Articles by Michael Corvo

A listing of all the articles written by Michael Corvo for the RotoWire Blog.

Saturday NFL Training Camp Notes

Kevin Kolb (knee) is day-to-day after slipping on a mat while switching practice fields, and its unclear whether it will affect his status for the Bills’ preseason opener on August 11th. It was a freak accident, but Buffalo does not believe the injury is serious. Still, it’s bad news for Kolb, who is locked into a battle for the starting job with rookie E.J. Manuel. After the veteran took most of the first-team reps in the opening week of camp, the rookie stepped in nicely for Kolb, and will take over the reps in the coming days. If Manuel continues to look good, it could shift the competition.

More bad news came out of Buffalo, as head coach Doug Marrone announced top receiver Steve Johnson (hamstring) will be announced at least a week after leaving practice on Friday. Buffalo is trying to install Marrone’s up-tempo offense, so even missing a week or so could put Johnson behind schedule with the playbook.

Patrick Peterson is a weapon, and Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians has ambitious plans to take advantage of the cornerback’s playmaking abilities with the ball. Arians announced Saturday that he has installed an offensive package for Peterson at both wide receiver and in the backfield. The shut-down corner, also one of the most premier punt returners in football, was seen catching passes over the middle during Saturday’s scrimmage.

In addition to the recent signing of Austin Collie, the 49ers picked up Lavelle Hawkins to help bolster an injury-riddled wide receiving corps. Hawkins had 71 receptions in five years with Tennessee, and could get a chance to compete for snaps, at least until the rest of the receivers get healthier.

Tony Romo isn’t going to play in the Hall of Fame game on Sunday, although the Cowboys said the minor back surgery he had in the offseason is not a factor in the decision. It sounds like Dallas is keeping Romo out as a protective measure, attributed mostly to the state of their offensive line, which is currently depleted with injuries.

NBA Summer League: Wednesday, July 17th

Denver 87 New Orleans 82

The Nuggets held on to beat New Orleans, led by Jordan Hamilton and Quincy Miller. Hamilton, who has played sparingly in his first two seasons in Denver, dropped 23 points (8-14 FG, 3-3 FT), and displayed a nice outside touch, hitting 4-7 from three. With Andre Iguodala gone, Hamilton has a chance to play himself into the rotation. Miller, another long wing, had 17 points (6-10 FG, 5-5 3Pt), and five boards. He’ll be worth keeping an eye on, but unfortunately Denver happens to have other long forwards that can shoot it.

For the Pelicans, Darius Miller showed his sweet stroke en route to 23 points (8-15 FG, 2-6 3Pt, 5-6 FT). Miller has been impressive throughout the summer, but will struggle to find consistent minutes behind newly acquired Jrue Holiday and Tyreke Evans, as well as incumbents Eric Gordon and Austin Rivers, who tallied 16 points (5-14 FG, 1-3 3Pt, 5-7 FT).

Memphis 90 Washington 83

Tony Wroten and his 23 points, six assists, and four boards led the Grizz, while Jack Cooley put up a 20 and 12, displaying the same rebounding prowess that allowed him to average a double-double last season at Notre Dame. The Grizz, of course, like bruisers, and Cooley could make the squad if he continues to play blue-collar, hard-nosed ball.

For D.C., Jan Vesely continues to give reason for slight optimism with another efficient game from the field (15 points, 6-9 FG), in addition to grabbing nine boards. Chris Singleton, as expected, led the way with 16 points and five boards, while second-round pick Glen Rice Jr. needed 13 shots to get his 14 points, looking particularly unreliable from downtown. Still, the Wiz will give all three a chance to make an impact once camp opens up.

Sacramento 54 Minnesota 92

Sacramento had a rough go on Wednesday, with the great Will Clyburn being the only player to crack double figures (15 points, 5-9 FG) despite posting the worst plus/minus on the the team (-28, go figure). Notably ineffective was lottery-pick Ben McLemore, who continues his up-and-down debut week. After a bounce-back game on Tuesday, McLemore scored just one point in 21 minutes, shooting 0-8 from the field. It’s early, clearly, but he certainly has looked erratic and unpolished so far.

Shabazz Muhammad, on the other hand, had his first solid game for Minny, finally cracking double-digits with 17 points (6-10 FG, 2-4 FT), four boards, and displayed the ability to knock down the three, going 3 of 4 from distance. Obviously, the questions about Muhammad are more related to his ego and motor rather than talent, but it’s still promising to see him score in different ways, and he’ll be a much more productive player in Rick Adelman’s system if he can knock down the corner three.

