Friday, July 3, 2015

A Look into the Orlando Pro Summer League 2015

With the frenzy that is the NBA free agency, the Summer League has gone under the radar.  The NBA Summer League is a chance to see the newcomers such as Karl Towns and Jahlil Okafor in action as well as a second chance for players either from the D’League, Europe or even undrafted to make it to the NBA.
The Summer League is where we saw Elfrid Payton(above) show his breathtaking athleticism and passing skills firsthand before he was mainstream when he became the first player in Magic history to record back to back triple doubles. It was the summer league where we saw the “Smash Bros” Andrew Wiggins and Zach Lavine establish their dominance above the rim. Heck,  NBA Champion Draymond Green became a prominent member of the Golden State Warriors thanks to his hustle and defense in the 2012 and 2013 summer leagues that made him the 85 million man he is today.
Here is a look on the rosters of the Orlando Summer League running from July 4-10 and who has a chance of being the next NBA hopefuls.
(Rosters from
Brooklyn Nets
18Adams, DariusG6-1165Indianapolis/Laboral Kutxa (Spain)
34Alexander, CliffF6-8240Kansas
37Birch, KhemF6-10220UNLV/Sioux Falls Skyforce
31Boatright, RyanG6-0175Connecticut
22Brown, MarkelG6-3190Oklahoma State/Brooklyn Nets
55Clark, EarlF6-10234Louisville/Brooklyn Nets
29Delaney, DeshawnG6-5200New Mexico
26Gasser, JoshG6-4192Wisconsin
27Gray, StevenG6-5205Gonzaga/Dijon(France)
16Hollins, AustinG6-4190Minnesota/Denain(France)
24Hollis-Jefferson, RondaeF6-7220Arizona
21Jefferson, CoryF6-9218Baylor/Brooklyn Nets
57Mitchell, AkilF6-9230Virginia/Rio Grande Valley Vipers
20Pinkston, JayVaughnF6-7240Villanova
53Reddic, JuvonteF6-9250Virginia Commonwealth/VP Bologna
17Simmons, JonathonF6-6195Houston/Austin Spurs
2Thames, XavierG6-3187San Diego State/Fort Wayne Mad Ants
12Vaulet, Juan PabloF6-6200Bahia Basket(Argentina)
38Vozzola, BenG6-5195St. Catharine College

Cliff Alexander may have the most to prove in Orlando, after seen as a possible top 10 pick before the start of his freshman season, all fell apart for him before he could blink an eye and went undrafted in the 2015 NBA Draft. He did not set the world on fire once he stepped in as the bigman in Kansas, only logging in 17.3 MPG putting up 7.1 points per game and 5.3 rebounds.  On February 23, the hammer dropped on the 19 year old forward as he was deemed ineligible by the NCAA due to investigations of impermissible benefits received from a third party. Expectations were high for Alexander, he shared MVP honors with Jahlil Okafor in the 2014 Jordan Brand Classic. He has the potential, the question is if he can put it all together.
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson is looking to turn some heads too as he slipped in the draft all the way to pick 23. Hollis-Jefferson has a chance to show he is more than just a defensive stopper. Not much is known about second round pick Juan Pablo Vaulet other than his coach is Manu’s brother Sebastian Ginobili and he is the youngest international to enter the draft at 19. JayVaughn Pinkston from the Bronx has a chance to stay close to home and Earl Clark is in hopes to restart his career as Markel Brown and Cory Jefferson are trying to establish their roles within the roster. It is open season in Brooklyn as everybody in the roster not named Brook Lopez and Thad Young is in the trading block. Nets’ first round pick Chris McCullough still recovering from his ACL, will not play in the Orlando Summer League.
Charlotte Hornets
24Burrell, JustinF6-9242St. Johns/USA
1Cobbs, JustinG6-3190California/USA
34Craft, AaronG6-2192Ohio State/USA
30Daniels, TroyG6-4204Virginia Commonwealth/USA
19Hairston, P.J.G6-6220North Carolina/USA
9Harrison, AaronG6-6209Kentucky/USA
4Kaminsky, FrankF-C7-0242Wisconsin/USA
55Murphy, KevinG6-5185Tennessee Tech/USA
41Qvale, BrianC6-11255Montana/USA
23Rendleman, KeithF6-8220UNC Wilmington/USA
10Ross, LaQuintonF6-8220Ohio State/USA
21Turner, RalstonG6-6205North Carolina State/USA
20Wallace, JonathanG6-2195Georgetown/USA
16Williams, AlanF-C6-8261UC Santa Barbara/USA

