando Summer League. First, the team wanted to develop their second-year players, Gerald Henderson and Derrick Brown. They would have the ball in their hands fpr the majority of the week because this was about getting them experience and helping them develop their games. The other objective would involve the person responsible for putting the ball into their hands. The team wanted to test drive undrafted rookie Sherron Collins and see how he would fare at this level.

    Both Henderson and Brown played well and it wasn't uncommon to see the two of them score 20 points on the same night. Brown seemed more prepared as Henderson struggled with some of the plays but both sophomores were clearly a notch above the competition and impressed the Bobcats' brass. Collins also played well, distributing the ball to his targets and scoring when asked. With Raymond Felton leaving for New York, Charlotte wanted to take a look at Collins before anyone else and now it appears as if he'll make the roster. The Bobcats came into Orlando and did exactly what they wanted, developing their players and discovering new talent. Many teams had players fall into their lap or hoped for the best heading into the week but Charlotte had a plan, executed it, and made their team better as a result.

    Indiana Pacers (3-2): B+

    Heading into the Orlando Summer League, the Indiana Pacers faced a lot of questions regarding their moves on draft night. Was Paul George the best pick with the tenth overall pick? Would Lance Stephenson fit in Indiana and was he worth the risk? Why trade up for a relatively unknown prospect in Magnum Rolle? If anyone doubted these decisions, the week in Orlando was spent silencing critics and making the Pacers' front office look likes geniuses. George knocked down many big shots, displayed his freakish athleticism, and was a media and fan favorite thanks to his approachable, easy-going personality. Stephenson was one of the week's top scorers but also proved that he could run an offense and handle minutes at the point guard position. Rolle was perhaps the biggest surprise, with jaw-dropping athleticism and hustle plays that led to plenty of easy points, rebounds, and blocks.

    The Pacers also received nice contributions from Josh McRoberts but it was the young trio that stole the show throughout the week. Many felt that George, Stephenson, and Rolle weren't just Indiana's best players but among the top performers in the entire league. Indiana needed solid performances from this trio to evaluate their games, inject some confidence into the fan base, and decide their roles. The players showed progress, development, and benefitted greatly from the experience so the week was a big success for Indiana.

    New Jersey Nets (3-2): B+

    Early in the week, the only bright spot for the New Jersey Nets was Terrence Williams, who was scoring at will and leading the team to victories. Williams was easily one of the best players competing in the Summer League but New Jersey was still concerned about the production of their rookies, Derrick Favors and Damion James. The two first round picks were struggling and it seemed as if Williams was the only positive on the Nets' roster.

    But as the week went on, both players would show progress and contribute alongside Williams. Avery Johnson spent time with each of his players, getting to know the group and preparing them for the upcoming season. Williams, in particular, felt very good about his relationship with Johnson after the week and the group seemed to make strides with their new head coach, which was a very important step for the young team. Williams was dominant, Favors showed why he was a top three pick as the week progressed, and the Nets used the experience as a preview of training camp for the young players, getting everyone on the same page on the court and familiar with one another off of it.


    View Alex Kennedy Archive Oklahoma City Thunder (4-1): A

    Not only did the Oklahoma City Thunder finish the week with the best record, they were the model for how a team should handle their Summer League. The young team used the week to develop all of their young talent such as James Harden, Serge Ibaka, Eric Maynor, B.J. Mullens, Kyle Weaver, and Latavious Williams. Unlike most Summer League teams, the Thunders' roster featured players we will likely be hearing from again and everyone knew their role. Harden would dominate on one night and then hand over the reins to Williams on the next.

    The group seemed to understand what the experience was about and that's why they were able to be successful, both in the wins column and in the development of their players. The team also used this as an opportunity to bond with one another. Kevin Durant made the trip to Orlando to spend the week coaching and practicing with the squad, which improved chemistry and helped get everyone on the same page as they prepare for training camp. The Thunder were the most impressive team on the court but their grade is the result of an excellent approach to the week. No team was able to duplicate Oklahoma City's success when it came to developing their players, making sure everyone had a meaningful experience, and, ultimately, improving their team.

    Orlando Magic (1-4): D

    It was not a pretty week for the Orlando Magic. Playing in their own building, they were easily the worst of the eight teams competing. Had the Charlotte Bobcats not been missing Gerald Henderson and Shawne Williams on the final day, the Magic would have likely gone all week without recording a single win.

    Daniel Orton, the team's first round pick, couldn't have had a worse Summer League experience. He looked lost on the floor, was terrible offensively, committed far too many turnovers and fouls, and even teammates were questioning if he was ready for the next level. Stanley Robinson displayed his athleticism throughout the week but his jump shot is still an issue and he was inconsistent. Paul Davis and Joe Crawford kept some of the contests close with their play but neither will make the roster. The Magic may have avoided losing all of their games but the week was still a failure for the team. Not only did they fail to improve, Orton's struggles significantly lowered his trade value and the team did nothing to help their young talent develop.