Portland 70 Atlanta 69

For the second straight day, C.J. McCollum and Thomas Robinson, both of whom will factor into the team’s rotation and success this season, led Portland. The rookie, McCollum, threw in 19 points after scoring 27 on Tuesday. He’s only 13-29 in the two games, but summer league is more about showing off skills, rather than field goal percentage, considering how raw and unrehearsed the offenses are, and C.J. can clearly fill it up. He has as good a chance as any rookie to start and make an impact from day one. Robinson, a former no. 5 pick, continues to clean up the glass, notching 17 boards (and 13 points) after grabbing 18 on Tuesday. Robinson is on his third team in two calendar years, partially because of his tendency to play outside his game. His one elite skill, though, is rebounding, and if he continues to focus on that aspect of his game, he could tally great per-48 glass numbers.

Dennis Schroeder contributed 16 points (4-11 FG, 1-5 3Pt, 7-8 FT), five dimes, and three steals, and continues to look good this summer. He’s still raw, and wasn’t an efficient player in Europe, but has nice explosion, which will allow him to be tough on pick and rolls, get to the line, and wreak a little havoc on D. Could be a nice backup from the start.

Miami 113 New York 66

It’s hard to read much into a summer league game this lopsided, particularly with Miami’s balanced scoring, but Travis Leslie at least turned some heads. He added 23 points (9-13 FG, 1-3 3Pt, 4-7 FT) off the bench, although his playing time increased because of the score. Rookie James Ennis had 12 points in 13 minutes, and while none of these players are expected to play much for the champs this season, one of these competing wings could make the squad now that Mike Miller has been amnestied.

For the Knicks, with Tim Hardaway Jr. and Iman Shumpert still out, Jeremy Tyler got some more minutes, and capitalized with 18 points and eight boards. Point guard Toure Murray, previously endorsed by Mike Woodson, was ineffective again, as was C.J. Leslie (four points, five turnovers). Without Hardaway and Shump, it’s fair to say this Vegas roster isn’t exactly bursting with potential.

L.A. Clippers 89 Dallas 95

Once again, it was target practice for rookie Reggie Bullock, who led the Clips with 20 points (8-15 FG, 1-4 3Pt, 3-6 FT). It wasn’t the most accurate day for the shooting guard, but everyone knows he can drain it, and many considered him to be the best shooter in the draft. In fact, it was more promising to see him accrue 20 points without his three-ball necessarily falling, as well as add five boards and four assists. He should be a nice fit off the bench this year, and will get his chances to heat up playing off Chris Paul and Darren Collison kick-outs.

Jackie Carmichael (23 points, 9-14 FG, nine boards), Josh Akognon (24 points, 6-9 FG, 4-7 3Pt, 8-8 FT), and Jae Crowder (18 points, five rebounds, five assists) pitched in for the Mavs on Wednesday. Of those three, though, Crowder is the one to pay attention to, as he figures to take a step forward this year and really factor into Rick Carlisle’s plans, if he can show some consistency.

NBA Summer League: Friday, July 12th

Friday was the most jam-packed day of the NBA Summer League so far, as Orlando wrapped up its action while Las Vegas kicked off its tournament at UNLV’s Cox Pavilion.

Its always hard to make evaluations at the summer league, which tends to reveal who can’t play in the Association rather than who can make an impact in the upcoming season. Still, there are always standouts and players who display certain unexpected or refined skills. Additionally, it can give an impression as to who might crack a rotation, and therefore perhaps have some fantasy value.


Miami 90 Detroit 85

D.J. Kennedy was the surprise of the day, finishing with 18 points (5-9 FG, 3-5 3Pt, 5-6 FT) and the dagger floater over Andre Drummond with 15.6 seconds left. The St. John’s alum spent some time with Cleveland and in the D-League last season, and needed a big final day to turn some heads and potentially make a roster. Undrafted former Belmont guard Ian Clark capped off a strong summer league with 18 points, seven assists, and six steals. Clark, who can really shoot it, averaged 16.4 points over the five games, and gave himself a shot to end up on a roster.

For Detroit, first-round pick Kentavious Caldwell-Pope steadily improved throughout the week (after a really rough first two games). He had his best game on Friday, posting 20 points (7-14 FG, 5-6 3Pt), five boards, and four assists. He’s clearly not polished, but the Pistons will give him a chance to earn the starting 2-guard spot in camp. Andre Drummond continued his summer wreckage, finishing his week with 15 points (6-7 FG, 3-5 FT) and 14 rebounds. Drummond averaged 15.5 points, 14.8 rebounds, 2.0 blocks, and 2.5 steals in Orlando, and looked like a man among boys. He could be an impact player this season, although he will probably go higher than he should in most fantasy drafts, as fans will overestimate how many minutes he’ll realistically get.

Indiana 73 Utah 70

The Pacers were looking for second-year man Orlando Johnson to show some promise in his namesake city, and he waited for the last day to finally do it, posting 18 points (7-13 FG, 3-6 3Pt). Johnson led the team with 14.6 points, but had shooting splits of 40.4/33.3/79.3. Those are fine, except his shot selection was less than stellar considering 24 of his 52 attempts were from beyond the arc. He should enter camp with a shot at some backup 2-guard minutes. First-round pick Solomon Hill will also be looking to crack the wing rotation, and despite just two points Friday, had a decent showing this week at 12.0 points (48.9|PERCENT| FG), 5.2 rebounds, and 10-18 from three. Indiana’s other summer league standout, Mason Plumlee, didn’t play on Friday, but made an impression at Amway, averaging 10.0 points, 9.5 rebounds, and 3.0 blocks.