Troy Daniels made himself famous for hitting the game winning shot against the Portland TrailBlazers, Game 3 in the NBA Playoffs while playing for the Houston Rockets. After that he became an immediate journeyman playing for 3 teams in one season. He carved out a little niche for himself in Charlotte but will have to be on his A-game to make it to training camp. Has proven he can score the basketball, needs to contribute in more areas of the game.
According to the Charlotte Observer, Frank the Tank looked “rusty” during the Hornets’ first practice and that is not a good sign if you are already known as the guy that got drafted over Justise Winslow. Kaminsky has a chance to be the focal point of the Hornets’ summer league roster and prove he can hang with the big boys. Aaron Harrison will need to establish a consistent three point shot to make a roster after going undrafted. Aaron Craft was one of the top D’Leaguers last season winning the championship with the Santa Cruz Warriors and also getting defensive player of the year honors, could be a breakout summer league star this year.
Detroit Pistons
30Atkins, ManuelF6-6205Georgia State/Grand Rapids Drive
13Barlow, KelseyG6-5200UIC/Grand Rapids Drive
12Baron, BillyG6-2195Canisius/Lietuvos Rytas
32Berggren, JaredF-C6-10235Wisconsin/Telenet BC Oostende
8Dinwiddie, SpencerG6-6208Colorado/Detroit Pistons
17Gaines, SundiataG6-1195Georgia/Sidigas Avellino
53Gray, KendallC6-10240Delaware State
33Harper, JustinF6-10225Richmond/Sidigas Avellino
6Hilliard, DarrunG6-6215Villanova
41Holsey, KammeonF6-8234Georgia Tech/Grand Rapids Drive
3Johnson, StanleyF6-7245Arizona
42Kemp, AdamF6-10235Marist/KK Feni Industries
34Miller, QuincyF6-9234Baylor/Detroit Pistons
55Thomas, AdonisF6-6240Memphis/Grand Rapids Drive
45Washburn, JulianF-G6-8210UTEP
31Wear, DavidF6-10225UCLA/Reno Bighorns

Greg Monroe signed with the Milwaukee Bucks for 3 years and 50 million leaving a void in the Detroit Pistons 4 spot. Stanley Johnson was drafted to be the team’s small forward but with Monroe leaving, Johnson might have the biggest chance to show his worth in the association as he has shown to play both positions in Arizona. At the age of 19 he already has a NBA body big enough to defend NBA 4s and quick enough to defend NBA 3s. Detroit might pull him back for the final games of the summer league but he has a chance to show why he is the self-proclaimed “best player in the draft”.
Darrun Hillard was highly productive during his time in Villanova and with a team that lacks 3 point shooters will need to shoot as well as he did in college to get regular season minutes. With Brandon Jennings still recovering from his achilles, Spencer Dinwiddle has to show his worth to backup Reggie Jackson in the NBA. The Pistons boast a young roster so it is great opportunity for all players involved to make a team.
Indiana Pacers
19Eddie, JarellG6-7218Virginia Tech/Austin Spurs
44Hill, SolomonF6-7225Arizona/Indiana Pacers
10Kalnietis, MantasG6-5185Lithuania/Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar
7Lacy, DaVonteG6-4210Washington State
20Lockett, TrentG6-5209Marquette/Lowen Braunschweig
23Nunnally, JamesF6-7205UC-Santa Barbara/Maccabi Ashdod
6Octeus, JonG6-4170Purdue
50Onuaku, ArinzeC6-9275Syracuse/Minnesota Timberwolves
24Osby, RomeroF6-8238Oklahoma/Indios de Mayaguez
40Stainbrook, MattC6-10270Xavier
33Turner, MylesC6-11238Texas
17Watford, ChristianF6-9220Indiana/Reno Bighorns
42Whittington, ShayneF6-11250Western Michigan/Indiana Pacers
1Young, JoeG6-2180Oregon

