Today was the start of the NBA Summer League in Orlando. This is where players prove themselves and all of that pre draft hype gets put to rest. This is where many players set the tone for their careers. Although a lot of these guys have different roles and situations on their team they all have a common goal which is ball out to the best of their abilities and show all suitors and potential suitors they belong to play among the greatest players in world in the NBA. Many Players made their NBA debuts today some went well and some not so well but that’s what I’m here for to break it down for you.
Terrence Jones (Houston Rockets)
Day 1 Stats vs Sixers: 24 Points 12 Rebounds 1 Assist 9-13 FG in 29:23 minutes of play
Last season after being drafted 18th overall in the 2012 NBA Draft Terrence Jones found himself outside of the Rockets rotation and found himself in the D-League. He could have complained because lets face it this is a guy who is extremely talented and started on one of the greatest college basketball teams ever but he didn’t let his ego get in the way of improving as a player and worked on his craft which led him to becoming a D-League all-star. Watching him in his 2013 Orlando summer league debut he looked a hell of a lot more polished from when I last saw him with the Rockets. If you watched then he showed you he could do a little bit of everything. In the early stages of the game he flashed his perimeter game hitting his only three-pointer of the game. From there on you saw a player who just gets after it on the boards hauling in 12 rebounds and using every bit of that 6 foot 9 inch 252 pound frame to display his toughness on the boards. He stayed in attack mode and found himself earning lots of points in the paint, this in turn put him at the free throw line where he knocked down 5 of his 7 attempts from the charity stripe. Jones has a high motor and it was on all full display Sunday morning.
Final Analysis: For a guy who worked hard at his craft in the D-league and accomplished a lot this was the best start he could have asked for. If NBA GM's had any questions about the development of Terrence Jones then all of that was quickly put to rest and they were reminded of how talented he was at Kentucky.Terrence has a great chance to earn some minutes in the Rockets rotation this season and as long as he stays consistent this summer league with similar performances like this he will prove to be an asset once the games really count.
Michael Carter-Williams (Philadelphia 76ers)
Day 1 stats vs Rockets: 26 Points 7 Rebounds 8 Assists 9 turnovers 8-23 FG in 34:05 minutes of play
It's a new era in Philadelphia 76ers basketball in recent years they have gotten rid of all-stars Andre Iguadola and Recently traded Jrue Holiday because they have limitless faith in former Syracuse standout point guard Michael Carter-williams, Monday morning he made his summer league debut vs Houston. While I do see a lot of potential in the 6'7 guard I also see someone who for now is very flawed and has some serious adjustments to make. Lets start with the good Carter-williams he is long so when he gets in the lane he can finish and he showed that on a few plays collecting and 1's. He had 11 free throw attempts and made 10 of them so not only did he show the ability to stay aggressive and get to the line but he was nearly perfect from the free throw line which kept the Sixers in the game. Now the bad Carter-williams like most rookies in the league is going to try to do more then he can and force things when he should, his shot selection was very erratic 8-23 he shot he needs to let the game come to him. 9 Turnovers shows that he needs to take care of the basketball but as the game went on he displayed that he can adjust and make plays for his teammates.
Final Analysis: It is only Michael Carter-Williams 1st game and there are a bunch of high expectations being placed on this guy to replace All-Star Jrue Holiday so give him time. I see a lot of versatility with him as far as his ability to attack the rim, get to the line as well as guarding bigger players when switching pick and rolls with him being 6 feet 7 inches tall. That height also allows him to post up smaller guards on the block which is a viable asset for him, that aspect of his game reminds me a bit of Shaun Livingston. All in all I think he needs to put on some size and develop a perimeter jump shot which will come in time but considering how much he was pressing in the first half of his debut he wound up having a good showing. The future is bright in Philly for this guy.
Victor Oladipo (Orlando Magic)
Day 1 Stats vs Celtics: 18 Points 6 Rebounds 7 Assists 5 Steals 5-13 FG in 33:28 minutes of play
Of all the guys who made their debut Sunday I was most excited to see Victor Oladipo more then anybody. He is one of the pieces in the Orlando Magic youth movement and the future at shooting guard looks bright for them. From the very get go it was the Victor Oladipo show he scored the Magic's first 6 points on two 3 pointers. He showed a lot of what he has to offer with his defensive tenacity deflecting many passes which lead to Boston turnovers and eazy transition points as he collected 5 steals and just caused a whole lot of trouble for the Celtics. One of the most underrated parts of his game was his play making ability as the primary ball handler I was completely oblivious to the fact that he had that ability and the fact that he has that is impressive to me.