As for Utah, Trey Burke finished off his less-than-stellar week with eight points (4-12 FG) and five assists in 23 minutes. Burke averaged just 8.8 points with a 4.0-2.3 assists/TO ratio, shot just 24.1|PERCENT| from the field, including an alarmingly abysmal 1-19 from downtown. Still, he’ll start the season with the keys to Utah’s car (it might just be a bumpy ride at first). Chris Roberts was again the best player for the Jazz, coming off the bench for 15 points (5-7 FG, 2-3 3Pt, 3-4 FT), concluding his week at 14.8 points on 55|PERCENT| shooting. In a rebuild year, he could be nice find for Utah.

Oklahoma City 85 Houston 77

Your first ever Southwest Orlando Pro Summer League Champs! The Thunder capped off an undefeated trip to Florida behind Jeremy Lamb, who was fairly impressive all week. Leading scorer Reggie Jackson (19.5 PPG, 53.8|PERCENT| FG) didn’t play, so Lamb took 18 shots in 31 minutes. He only hit six (0-4 from three), but still got to the line to squeeze out 18 points, which is just about what he averaged over the five contests (18.8 PPG, 39.1|PERCENT| FG). Lamb gave himself a great shot at replacing Kevin Martin’s role in 2013-14, which would at least give Sam Presti some return from the James Harden trade. Another part of that deal, rookie Steven Adams, played well again, going for 10 points and 9 boards. Daniel Orton also continued his solid play (12 points in 11 minutes), and has a chance to grab a reserve big spot.

Houston endured its first loss of the week, although it probably won’t put a frown on Daryl Morey’s face at the moment. A positive, though, was the continued strong play of Robert Covington, an undrafted 6’8 forward from Tennessee State, who notched 21 points (8-17 FG, 3-7 3Pt), five rebounds and four steals. Leading summer-league scorer Terrence Jones didn’t play Friday, so another undrafted rookie, former Arkansas guard B.J. Young, took over the scoring duties, tallying 20 points on 7-12 shooting. The Rockets still need to improve their perimeter shooting, so these guys should get a look.

Orlando 83 Boston 102

Orlando rested Victor Oladipo, Doron Lamb, Moe Harkless, Tobias Harris, and Kyle O’Quinn (in other words, everyone of note), leaving some opportunities for others to step up. A.J. Slaughter left a good impression with 25 points, nine assists, and seven steals, as he hopes to get an invite to camp. Romero Osby ended his strong week with 14 points (6-12 FG) and four steals.

It was another efficient game for Boston’s Kelly Olynyk, who went for 12 points and seven boards in 15 minutes. The first-round pick led the C’s summer team with 18.0 points (57.8|PERCENT| FG) and 7.8 rebounds per game. Former Missouri point guard Phil Pressey continued his case for backup point guard Friday with 10 more dimes. He finished the week at 9.4 points and 6.6 assists per game.

Brooklyn 86 Philadelphia 89

Without leading scorer Tyshawn Taylor, Brooklyn got some other nice performances to wrap up Jason Kidd’s (sort of) first week as coach. Rookie Mason Plumlee dropped 23 points and displayed tremendous athleticism all week, especially around the rim. The Nets are pretty stacked in the frontcourt, especially with the addition of Andrei Kirilenko, so Plumlee will have an uphill climb to earn minutes. Brooklyn also got surprise outputs from center Keith Benson (18 points, 16 boards), and Chris Wright (23 points, 7 rebounds, 7 assists), who made final pleas for a roster spot somewhere.

Las Vegas

Out in Las Vegas, aspiring young players from the Knicks, Pelicans, Hawks, Clippers, Cavaliers, Lakers, Bobcats, and Spurs all began their summer school Friday night. Let’s see who passed their first tests.

New York 72 New Orleans 77

Tim Hardaway Jr. led the Knicks in scoring on Day One with 13 points (4-12 FG, 1-6 3Pt, 4-5 FT). He wasn’t stellar on the hardwood, but however he performs this week, he will no doubt get an opportunity to be in the rotation on opening night, most likely as a versatile backup wing. Iman Shumpert is playing summer ball, too, but certainly looked rusty, adding just two free throws and missing all his field goal attempts. He should work himself back into form soon, and better, as Woody will be relying on him to start at the two-guard.

The Pelicans got a surprisingly strong outing from Austin Rivers, who literally registered the least efficient season in league history in his rookie campaign. Young Doc led New Orleans with 24 points (8-15 FG, 7-11 FT), seven rebounds, and six assists. Monty Williams could have an interesting conundrum on his hands if Rivers continues to shine in Vegas, considering the Pelicans just acquired Jrue Holiday and Tyreke Evans to fill up backcourt minutes.