With David West leaving the team on not the happiest of terms, it opens a void in the Indiana frontcourt which Myles Turner can make a mark to be a starter out the gate. Despite his size, Turner’s strength is the mid range shot, a weapon David West was deadly with in his time in Indiana. Turner is also a good FT shooter(83.9 pct in Texas) which is a rare strength for a 7 footer. A weakness is his physicality in the paint although he has a body frame that can gain a lot of weight. He is a little raw though, might of left college a year or two before he was ready, just as likely to become a steal as he is a bust.
Solomon Hill was the Paul George replacement in the starting lineup last season and despite that is still trying to prove himself on the summer league. Former Big East bigmen Arinze Onuaku and Matt Stainbrook are auditioning for backup center, both undersized but make up for it with effort and strength inside the paint. After signing Monta Ellis, Indiana is contending for the playoffs, so spots will be hard to come by for players not already on the main roster.
Los Angeles Clippers
22Dawson, BrandenF6-6225Michigan St./USA
8Garrett, DianteG6-5189Iowa St./USA
21Griffin, EricF6-8193Campbell /USA
1Hamilton, JordanF6-7220Texas /USA4
20Johnson, GeronG6-3202Memphis /USA
31Johnson, HaakimF6-7200Pikeville /USA
18M’Baye, AmathF6-8215Oklahoma /USA
19McMorrow, LiamC7-2275Tennessee Tech/USA
12Moreira, YanickC6-11220SMU /USA
2Newbill, D.J.G6-4210Penn St./USA
42Parham, TimF6-9239Maryland EasternShore/USA
33White, RoyceF6-8268Iowa St./USA
30Wilcox, C.J.G6-5195Washington /USA
10Wolters, NateG6-4193South DakotaSt./USA
14Young, PatricC6-9239Florida /USA

At 24 years old, this may be C.J. Wilcox’s last chance to make the rotation of the LA Clippers. A former first round pick out of Washington, Wilcox was supposed to come in and provide a scoring spark off the bench. The Clips crowded backcourt made life hard for Wilcox to get PT as he spent some time in the D’League to get some experience. Wilcox strength is his three point shooting, which is always needed playing with ball dominant Chris Paul.
It might be Jordan Hamilton and Nate Wolters’ last shot to make a NBA roster, Jordan Hamilton known as a slasher and Wolters a pass first heady point guard who had meaningful minutes with the Milwaukee Bucks during his rookie season. Royce White will always be remembered as the player who boycotted the Houston Rockets over his anxiety on flying on planes, is probably not quick enough to defend the modern day 4. Clippers are a team pushing for a championship and will be lucky if any player(outside of C.J. Wilcox) will make the main roster.

Memphis Grizzlies
3Adams, JordanG6-5209Memphis Grizzlies
21Cameron, JoshG6-1175Coastal Carolina
14Cowels, RaymondF-G6-4206Dan Helder (Netherlands)
6Crocker, TonyG-F6-7209Hapoel Holon (Israel)
0Green, JayMychalF6-9227Memphis Grizzlies
4Harrison, AndrewG6-6213Kentucky
20Holyfield, MichaelC6-11270Sam Houston State
53Kirk, AlexC7-0245Canton Charge
35Lazare, DarnellF6-8240London Lightning
7Madden, KyG6-5171Arkansas
23Scrubb, PhilipG6-3180Carleton University
2Smith, RussG6-0165Memphis Grizzlies
1Stokes, JarnellF-C6-9263Memphis Grizzlies
18Warren, JoshF-C6-9220Kumamoto Vorters (Japan)
8White, OkaroF6-9180Granarolo Bologna (Italy)