Final Analysis: Oladipo is solid in every sense of the word he gets after it defensively, finishes at the rim and makes his teammates better I think the Magic found a good one in the former Hoosier standout. My prediction when speaking about summer league is that Oladipo would be the best player in it and so far it looks like I am right but he looks exactly like the kind of guy you want on your basketball team. Lets see how consistent he stays he already looks like an impact player.
Kelly Olynyk (Boston Celtics)
Day 1 stats vs Magic: 25 Points 7 Rebounds 2 Assists 2 Steals 9-12 FG in 26:42 minutes of play.
Not going to lie of all of the guys in both summer leagues there are no draft prospects I had a lower expectation level for then Kelly Olynyk he comes off as very soft to me and that rubbed me the wrong way at his time at Gonzaga. When I watched him play he pretty much showed me he could play even though he plays like an oversized shooting guard. He displayed tremendous touch around the rim and away from hit very efficient against the Magic big men. He still played very soft he could play with more intensity on defense but he had a good showing in summer league lets see how long it lasts.
Final Analysis: Olynyk looks like the kind of big you would want to play with Rajon Rondo he is an excellent pick and pop player who can stretch the floor with his shooting. Not sure how he will fit into Bostons plans but interested to see what happens to the former Gonzaga phenom.
Jarvis Varnado (Miami Heat)
Day 1 Stats vs Jazz: 10 Points 6 Rebounds 4 blocks 4-11 FG in 31:22 minutes of play
Jarvis Varnado is an excellent shot blocker dating back to his days at Mississippi State and not much has changed now in that department. In his 2013 debut in the Orlando summer league he proved he can give the Heat a presence in the middle which they so desperately need against the Pacers and the Bulls. The only knock on him his he has trouble finishing at the rim needs to work on his hands if he can fix that they won't have to look at Greg Oden.
Final Analysis: If he does what he needs to do then Varnado will be in the Heat rotation come October if not then you will see him in street clothes again on the bench...GET IT DONE JARVIS!
Dionte Christmas (Utah Jazz)
Day 1 stats vs Heat: 14 Points 5 Rebounds 3 Assists 1 Steal 6-10 FG in 24:43 Minutes of play
Dionte Christmas has been trying to get into the league for a minute in his days at Temple he averaged 19+ points for 3 seasons he is a proven scorer and Sunday Morning was no different. In yet another summer league tryout this time with the Utah Jazz he led them in scoring at 14 points in a win over the Heat. He does a great job of getting to his spots on the floor and hitting shots. He needs to continue to do that if he wants to make an NBA Roster.
Final Analysis: Dionte Christams is no scrub he just needs a chance to play and hopefully Utah gives him that chance but he has to give him a reason with more performances like this one.
Andre Drummond (Detroit Pistons)
Day 1 stats vs Nets: 12 Points 16 Rebounds 6 Blocks 5 Steals 5-14 FG in 25:18 Minutes of play
The Detroit Pistons have signed Josh Smith and already have Greg Monroe I have already stated multiple times on Twitter that I think they have a great chance to be the best front court in basketball. If that is going to happen a lot of that falls on the shoulders of man child Andre Drummond. In his Summer League debut plenty of reasons people like myself and in the Pistons organization are so high on him were shown. His rebounding was great he grabbed 16 boards with a whopping 7 offensive rebounds so controlling the glass is something Drummond brings to the table. He gave you 6 blocks and 5 steals displaying his athleticism that most big men don’t have. As great as all of that is he still has work to do if he wants to become an elite dominant center in the league like taking care of the basketball 7 turnovers for a center is in excusable. Most importantly though Free throws, he shot 2-9 and that is a deficiency in his game hopefully he gets that corrected because if he does the Piston front court could be special.
Final Analysis: Good dominant performance in the facets of the game you would expect from Drummond like rebounding, blocks you know big man stuff. If he wants to mature into that franchise center the Pistons think he could be he must work on hitting shots from the free throw line. All in all though a very goo showing by Drummond now lets build off of that.
Day 1 is a wrap, stay tuned for day 2 coming soon. To stay up to date with all things Tru School Sports and NBA Summer league related follow me on Twitter or Like the Facebook page in the links below.