L.A. Clippers 90 Atlanta 83

John Jenkins, Atlanta’s 2012 first-round pick, will clearly be the no. 1 option in Vegas for the Hawks, and started off strong with 24 points (10-23 FG) and six boards. Jenkins will be gunning for a spot in the rotation this year in the A-T-L, and can certainly shoot it. It should be fun watching him let it fly all week. A couple other Hawks to key an eye on:

Dennis Schroder (2013’s first-round pick) will introduce his game to America (or NBATV’s daytime summer league viewership), and started with six points and seven assists. He is an intriguing prospect and will likely be Atlanta’s backup point guard this season.

Mike Muscala: the 6’11 center from Bucknell displayed some of his polished post-game Friday, adding 11 points (5-8 FG) off the bench.

For the Clips, rookie Reggie Bullock began his career in promising fashion, dropping 18 points on 8-15 shooting (2-6 3Pt). Minutes could be tough to come by this year for Bullock behind Jared Dudley and Matt Barnes, but the Clippers are expecting him to stay ready to fire when called upon. Samardo Samuels and DaJuan Summers both had effective 15-point showings, although L.A. might not be fiscally able to sign them after all their recent transactions become official, particularly if they ink Antawn Jamison, as rumored.

Cleveland 70 L.A. Lakers 62

The two players on Cleveland’s summer league roster likely to be in the rotation, Dion Waiters and Tyler Zeller, had drastically different debuts. While Zeller contributed a solid 15 and 7, Waiters struggled, scoring three points on 1-11 shooting. It’s early though, and Waiters, like Shumpert, will shake off the rust. Cleveland is counting on him to make a leap this year as they hope to contend for a playoff spot. Another name to follow: Jermaine Taylor, who has bounced around the NBA, D-League, and planet since coming out of UCF. The 26-year old forward led Cleveland with 17 points off the bench.

The Lakers’ remarkable streak of consecutive losses in summer ball increased to 12 (last win: 7/14/09), and it’s clear why when looking at the Vegas squad. Center Robert Sacre, who L.A. just re-signed, is the only player guaranteed a roster spot, and he will most likely be used as a Bench Celebration Extraordinaire once again in 2013-14. Chris Douglas-Roberts is an intriguing name (and comes to Vegas with an intriguing hairdo), but recorded just six points on 2-8 shooting. Rookie Michael Snaer (yes, that guy who hit SIX buzzer-beaters while at Florida State and was on SportsCenter all the time) is also trying to catch on with a team, and started his pro career with 12 points (4-9 FG) and six boards for L.A.

San Antonio 69 Charlotte 67

These two organizations might be polar opposites, in every conceivable way, but both looked similarly unimpressive on Friday. The Charlotte’s squad had team shooting splits of 42.4/25/44.4, while the Spurs shot it at 41.9/22.2/76.5. By the way, one clear pattern that you should have noticed by now: shooting percentages are fairly terrible in summer ball. Considering the teams are made up of players desperately trying to turn heads, who aren’t very good, without any real playing time together, that should not be a surprise. A few guys did have nice games, though.

For Charlotte, last year’s second-round pick, Jeffery Taylor stood out with 24 points on 9-17 shooting. Taylor played in 77 games in his rookie campaign, and has a chance to be a sixth man/backup shooting guard for the Cats. Lottery pick Cody Zeller started his career with eight points and five boards, whatever that means (he’ll get minutes this year, is the point). Bismack Biyombo grabbed 11 boards, blocked a couple shots, and added three points, so, in other words, it was a typical regular-season outing for the Best Name in Basketball. Finally, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist showed some promise by actually looking at the basket, and even attempting 12 shots. He made six, and finished with 12 points. He really needs to show significant offensive improvement in order to be a fantasy commodity this season.

For the NBA’s runners-up, second-round pick DeShaun Thomas began his validation as the annual the obvious-steal-of-the-draft-that-somehow-lands-in-San Antonio with 18 points (7-13 FG, 2-4 3Pt, 2-2 FT). Meanwhile, Cory Joseph, fresh off playing key NBA Finals minutes, was appropriately the most effective player on the court, tallying a 19-5-5 line. Nando de Colo also did some things related to basketball.

It was a busy day of summer league action, as evidenced by these 2000 words, but a champion was crowned in Orlando! And after a terribly unproductive offseason/last ten months by Sam Presti, that might be as close as Oklahoma City will come to a ring for a while (just kidding, they’re still the best in the West, I think).

As for Vegas, it was only the beginning and way too early to make any judgments. Now let’s just hope the players behave at America’s Playground, so we can make some accurate evaluations before school is out.

NBA Free Agency: Tuesday News and Notes

As more and more free agents come off the board, with a handful (if that) remaining teams with usable cap room, fewer marquee free agents are agreeing to terms each day. Nine days into free agency, Andrew Bynum, Monta Ellis, Nikola Pekovic (restricted), Brandon Jennings (restricted), Jeff Teague (restricted) and Andrei Kirilenko are the most impactful players left on the market.