Memphis are likely to have Marc Gasol signed to a long term contract which means they’ll be back trying to contend for a championship. Grizzlies are always solid in the frontcourt, it is the backcourt that usually leaves a lot to be desired when it comes to scoring. Enter Jordan Adams, a high scoring shooting guard for UCLA only played 30 games for Memphis his rookie season. The Grizzlies are not known to give a young rook big minutes so this summer league is to show how much Jordan Adams has improved from the previous season and if he is ready to give the Grizz  much added scoring spark.
Jarnell Stokes  and Russ Smith have also found times rough in Memphis and both are auditioning for backup roles. Andrew Harrison unlike his twin brother got drafted with the 44th pick but he is more of a tweener than a combo guard, needs to show if he can handle PG duties.  JayMychal Green dominated in the D-League with 23 points a game and 10.9 rebounds, which lead Memphis to reward him with a multi-year contract.

Miami Heat
50Burgess, BradfordF6-5224VCU
12Dragic, ZoranG6-5200Unicaja Malaga (Slovenia)
32Ennis, JamesF6-7208Long Beach State
27Gabriel, KennyF6-8210Auburn
38Howard Jr., JuwanG6-5228Detroit Mercy
8Johnson, TylerG6-4190Fresno State
25Kalinoski, TylerG6-4189Davidson
26McGruder, RodneyG6-4205Kansas State
13Napier, ShabazzG6-1175Connecticut
34Olaseni, GabrielC6-10225Iowa
35Reed, WillieF-C6-11231St. Louis
14Richardson, JoshG6-6200Tennessee
51Smith, JoshuaC6-10360Georgetown
36Trice, TravisG6-2177Michigan State
29Tuttle, SethF6-9225Northern Iowa
5Walker, HenryF6-6235Kansas State
21Whiteside, HassanC7-0265Marshall
28Whittington, GregF6-8212Georgetown
20Winslow, JustiseF6-6225Duke

It was a surprise to everybody that Justise Winslow fell into the clutches of Pat Riley with the 10th pick of the draft. A week after the draft, the Heat signed Dwayne Wade to a 1 year, 20 million dollar contract and with Chris Bosh back, it looks like Miami is once again in the fold to compete in the Eastern Conference.  The reason Winslow fell because many teams were skeptical of his perimeter game, which I’m sure Winslow will be eager to display in Orlando.
Hassan Whiteside was one of the feel-good stories of the NBA from bouncing around in the D-League to becoming a legit NBA starting center. Whiteside is not playing any games but will practice with the summer league roster. Shabazz Napier battled injury in his rookie season with a hernia and may not play the first summer league game. Travis Trice made a name for himself in Michigan State’s national tournament run, is he a NBA point guard? Zoran Dragic and Juwan Howard Jr. may be on the squad because of their last names and will need to show that is not the only reason they are on the roster.
Oklahoma City Thunder
23Bader, TravisG6-5190Oakland
7Christon, SemajG6-3190Xavier
41Cobbins, MichaelF6-8230Oklahoma State
11Cook, QuinnG6-2185Duke
26Cotton, TekeleG6-2202Wichita State
18Esho, MaxieF6-8215Massachusetts
30Gaines, FrankG6-3195IPFW
44Johnson, DakariC7-0255Kentucky
16Jones, KevinF6-8260West Virginia
33McGary, MitchF6-10255Michigan
31Randolph, LeviG6-4205Alabama
15Solomon, RichardF-C6-11230California
40Southerland, JamesF6-8225Syracuse
25Teague, MarquisG6-2225Kentucky
42Zanna, TalibF-C6-9230Pittsburgh