    Philadelphia 76ers (2-3): B+

    On paper, the Philadelphia 76ers had arguably the best team in Orlando. With veterans such as Jrue Holiday, Marreese Speights, and Jodie Meeks as well as the second overall pick, Evan Turner, many expected the Sixers to wipe the ground with their opponents. While the team was only able to win two games, they still did an excellent job of using the week to improve their team. New head coach Doug Collins wasn't on the bench but he was instructing his players from the sidelines and during practices. Jrue Holiday was the best player in Orlando, leading the Summer League in points and assists. Philadelphia wanted to see him run the team, dominate the lesser competition, and increase his confidence and Holiday did all of those things throughout the week. Evan Turner wasn't spectacular but he did a solid job and looked better towards the end of the week when he started getting comfortable. Speights' was disappointing in terms of his scoring and defense but he was still able to contribute other ways, averaging a league-high nine rebounds per game. Philadelphia was very similar to New Jersey with one second-year player making the jump and looking phenomenal, a new head coach directing the team, and a top rookie showing progress as the week went on.

    With such a young nucleus, the Orlando Summer League was a great opportunity for the Sixers to develop talent and that's exactly what they did. Holiday, Turner, and Speights will be key players in Philadelphia next season so it was important that they get on the same page while also developing their games and learning the basics of Doug Collins' system. The week was a success for the 76ers and the experience should pay off when the young team enters training camp better prepared and feeling confident.

    Utah Jazz (3-2): C+

    Sundiata Gaines struggled, Gordon Hayward wasn't aggressive, and the best showing came from a Kosta Koufos, who is no longer on Utah's roster. While one could argue that Koufos' impressive performance allowed the Jazz to acquire Al Jefferson one week later, the grade given to Utah is based on the play and development of their young players.

    There were several games where Hayward would sit for long stretches and finish with just two or three shot attempts. This shouldn't be acceptable for a lottery pick in the Summer League, especially when the reserve is a player who has no chance at landing a roster spot. The Jazz wanted to see Gaines improve his playmaking skills and run circles around the lesser competition but he was often put into situations that didn't allow for him to succeed. Their offense was very sloppy, which led to Gaines forcing shots or committing turnovers because nobody knew where they were supposed to be. The week ended with Gaines being labeled as one of the most disappointing veterans while question marks and doubts surrounded the Hayward pick. Neither player helped themselves during Summer League but one has to wonder if better management would have led to a better experience for the duo and the rest of the team.


    Read more NBA news and insight: http://www.hoopsworld.com/Story.asp?...#ixzz0uRRQhHTp
    Last edited by 90'sNBARocked; 07-22-2010 at 03:38 PM.
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    Default Re: Orlando Summer League Grades

    It's good to know that someone at least recognizes that the FO is doing something right with these draft picks.
    Ash from Army of Darkness: Good...Bad...I'm the guy with the gun.

    This is David West, he is the Honey Badger, West just doesn't give a *****....he's pretty bad *ss cuz he has no regard for any other Player or Team whatsoever.

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    Default Re: Orlando Summer League Grades

    Quote Originally Posted by CableKC View Post
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    It's good to know that someone at least recognizes that the FO is doing something right with these draft picks.
    Yeah I agree, and no fluff the guys looked good
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    Default Re: Orlando Summer League Grades

    The grades also show why I wanted them to go after TWill and Henderson last year too.

    I don't think the picks have been bad, but I think you are going to find that there were other guys on the board that were really good picks too. For example, let's say last year that you take Lawson instead of Hans. Fine, you need the PG help and perhaps he does okay even without the benefit of the Denver roster around him.

    But you still left Jrue Holiday on the board and everyone that paid close attention knew that was a mistake. (Jrue ultimately went before Lawson after all)


    You know what was missing from Orlando ball? DANNY GRANGER. You know, the all-star SF and long term centerpiece. Do you think he just might have taken touches and wing time from George and Lance? Did Rolle show the ability to hit the 3?

    That's the issue. We loaded up on 2 wing types, tried to convert one to PG right away, and if there was one area the team was set it was at scoring wing.


    Meanwhile Patterson is boarding and defending and looking like the classic PF type that plenty of people besides myself thought he was going to be, and that's something the team needs more. Armon Johnson had a really solid showing for Portland out in Vegas, but why draft a PG when you can convert a combo/SF instead?

    You could have taken the same trade downs that other teams did take and gotten several guys who looked pretty capable in summer league. Gani Lawal and Trevor Booker even had strong summer outings.



    If you are dealing Danny then okay, I get George. But ultimately the Pacers just went after the one position that most people agree is in huge abundance in the NBA - scoring wings.

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    Default Re: Orlando Summer League Grades

    OTOH I wasn't the only person just outright mocking the high rankings for way-too-soon entry D Orton. That was the fail of the draft, nothing he had shown justified him coming out, let alone getting drafted so high.