There are plenty of rumors for each of those guys (Bynum and Cleveland, Ellis and Atlanta, Sacramento, or Dallas, a Teague-Jennings/Ellis sign-and-trade swap, among others), but for now, let’s examine some of the deals that were actually agreed upon. And while these moves might not have significant fantasy impact, they could help their new teams win some ballgames.

At the start of the off-season, the Pacers declined to give Tyler Hansbrough a qualifying offer (thus making him an unrestricted free agent), in an effort to re-sign David West. On Tuesday, Toronto scooped him up on a two-year deal for a portion of their mid-level exception. Psycho T is more of an energy guy than a fantasy performer, and averaged 7.0 points (43.2|PERCENT| FG) and 4.6 boards per game last season. He should serve a similar role in Toronto, providing some grittiness and effort off the pine.

Golden State agreed to terms with veteran center Jermaine O’Neal and combo guard Toney Douglas. Specifics were not released yet on the contracts, but the O’Neal deal is for reportedly one-year, which is the only option that makes sense. The Dubs continue to add some nice pieces and build their depth as they attempt to replace Carl Landry and Jarrett Jack, although neither of the new signees are exactly fantasy studs. Jermaine appeared in 55 games for Phoenix last season, and actually posted solid per-36 rates of 15.9 points (48.2|PERCENT|) and 10.3 boards. Of course, the six-time All-Star is not a threat to get that much PT, and will be a backup to Andrew Bogut while Festus Ezeli continues to recover from knee surgery.

Douglas has scoring ability but has been plagued by inconsistency on both ends throughout his career. He shot just 40.3|PERCENT| in 18.2 minutes per game last season, splitting his time between Houston and Sacramento.

The Detroit Pistons sneakily agreed on a two-year, $3.75 million contract with Luigi Datome, the reigning Italian League MVP. The 25-year old averaged 16.6 points and 5.8 rebounds for Virtus Roma, with 47/41/92 splits. He can clearly shoot the ball, and at six-nine, could be a nice backup at the small forward for Mo Cheek’s squad.

Sharpshooter Anthony Morrow is the latest addition to the New Orleans backcourt after agreeing to a two-year deal at the veteran minimum with the Pelicans. Morrow was disappointing in Dallas this past year, but still has career splits of 45/42/90.

The Miami Heat re-signed Chris Andersen to a one-year deal. Birdman averaged 4.9 points and 4.1 rebounds in the regular season after being picked up by the Heat, but his value lies in his energy rather than statistical output.

Finally, in the lone trade of the day, Sacramento acquired Luc Richard Mbah a Moute from Milwaukee in return for a 2016 second-round pick. Mbah a Moute, who has two-years and $19 million left on his deal, will be expected to fill the void at small forward in Sacto, particularly if the team deals or amnesties John Salmons. Mbah a Moute has been a solid defensive player for his first five years, capable of guarding either forward position, and that will be his role in Sacramento, in addition to hitting corner threes. He averaged 6.7 points in 22.9 minutes last year, while shooting 40.1|PERCENT| from the floor.

Plenty of names are still out there to be had, and with the 10-day moratorium set to expire, Wednesday should be one of the busiest days of the off-season, so make sure to follow Woj on Twitter.

NBA Summer League: Monday Analysis

The best time of year for NBA fans continues, as the NBA Summer League’s second day steals the spotlight from all the offseason hoopla. Well, maybe we’re getting carried away a bit, but hey, actual basketball is being played!

Thunder 97, Magic 98

Jeremy Lamb: Well, maybe Thunder fans should not feel too much better about the James Harden trade yet, but Lamb did sink a beautiful step-back jumper for the game-winner on Monday. Still, he only shot 4-16 from the field for his 11 points, including 1-9 from downtown and four turnovers. It is still early in summer league, but Lamb will need to improve his shooting if he wants to compete for the minutes vacant now that Kevin Martin is out of town.

Grant Jerrett: One surprise so far this summer has been Jerrett, a 6-10 power forward out of Arizona who clearly has a smooth stroke. In two summer league games, he has drained eight three-pointers, and led OKC with 14 points on Monday, in addition to five boards. Foul trouble has been an issue, but he has a shot to make the team with his range.

Reggie Jackson: The most accomplished player on the court after taking over as the backup point last season, Jackson struggled, shooting 2-7 for four points and seven turnovers in 17 minutes. Jackson should his rhythm back, and he did stay active with four dimes and four boards. Still, he should kind of be tearing up some of these players.

Dwight Buycks: The surprise of the game, Buycks dropped 11 points (3-5 FG, 2-2 3Pt, 3-4 FT), and five dimes in his 22 minutes off the bench, including a layup to take the lead with 32 seconds left. Undrafted out of Marquette in 2011, Buycks has been a D-Leaguer for his career, but the 6-3 guard is making a push to sneak into the OKC backcourt.

