Crossover Chronicles' Philip Rossman-Reich will be at the Southwest Airlines Orlando Pro Summer League all week. He will provide his thoughts on the day's action in this running post throughout the day.
Three Up, Three Down
UP — Dwight Buycks, Thunder: The 6-foot-3 undrafted point guard from Marquette put on the best individual performance of the day, or at least the most surprising. Buycks scored 12 points on 5-for-10 shooting and dished out 13 assists in the Thunder's win over the Pacers. Now the trick is to do it again.
DOWN — Michael Carter-Williams, 76ers: The rookie struggled in his first appearance in the pros committing six turnovers in the first half and struggling to make most of his shots. he did a good job getting into the paint and still scored 26 points, dished out eight assists and grabbed seven rebounds. He bounced back, but the turnovers and the struggles early on clouded everything else.
UP — Kelly Olynyk, Celtics: Olynyk showed off all his various skills for the Celtics in their loss to the Magic today. He scored 25 points and grabbed seven rebounds. Olynyk finished strong around the rim, attacked the glass, made jump shots and played some strong defense on Andrew Nicholson. Olynyk put up a very strong effort.
DOWN — Trey Burke, Jazz: Not a good debut for the Draft's supposed best point guard. Burke missed 11 of his 12 shots. He had five assists and seven rebounds, showing he could do something other than score on offense. Burke though was not satisfied with the performance, we will see how he does Monday.
UP — Andre Drummond, Pistons: Drummond seemed to be a defensive force in this game, wracking up 16 rebounds to go with 12 points for the Pistons in their win over the Nets. No doubt, he is the best player on Detroit's roster and looked to improve his strength. Offensively, he remains raw, but defensively — agains this competition — he looked like a real force.
DOWN — Andrew Nicholson, Magic: It was a rough day for the Magic's first round pick from last year. Nicholson was one for nine from the floor as his usually dependable post game seemed to fail him. He got all his normal looks, they just would not fall. Worse for Nicholson, he still struggled to collect rebounds getting just three on the day.
Summer League Power Rankings
1. Rockets (1-0, 6 points)
2. Magic (1-0, 5 points)
3. Pistons (1-0, 6 points)
4. Thunder (1-0, 5 points)
5. Celtics (0-1, 2 points)
6. Nets (0-1, 1 point)
7. Pacers (0-1, 2 points)
8. Jazz (1-0, 6 points)
9. Sixers (0-1, 1 point)
10. Heat (0-1, 1 point)
Detroit Pistons 76, Brooklyn Nets 67
Stifling defense led by Andre Drummond's presence in the paint proved to be the difference in the finale of the first day of Summer League. That and the burly post defense played by Tony Mitchell and timely shooting from Khris Middleton. The Nets hung around but never really threatened the Pistons in a 76-67 win for the Pistons.
–The first thing you notice with Kentavious Caldwell-Pope are his arms. They are long and out there. You cannot miss him on the floor. And he uses all that length on defense too. Pope very well could develop into a fine defensive player.
–Tony Mitchell (the Pistons version) really working hard on the glass on both ends. Good rim protector with solid athleticism and a (Draft cliche alert) high motor. I do not know how he slid so far in the Draft. Mitchell was a workhorse at North Texas and this is simply a translation of that to the Summer League. Going to be interesting to follow him this week. The only problem is that the Pistons front court is already very crowded with the Josh Smith signing.
–Andre Drummond might be the best center in this Summer League. He is looking like Dwight Howard with his defense. Definitely looks stronger and bigger than last year. Do not know if he is more polished on the offensive end.
Oklahoma City Thunder 76, Indiana Pacers 68
The Thunder got a balanced scoring effort from some unsuspecting players in a 76-68 win over the Pacers. Even with a long field goal drought in the third quarter, the Thunder found a way to pull away and secure the win with their defense. Grant Jerrett scored 17 points and point guard Dwight Buycks had 12 points and 13 assists. Someone wants a roster spot. Orlando Johnson scored 17 points on 4-for-13 shooting to lead the Pacers.
—Daniel Orton seems like he has been to Summer League forever. Every once in a while you see what made him a first round pick for the Magic in 2010. Orton does have some sneaky athleticism and a decent passing ability. He just rarely gets to show it or rarely puts all his vast talent together long enough to see it.
–There are some athletes in this game. Orton erased a Justin Harper dunk attempt. Steven Adams got up for a big jam. Miles Plumlee is flying around as is Christian Watford. Lots of raw athleticism here. Can't say if that translates to much as far as gameplay goes.
Utah Jazz 69, Miami Heat 59
Orlando Magic 95, Boston Celtics 88
Victor Oladipo playing the point guard is going to be a work in progress. There were turnovers and struggles handling the ball under pressure. But the good from the second overall pick in the Draft may outweigh the bad. Fresh off signing his rookie contract, Oladipo scored 18 points and had seven assists, including a nice dime to Kyle O'Quinn underneath the basket for a key and-1 that gave the Magic the lead. He then dished out to Doron Lamb in the corner for a 3-pointer that gave the Magic a 7-point lead in what turned out to be the final margin.
–Victor Oladipo made good on all the promise that scouts said about him. On the first possession for the Magic he did a pull-up 3-pointer and drained it. He did another soon after and score eight points in the first quarter. On top of that, he wracked up a few floor burns and was not awful at the point. Through 10 minutes, good pick Orlando.
–The Celtics' first round pick, Kelly Olynyk, also looks very active. He has a nice jumper and is strong around the basket. Granted it is against Andrew Nicholson, but even on defense, Olynyk has done a good job playing Nicholson who has a very strong post game.
–The Magic have a lot of their regular players on their Summer League roster. Guys like Maurice Harkless, Kyle O'Quinn, Andrew Nicholson and Victor Oladipo are expected to make the final roster (Tobias Harris will too but sat out the game after banging knees in practice Thursday). So for the Magic building habits now can carry over to the season. Orlando's players were very talkative and active on defense, constantly congratulating each other and talking to each other after missed shots.
Houston Rockets 88, Philadelphia 76ers 80
The Houston Rockets raced out to a double-digit lead in the first quarter and never really seemed to look back, getting 24 points and 12 rebounds from Terrence Jones, 10 points and six assists from Patrick Beverley for an 88-80 win to open up the Southwest Airlines Orlando Pro Summer League. Michael Carter-Williams struggled with six assists in the first half, but recovered nicely to score 26 points and dish out eight assists. He shot 8 for 23 from the floor overall, but got to the line for 11 free throw attempts. His jump shot clearly still needs work but he was able to get into the paint on numerous occcasions.
–You can really tell early on who the NBA players are and who are the guys on the cusp of the league. Patrick Beverley, Greg Smith and Terrence Jones really controlled the tempo early on and harassed Philadelphia's defense. It probably did not help that Michael Carter-Williams, a rookie, is playing point guard for Philadelphia. These guys though had no concerns over contracts and played hard and easy.
–Michael Carter-Williams was obviously the guy to watch in his first professional game. He struggled early though initiating the offense and finding his footing. He was scoring fine and getting into the paint and to the line, but his six first-half turnovers really stood out and Philadelphia was in a hole very early on. It seemed like he needed to adjust to the pace of the game.
–The "star" for the Sixers was Micheal Eric. He is a bruiser in the paint who spent last year with Canton in the D-League. He was not afraid to mix things up and just made a lot of hustle plays for the Sixers. The effort was noticeable. Eric finished with eight points and six rebounds.