Summer League: Tuesday Analysis

Last summer, one of my long-believed theories about fantasy sports was put to the test. My theory is that the less you pay attention to preseason play, the better off you are. Damian Lillard proved me wrong after I thought his domination of summer league play would not translate to the regular season action. He was terrific. However, I still believe that if you combine the hits and misses resulting from paying attention to summer league play (or preseason action in any sport), you will find that most of the stars do not end up doing much in actual fantasy basketball. Still, people get excited. In the summer, it is clear that second stringers become first stringers and players from the edge of fantasy relevance come to the center. Even though I have my doubts of whether this is worthwhile, you may want to know what happened in Orlando on Tuesday and I am here to present the results.

Boston 76 Orlando 74
Kelly Olynyk is clearly a summer league All Star. The Canadian seven-footer from Gonzaga led the Celtics with 21 points (9-19 FG, 0-1 3Pt, 3-5 FT), nine boards, and four assists in the low-scoring affair. Olynyk hit 62.9 percent of his field goals and 77.6 percent of his free throws last year as a Zag, but he was generally playing against smaller competition (much like summer league). Fellow rookie Tony Mitchell from the Mean Green of North Texas chipped in 15 points and five boards for Boston and Phil Pressey came off the bench to contribute 11 points and five assists. Last year's first round pick, Fab Melo, had a pair of blocks and four points in 16 minutes, but he looks like he is a long way from contributing to the Celtics.
The star of the game for Pacers was first round pick Solomon Hill. The former Arizona standout was a surprise pick to many, but he showed off an array of skills with the Wildcats and could figure into the bench rotation for Indiana. He finished the game with a team-high 15 points (7-15 FG, 1-3 3Pt) to go along with four rebounds, three assists, and three steals. Miles Plumlee also received major playing time and was able to throw down a highlight-worthy dunk among his nine points. Former-Cav backup point guard Donald Sloan missed a 3-pointer with time expiring but finished with 11 points.

Oklahoma City Thunder 79 Detroit Pistons 75
There were a few DNPs due to injury coming into this game. The Pistons were without former Texas A&M star Khris Middleton because of a sprained right ankle, while center Vyacheslav Kravtsov sat out due to a groin pull. To make things even, Thunder guard Jeremy Lamb did not play so that other OKC players could get an opportunity (and to give the second-year player some rest). Andre Drummond had 12 points and 11 boards for the Pistons, while rookie guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope showed off his range by hitting four 3-pointers (in 10 attempts) on his way to 19. Peyton Siva started and had 12 points and a team-high seven assists.
The star of the game was Thunder guard Reggie Jackson. He set an Orlando Summer League record with 35 points, including 23 in the fourth quarter (which equaled his regular season career-high set in April against Milwaukee). Jackson averaged 5.3 points and 1.7 assists in 14.2 minutes in 70 games with the Thunder. If Russell Westbrook's return is slow, Jackson could get some playing time as a scoring option in the backcourt in the early season. Steven Adams had 11 points and six assists in 31 minutes, while fellow rookie Grant Jerrett had a tough game with just two points on 1-of-7 from the field.

Houston Rockets 85 Utah Jazz 71
The door is open in Utah for rookie Trey Burke to be the starting point guard for the Jazz in 2013-14. In fact, coach Ty Corbin may push Burke through the entrance way and into the starting announcements. Burke will need to do more than he did Tuesday in summer league play. In 25 minutes, he had 11 points, two assists, four turnovers, and five fouls. Last year's first round pick, Alec Burks, led the Jazz with 18 points and three assists, but the starting backcourt combined to shoot 10-of-30 from the field. Rudy Gobert collected seven boards in 26 minutes, but only had four points.
The Rockets won with balanced scoring. Former-Spur James Anderson and Patrick Beverley ("my old friend") each had 11 points. Both guards were an efficient 3-of-6 from the field and both swished a pair of 3-pointers. Terrence Jones had six points, five boards, and three blocks, while former Notre Dame star Jack Cooley, who was undrafted, had 10 points and eight boards off the bench.

Miami Heat 94 Orlando Magic 80
The world champion Heat just keep winning. The team was able hold the claim to the state of Florida by knocking off the host Magic squad behind 16 points from Jarvis Varnado. The shot blocking specialist from Mississippi State showed off some offensive skills bu going 4-of-5 from the field and 8-of-12 from the line. He did not block a shot. James Ennis from Long Beach State led the Heat with 19 points, including a pair of 3-pointers, and added six boards. The 6-7 swingman averaged 16.5 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 1.8 steals for the 49ers in 2012-13. Ian Clark from Belmont had 15 points, while D.J. Stephens had a highlight dunk as part of his seven points.
The news for Orlando was not very good. Second-year guard Doron Lamb suffered a knee injury when he collided with Ennis. He had scored 29 points in the first two summer league games, but was held to five points in 16 minutes on Tuesday. Victor Oladipo showed that he could attack the basket and got the free throw line 14 times (making 12). He finished with 22 points, but he may have a hard transition to point guard with five turnovers and two assists in the game. Oladipo did not run the point often with Indiana as a junior in 2012-13, but he has enough ball handling skills to facilitate the offense in a pinch. Romero Osby from Oklahoma had 11 points and three rebounds, while Moe Harkless finished with eight points and four boards. The number of the game from Kyle O'Quinn who finished with seven fouls (to go along with eight points and three blocks.


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