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Orlando Summer League, Day 4 Recap

The fourth day of the Orlando Summer League saw the Orlando Magic, Memphis Grizzlies, Miami Heat, Detroit Pistons, Houston Rockets, and Philadelphia 76ers take the floor. While some sloppy play plagued parts of the day, here are the top stories from Tuesday’s action:

Caldwell-Pope Hits Game-Winner

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope has been the best player in Orlando thus far and continued to show why on Tuesday. Despite starting 1-of-7 from the field against Miami, he ended the game 7-of-13 including the game winning three-pointer to lead Detroit to an undefeated start.
 
With 12 seconds left, Detroit had possession trailing, 78-77. Caldwell-Pope inbounded the ball, got it back, used a screen and knocked down a clutch three-pointer with less than seven seconds left. Shabazz Napier missed a three-pointer on the following possession and Detroit improved to 3-0.
 
“It was just a quick play we called, a play out of bounds,” Caldwell-Pope said on NBA TV. “I wanted to drive initially, but they gave me the three so I pulled up and made it.”
 
Caldwell-Pope finished with 26 points and seven rebounds. He remains in the top spot of the MVP Tracker despite battling an ankle injury he suffered in the first half. The 6-foot-5 shooting guard is looking to take a step forward in his second year with the Pistons.
 
“I feel more comfortable,” he said. “I feel comfortable with the ball in my hands, the plays I’m making, and the plays I’m making for my team, so I’m just going out there and playing hard.”
 
Philadelphia Rookie Trio Show Potential
 
While Casper Ware has been the top player for Philadelphia’s summer league team so far, three rookies impressed against Houston.
 
Second round picks K.J. McDaniels and Jermai Grant were drafted because of their high upside and showed flashes on Tuesday. McDaniels had 15 points while shooting 4-of-8 from the floor and 2-of-2 from behind the arc. He also added five rebounds and a highlight block. He’s an athletic wing who showed good progress. If he’s able to knock down shots from the perimeter, he’ll be a quality NBA player.
 
Grant had 12 points on 4-of-9 shooting along with five rebounds. He knocked down his only three-point attempt and showed his athleticism with a dunk in traffic.
 
Although undrafted, JaKarr Sampson has been a standout as well. On Tuesday, the St. John’s product was 5-of-5 from the floor with 13 points, eight rebounds, and three steals. He’s has some guard skills at 6-foot-9 and his length helps him disrupt passing lanes. Sampson has made an impression as a perimeter player and even knocked down a three against Houston.
 
Stokes Takes Top Spot in Rookie Tracker
 
Rookie power forward Jarnell Stokes dethroned teammate Jordan Adams from the top spot on the Rookie Tracker after finishing with his second consecutive double-double on Tuesday. He had 11 points on 4-of-11 shooting with 12 rebounds.
 
“Right now I’m making a lot of rookie mistakes, there’s a couple things I can fix, but nothing too big,” Stokes said on NBA TV. “I think I’m one of the strongest guys definitely in college, but in the NBA I think I also like to use my body very well and I have very surprising quickness to my game, a little bit of athleticism that most guys don’t have for my size. But if I can clean up a lot of little mistakes, I think I’ll be good.”
 
Stokes is slightly undersized for the power forward position, measuring 6-foot-8.5 at the NBA Draft Combine, but has a 7-foot-1.25 wingspan to help compensate. He’s a tough rebounder down low who will find minutes due to his tenacious rebounding ability.
 
“I’m definitely a rebounder,” he added. “I think a lot of guys, definitely as a rookie, want to come in and do some things that the coaches don’t want them to do ­– well I’m not that kind of guy. I understand that my money is made on rebounding and toughness. I’m also working on my game to expand, but right now I got to be tough. I got to find minutes right now.”
 
The second round pick should find his way onto the Memphis roster if he continues to perform like this.
 
Bader Signs International Deal
 
In Sunday’s recap, we mentioned that Travis Bader was an undrafted rookie of note. The 6-foot-5 shooting guard from Oakland broke the NCAA Division I record for made three-point field goals and continued to show his success as a spot up shooter in Orlando.
 
