NBA Roundtable

Summer League — Day One

In Summer League on July 6, 2009 at 9:56 pm

The Orlando Summer League started today. There are six teams competing, three games a day, with everyone playing everyone.

The Teams

Orlando Magic — Ryan Anderson, Richard Henderix, Kasib Powell, Ronald Dupree, Mo Ager, CJ Giles, Lance Allred, Jeremy Pargo, Jeremy Richardson, Brian Chase, Courtney Fells, Leverance Fields, Stevan Milosevic, Milovan Rakovic, Russell Robinson, Darian Townes

It’ll be funny to watch Patrick Ewing on the sidelines. This team might not win a game, and he’ll start losing his mind by their second loss … let’s just say he doesn’t handle losing well.

Boston Celtics — JR Giddens, Bill Walker, Gabe Pruitt, Lestor Hudson, Robert Swift, Nick Fazekas, Mike Sweetney, Coby Karl, Chris Lofton, Bryan Mullins, Kevin Rodgers, Darius Washington, Bryce Taylor

The Celtics are fielding a very strong team, a lot of ex-NBAers on that squad. Three big men, two former lottery picks, and Coby Karl. Then add their three young players, and their second round pick, and you have yourself a very nice squad.

Indiana Pacers — Roy Hibbert, Brandon Rush, Tyler Hansborough, Josh McRoberts, AJ Price, Derrick Bryars, Will Blalock, Trey Johnson, Jared Homan, Anthony Smith, Leo Lyans, Aaron Jackson, Scott Vanden Meer

The Pacers will be solid. It’ll be interesting to see if any of their NBA guys step up and take a starring role, or not?

The New Jersey Nets and the Philadelphia 76ers are joining together to form one squad. They’re doing this to save money, I believe fielding a summer league team only costs around $250k or at least it has in recent years, but they’re doing this to save money.

Nets/Sixers — Terrence Williams, Mareesse Speights, Chris Douglas-Roberts, Jrue Holiday, Jeff Adrien, Blake Ahearn,  Dionte Christmas, Rob Kurz, Jason Ellis, Gary Forbes, Chris Johnson, AJ Abrams

This is one of the best teams in camp. Speights is the best big man here. Two good wings in CDR and Williams, and a good point guard prospect in Holiday.

Oklahoma City Thunder — Russell Westbrook, James Harden, DJ White,  Kyle Weaver, DeVon Hardin, Serge Ibaka, Shaun Livingston, BJ Mullens, Robert Vaden, Moses Ehambe, DeAngelo Alexander, Kyle Hines

Russell Westbrook has the honour of being the best player in camp, and James Harden could very well be the second best player here. The Thunder have a lot of their own players on the team, six players who are expected to be on their roster next season, and nine in total when you include players who’s draft rights they own. If you’re a SL invitee, this is not a squad you want to be on, because opportunities will be few and far between.

The Thunder have a good chance at winning the league. Boston and Phily/NJ will be their main competition.

The Charlotte Bobcats are so cheap that they wouldn’t even field half a team, they just sent one player to the Utah Jazz for summer league, and that was Derrick Brown. I wonder why they didn’t send Gerald Henderson? Anyway …

Utah Jazz — Eric Maynor, Kosta Koufos, Derrick Brown, Goran Suton, Wes Matthews, Kevin Kruger, James Augustine, Dar Tucker, Kevin Lyde, Josh Duncan, Cedric Bozeman, Jimmy Baron, Andre Ingram, Larry Turner, Larry Wilkinson

Another possibility for a win-less tournament?

The Games

My internet went out for a couple of hours today, so I missed the second half of the first game and nearly the whole second game.

First game — Indiana vs Nets/Sixers

I only saw the first half and boy was it was a miserable first half.

The only player who gave a good account of themselves was Mareesse Speights. The Nets three other main perimeter players were all fairly quiet, although judging from the box score Williams picked it up in the second half.

Nobody from the Pacers showed any life. McRoberts had a really nice dunk, but that was it for him, as usual. The rest of their main guys (Hibbert/Hansborough/Rush) all blended into the game, went through the motions and were good role players. Hansborough did a nice job defensively.

The game ended up going to overtime with the Pacers winning out.

Second game — Thunder vs Magic

This game was over before it started. I only caught the last quarter when the game was already out of reach. Russell Westbrook was putting on a show, and had solid SL players surrounding him.

Third game — Celtics vs Jazz

This game was over by the end of the first quarter. Celtics were up by 20 points early, and held the Jazz to only 19 points in the first half.

Nobody impressed from the Celtics camp. Their big men all went through the motions, playing respectable games but doing nothing that would make you think they can play in the NBA next season. Robert Swift was gassed by the middle of the second quarter, he was so tired at one point that he couldn’t even set a screen on the ball despite his best attempts. Mike Sweetney had a couple of nice blocks, but wasn’t used much offensively for some odd reason. Fazekas can still rebound, and still has a nice jump shot that stretches all the way out to the three point line, and he’s still an atrocious athlete (can he dunk? He’s 6-10, and I’m not sure he can, too many layups) and a very poor defender.

Lestor Hudson was out of control and kept turning the ball over early. He did a very poor job of running the team but looked good when he was allowed to shoot and score the ball, plus he competed defensively. Gabe Pruitt was very poor, he had a bad showing.

Bill Walker and JR Giddens were both decent but I expected more out of both of them. Walker showed off a nice post game and played good defense but did little else. JR Giddens was the best player on the floor, doing a little bit of everything, but excelling at nothing. The best part of the game was watching Giddens’ athleticism, he’s an extraordinary athlete, rangy, long limbs.

For Utah, it was a disasterous performance. Your heart went out to Eric Maynor, he was trying to run the team and set up an offense but he literally had no talent around him. It was painful to witness.

So those were the games, not much to talk about really but it was only the first day of summer league. Hopefully the games will pick up over the next few days.

Watch Games

For those that are interested in watching the games, you can go to the Orlando Magic’s website and you’ll see everything you need right in front of you.

The live stream will play in Windows Media Player.I’m told it works on Macs too, as well as PCs.

The announcers are okay. Not basketball orientated, but they attempt to keep it fun despite some of the poor basketball on display at times, sometimes they are funny and sometimes they miss badly … depends on one’s mood, I find.

Final Thoughts

The play was fairly lousy today. I likely won’t be watching many of the games in this tournament, but I’ll probably try to squeeze in the games where the best teams play one another.

I don’t watch college basketball so I like to check out the main prospects before the season starts. I’d like to get a better look at James Harden and Terrence Williams before this all over. Giddens, Walker and Pruitt too, because they’re playing for a contender and I’d like to know if any one of them is ready to fill a role.

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