Sunday, July 3, 2016

2016 NBA Summer League. Orlando, Day One.

Justise Winslow played well for Miami.
Each day of the NBA Summer League we will provide this list as a review of the standout players. This endeavor helps to cement in our mind the players that are getting it done consistently. 

We watched all five games from Saturday. The Miami Heat summer team is loaded with ball-hawking Briante Weber leading the defensive intensity. Flying on the wings, Miami has two rotation players from their very good 2015-16 NBA Playoffs squad. Both Justise Winslow and Josh Richardson played Saturday, making it difficult for the summer Clippers to make the first pass in their offense. The Heat beat the Clipps 91-71. 

Detroit Pistons reserve Center Jordan Bachynski was the most efficient player on a winning team during the opening day of action in the Orlando NBA Summer League. Bachynski, is a 7'2" BIG that is relatively mobile and seemingly always tenacious. He had eleven points (4-4 FG, 3-4 FT), nine rebounds, and a blocked shot in 17 turnover-free minutes. The Pistons throttled the Knicks 81-49. Bachynski is 26 years old. The Arizona State late-bloomer was undrafted in 2014. He showed up on our list of the three best Centers from the 2016 NBA D-League Showcase

Georges Niang impressed for the Indiana Pacers. Despite questions about his ability to defend in the NBA, Niang proved that at the Summer League level, he can hang. His crafty game was on full display. Niang scored 17 points, grabbed 12 boards, dished five assists, and had two steals in 25 minutes. It occurred as we watched him throw a perfect lob pass to Rakeem Christmas, that Niang did not exactly have above-the-rim finishers as teammates in college. Niang's vision combined with NBA athletic BIGs might make Niang even more efficient. The Pacers conserved fuel down the stretch and won easily 93-66 over the Orlando Magic Blue squad. 

The Clippers looked bad in their loss (but I have a strong feeling that was mostly about how good Miami's D was). A bright spot for L.A.C. was the play of Branden Dawson, a 2015 draft pick (56th overall). The Michigan State product was all over the court, providing 14 points, and seven rebounds in 16 minutes as a reserve. Let's hope Dawson gets some more burn next time out. 

The crop of 2016 undrafted rookie free agents was represented well by Stefan Jankovic. The former Hawaii star came off of the Heat bench to score 17 points (7-10 FG, 2-4 3-pt., 1-1 FT) in 20 minutes. Jankovic hit one particularly crazy reverse pivot fall-away on the baseline that brought ooohs and ahhs. 

Michael Frazier, the former Florida Gator shooting guard, had a nice day for the Orlando Magic White team in their 79-74 win over the Charlotte Hornets. Frazier scored 12 points (3-6 FG, 2-2 3-pt., 4-6 FT) and snatched five rebounds in 16 minutes.  

Andre Dawkins (Duke 2014) scored 16 points in 21 minutes (5-8 FG, 1-3 3-pt., 5-5 FT) for the Dallas Mavericks summer entry. They lost a squeaker to Oklahoma City 86-85 (Cameron Payne hit the game-winning jumper for OKC). Dawkins is now 24 years old. He spent last season in the D-League playing the two-spot for the Texas Legends. 

Although he was out of control at times, Marquis Teague showed that he can really "shake". He was confusing defenders with his quickness and power off the dribble. Teague had 13 points, four rebounds, two assists, and two steals in 17 minutes for the Mavs. 

Glenn Robinson III showcased his inside-outside game in the Pacers win. Robinson tallied 16 points (6-13 FG, 2-5 3-pt, 2-2 FT), eight boards, three assists and three steals in 31 minutes as a starter. 

Arinze Onuaku held down the painted area in the Orlando White victory. The massive Onuaku scored 16 points (6-9 FG, 4-7 FT) to go with eight rebounds in 25 minutes. 

Payne earned the interview on NBA-TV.
Cameron Payne was the most efficient point guard for day one. Not only did he make the game winning shot for the Thunder, the second year pro also scored 16 points, grabbed seven rebounds, dished four assists (with just one turnover), and had two steals in 31 minutes. 

Phil Pressey was a close runner-up in the battle for most efficient point guard. Pressey, at 5'11" was a rebounding machine Saturday, collecting ten boards. He also scored eight points in his 21 minutes off the bench for the Pistons. 

There were five players that REALLY struggled to put it mildly. The opening day of 2016 NBA Summer League play was rough for Brandon Fields, Mickey McConnell, J.P. Tokoto, Ron Baker, and David Michineau. All five of those players posted per-minute efficiency ratings of either, zero or minus. In Baker's defense, his individual on-ball D was outstanding. He moves his feet very well. He just didn't make shots Saturday. 

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