After playing with the Philadelphia 76ers summer league squad, 76ers beat writer Keith Pompey reported that Bader signed with the French team ASVEL. He can reportedly opt out if he makes an NBA team. While he may not make an NBA roster, the summer league was a good opportunity to draw international attention.
 
MVP Tracker

1. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Detroit Pistons (Previous: 1)
Tuesday’s Line: 26 points, 7 rebounds
 
Caldwell-Pope had the game-winner against Miami and continues to score at a high level. He has yet to be knocked off from the top spot.
 
2. Mason Plumlee, Brooklyn Nets (Previous: 3)
Tuesday’s Line: No Game
 
3. James Ennis, Miami Heat (Previous: 2)
Tuesday’s Line: 4 points, 7 rebounds
 
Ennis had a quiet day and dropped a spot after shooting 1-of-6 from the field. If his jumper is falling, he should remain as one of the top players in Orlando.
 
4. Jeremy Lamb, Oklahoma City Thunder (Previous: 5)
Tuesday’s Line: No Game
 
5. Casper Ware, Philadelphia 76ers (Previous: NR)
Tuesday’s Line: 16 points, 4 assists
 
Ware has been one of the most consistent performers in Orlando and debuts on the MVP Tracker after scoring at least 16 points in his third consecutive game. He’s averaging 17.3 points, 3.7 assists, and three rebounds per game in Orlando as he attempts to make the Philadelphia roster.
 
Rookie Tracker

1. Jarnell Stokes, Memphis Grizzlies (Previous: 5)
Tuesday’s Line: 11 points, 12 rebounds
 
Stokes recorded his second double-double in Orlando and climbed into the top spot. He’s scored in double figures all three days and is averaging 12.3 points and 9.7 rebounds per game in summer league play.
 
2. Nick Johnson, Houston Rockets (Previous: 2)
Tuesday’s Line: 11 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists
 
Johnson had a chance to take the top spot, but shot only 4-of-14 from the floor in the loss. He continues to impress, however, due to his ability to contribute in areas outside of the scoring column.
 
3. Jordan Adams, Memphis Grizzlies (Previous: 1)
Tuesday’s Line: 2 points, 2 steals
 
Adams had his worst day of the Orlando Summer League and dropped from the top spot. He was held to just two points while shooting 0-of-6 from the field.
 
4. Mitch McGary, Oklahoma City Thunder (Previous: 3)
Tuesday’s Line: No Game
 
5. Mike Moser, Boston Celtics (Previous: 4)
Tuesday’s Line: No Game

Orlando Summer League, Day 3 Recap

The third day of the Orlando Summer League saw the Indiana Pacers, Boston Celtics, Houston Rockets, Orlando Magic, Oklahoma City Thunder, and Brooklyn Nets take the floor. Here’s the top storylines from Monday’s action:

Reed Makes Case for Roster Spot

The star from the opening game was Willie Reed. The big man from St. Louis sparked a huge second quarter run and led Indiana to a win over Boston.
 
Reed finished the game with 18 points, 12 in the second quarter, while shooting 8-of-12 from the floor. He also added six rebounds, four blocks, and three assists.
 
“I was just thinking that I got to find a way to help my team in some way,” Reed said of his second quarter spark on NBA TV. “I got a couple of blocked shots that really got me going and then the ball just started falling in. My teammates got confidence from there and we just kept on rolling with it.”
 
Reed is entering his fourth professional season after declaring for the draft following his sophomore season. He went undrafted in 2011 but is now an experienced 24-year-old competing for an NBA roster spot. Reed spent the past season in the D-League and briefly with the Sacramento Kings, although he did not play in an NBA game.
 
At 6-foot-10, Reed has an effective low post game that allowed him to score against the likes of Colton Iverson and Kelly Olynyck. He showed the ability to operate from the low post with some effective scoring moves in addition to a couple nice passes when he drew a double team.
 
“Every time I step on the floor I look at another player and see what’s my advantage over them,” said Reed. “Most of the time it’s my quickness and my footwork, so I just try to take advantage of that. I know [Iverson] was a little bit stronger than me, so I just tried to face him up and play off penetration and pick-and-roll and it just worked out for me today.”
 