Last season was a disaster for OKC as Kevin Durant suffered from a broken foot which led Russell Westbrook carrying the bulk and failed to reach the playoffs for the first time since Westbrook’s rookie season. Head coach Scott Brooks got fired and longtime University of Florida head coach Landon Donovan took his place at the helm. The Thunder used the 15th pick to draft guard Cameron Payne out of Murray State who will not play in the summer league due to a fractured finger.
Marquis Teague though will get a chance(and probably his last) to prove he is a NBA point guard. Marquis Teague was once dubbed the “better brother” over the older Jeff Teague although Jeff has proven to be a top tier point guard while Marquis is fighting for a roster spot. Dakari Johnson might have left Kentucky too early as he got picked 48th in the NBA draft. He hopes he does not follow the same path as another former Kentucky bigman Daniel Orton did with the Thunder. Quinn Cook is a shooting guard in a point guard’s body, OKC is the perfect roster for him as Russell Westbrook is able to defend 2 guards. Quinn Cook will need to showcase that he can stretch the floor that he was known for at Duke.
Orlando White
6Appling, KeithG6-1185Erie Bayhawks
43Bachynski, JordanC7-2250Westchester Knicks
25Benson, KeithC6-11229BC Kalev/Cramo
22Bohannon, JohnF6-11210Erie Bayhawks
24Braun, TaylorG6-7210Okapi Aalstar
14Carson, JahaiiG5-10180Metalac Valjevo
19Ejim, MelvinF6-6220Virtus Roma
31Mason, AntoineG6-3210Auburn
53Ndoye, YoussouC6-11235St. Bonaventure
28Rice Jr, GlenF6-6206Rio Grande Valley Vipers
33Singleton, ChrisF6-9228Oklahoma City
32Smith, LenzelleG6-4210Erie Bayhwaks
26Walker, DondrayG6-5190Newberry College
15Wilbekin, ScottieG6-2176AEK Athens
37Williams, JarvisF6-8212Murray State

The Orlando Magic are going to have two teams in the summer league with Orlando Blue being the first team and Orlando White being the second team.  The white team is using this as a showcase for possibly the Vegas Summer League and features a couple of players formerly of the NBA.
Chris Singleton was supposed to be an elite defender in the NBA at the age of 25 but failed to establish himself so far. Glen Rice Jr found success in the D’League with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers excelling at a point forward role may have his last shot to prove his worth.

Orlando Blue
45Broekhoff, RyanF6-7215Besiktas Integral
30Coursey, DanielC6-10220Erie Bayhawks
16Crawford, DrewG6-5215Erie Bayhawks
20Davies, BrandonF6-10240Virtus Roma
50Egwu, NnannaC6-11250Illinois
00Gordon, AaronF6-9220Orlando Magic
1Harvey, TylerG6-4185Eastern Washington
23Hezonja, MarioG-F6-8218FC Barcelona
11Marble, DevynG6-6200Orlando Magic
52Morgan, JordanF6-8250Virtus Roma
4Payton, ElfridG6-4185Orlando Magic
36Sibert, JordanG6-4187Dayton
17Siva, PeytonG6-0185Erie Bayhawks
54Thomas, TaShawnF6-8242Oklahoma
55Trawick, JabrilF6-5220Georgetown
35Walker, MauriceC6-10255Minnesota

Aside from Elfrid Payton making another summer league appearance, this will be a chance for Magic fans to see their 5th pick of the draft Mario Hezonja in action. Hezonja boasts similarities to J.R. Smith, he is athletic, can score in bunches in hurry but is prone to have droughts and is prone to have bouts with coaches as he did in Barcelona. However the Croatian is not short of confidence, when asked if he has ever watched soccer affiliate’s Lionel Messi he told the reporter that Messi should watch him. He gives Magic a much needed scorer and the combination of Payton, Oladipo and Hezonja should be fun to watch.
Aaron Gordon’s rookie year was interrupted due to injuries and it is still a question where his best position on the floor is. He is too skinny for the 4 spot while he has no perimeter game for the 3 spot. While Gordon has the potential to be a game changing defender, his offense is pretty offensive. Famous for his heroics in college, Peyton Siva may have this as his last break to show height is not an issue to make an NBA roster. The Orlando Magic has possibly the youngest main roster in the NBA, so spots are up for grabs.

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