AP Photo/John Raoux
Alton Clark of NBA Playbook is covering the 2012 Orlando Pro Summer League on behalf of Magic Basketball. This is Alton’s roundup of Day 4.
Magic 77, Sixers 75 (2 OT)
- With Maalik Wayns joining the Golden State Warriors to play in the 2012 Las Vegas Summer League, Kevin Anderson got the starting nod at the point guard position for the Magic. The 6-foot Anderson has exceptional speed in the open court and was a handful for Sixers’ point guard Jacob Pullen on the defensive end. Anderson gets a lot of vertical lift on his jumpshot, which results in consistent shot mechanics and a high release point. Anderson will probably need to be more vocal as a point guard if he plans to lead a team. He has progressed nicely throughout the week as he has gotten much more comfortable with his role on the Magic’s Summer League team. His size, however, will be a huge deterrent to interested NBA teams, which could result in him playing overseas.
- Although he didn’t convert many of them, Justin Harper showed some moxie taking tough shots in the clutch. Harper didn’t let his misses deter him from stepping up to the plate when the Magic needed a bucket late in the game, “I was getting good looks most of the night. I knew if I kept shooting, they were going to start falling for me so luckily they fell when we needed it most.” Given the current makeup of the Magic roster, Harper may garner consistent playing time next season. His fearlessness will be needed if that’s the case.
Pistons 93, Celtics 79
- Brandon Knight set a game-high with 14 assists today to go along with his game-high 19 points. Knight was able to get into the teeth of the defense whenever he wanted and was able to get easy baskets for his teammates along the frontline. Although some pundits might say Knight overdribbles at times, there really isn’t another perimeter player on the Pistons that can handle the responsibilities of being the primary ballhandler due to the physicality of the game. Given the amount of possessions Knight played today, his six turnovers are statistically insignificant and Pistons fans should be excited about their point guard’s future.
Thunder 87, Nets 86
- This was the most exciting game so far this week, with both teams being led by superior guard play. The Nets’ Tyshawn Taylor diced his way into the gaps of the defense, resulting in either made layups or free-throw attempts. Taylor has always been known for his first step and it seems that his quickness is going to translate to the NBA level. At times, Taylor’s quickness can cause him to speed out of control into a wall of taller defenders, which is how he creates most of his turnovers.
- The Thunder’s Dwight Buycks has been patiently waiting for his opportunity to take the reins of the Oklahoma City offense and it’s apparent he was an attentive pupil. Buycks shot the ball well (10-for-15 from the floor) and led the Thunder in scoring with 22 points. Even though the Thunder trailed by as many as 13 points in the game, they never gave up and were able to eventually come back to win. Buycks spoke about that mentality to fight back despite being down by double-digits, “Oklahoma is an organization where there’s no giving up. These guys that are not on the team, we basically learned that from the players that are on the team.”
Jazz 87, Pacers 81
- Outside of the Pistons’ Andre Drummond, the most perplexing enigma in Orlando this week has been the Pacers’ Orlando Johnson. Throughout the week, Johnson has demonstrated good strength on his drives to the basket. Arguably, Johnson has the best body control of anyone here and his strong core enables him to absorb contact without altering the trajectory of his shot. Johnson must improve his shot selection and look to score within the flow of the Pacers’ half-court offense. He has a bad habit of attacking a gap hard, picking up his dribble in the middle of the paint, and attempting a contested shot from a standstill position. Taken with the No. 36 overall pick by the Sacramento Kings and then immediately traded on draft night, Johnson has a great chance of making the Pacers’ roster. If he wants to see playing time next season, he is going to need to trust his outside shot more, given that he was a 42.7 percent three-point shooter at UC Santa Barbara last season.
- During the game between Boston and Detroit, Celtics Summer League coach Tyronn Lue decided to put his Syracuse rookies (Kris Joseph and Fab Melo) in a defensive situation where they are very familiar — a 2-3 zone. Playing mostly man-to-man principles on defense this week for Boston, switching to zone made Joseph and Melo feel at home, as their college head coach Jim Boeheim made that defensive scheme synonymous with Syracuse basketball.
- Seemingly every offseason, offspring or relatives of current and former NBA players fill up Summer League rosters. This week in Orlando has been no different. Say hello to Austin Daye (son of Darren), Stephen Graham (twin brother of Joey), Taurean Green (son of Sidney), Ben Hansbrough (brother of Tyler), Justin Holiday (brother of Jrue), John Millsap (brother of Paul), and Michael Stockton (son of John).
- While many are critical of Drummond’s game, many forget that Drummond reclassified grades in high school so he could enter UConn a year early. With his birthday not until next month, the 18-year-old Drummond is the youngest player here in Orlando. The oldest? Clay Tucker of the Sixers turned 32-years-old last month.