Tuesday, July 9, 2013
Orlando Summer League: Day 3 standouts
By Jordan White
Here, in no particular order, are the top 10 players from Day 3 of the Orlando Pro Summer League:
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Pistons
After two games of poor play, KCP was finally able to put together a performance befitting his myriad talents. He was both more comfortable and aggressive in Detroit’s offense, attacking the rim and slamming the ball home with a particularly violent dunk. Shooting was supposed to be Caldwell-Pope’s calling card early in his career, but he was 1-for-14 from deep in his first two games. On Tuesday, he somewhat broke out of that slump, shooting 4-for-10 from 3. If his comfort continues to rise as his shot continues to fall, KCP could end summer league on a scorching hot streak.
Kelly Olynyk, Celtics
He just keeps scoring. His shooting might not have been as efficient as in the first two games -- he shot 9-of-19 from the field for 21 points -- but Olynyk’s game on the offensive end is developed far beyond that of most rookies when they enter the league. Olynyk also had a great day on the glass, reaping nine rebounds, several of which came in traffic against stronger opponents. Brad Stevens should have a good time finding ways to utilize Olynyk’s diverse offensive repertoire.
Solomon Hill, Pacers
Summer league is a time for improvement, for the emergence of previously unknown players and for proving people wrong. The Pacers’ selection of Hill in the first round of this year’s draft was met with plenty of skepticism, if not criticism. However, through three games, Hill is proving the Pacers right and the naysayers wrong. Rather than hunt for shots, he’s letting his points come within the flow of the offense. His 15 points won’t jump out at you, but considered with his 22-point performance Monday, he’s showing the ability to score consistently without forcing the issue.
Peyton Siva, Pistons
All week, Siva has displayed terrific competence in running Detroit’s offense. Too often in summer league settings, players will forsake the designed offense in favor of showing the team and all other onlookers their full capabilities as a player. Not so for Siva. On Tuesday, as he’s done so far, he showed he’s content to run the show, to use his compact frame and water-bug mentality to motor around the court and find the open teammate. When the shot is there, he’ll take it, but he’s looking to pass first, more concerned about the team’s success than his own numbers.
Victor Oladipo , Magic
Shooting was supposed to be Oladipo’s most glaring weakness. Although he shot a respectable percentage at Indiana, it was widely assumed he’d need time before his jumper would be considered a weapon. However, Oladipo looks supremely comfortable with his jumper, pulling up both in transition and in the half court, and even sinking both of his 3-point attempts. That weakness already looks to be a weapon. Still, Oladipo’s strength lies in his ability to get to the rim. He attempted 14 free throws Tuesday, hitting all but two. The only cause for concern is the amount of tough tumbles he’s taken so far.
James Ennis, Heat
Three-and-D wings are perhaps the most en vogue type of players in today’s NBA. The likes of Kawhi Leonard, Jimmy Butler and Chandler Parsons have proved the immense value of athletic wings who can space the floor and defend multiple positions. Ennis looks to be a player cut from that same mold. Scoring all but two of his 19 points (including two 3-pointers) in the first half, Ennis’ athleticism rivaled that of even the Magic’s most formidable athletes. Ennis continues to show he could be a valuable contributor to a team on both ends of the floor.
Ian Clark, Heat
Miami’s summer league team is filled to the brim with two types of players: high-flying athletes and quick point guards. The most celebrated of the latter bunch is Myck Kabongo, but it’s Ian Clark who has made a name for himself here in Orlando. He continued his strong play Tuesday, orchestrating Miami’s offense -- although he didn’t garner any assists -- scoring 12 points and pressuring Orlando’s guards. His stat line might not have been as strong as it was Monday, but when combined with his larger body of work, it’s easy to think there’s a place in this league for Clark.
Reggie Jackson, Thunder
It’s not fair, really. Jackson is too talented, too experienced and just too good to play in the summer league. On Monday, before his time on the court was cut short due to an injury, Jackson seemed to be going through the motions, not really caring about the game. His attitude could not have been more different Tuesday, and he showed just what he can do against the current competition when he cares. Jackson was simply dominant, scoring 35 points on just 19 shots, getting wherever he wanted on the court at whatever time he so pleased. He owned the fourth quarter, sinking the go-ahead layup that capped another fourth-quarter comeback. Coach Scott Brooks is going to have fun unleashing a Russell Westbrook-Jackson lineup upon the rest of the league.
Dwight Buycks, Thunder
Buycks appears on the list for a second straight day, and it’s well-deserved. Enough can’t be said about this young point guard and the job he’s done both running the offense and playing alongside Reggie Jackson. Although Jackson was the catalyst of the Thunder’s second fourth-quarter comeback, Buycks was running right alongside him, complementing Jackson’s drives with some timely jumpers. Jackson made the go-ahead layup, and Buycks hit the dagger 3-pointer to complete the comeback. His 13 points, six rebounds, four steals and three assists were one of the better all-around stat lines from Day 3.
Alec Burks, Jazz
Burks was one of the only sources of offense for a Jazz team greatly in need of it. Much like Oladipo, Burks' ability to drive was never in question. On Tuesday, he displayed why that was the case, getting to the line nine times and sinking all but one of his attempts. His shooting (5-for-15, 19 points) still hasn’t caught up with the rest of his game, although the form on his jumper looks much improved over what he displayed during the regular season. Again, the summer league is all about the process, so even if the shot isn’t falling, it’s good to see the overall improvement.