While he’s a bit of a tweener between the power forward and center positions, Reed showed the offensive talent and motor to push for a roster spot. His competitive nature would make him a good addition for the back end of an NBA roster.
 
Payton Stuffs Stat Sheet
 
Elfrid Payton struggled in his debut, but put together an all-around effort on Monday. After he was limited to two points, five assists, and four turnovers on Saturday, Payton showed why he was a ten top selection in this year’s draft.
 
The 6-foot-4 point guard finished with 12 points, nine assists, and eight rebounds against the Houston Rockets while shooting a perfect 5-of-5 from the field. All of his shot attempts were layups or dunks, but he did a good job running the offense and frustrating opposing ball handlers.
 
Payton was simple of his goals in the summer league. “Just getting better,” he said on NBA TV. “Gaining experience and gaining chemistry with my teammates.”
 
While soft-spoken, Payton is a gamer that plays with intensity on both ends of the floor. He’ll see action as a rookie because of his defensive ability, but he’s a solid ball handler and creator at the point guard position. If he’s able to add a jumper to his game, Payton will be a legitimate offensive weapon.
 
Thunder Bounce Back
 
The Oklahoma City Thunder were expected to be one of the better teams in Orlando due to the mix of talented young players from the NBA squad and newly selected rookies, but they dropped their first two games in Orlando by a combined 32 points. They bounced back on Monday in a 98-84 win over Brooklyn.
 
Jeremy Lamb led the Thunder with a team-high 26 points. It wasn’t his most efficient scoring display, shooting 8-of-17 from the floor and a 2-of-7 from three, but he did a good job creating his own shot despite some uncharacteristic misses.
 
“We wanted to win bad,” Lamb said on NBA TV. “It’s never fun losing…so we just tried to come out and compete and play hard. It always feels good to get a win.”
 
Lamb jumped into the MVP Tracker with his performance against Brooklyn in addition to his 14-point, 5-rebound showing on Saturday. He sat out on Sunday before leading Oklahoma City to a win.
 
Another key performer was rookie Mitch McGary. The 6-foot-10 big man had a double-double with 18 points and 13 rebounds. He showed the ability to handle the ball and knock down the mid-range jumper. His body makes him a quality screener while he has the motor to crash the boards.
 
McGary dropped to the 21st pick in this year’s draft after missing most of the year with a back injury, but looks healthy and active in Orlando. There’s a chance he becomes another steal in the Oklahoma City development system.
 
MVP Tracker

1. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Detroit Pistons (Previous: 1)
Monday’s Line: No Game
 
2. James Ennis, Miami Heat (Previous: 2)
Monday’s Line: No Game
 
3. Mason Plumlee, Brooklyn Nets (Previous: 3)
Monday’s Line: 13 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists
 
Plumlee had a team-high 13 points on 4-of-6 shooting against Oklahoma City. It was his third game in as many games and continues to be the top player for Brooklyn.
 
4. Jordan Adams, Memphis Grizzlies (Previous: 4)
Monday’s Line: No Game
 
5. Jeremy Lamb, Oklahoma City Thunder (Previous: NR)
Monday’s Line: 26 points, 8 rebounds, 3 steals
 
Lamb debuts on the MVP tracker after leading the Thunder to their first win. His performance was discussed above.
 
Rookie Tracker

1. Jordan Adams, Memphis Grizzlies (Previous: 1)
Monday’s Line: No Game
 
2. Nick Johnson, Houston Rockets (Previous: 2)
Monday’s Line: 13 points, 5 rebounds
 
Johnson wasn’t as impressive in his second summer league game while shooting 3-of-12 from the floor, but still contributed a team-high 13 points. He’s looking confident as the primary ball handler in Orlando.
 
3. Mitch McGary, Oklahoma City Thunder (Previous: NR)
Monday’s Line: 18 points, 13 rebounds
 
After McGary was given a day of rest on Sunday, he was inserted into the starting lineup and made a huge impact. He had an OK game in the opener with eight points and three rebounds, but made his debut in the Rookie Tracker after his play against Brooklyn. His performance was discussed above.
 
