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 — Tyshawn Taylor, Nets: Even in a loss, Taylor clearly looked like the best player on the floor. He scored 25 points on 7-for-13 shooting and got to the line for 10-for-11 free throws. He had three assists to five turnovers, but he was never much of a pure point guard anyway. Taylor's impact though was very visible.
DOWN — Khris Middleton, Pistons: There are times when you feel like Khris Middleton is about to bust out and really take over a game with his ability to create plays with the ball in his hands and score some. And then you look at the stat sheet and he just does not. Middleton had four points on 1-for-5 shooting. And one very disappointed observer during the game (that would be me). Worse for Middleton, he left the Amway Center in a boot.
UP – Khalif Wyatt, 76ers: The scoring numbers are impressive for Wyatt as he had 25 points on 11-for-18 shooting. Wyatt is playing shooting guard next to Michael Carter-Williams so his point guard duties are certainly reduced. The Sixers want Carter-Williams to do everything the ball. It seems that has opened up lots of playing time for Wyatt.
DOWN — Victor Oladipo, Magic: After a strong start to his Summer League career, Oladipo faced some struggles in his second game. he shot only 2 for 12 from the floor and had three turnovers to five assists. His shot was off and he struggled to finish at the rim. Oladipo still did some good things for the Magic in getting to the line 10 times in the second half and scoring 12 points total. Still, Oladipo took the loss on himself as the point guard. The Magic lost a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter.
UP — Miles Plumlee, Pacers: Both Plumlees in Orlando actually played pretty well. The Pacers' version scored 16 points and grabbed 15 rebounds, including five offensive rebounds. He was a force down low, limiting the Sixers to one shot each time down the floor. Plumlee's offense might be limited to put backs right now, but his defense seems strong. He also had four blocks.
DOWN — Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Pistons: Caldwell-Pope did not come in with a lot of offense to begin with. He was going to make his name on the defensive end. Four steals continues to suggest that. But his struggles on offense are becoming noticeable. He made only three of his 10 shots and committed four fouls to boot. Add in 1-for-6 shooting from beyond the arc, and there might be problems.
Summer League Power Rankings
1. Rockets (1-0, 6 points)
2. Thunder (2-0, 9 points)
3. Magic (1-1, 8 points)
4. Celtics (1-1, 8 points)
5. Pacers (1-1, 8 points)
6. Jazz (1-0, 6 points)
7. Heat (1-1, 7 points)
8. Pistons (1-1, 7 points)
9. Nets (0-2, 2 points)
10. Sixers (0-2, 2 points)
Miami Heat 93, Brooklyn Nets 86
Scotty Hopson scored 22 points off the bench and Ian Clark had 19 points as the Heat held off the Nets 93-86 in Monday's finale at the Orlando Pro Summer League. Miami forced 24 turnovers and made key shots down the stretch to ensure the win. The Nets picked up a strong performance from Tyshawn Taylor, who had 25 points and Mason Plumlee who had 22 points and nine rebounds and a perfect 8-for-8 from the floor.
Boston Celtics 93, Detroit Pistons 63
The Celtics raced out to a 30-9 lead in the first quarter and were never really threatened in a 30-point blowout of the Pistons. Darius Johnson-Odom took over the game in the second half when the rout was really on to score 22 points. Kelly Olynyk followed his strong opening performance with a 15-point performance on just nine field goals. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope had 11 points on 3-for-10 shooting to lead the Pistons, who were without Andre Drummond for this game.
–I like Tony Mitchell (the Pistons version) a lot. He stands out on the court as a tireless worker even if he is not filling up a stat sheet. Do not know how he slipped so far in the Draft, seems like the perfect kind of player for a winning team looking for a grinder to fill a role.
–The question with Kelly Olynyk is not whether he can score — inside or out — he can clearly do that very very well. His footwork is superb and he has a nice, smooth jumper with 3-point range. The question is whether he can do that against NBA talent. It is one thing to tear up the Summer League, it is another to bring it in the NBA every night. Olynyk has passed that low hurdle of college guys, we will not know what player he can be until November.
–A lot of the questions with strong Summer League performers is not whether they are good or not but whether they can fit into an NBA role on an NBA team. A guy like Detroit's Khris Middleton can score when given the shots, he just will not get the shots in the NBA. The same could be said for Boston's Darius Johnson-Odom. Johnson-Odom has a lot of speed and can get to the basket pretty easily. The question remains whether he can be a distributor as a point guard or a knock-down shooter. Finding these secondary skills is the key for a lot of these players.
Indiana Pacers 96, Philadelphia 76ers 75
Solomn Hill had his breakout game scoring 22 poitns and grabbing nine rebounds to lead a red-hot Pacers squad to a 96-75 win over the 76ers. Indiana took control of the game in the third quarter with a 29-19 advantage and took as big as a 21-point lead. Miles Plumlee also had a monster game with 16 points and 15 rebounds for the Pacers. Khalif Wyatt led the 76ers with 25 points on 11-for-18 shooting.
Oklahoma City Thunder 79, Orlando Magic 78
Jeremy Lamb had the ball in his hands in the final moment and pulled off a quick crossover to freeze Maurice Harkless. He then calmly drained a free-throw-line jumper over a fallen Harkless to give the Thunder a 79-78 victory over the Magic. Lamb had 11 points on 4-for-16 shooting, but made two critical baskets down the stretch as the Thunder came from behind for the win. Andrew Nicholson led the Magic with 19 points and Doron Lamb added 16 for the Magic.
–Daniel Orton may come out of here as the most improved player of the teams here. The former first round pick has fought knee injuries that have kept him out of shape and out of the lineup. However, early on he showed a lot of aggression attacking the basket and threw down some emphatic dunks. It looks like he is finally healthy so maybe we will get to see what he can do on a bigger stage.
–The Magic consider Maurice Harkless to be a pretty big pieces of their future. They view him as a potential defensive stopper, but also as something a bit more on the offensive end. Harkless last year was mostly relegated to standing in the corner and cutting or taking the 3-pointer from the corner. He is getting the charge this Summer League to do more, and he is delivering. Harkless is being more aggressive off the dribble (something he has worked on so far this offseason) and getting to the line more. He has also improved his help side defense and rebounding it seems. Really, this is a great stage for Harkless to show how aggressive he can be and continue to work on those skills.
–An astute observation from our colleague Ed Isaacson of NBA Draft Blog. Victor Oladipo seems to be much more effective in open space and with a bit of a running start. When the space closes in on him and he has to play in the pick and roll his offensive effectiveness (particularly as a scorer) seems to decrease some.