Victor Oladipo: Starting at point guard again, Oladipo is predictably struggling to find his way offensively, and again struggled with his jump shot, which will be an issue for some time. Still, he garnered 12 points by getting to the line, and dished five assists. Vic is such a hard worker, though, there is really no reason to believe there will not be steady improvement all season.

Maurice Harkless: His main role is as a defensive stopper, but that’s not all the 20-year old is limited to. He is not offensively gifted, but was aggressive in attacking the rim, and ended up with 14 points on 8-12 free throw shooting. He remained active defensively; grabbing five boards and three steals. At six-eight and still ripe, Harkless looks to make a serious impact in Orlando this year, the question will be how much of it will be evident from the box score.

Andrew Nicholson: Nicholson displayed more of his solid post game, leading Orlando with 19 points on 7-13 shooting. He needs to improve his rebounding and defensive presence, but, at 23, his offensive skills are evident. A solid bet to be a double-digit scorer this season.

Kyle O’Quinn: For the second straight game, O’Quinn played with tenacity around the basket, grabbing nine rebounds. He has shown a clear knack for grabbing boards, and plays with high energy, and should be able to find his niche in the league in the same way Reggie Evans has.

Doron Lamb: With 16 points, Lamb again showed a nice shooting touch and knack for filling it up, but it remains to be seen if he will get a real opportunity for Orlando.

Philadelphia 75, Indiana 96

Michael Carter-Williams: He is the most intriguing name in this game, and maybe perhaps the summer league, as he steps into the franchise point guard role for the Sixers. He lit it up in his first game, but also tallied nine turnovers. His shooting was porous on Monday (4-20 FG), but that should not be the biggest concern right now. More importantly, MCW dished out 7 assists without a turnover, which is much more promising.

Arnett Moultrie: After a forgettable showing in game one, Moultrie stepped up Monday with 17 points and nine boards. He shooting was inefficient, but it was more important to see him come out aggressive, and look like he really wants to be in the Philly frontcourt rotation.

Khalif Wyatt: The undrafted scorer from Temple showed why he finished 12th in the NCAA in scoring his senior year, leading Philly with 25 points on 11-18 shooting. He might not make the roster, but he will surely open some eyes up with his ability to fill it up.

Solomon Hill: Many questioned the choice of Hill by Indiana, who the consensus projected as a second-rounder. After a decent showing his first game, Hill showed his versatility on Monday, with 22 points and nine rebounds, while getting to the line and knocking down four threes. Depending on what Indy does with Danny Granger, Hill should get his opportunities from time to time this year.

Boston 93, Detroit 63

Kelly Olynyk: His performance was not quite as memorable as his debut, but Olynyk had another strong showing: 13 points, six rebounds, five steals, and drained a three in his 21 minutes. He is clearly a versatile big who can stretch the floor, go into the post, or play pick and roll, and at the very least brings high energy every night. The Zag is a fun player to watch who can help the team in numerous ways, although with a crowded power forward spot in Boston (with Jared Sullinger and Brandon Bass), it might be tough for him to grab the starting role.

Fab Melo: Boston took a chance on Melo because of his size and athleticism, and it looked like he could develop into a rim-protector. Fab is yet to show that yet, with just two blocks in two games, and his offense is clearly raw, to say the least.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope: Before the draft, KCP’s scouting reports indicated he had the ability to be a knockdown shooter in the Association. It is way too early to jump to any conclusions, but 4-16 FG, including 1-14 from three is not what Detroit was expecting to see. KCP has been solid on defense (grabbing four more steals Monday), but a -38 (minus 38!) in summer league is hard to do.

Tony Mitchell: Mitchell displayed some serious hustle Monday, grabbing 8 offensive rebounds in 22 minutes. Of course, when your team shoots 18-65 from the field, there are plenty of opportunities. Still, he is absolutely gifted athletically and can completely crack this rotation, although the Josh Smith signing didn’t help his chances.

Brooklyn 86, Miami 93

Mason Plumlee: It looked like it was going to be hard for Plumlee to get serious run in Brooklyn his rookie year, and that still might be the case as long as Kevin Garnett, Brook Lopez, Andray Blatche, and Reggie Evans are healthy. He had his second strong performance of the summer, tallying 23 points (8-8 FG, 7-11 FT) and nine boards. If Plumlee keeps playing like this, it might be hard for Coach Kidd (still weird to look at) to leave him on the bench.

Tyshawn Taylor: The former Kansas guard failed to impress in 38 games with the Nets last season, but certainly filled it up Monday. He aggressively looked to score and ended up with 25 points on 7-13 shooting and took 11 free throws. He is still a long shot to make an impact for Brooklyn, with his questionable decision-making and forgettable defense, but, hey, the summer league can be fun sometimes.

James Ennis: Considering the Heat are fairly loaded at the wing spots, Ennis was certainly drafted out of curiosity more than a contributor from the start. He has shown some nice signs in his first two games though, particularly in his ability to play a well-rounded floor game. He scored the ball more effectively in game two, with 17 points (6-12 FG, 1-4 3pt, 4-5 FT), and grabbed five boards and three steals.