4. Mike Moser, Boston Celtics (Previous: 4)
Monday’s Line: 11 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists
 
Moser stays in the fourth spot after a solid game against Indiana. He had 11 points while shooting 3-of-9 from the floor and 3-of-7 from deep. He’s a stretch four who can shoot, rebound, and distribute.
 
5. Jarnell Stokes, Memphis Grizzlies (Previous: 5)
Monday’s Line: No Game

Orlando Summer League, Day 2 Recap

The second day of the Orlando Summer League saw the Memphis Grizzlies, Detroit Pistons, Philadelphia 76ers, Oklahoma City Thunder, Miami Heat and Brooklyn Nets take the floor. A pair of Long Beach State players impressed and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope continued his success.

Caldwell-Pope Continues Scoring Surge

The early story from the Orlando Summer League has been the success of Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. The 6-foot-5 second year shooting guard topped his 26-point showing on Saturday with 30 points and 12 rebounds on Sunday.

Caldwell-Pope has shown a well-rounded scoring arsenal with a mixture of drives to the basket, mid-range jumpers, and three-pointers. He’s done a good job getting to the foul line as well, with 17 free throw attempts in the past two games.

On Sunday, Caldwell-Pope was 10-of-20 from the field and 4-of-8 from three-point range. He had four mid-range jumpers and a pair of slashing layups. His length helps him in the rebounding department and as a man-to-man defender. Caldwell-Pope was clearly the best player on the floor and as last year’s eighth overall selection, it made sense.

This is a good sign from Caldwell-Pope, who is expected to contribute as a rotational player next season. It may only be summer league action, but he looks confident as an overall scorer.

Napier and Ennis Lead Heat

After Shabazz Napier had a forgettable 3-of-15 shooting display with eight turnovers on Saturday, he got back to his old form with 17 points and seven assists against Brooklyn while shooting 6-of-12 from the floor.

“It was a tough game for me because that was actually the first game that I ever was super nervous for,” Napier said on NBA TV about his debut. “I played like I was nervous, I played like I didn’t play four years of college basketball. My teammates were just encouraging me, my coaches were encouraging me, and I just wanted to come out here after I watched the film with better effort. My biggest thing for myself was to compete on defense and that would create my offense.”

Napier looked like the player most expected to see on Saturday, with some pretty assists to go with a pair of mid-range jumpers and a three-pointer. He had a nice bounce back performance and will look to continue the success moving forward. Napier nearly cracked the Rookie Tracker, but his previous performance and another five turnovers on Sunday leave him on the bubble.

His teammate, James Ennis, was torching nets against Brooklyn. He poured in 29 points while shooting 10-of-12 from the field and 7-of-8 from behind the arc. He also had a soaring dunk in transition that highlighted his athleticism. Ennis was a second round pick from Long Beach State last season, but played overseas while expecting to return this year.

Ennis has become a serious candidate to not only make the Miami roster, but also become a bench contributor. After scoring 18 points in the opening game, he’s having a nice start to the Orlando Summer League.

Ware Sparks Short-Handed 76ers

With Pierre Jackson going down yesterday and Nerlens Noel sitting out for a rest day, second year point guard Casper Ware lifted Philadelphia to a win over the Oklahoma City Thunder.

A teammate with Ennis at Long Beach State, Ware went undrafted in 2012 and spent the majority of the past two seasons in Italy. At the end of last season, Ware played with the 76ers and ended up seeing double-digit minutes in the final three games of the year. He was expected to compete with Jackson for a roster spot, but is now a likely candidate to make the team.

Ware had a team-high 20 points against the Thunder, going 8-for-16 from the field and 3-for-7 from three-point range. He also had five assists and five rebounds.

At 5-foot-10, Ware lacks size, but wasn’t afraid to attack the basket and was a pesky defender. He picked up his man full court on occasions and made his opponents work. Ware had five turnovers, which he’ll need to improve, but will be one to follow. He’s a high-energy point guard who should find an NBA roster.

Undrafted Rookies of Note

Each summer league has unknown rookies step up to the level of competition and draw the attention of scouts, not only of the NBA, but around the globe. While there’s a scare amount of spots in the NBA, it should be remembered that there are plenty of opportunities to play around the world. Players may be hoping to make an NBA squad, but can still use this as an opportunity to showcase their skills to teams overseas.

