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!