Summer League concluded Friday in Orlando with all 10 teams participating in championship day.
You do not want to put a whole lot of stock into results or into statistics coming out of these game,s but there is still quite a bit we can learn. And, as I noted earlier this week, lots of storylines to follow. We will be trying to keep track of them as the week goes on with these daily recaps of Summer League action.
After a year of tanking and struggling to win or field anything looking like a NBA team, the Sixers finally got a win. Shirts, hats, everything. Well, not everything. This was just a Summer League championship.
The Sixers defeated the Grizzlies 91-75 to win the title.
The big story for Philadelphia entering the week was how Nerlens Noel would react to his first basketball in more than a year. There seemed to be no ill effects from his torn ACL as Noel showed off his athleticism and defensive ability throughout the week. Did he dominate? No. But he was definitely a solid addition who will get more comfortable and fluid the more he plays.
Noel sat out Friday’s finale.
Philadelphia also got good scoring performances throughout the week from Casper Ware and Hollis Thompson. Ware scored 19 points and dished out seven assists Friday. He was a bit inefficient with his shot, needing 19 field goal attempts and shooting a poor percentage throughout the week. Thompson had some nice performances too with 21 points on the day.
The Sixers were probably not the best team throughout the week. Their 4-1 record though shows that there are some good things coming down the line for the Sixers. There is some talent there. And, finally, a reason to celebrate.
Highlight of the Day: Victor Oladipo, Orlando Magic
By the final few days of Summer League, the already small Amway Center gym is pretty much completely empty. Executives, scouts and writers begin making their way to Las Vegas for the NBA’s bigger Summer League extravaganza. Teams have largely seen what they want to from their key players and will hold players out. Even some of the players start making their way to their second teams in Vegas.
That leads to some odd things.
Let’s start with the Magic who had just eight players available after Romero Osby and Dewayne Dedmon were held out with injuries and Kadeem Betts left for Vegas. Orlando trotted out a lineup that had four guards and Aaron Gordon to play center. The lineups were very odd.
Rockets assistant coach J.B. Bickerstaff coached the first four games of the Summer League for the Rockets and was noticeably absent from the finale. He is assumedly helping out with the Rockets group at Vegas.
A few of the teams will play both the Orlando and Vegas Summer Leagues and were quick to leave. The Rockets, Sixers and Heat are doing double duty this year.
Maybe that explains why the Heat left Amway Center without talking to the media after their game against the Thunder. Maybe it had to do with something else.
Guy You Should Know: Nick Johnson, Rockets
I will have Johnson in my All-Summer League team for the week, so maybe you should know him already. If you don’t, I chatted with him earlier int he week and will get you a proper introduction.
While everyone had already left Amway Center, Johnson finished off Summer League with a sneaky triple double while nobody was watching. Johnson had 15 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists to finish a very solid week.
It is still unclear where Johnson fits into the Rockets future plans. The Rockets are still figuring themselves out. But he coudl be another great second round find for Daryl Morey’s team.
Long way to the top
After Saturday’s games, I buried the Pacers at the bottom of my power rankings. They got absolutely pasted by the Nets. It feels like Indiana came a long way from that point a week ago.
In the process, the Pacers became one of the more fun teams to watch day-in and day-out. Their finale was also great with six players scoring in double figures.
The Pacers had no draft picks and so every player was a seeming mystery. Maybe even a long shot to make the Pacers roster. But they played hard and bought in. It was fun to watch.
Willie Reed was a revelation as a bull in the post, unafraid and unwilling to back down against anyone he was going up against. He finished with 10 points and six rebounds Friday. His backup, Arinze Onuaku, was also energetic and strong down low. He scored 20 points to go with 10 rebounds.
DeQuan Jones is used to playing in Orlando after spending a year with the Magic. He is trying to make his way back onto a NBA roster and has a good chance at doing so. He was solid and showed that experience throughout the week. He finished with 18 points for the Pacers — a strong showing before he heads to Las Vegas to play for the Pelicans.
It was a fun week for the Pacers — or at least the guys wearing Pacers uniforms.
Summer League Power Rankings
1. Pacers (4-1)
2. Grizzlies (3-2)
3. Magic (3-2)
4;. 76ers (4-1) — CHAMPIONS
5. Pistons (3-2)
6. Celtics (3-2)
7. Thunder (2-3)
8. Heat (1-4)
9. Rockets (1-4)
10. Nets (1-4)
All Summer League Team