Summer League continued Sunday in Orlando with three games of varying intrigue.
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.
Shabazz bounce back
In his first game, Shabazz Napier was less than stellar. He made 3 of 15 shots on his way to 12 points. He was almost certainly playing too fast and getting used to the speed of a new level of play.
His effort Sunday in his second game was much more measured, controlled and effective as the Heat went on to win — behind a stellar game from James Ennis (see below).
Napier scored 17 points and dished out seven assists. He made 6 of 12 shots. He looked a lot more comfortable. It helped the Heat’s defense was generating a lot of offense and the Heat were able to get out on the run. The ball was stopping a whole lot less with Napier and the team was playing together. It actually looked like regular season basketball.
For a first round pick, though, the recovery from a poor first game was certainly noticeable and welcomed. Napier said he went to his hotel after the game Saturday and watched game tape to understand where his mistakes were. The review paid off as he was often Miami’s best offensive option.
“Sometimes losing helps you understand how to prepare for the next game,” Napier said. “Yesterday, I was looking at the tape and figuring out things I should have done in the first game. I was nervous. I usually never get nervous before games or during games. Yesterday was one of those games, I guess. Today, I was doing a better job. My teammates were making shots.”
The Heat, indeed, were making shots — at a 56.3 percent clip including 15 3-point makes for a 66.9 percent effective field goal percentage. That led to a blowout win in a highly competitive game.
Highlight of the Day: Terrico White
Last year for the Pistons, rookie Kentavious Caldwell-Pope appeared in 80 games averaging 5.9 points per game on 31.9 percent shooting. He struggled to find his footing throughout the season or any consistency. Last year at Summer League, Caldwell-Pope struggled to find his shot.
That has not been the case this week.
Caldwell-Pope scored 26 points in the first game and then added 30 points Sunday. The game against the Grizzlies was a much more efficient performance. It actually started with Caldwell-Pope scoring six points on the opening possession thanks to two 3-pointers and a rebound off a missed free throw on the first 3-pointer.
“I just wanted to continue to stay aggressive on both ends,” Caldwell-Pope said as he followed up his 26-point effort with another 30.
It is not just the high number that has Pistons fans likely pretty happy. It is the way he is getting them. Some of the shots are not very efficient, but Pope is taking them confidently. He has put this team on his shoulders and is carrying them. It is succeeding at this point.
Guy You Should Know: James Ennis
Ennis was the Heat’s second round pick in 2013 and had a decent showing at Summer League last year. Miami did not have a spot for him on its roster but did not want to lose him and so offered him the chance to play with their D-League Affiliate in Sioux Falls. Ennis opted to play in Australia.
He tore it up in Australia and has apparently brought that back to the States.
Sunday in Summer League, Ennis tore up the Nets defense with high-flying dunks and tough fade-away jumpers on top of nice marksmanship from beyond the arc. STATS
It was a much better performance than he put in at any time during last year’s Summer League run with the Heat. He is really pushing for a roster spot come training camp.
You will notice, we have not really talked about Philadelphia vs. Oklahoma City. Nerlens Noel did not play and neither did Jeremy Lamb.
The only thing you need to know about this game is the number 71.
That is 71 fouls in the 40-minute game. That makes for an awful game to watch. Ah, Summer League.
Summer League Power Rankings
1. Pistons (2-0, 11.5 points)
2. Grizzlies (1-1, 10 points)
3. Heat (1-1, 10 points)
4. Rockets (0-1, 1.5 points)
5. Magic (1-0, 6 points)
6. 76ers (1-1, 8 points)
7. Nets (1-1, 6 points)
8. Celtics (1-0, 6 points)
9. Thunder (0-2, 3 points)
10. Pacers (0-1, 2 points)
All Summer League Team
G Victor Oladipo, Magic
G Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Pistons
C Mason Plumlee, Nets
F James Ennis, Heat
F Kelly Olynyk, Celtics