Orlando Summer League Day 3: Studs, Duds
Senior NBA Writer & College Basketball Editor
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The Orlando Summer League is more than halfway complete and we’re definitely starting to get a feel for who is in shape and who isn’t after three games in as many days. It’s definitely taken a toll on some players, while others have been able to fight through the fatigue and still play well. Here’s a look at the studs and duds in our continuing series, which ends Thursday as we travel on Friday to the Las Vegas Summer League.
Enes Kanter (Utah Jazz, Center)
After an underwhelming start to summer league, Kanter had his best game of the camp against the Orlando Magic. Catching a little bit of a break since Magic big men Andrew Nicholson and Kyle O’Quinn only played limited minutes, Kanter took advantage. He had a double-double of 12 points and 12 rebounds, displaying a lot of patience and confidence in the post. He definitely has the size and strength to play in the league. On Wednesday, he showed that he may have the skill as well.
Miles Plumlee (Indiana Pacers, Center)
The most-criticized selection on draft night, Plumlee looked every bit like a first rounder on Wednesday against the Boston Celtics. His athleticism was on full display as he made highlight-reel worthy blocks and dunks throughout the game. He tallied 18 points, eight rebounds and three blocks in his most impressive performance of the camp. Unfortunately for Plumlee, the Pacers traded for center Ian Mahinmi later Wednesday night, which could greatly reduce his chances of getting playing time as a rookie.
Jared Sullinger (Boston Celtics, Power Forward)
Another day, another strong performance for the former Ohio State big man. Sullinger posted up 16 points and eight rebounds, looking every bit like someone who is ready to produce low-post scoring and rebounding in the NBA. By all accounts, he’s feeling healthy and he certainly looks that way. Everyone anointed him a steal immediately after the Celtics drafted him at No. 21 and he definitely has proven that to be true here through three days in Orlando.
Garrett Temple (Oklahoma City Thunder, Shooting Guard)
With the Thunder 0-2, Temple finally got his chance to play in the third game and he shined against the Detroit Pistons. Temple was effective on offense, showing off an improved three-point shot en route to a 15-point night. He was also his typical tenacious self on defense, tallying six steals, one shy of tying an Orlando Summer League record.
Tornike Shengelia (Brooklyn Nets, Forward)
It’s been made very clear by Shengelia and his camp that he wants to play for the Nets next season. On Wednesday, he made his most convincing case for a roster spot with 17 points, six rebounds and two assists. He knows that the Nets have guys who can score, so that won’t be his role if he does make the team, but he can guard multiple positions and that definitely helped him stand out along with his scoring ability.
Justin Holiday (Philadelphia 76ers, Small Forward)
For the second-straight game, Holiday is impossible to leave off of the studs list. He’s doing everything he can to impress the 76ers, whether it be drilling threes, defending different positions or just leaving it all out on the floor. Holiday put up 18 points and six rebounds against the Nets while making all four of his attempts from beyond the arc. He’s arguably been their best player so far.
Reggie Jackson (Oklahoma City Thunder, Point Guard)
While this camp is beneficial for everyone, Jackson is one of the players who really had a lot to gain by performing well here. With backup point guard Eric Maynor recovering from a torn ACL and late signee Derek Fisher likely leaving via free agency, there’s a chance for Jackson to be Russell Westbrook’s primary backup on opening night. Jackson did a little bit of everything against the Pistons, notching 15 points, seven rebounds and five assists. It was his best performance of the week and it couldn’t have come at a better time for his struggling squad.
Orlando Johnson (Indiana Pacers, Shooting Guard)
This has just not been Johnson’s week. His shot has been off from day one, but in the first two games he did a good job of contributing in other ways with his rebounding in playmaking. On Wednesday, he struggled with his shot again, going 3-14 from the field, and didn’t produce in any other way to boot. That earns him another spot on the dud list. Luckily for Johnson, the trade that brought Mahinmi to Indy sent out guards Dahntay Jones and Darren Collison, so there still appears to be a spot on the roster for him.
Garrett Stuttz (Brooklyn Nets, Center)
Prior to the draft, a lot of people were expecting Stutz to be selected at some point during the second round, but his name was never called. On the first two days of summer league his name wasn’t called either. He finally got his opportunity on Wednesday and did not do anything with it at all. In 15 minutes, he missed all seven of his shot attempts and collected four fouls. He’s going to have to be better over the next two days if he hopes to get any kind of serious look from the Nets, or any other team for that matter.
The Detroit Pistons
Going into their match up against the winless Thunder, everyone was expecting the Pistons to remain undefeated. Instead, the game turned out to be a one-sided beat down in favor of the Thunder. Nobody played particularly well for them outside of Austin Daye. Their lackluster performance as a team earned them an intense postgame speech from their coaching staff, who was livid with their lack of competitive spirit.