The Summer League is heating up!

Free Agency: Day 5 News and Notes

The NBA offseason had its biggest day on Friday, with numerous free agents finding destinations. Of course, much of the league (and everyone else) waited in anticipation on the decision of Dwight Howard, and the ensuing dominos that would fall. If your head was spinning after a long day keeping up with all the news on Twitter, here is a recap of the action, and the fantasy ramifications.

(Reminder: none of these deals are official until July 10th, when the free agency moratorium ends).

Free Agents

Dwight Howard: Unsurprisingly, Howard had the basketball world on pins and needles for most of Friday. In the end, he picked the Houston Rockets (agreeing to a four-year, $88 million deal), becoming the most high-profile player to ever choose against re-signing with the storied Lakers.

Public relations issues aside, this was probably the right move for Howard from a basketball perspective. Despite spending the season recovering from back surgery, adjusting to a new system, environment, and (oft-injured) teammates, Howard was still a good fantasy player, averaging 17.1 PPG, 12.4 RPG, 57.8 FG|PERCENT|, and 2.4 BPG, although his 49.2 FT|PERCENT| hurt his value. He accomplished this, no less, in a system which clearly did not ideally fit his game, as he averaged only 10.7 FGA per game, and his Usage Percentage of 22.2 was his lowest since 2005-06.

In Houston, he should be better, and resemble the dominating force he was from 2008-12, when he averaged 20.6 PPG and 14.0 RPG. Howard is now in a place where the system will, for the most part, run through him, with James Harden balancing the offense. Head coach Kevin McHale will surely cater his offense to Howard (and hopefully teach him some moves). Clearly, McHale would like to play more inside-out, which was impossible with the offensively-limited Omer Asik at center, and Dwight will receive more post touches. Houston still needs more shooters, but with (seemingly) impending trades of Asik and maybe Jeremy Lin, they have an opportunity to fill that void.

Last year, Houston played one of the most up-tempo styles in the league, finishing second in the NBA in scoring. Howard has always thrived in transition, although that was not on display last year as he was limited athletically and played on a slow team. Now, depending on his back, those issues should be resolved and he should get many more easy buckets, which is crucial for a big man without dominating post moves.

Andre Iguodala: In the second-biggest move of the day, Golden State agreed to terms with Iguodala on a four-year, $48 million deal. Iggy has long been able to fill-up a box score, but his shooting percentages have always hindered his fantasy value. However, he is one of the most durable players in the sport, and since 2004-05, ranks second (after Dwight and ahead of LeBron) in games started. His scoring dropped a bit last year to 13 PPG, but he remains one of the more creative playmakers in the league for his size, dishing out 5.4 APG and grabbing 5.3 RPG. Also an elite defender, he has notched 1.7 SPG for his career. Iggy should fit nicely with the Dubs, where scoring will not be his priority. But, with plenty of transition opportunities and talent around him, he should be able to get points anyway, and could become a more efficient scorer, potentially improving his field goal percentage and fantasy value.

Paul Millsap: Apparently moving on from Josh Smith, the Hawks were able to find a solid replacement in Millsap, at the bargain of two years, $19 million. Millsap has been a steady contributor for the Jazz, averaging 14.7 PPG, 7.8 RPG, and 51.7 FG|PERCENT| over his last five seasons. Millsap is also experienced playing alongside another big man, so he should fit right in with Al Horford. Expect Millsap to be a similarly productive player, under the radar, as usual.

O.J. Mayo: Milwaukee snatched up Mayo on a three-year, $24 million deal, and he will have an ideal opportunity to put up big numbers. Since his rookie year, in which he averaged 18.5 PPG and shot 88|PERCENT| from the line, his potential has stalled. Last year in Dallas, Mayo got his best chance to be the focal point of an offense (with Dirk Nowitzki battling injuries), and was decent, notching 15.3 PPG, 4.4 APG, with splits of 45/41/82. Much of his fantasy value will depend on what The Deer decide to do with Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis, but both are expected to move on this summer. Milwaukee seems to be in the Andrew Wiggins sweepstakes, and Mayo will have the freedom to hoist up plenty of shots. He might never be an efficient player (career 43.6 FG|PERCENT|), but he has a chance to put up 20 a night.

Some Other Free Agency Deals:

Dallas agreed to a four-year, $29 million deal with Jose Calderon, who has a chance to begin camp as the starter. Calderon has been an underrated player for years now, with career averages of 10.1 PPG, 7.2 APG, and shooting splits of 48/40/88. He played nicely in Detroit for the 28 games he was there, putting up a True Shooting percentage of 65.4, while averaging 13.2 PPG and 7.5 APG. Under a smart coach in a winning environment, he could be a nice contributor in to fantasy squads. Unless, of course, rookie Shane Larkin is better than advertised (or the rumors of a Rajon Rondo trade come to fruition).

