Summer league is always interesting. You have first round picks making their team debuts, assistant coaches playing the role of head coaches, dozens of players leaving it all on the floor as they fight for a job, and T-shirt jerseys.
Maximum effort collides head on with marginal talent, and the results are normally strugglefests. With all that in mind, today's summer league game between the Celtics and Magic wasn't all that bad.
The Celtics lost 95-88, trailing Orlando for basically the entire second half. But of course, no one gives a damn about the final score, nor should they. So let's talk about some of the individual performances, shall we?
|Box score courtesy Baxter Holmes|
- Kelly Olynyk was the best offensive player on either team, scoring 25 points (9-12 FG, 2-4 3 PT) and adding 7 rebounds in 26 minutes. He showed off his range (he has an easy stroke from NBA three point distance) and an array of post-moves. The scouting report on him coming out was as a Luis Scola type with a little added range, and that checked out through one game. Unfortunately that did not carry over to the defensive end, where Scola's lack of side-to-side mobility was very apparent. However, tough to give Olynyk anything other than an A in his Celtics debut.
- Fab Melo looked like Fab Melo looked last year. Sure the stat line tells you he had 9 points, 8 boards and a block in 28 minutes, but that hardly tells the whole story. Melo is slow and awkward in transition, and repeatedly in the wrong position on both offense and defense. Watching him play, he just does not pass the eyeball test in terms of being NBA ready. Of course he has the rest of the summer league plus training camp to improve, but I was a little disappointed at his apparent lack of progress coming off an entire summer of working out. I'd love to be wrong but at this point I'd be surprised if he makes an impact out of the gate this season.
- Tony Mitchell is really athletic and was flying around out there for Boston. A long shot to make the team because of the roster situation, Mitchell at the very least made a strong case for a camp invite with his 16 point performance including an awesome put back dunk late in the 4th quarter.
- Colton Iverson had a weird game. He played 16 minutes, didn't score, grabbed 4 rebounds and committed 5 fouls..but I somehow liked what I saw. How does that make sense? Well he plays HARD. And he's really fast and athletic for a 7 footer, and did a great job of using his size/strength to his advantage on defense. Sometimes the box score doesn't say it all, and I think Iverson/Melo's performances help speak to that today.
- Phil Pressey had a solid debut as well, scoring 11 points and dishing out 4 assists for the Celtics. His lack of size will be an issue on defense, but he's quick and did a nice job getting into the lane. He did commit 5 turnovers, but in general he was solid.
- Former Blazer Nolan Smith, who signed on to play with the Celtics summer league team, suffered a slight calf tear early in this one. He's done for the week.
- Jared Sullinger acted as a pseudo-assistant coach for Boston, who were coached by Jay Larranaga. Sully was yelling out plays and providing guys with advice during timeouts. While you may be able to question Danny on his choice of Melo with the 22nd pick last season, it's becoming more and more clear each day that Sullinger was a fantastic selection at #21.
Again, it's summer league, and game one at that. These guys have barely practiced together we surely can't take too much from their performances. But it's always good to see the new guys in action, and today provided that. All and all a solid debut, besides the T-shirt jerseys. Please get rid of those.
Edit: NBA.com put up this video. Not a ton of highlights, but it's something. Unfortunately can't seem to figure out how to embed it right now. Me no technology good.
Follow Mike on twitter - Mike_Dyer13 Michael Dyer 7/07/2013 02:18:00 PM Tweet