Thoughts from Orlando Summer League Day 5

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 — Andre Drummond, Pistons: Andre Drummond did not have to do much at Summer League. But what he has done was prove himself to be the best center of the 10 teams at Summer League. Drummond scored 23 points and grabbed 18 rebounds as the Pistons stormed back and stole a victory from the Heat. A good chunk of that came from Drummond being active around the basket and tipping missed shots back in with thunderous jams. Then again, it was Tony Mitchell who hit the game-winning put back.


DOWN — Mason Plumlee, Nets: Plumlee has generally had a solid Summer League. He rebounds well and is active around the basket. That is what the Nets likely will ask of him. Against the Rockets though, Plumlee played OK, but not good enough. The Rockets pounded the inside and ran away with the game. Plumlee had only six points and five rebounds, making 3 of 8 shots.

UP — Victor Oladipo, Magic: Oladipo's 23rd and 24th point of the game proved to be one of the defining moments of the Summer League. The second overall pick hit the game-winning shot with about four seconds left, draining a 20-foot shot over Michael Carter-Williams to give the Magic the win. He scored 24 points and dished out six assists. More than just his game-winner, he was a factor in attacking the basket and getting to the line. Oladipo has made Magic fans very happy.


DOWN — Trey Burke, Jazz: Buke has played in three games for the Jazz this week and has disappointed in all three. He is scoring a decent amount, but turning the ball over and struggling to make his shots. Patience is warranted, but it is not an encouraging sign for the Jazz as they move forward that he has not been able to perform. Thursday, Burke scored eight points but missed 12 of his 15 shots.

UP — Terrence Jones, Rockets: Jones has shown a much more expanded overall game this week in Orlando, scoring well around the basket and from the perimeter. He has also contributed on the glass and in the offense. That does not he is any closer to making the Rockets' final roster or contributing to the team in a meaningful way this year. But it is encouraging to see him playing well. Jones scored 16 points and dished out seven assists against the Nets.

DOWN — Donald Sloan, Pacers: Sloan signed a contract with the Pacers before Summer League began. He has hardly showed anything this week to show he was worth that guarantee. Sloan scored six points on 2-for-7 shooting Thursday and it was not a particularly encouraging performance for him. Really nothing he has done so far has been stellar.

Summer League Power Rankings
1. Rockets (4-0, 22 points)
2. Thunder (4-0, 20 points)
3. Celtics (2-2, 14 points)
4. Pacers (2-2, 16 points)
5. Pistons (2-2, 15 points)
6. Heat (2-2, 15 points)
7. Magic (2-2, 13 points)
8. Jazz (2-2, 16 points)
9. Sixers (0-4, 5 points)
10. Nets (0-4, 4 points)

Orlando Magic 90, Philadelphia 76ers 89

The Magic were on the ropes and headed to the ninth place game when all of a sudden, Maurice Harkless got a look in his eye. He helped the Magic charge back from a four-point deficit in the final minute, driving hard to the basket. It all set up Victor Oladipo. Oladipo drained a 20-foot shot over Michael Carter-Williams in the game's dying seconds to deliver Orlando an improbable win. Oladipo scored 24 points, making 3 of 5 3-pointers. Arnett Moultrie led the Sixers with 23 points and 12 rebounds, including eight offensive board.

–Victor Oladipo is shooting with a lot of confidence this week. It is impressive seeing how comfortable he is taking that NBA 3-pointer. More than that, Oladipo only seems to be taking shots he is comfortable with or going to the basket. Good sign for the rookie. He understands already not to force things and help his team.

–Arsalan Kazemi has the chance to be a Zaza Pachulia-lite. Does a lot of good things around the basket and for his team without really stuffing a stat sheet. Unfortunately, he is much smaller than Pachulia and so that does not bode well for him moving forward.

–Andrew Nicholson had a slow start to the Summer League but his array of post moves are as good as ever and he has improved his strength to move some guys off the block. The question remains his defense and rebounding. He still seems a bit late on rotations and his rebounding numbers or presence have not impressed.

Houston Rockets 92, Brooklyn Nets 76

The Rockets continued their domination of the Orlando Pro Summer League, taking a 25-6 lead after the first quarter and coasting to an easy victory Thursday. The Rockets shot 48.6 percent from the floor and got a great all-around performance from Terrence Jones. Jones, who has played solid all week, scored 16 points to go with five rebounds and seven assists. Five Rockets players scored in double figures. Damion James, Carleton Scott and Tyshawn Taylor each have 15 points for the Nets.

–Been really impressed with how much Terrence Jones has expanded his game this week. He has shown some nice range from beyond the arc and has been confident enough to put the ball on the floor when the occasion arises. Much more expanded game. Don't know if that means it translates to the regular season, but it means something.

Detroit Pistons 78, Miami Heat 77

The Pistons and Heat went tit-for-tat the entire way through until finally someone broke through. That would have been Tony Mitchell. Mitchell followed a missed Korie Lucious floater with a bout a second to go to give the Pistons a one-point win over the Heat. Andre Drummond had 23 points and 18 rebounds as he dominated the paint. Ian Clark had 15 points to lead the Heat.

–Andre Drummond likes to dunk. There is not much more to his offensive game still, but on both ends of the floor he is a major impactor at the basket and the rim. He makes the defense think twice. At least in Summer League.

–Where do the Heat find all these athletes? From Ian Clark to Jarvis Vanardo to Erik Griffin to D.J. Stephens, all these guys have long, long arms and can jump high and quick. They seem to really fit the kind of role players the Heat want to bring up.

Indiana Pacers 79, Utah Jazz 73

The Pacers used a strong third-quarter push to take the lead and held on for a 79-73 win over the Jazz. A balanced scoring effort highlights by Solomon Hill's 12 points on 4-for-6 shooting from beyond the arc helped the Pacers secure the win. Hill has certainly turned some heads with his play this week as he has shown a lot of hustle around the rim and the ability to step out and shoot. He might end up being a solid pick for Indiana. Chris Roberts led the Jazz with 11 points and Trey Burke struggled once against with 8 points on 3-for-15 shooting. He missed all five of his 3-point attempts.

–Rudy Gobert has a fair amount of JaVale McGee in him. At least by look and the way he plays not by mental aspects or intangibles. Gobert is long and has incredible leaping ability. Developed right, he should be a decent player.


About Philip Rossman-Reich

Philip Rossman-Reich is the managing editor for Crossover Chronicles and Orlando Magic Daily. You can follow him on twitter @OMagicDaily