Swingman Matt Barnes re-upped with the Clippers for three-years, $11 million. His value is mostly away from the box score, providing floor-spacing, off-ball cutting, grittiness, and stingy perimeter defense. However, Barnes did average 10.6 PPG with a 15.5 PER last season. He will be backing up newcomer Jared Dudley.

Al-Farouq Aminu agreed to resign with the Pelicans for one-year and $3.7 million. Aminu started 71 games for New Orleans last year, but only contributed 7.3 PPG with poor shooting numbers in 27.2 minutes per game. He did a decent job on the glass (7.7 RPG), and could see a starting gig again this year, depending on what New Orleans decides to do with Tyreke Evans. Either way, Aminu is mostly on the court for his defense and athleticism.

In a sneaky-good move, the Indiana Pacers inked forward Chris Copeland to a two-year, $6.2 million deal, giving Frank Vogel some needed depth. Copeland had some nice moments for the Knicks last year, mostly from three-point range, shooting 42.1|PERCENT| from downtown in his 15.4 minutes per game.

The Bobcats agreed to terms with Josh McRoberts, bringing him back for two-years, $6 million. McRoberts averaged a solid 9.3 PPG, 7.2 RPG on 50.5|PERCENT| shooting in his 26 games for the Cats last year after a midseason trade. With the acquisitions of Al Jefferson and Cody Zeller, though, his minutes could dwindle.

The Hawks signed wing DeMarre Carroll for two years, $5 million. Carroll only averaged 6.0 PPG in 16.8 MPG for Utah last year, and his role will be that of a defensive-minded backup.

Finally, Brooklyn came to terms on a three-year deal with 2011 first-round acquisition Bojan Bogdanovic, who had been playing in Turkey for the past two seasons. He will most likely backup Paul Pierce at small forward.


There were also a couple reported trades on Friday, although the fantasy impact should be rather insignificant.

In order to clear cap space for Iguodala, Golden State unloaded the expiring contracts of Richard Jefferson, Andris Biedrins, and Brandon Rush (and multiple draft picks) onto Utah. In return for taking on the $24 million in salary, Utah sent back Kevin Murphy, a shooting guard who played just 17 games last year. It?s likely that no one in this deal with be too impactful in fantasy, especially considering Rush is recovering from a torn ACL.

Houston also ended a stressful, disappointing year with 2012 first-round pick Royce White, who never made an appearance for the Rockets, by shipping him to Philadelphia in exchange for future draft considerations. White is a talented, versatile forward, but his anxiety issues leave his status unclear for next season.

As usual, the drama in the Association never seems to end.

Friday NFL Training Camp Notes

Ronnie Brown is the favorite to begin the season as the Chargers’ primary tailback. He had five carries for 25 yards in the team’s final preseason game, and has been getting most of the first team reps. It’s been a few years since Brown has looked like a starting back, but with Ryan Mathews sidelined with a broken collarbone, Brown could be a sleeper option for the first bulk of the season.

Andre Roberts (neck) has shaken off his injury, and is in line to start opposite Larry Fitzgerald for the Cardinals in Week 1. Roberts only had two receptions for 14 yards in the final preseason game, but his neck injury was the only obstacle in his path to win the #2 receiver gig, beating out Early Doucet and Michael Floyd. Still, Arizona receivers can be risky options, due to how unstable and unimpressive their quarterbacks are.

Jonathan Dwyer impressed the Steelers in camp, and has a chance to get a lot of touches when the season begins. Dwyer wrapped up the preseason with 147 yards on 28 carries, leading Mike Tomlin to say, “What he showed us tonight is kind of a snapshot of what he’s done for us here in the last month or so.” With Rashard Mendenhall (ACL) out, and Isaac Redman battling ankle woes, Dwyer could see plenty of time lining up behind Ben Roethlisberger.

Tim Hightower (knee) will reportedly be released by the Redskins. Hightower ran solid for Washington last year before tearing his ACL, and the only explanation is the Redskins didn’t feel like he was back to full strength. For the Redskins, their backfield still remains muddled, although look for Roy Helu and Evan Royster to get most of the carries to begin the season. As for Hightower, he should get scooped up somewhere, but clearly there are still knee concerns, which will obviously determine whether he has any value down the road (if he finds a job).

Brandon Jacobs (knee) is still a question mark at this point for Week 1, but has made tremendous progress since spraining his knee early in camp. The team is optimistic, and if Jacobs is healthy he could be a sleeper candidate, considering Frank Gore‘s injury history and the likelihood that Jacobs is the team’s goal-line runner.

Deion Branch has been released by the Patriots. The 33-year old had a bit of a career rebirth when he was traded back to the Patriots in 2010, but couldn’t find a role behind Wes Welker, Brandon Lloyd, and the rest of the Patriots receiving corps. Branch has never been a stud, especially when someone other than Tom Brady is throwing him the ball, so it’s unlikely the veteran will be a major contributor to a team, if he does find employment.