Summer League Recap: Day 2
Notes from the action at the Orlando Pro Summer League.
by Jake Fischer / @JakeLFischer
ORLANDO — “It’s just summer league,” hoards of media members laughed throughout the action in Disney World on Monday. After all, there’s two D-League officials refereeing each game, only one actual head coach is on the sidelines and the majority of the players will be in Europe in the fall. But hey, it’s basketball and the future of several organizations are sweating up and down the court right before our eyes. And lots happened both on and off the court.
-With today’s first game tipping off at 11 a.m., the dining area opened serving steak instead of fruit and other breakfast food. Tough for the guys who were hoping to eat breakfast at Amway…
-The Rockets and Jazz had off days today. As part of the new OPSL format, each team will have an off day at some point this week before the final championship day on Friday. Two teams will be off each day.
-The Magic and Thunder opened game one before any of the media could even wake up. It wasn’t before long that Daniel Orton was smashing home put-backs and sending opponents’ shots flying. The big man played well for the Thunder, posting an efficient 9 points and 7 boards. Meanwhile, rookie Grant Jerrett continued to impress, knocking down 4 threes and finishing with 14 points and 5 boards. For the Magic, Doron Lamb played very well, scoring 16 points on 4-9 shooting. Kyle O’Quinn also played well and with great confidence. The rising sophomore is certainly improving his trash talking game. After all, if you had a beard like that, you can’t help but get a little cocky.
-But what was most notable from the first game was Victor Oladipo’s play at the point guard. His pull-up jumper was off (2-10 FG) and he doesn’t have the command of running an offense just yet. Watch his game tomorrow (vs Orlando at 5 p.m.) and you’ll notice he dribbles more east-to-west than north-to-south and gets caught picking up his dribble a lot.
-Two local Orlando radio guys were loudly chatting behind the courtside media table. Among the highlights of their discussion were calling bloggers “nerdy internet stat guys,” trashing Michael Jordan as an executive and speaking in the vaguest generalities as possible about the 2014 NBA Draft.
-In Game 2, the Sixers guards really struggled defending the pick and roll. But Khalif Wyatt absolutely killed it on offense. He did his usual scoring thing, using an array of floaters and jumpers to hang 25 points on the Pacers. But, Indiana came away with the victory, 96-75, largely in part to Miles Plumlee’s two-way dominance. The big man had 16 points, 15 rebounds and 4 blocks, three of which denied Michael Carter-Williams drives.
-During the matchup between Indiana and Philly, Rasheed Wallace strolled into the Amway Center practice court, a few hours before it was reported he signed a two-year deal to join the Pistons’ coaching staff. He later, alongside Greg Monroe, sat on the Detroit bench in their game against the Celtics.
-Larry Bird spoke to the media following his team’s victory over Philadelphia. Among his comments, Bird spoke very kindly of the oft-criticized front office moves Michael Jordan has made with the Bobcats. Just another sign of how much respect those two men have for one another.
-Kelly Olynyk again played well for the Cs and he proved his three-point stroke was not a fluke yesterday. But, the Celtic who stole the show was former Marquette guard Darius Johnson-Odom who dropped 22 points and mixed him some impressive jams. Detroit fell to the Celtics 93-63 with Andre Drummond chilling in street clothes. Obviously, he was missed.
-After the game, Brad Stevens was hanging around by the locker rooms during Boston’s media availability. He was candid and honest and most notably said, “It’s a learning experience down here. I’m really just getting shown the ropes.” Then, once some cameras realized he was there, everyone left acting head coach Jay Larannaga and swarmed the former Butler headman while he was sipping an iced tea.
-Also, I asked Greg Monroe what his expectations were for this season, considering Detroit’s big offseason, following the game. His answer was simple: “We want to win.”
-The Brookyln Nets and Miami Heat combined to put on the best game of the day in the afternoon’s final contest. Mason Plumlee put on another show, going for 23 points and 9 boards. Tyshawn Tayler also dropped 25 points for new head coach Jason Kidd, who actually got into the huddle and was drawing on a clipboard during several timeouts. Miami received some exceptional play from a string of perimeter players all vying for a minimum-salary roster spot with the defending champs. James Ennis, Ian Clark and Scotty Hopson all combined for 48 of Miami’s 93 points in the victory.
-With the new system in place in the OSPL, teams receive 1 point for winning a quarter and 3 points for winning a game. Following two days of action, the Oklahoma City Thunder are the only undefeated team in the League and are first in the standings with 9 points. The 0-2 Brooklyn Nets are in last place with 2 points, just behind the 0-2 76ers with 3 points.