Summer League started yesterday in Orlando with all 10 teams getting into the action.
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 yesterday, 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.
Nerlens Noel is just fine
This was probably the biggest storyline among the 10 teams making the trip to Central Florida. How would former Kentucky center Nerlens Noel look? Noel tore his ACL in February 2013, tumbling from the presumptive top overall pick to sixth. The Sixers took him and opted to let him sit and miss his entire rookie season.
We had not seen him on a competitive basketball court since that day in Gainesville, until Saturday.
Noel looked strong from the get go. He drop-stepped past Dewayne Dedmon for a dunk on his opening possession and that unleashed a lot of his nerves. He was strong defensively throughout the game and showed the explosiveness in his jump that we saw his freshman year in college.
It was not quite like he had never missed a game, but he was very solid. He was fluid and methodical in his post game in scoring 19 points and was a presence on the defensive end with four steals, one block and a few more changed shots.
A great showing considering how much time he missed.
Highlight of the Day: Nick Johnson
Smart, Napier jittery
Shabazz Napier was the hand-chosen rookie for the Heat. His college play showed you why. His play Saturday showed why he was drafted so late in the first round despite two national championship rings.
Napier had 12 point son 3-for-15 shooting in the game. Celtics rookie point guard Marcus Smart was not a whole lot better with 10 points on 2-for-8 shooting.
At least Smart had the backstop of his defense to keep him going. He recorded five steals and looked every bit the defender he was advertised to be. Napier still has to round out his game and become a more complete point guard. Of course, he is not getting the open shots he would with LeBron James around this week.
Plumlee in control
I focused a post on the point guard battle for the Nets yesterday, and that is certainly something we will continue to keep an eye on throughout the week. The real story for the Nets though was the play of Mason Plumlee. He was clearly the best player on the floor in the Nets’ rout over the Pacers on Saturday morning (a 9 a.m. tip, mind you).
Plumlee was more than a put back and rebounding specialist though. He showed some nice drop steps and post moves and was extremely active on his own accord. He was creating offense for himself. That is not something he will likely be asked to do when he returns to Brooklyn for training camp. His game though continues to expand, and he continues to be an energetic young player.
Guy You Should Know: Jordan Adams
The Grizzlies guard scored 22 points in their win over the Thunder on Saturday. Adams is a 6-foot-5 guard from UCLA whom Memphis took with the 22nd pick in the Draft. He was skillful in efficient, helping Memphis’ defense too. He really seemed to fit in with the Grizzlies, and followed it up with another nice performance to start things off Sunday too.
Summer League Power Rankings
1. Grizzlies (1-0, 7 points)
2. Pistons (1-0, 6.5 points)
3. Nets (1-0, 6 points)
4. Rockets (0-1, 1.5 points)
5. Magic (1-0, 6 points)
6. 76ers (0-1, 2 points)
7. Celtics (1-0, 6 points)
8. Thunder (0-1, 1 point)
9. Heat (0-1, 2 points)
10. Pacers (0-1, 2 points)
All Summer League Team
G Victor Oladipo, Magic
G Jordan Adams, Grizzlies
C Nerlens Noel, 76ers
F Mason Plumlee, Nets
F Kelly Olynyk, Celtics