NBA

TRW: Orlando Summer League Day 1 Preview

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Charlotte Bobcats (0-0) vs. Utah Jazz (0-0)
Tip-Off: 1:00 PM

So the Bobcats appear to have brought nearly 20 players to Orlando. For comparison the 76ers brought only 12 and the Jazz brought 16. Charlotte has six rookies on the roster: Denis Clemente (G, Kansas State), Sherron Collins (G Kansas), Marquis Gilstrap (F Iowa State), Marcus Ginyard (F North Carolina), Brandon Hazzard (G Troy), and Tyren Johnson (F Louisiana-Lafayette). They also feature some intriguing ex-NBA players in Darius Miles, PJ Tucker, Shawne Williams and Pape Sow.

With all that said about the Bobcats, its hard to get excited about them. Their best five would be Sherron Collins at point, Gerald Henderson at shooting guard, Marquis Gilstrap at small forward, Derrick Brown at power forward, and who knows at center. Nothing to get overly excited about in that line-up, but as we said in an earlier column, keep an eye on Sherron Collins, and we’re also interested in seeing how Gerald Henderson developed.

The Jazz aren’t much to write home about either. All eyes will be on 9th overall pick Gordon Hayward (F Butler). Many considered him to be a reach that high in the lottery, especially with the Jazz needing big men to contend with the elite teams in the West. The only other rookies on the team are Dominic Waters (G Portland State) and Jeremy Evans (G Western Kentucky).

Beyond those three rookies the focus needs to be Kosta Koufos who needs to make strides, especially if the Jazz are losing Boozer. He’d now be a junior at Ohio State, so the “potential” tag isn’t going to stick much longer.

Prediction: Charlotte over Utah

Indiana Pacers (0-0) vs. Orlando Magic (0-0)
Tip-Off: 3:00 PM

The Pacers have three drafted rookies to watch during the summer league: lottery pick Paul George (F Fresno State), and second rounders Lance Stephenson (G Cincinnati) and Magnum Rolle (C/F Louisiana Tech). George will be able to put on a show with his skills, and Stephenson has the ability to go off for 30 plus in any matchup. The only other rookie on the roster is Chris Kramer (G Purdue), who we’ve covered already. (link to Kramer)We actually like George to be the MVP of this summer league.

The host Magic got two incredible talents given how late in the draft they were picking. They picked up Daniel Orton (C Kentucky) and Stanley Robinson (F UConn), two players with immense abilities that slid in the draft for whatever reason. Jerome Randle (G California) who could make the team, and see significant minutes behind Jameer Nelson. Those three rookies are all talented, and all should be on an NBA roster by the beginning of the season.

Prediction: Indiana over Orlando

Boston Celtics (0-0) vs. Oklahoma City Thunder (0-0)
Tip-Off: 5:00 PM

The Celtics were very close to winning another NBA Championship last season, but came up just short. They added the best player available in the first round with Avery Bradley (G Texas). Unfortunately, Bradley won’t be playing as he suffered an injury during the workout process. However, the team is not short of rookies on their summer league squad as they brought in: Rodney Green (G LaSalle), Luke Harangody (F Notre Dame), Matt Janning (G Northeastern), Art Parakhouski (C Radford), DeShawn Sims (F Michigan), Ryan Thompson (G Rider), and Ryan Wittman (F Cornell).

Rodney Green is a do-it-all wing, but lacks the athleticism to make it in the NBA. Harangody is household name, and was one of the most productive college players in recent memory, however his skills don’t translate to the NBA. Matt Janning is a player from nearby Northeastern who will get a chance to show his scoring translates at the NBA level. Art Parkhouski is a big man that has upside, despite playing four years with Radford, we covered him earlier. DeShawn Sims is a versatile forward that had impressive numbers at Portsmouth and will look to keep scouts impressed. Ryan Thompson is probably best known as Jason Thompson’s brother, but after this summer league hopefully he’ll be known as the versatile combo-guard that he is. Finally, there’s Ryan Wittman, a fantastic shooter from Cornell that rode a wave of hype in the NCAA Tournament and hopes it results in a roster spot.

Oklahoma City is probably the most fun team in the NBA, and nearly all of them are in Orlando. Cole Aldrich (C Kansas) was picked 11th by the Hornets and the Thunder gave up two later first round picks for him. Obviously he’s a part of their future, and he’ll be on full display in Orlando. Their other rookies have a bit more uncertain future.

Ryan Reid (C Florida State) was the surprise of the 2010 NBA Draft. No one expected to hear his name called, but he was selected in the second round and now finds himself fighting for a roster spot with the Thunder. Latavious Williams (F D-League) is the first player to skip college in favor of the D-League and then be drafted in his first year eligible. If Williams makes the Thunder’s roster it could create a new option for players who don’t think college is for them.

Prediction: Oklahoma City over Boston

New Jersey Nets (0-0) vs. Philadelphia 76ers (0-0)
Tip-Off: 7:00

The New Jersey Nets brought 11 players to the summer league. At the lottery, the Nets didn’t win, but they did use the third pick to select a potential franchise changing player in Derrick Favors at number three. Favors was held back in college by inconsistent guard play, and the summer league will give him a chance to really show his ability.

Once you get past Favors there are a few more rookies to take a look at: Damion James (F Texas), Lance Thomas (F Duke), Ben Uzoh (G Tulsa), Brian Zoubek (C Duke) and Wayne Chism (F Tennessee).

Damion James was the first senior selected, and is NBA ready from day one. His intensity will serve him well at the summer league, and through his entire first season. Lance Thomas is a defensive standout that could impress a team with his lock down skills. Ben Uzoh from Tulsa has outstanding size for a point guard and is one of our favorites to make a roster when the summer ends. Brian Zoubek is a big body, with a great understanding of the game who has no problem being unselfish, another player who should find a home after the summer. Finally, there is Wayne Chism a stretch power forward who needs to really show something to make a roster.

It’s worth noting that Zoubek and Uzoh were signed to partial or non-guaranteed deals, which increases their odds of making the team.

For the Philadelphia 76ers the focus is obviously going to be on Evan Turner (G/F Ohio State). The second overall pick should be able to excel in the up and down style that the summer league tends to bring out. He’s the obvious pick for a great summer league, but don’t be surprised if Philadelphia holds him back a little since he’s going to need to play a role with the team in the regular season.

The other rookies on the Sixers are Ryan Brooks (G Temple), Jason Love (F/C Xavier) and Obi Muonelo (G Oklahoma State). Brooks is a local Philadelphia product who plays great on the ball defense and has the ability to knock down open jumpers from outside. Love has a ridiculous wingspan that lets him haul in rebounds at an impressive clip, but doesn’t have a real position in the NBA. Finally, there is Obi Muonelo who scored 13 points per game and shot over 40% from behind the arc.

Prediction: Nets over 76ers

Read more great articles like this at The Rookie Wall.