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    Default Re: Orlando Summer League Grades

    Quote Originally Posted by Naptown_Seth View Post
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    OTOH I wasn't the only person just outright mocking the high rankings for way-too-soon entry D Orton. That was the fail of the draft, nothing he had shown justified him coming out, let alone getting drafted so high.
    Yeah he l;ooks to be running neck and neck with Thabeet as biggest bust
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    Default Re: Orlando Summer League Grades

    I continue to risk wrathful reply by pointing out that PG was not somehow a unanimous position of need in 2009 draft, and by pointing out that according to many George was Best Player Available at our draft spot in 2010.

    Yes, these were opinions, but I struggle against the history rewrite that says everyone felt PG was the only position we needed last year and that drafting Best Player Available is the wrong strategy.

    I also point out that most pundits seem to observe that Stephenson's experience is at PG, he just didn't play it in his single year at college.

    Being right (and I maintain it is still a little soon to be deemed "right" or "wrong") doesn't necessarily mean it was obvious to everyone and that only the stupid would have missed it.
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    Default Re: Orlando Summer League Grades

    Quote Originally Posted by BillS View Post
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    I continue to risk wrathful reply by pointing out that PG was not somehow a unanimous position of need in 2009 draft...

    Yes, these were opinions, but I struggle against the history rewrite that says everyone felt PG was the only position we needed last year and that drafting Best Player Available is the wrong strategy.
    Not sure what you mean by "unanimous." It wasn't our ONLY position of need, but there wasn't anybody in the league that thought we didn't need a PG.

    Going into the 2009 draft, we needed a PF and a PG. We picked a really good backup PF when there were starting PGs on the table. That bothered people.

    Going into the 2010 draft, we needed... a PF and a PG. We picked a SF: the one position where we're well and truly set. I'm ok with it because I also think Paul was BPA, but it's still a fair statement that we haven't addressed any weaknesses with our last two first-round picks.
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    Default Re: Orlando Summer League Grades

    I seem to remember when we drafted Granger, people were saying similar things to what we are hearing about George now. Granger was certainly BPA, but we already had an Allstar in Artest. Of course, we had a better team back then too.

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    Default Re: Orlando Summer League Grades

    Quote Originally Posted by Naptown_Seth View Post
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    You know what was missing from Orlando ball? DANNY GRANGER. You know, the all-star SF and long term centerpiece. Do you think he just might have taken touches and wing time from George and Lance? Did Rolle show the ability to hit the 3?
    I don't think vets can play in Summer League games; only rookies and sophomores. (Technically, McRoberts will be starting his 4th year in the NBA when the 2010-11 season begins, but he spent most of his first year w/the Trailblazers down in the D-League. So, that kinda wipes out year-1 and makes him a sophomore going into his junior year. Atleast that's my reasoning and I'm sticking to it. )

    As to the Summer League team rankings, it's interesting...

    I guess I can live with a "B+". Still, here we had a Pacers summer league team that had (1) top 10 draft pick, (2) 2nd-round draft picks mixed w/a bunch of walk-ons, ALL (3) of our draft picks were ranked very high (1-5 among Summer League rookies), had a 3-2 record and yet received only a "B+"?! I guess if they had gone 4-1 they'd've gottan an "A", but still this team had alot going for them; shouldn've earned an "A", but I'll settle for the "B+".
    Last edited by NuffSaid; 07-23-2010 at 12:13 PM.

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    Default Re: Orlando Summer League Grades

    Eh, on a sub .500 team with half the vets with ending contracts, I have no problem at all with drafting on talent with little/no consideration for position. You kidding me?

    Paul George is not likely to be ready for prime time for a couple years. If he advances quicker than that, you've got Danny Granger with a reasonable contract as trade bait. What's the downside of this again?

    And don't even get me started on slotting second rounders by position. If you've got second rounders making your team, and even busting into the rotation, it's beers for everybody.

    We're gonna be bad this year. When we get really good, then we can talk about that final piece at the right position.

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    Default Re: Orlando Summer League Grades

    Quote Originally Posted by NuffSaid View Post
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    I don't think vets can play in Summer League games; only rookies and sophomores.
    Anybody can play in Summer League. Artest played Summer League ball in 2005 after he came off of suspension. He was entering his 7th season, I believe.

    Very few vets play, but there's no rule against it.

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    Default Re: Orlando Summer League Grades

    Quote Originally Posted by count55 View Post
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    Anybody can play in Summer League. Artest played Summer League ball in 2005 after he came off of suspension. He was entering his 7th season, I believe.

    Very few vets play, but there's no rule against it.
    Jermaine played once as well.

    It's not expected of players after their second year, though. Which is why McBob was caught off guard.
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    Default Re: Orlando Summer League Grades

    Quote Originally Posted by Naptown_Seth View Post
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    OTOH I wasn't the only person just outright mocking the high rankings for way-too-soon entry D Orton. That was the fail of the draft, nothing he had shown justified him coming out, let alone getting drafted so high.
    He had no choice... dude was flunking out...

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    Default Re: Orlando Summer League Grades

    Quote Originally Posted by woowoo View Post
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    He had no choice... dude was flunking out...
    And so it shall continue.

    At least here he flunks out with millions of dollars. He was a product of mystery. If he had the chance to play, his issues would have been visible. I was very afraid we were going after him.

    He's like a less talented David Harrison.

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