Memphis had a pair of point guards play well in Scottie Wilbekin and Joe Jackson. Wilbekin didn't have a stat-stuffing game, with two points and two assists, but ran the offense well and impressed defensively. He’s a proven winner who was successful at Florida last season and will certainly have opportunities overseas. Joe Jackson, a local product who played at Memphis, had 10 points on 4-of-5 shooting. He’s a quick floor general who can score at a high level. The undrafted duo will be fringe NBA prospects to follow in Orlando.

The Philadelphia 76ers also had two undrafted rookies who drew attention. Ronald Roberts Jr., an undersized power forward from Saint Joseph’s, had 12 points on 5-of-6 shooting to go with five offensive rebounds. He had a pair of impressive dunks to show his athleticism. He may not make an NBA roster, but should have a career playing basketball overseas. His summer league teammate, Travis Bader, also put his name out there. The 6-foot-5 shooting guard had 13 points while shooting 4-of-7 from the field. He’s an elite shooter who made the most three-point field goals in NCAA Division I history. Bader struggled keeping his man in front defensively, but was a weapon as a shot maker.

Former Fresno State guard Tyler Johnson was another pleasant surprise. He didn’t play for the Heat on Saturday, but was given 13 minutes against Brooklyn and made the most of it. He scored 14 points on a perfect 6-of-6 shooting, including a 2-of-2 showing from three-point range. It was just a glimpse, but he will be one to track the rest of the week.

MVP Tracker

1. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Detroit Pistons (Previous: 1)
Sunday’s Line: 30 points, 12 rebounds, 3 assists

We discussed Caldwell-Pope’s strong start to the Orlando Summer League above. He’s the early MVP of the event and remains in the top spot.

2. James Ennis, Miami Heat (Previous: NR)
Sunday’s Line: 29 points, 4 rebounds

After a solid performance on Saturday in which Ennis finished with 18 points (5-11 FG, 2-2 3FG) and eight rebounds, he was barely left off the MVP tracker due to a loss. But Ennis was unstoppable on Sunday, as we talked about above, and moved into the second spot.

3. Mason Plumlee, Brooklyn Nets (Previous: 2)
Sunday’s Line: 18 points

Plumlee was not as dominant as he was on Saturday, but still scored 18 points while shooting 6-of-7 from the field. He did a good job drawing contact, yet struggled to convert and was only 6-of-12 from the free throw line. Plumlee still looked strong down low and remains in the MVP Tracker.

4. Jordan Adams, Memphis Grizzlies (Previous: 3)
Sunday’s Line: 20 points, 7 rebounds

Adams moved into the starting lineup on Sunday and continued to play well. He wasn’t draining as many threes as he did on Saturday, but impacted the game as a rebounder and defender. He was 6-of-13 from the floor and 1-of-3 from deep with seven rebounds. He showed some struggles creating his own shot, but is an elite shot up shooter who uses screens effectively.

5. Kelly Olynyck, Boston Celtics (Previous: 4)
Sunday’s Line: No Game

Rookie Tracker

1. Jordan Adams, Memphis Grizzlies (Previous: 1)
Sunday’s Line: 20 points, 7 rebounds

Adams remained in the top spot after scoring 20 points on 6-of-13 shooting. He did show some struggles creating his own shot, with three turnovers, but has been the top rookie in Orlando early on.

2. Nick Johnson, Houston Rockets (Previous: 2)
Sunday’s Line: No Game

3. Chris Crawford, Houston Rockets (Previous: 3)
Sunday’s Line: No Game

4. Mike Moser, Boston Celtics (Previous: 4)
Sunday’s Line: No Game

5. Jarnell Stokes, Memphis Grizzlies (Previous: NR)
Sunday’s Line: 16 points, 12 rebounds

After scoring 10 points (5-12 FG) and grabbing five rebounds on Saturday, Stokes had a double-double on Sunday. He debuts in the Rookie Tracker due to his gritty performance. Stokes had an eye-popping reverse dunk and showed some potential as a mid-range shooter.

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