The NBA Summer League season is officially underway as Monday's clash between the Charlotte Bobcats and Utah Jazz tipped off the Orlando Pro Summer League down in Florida.
For the next two weeks, we'll be covering every excruciating minute of both the Orlando and Vegas Summer League (so follow us on Twitter here and here). We'll have the previews each day (as shown here) as well as as a review - as shown... well, that's what I'm sorting out right now.
Since most people visiting Ridiculous Upside are probably doing so as a way to see who's looking good and bad at Summer League in lieu of a recap of each game, I've decided to bring back the lovely Monstars and Nonstars that we employed during the D-League playoffs.
What this will mean, typically, is that we'll profile the day's three best (Monstars!) and worst players in handy bullet form fashion for your perusing pleasure. Most likely, though, we'll stay away form the NBA Draft picks just because that's too easy - and they're already hyped/written about enough everywhere else.
- James Augustine, PF, Utah Jazz - Boy oh boy did I like Augustine's game (and semi-fro hair) today. When breaking down the Jazz Summer League roster, I opined that "If Augustine actually asserts himself, he moves up a couple of spots on my invisible ranking system of free agent power forwards - he's got good size, he's athletic and he knows how to play basketball. Unfortunately, he never really seems to put that all together." The 6-foot-10 big man put it together today, though, as he scored 20 points on 9-of-10 shooting while playing just over 21 minutes of action. He also had the highest +/- on the Jazz with +12 while rendering second round pick Jeremy Evans and RU favorite Rod Benson useless on the bench. If the unstoppably awkward lefty-hook is indeed part of his expanded arsenal and he's able to perform this well every game, I'd be surprised if he's not on an NBA roster next season.
Oliver Lafayette, PG, Boston Celtics - This might be cheating since he's technically on the Celtics roster next season, but it's a non-guaranteed contract so he's fighting to stay on the roster down in Orlando. Lafayette seriously opened the eyes of everybody in his game by scoring 14 points and dropping five assists while leading a very efficient Celtics offense and playing solid defense on Eric Maynor and company. ESPN's David Thorpe tweeted "Oliver Lafayette can play. He's old for a youngster, but he can really go" and followed that up with "Lafayette is far above the level of any player that has played today. He's a man amongst boys." As Jon L noted, Lafayette really blossomed this season under the tutelage of Fort Wayne Mad Ants coach Joey Meyer and I'm sure the added confidence from being a year-end call-up did nothing but help. Bully, Oliver. Bully for you.
- Magnum Rolle, PF/C, Indiana Pacers - I really was impressed with Rolle in his game after not having high hopes for the 6-foot-10 power forward out of Louisiana Tech. The long and athletic big man didn't look as soft as I remember on his way to a solid 13 points, five boards and a block in under 19 minutes of action as the starting power forward. If he can rebound as well as he did this game (five rebounds don't tell the whole story, folks), he'd probably be high on the list of D-League call-ups going into next season.
- Honorable mention: Jeff Adrien, PF, Orlando Magic - 13 points, 10 boards in 21 minutes of action. Went 2-for-4 from the field and 9-of-15 at the line.
- Best Drafted Player: Lance Stephenson, PG?, Indiana Pacers - 21 points on 8-of-10 shooting. Looked great.
- Pape Sow, PF/C, Charlotte Bobcats - I was sure I was going to see this version of Sow Monday, but it was pretty much the exact opposite. Sow got the start and played 22 minutes for the Bobcats, but missed both of his field goal attempts, complained about every foul and turned the ball over just as many times (3) as points scored or rebounds grabbed.
- Patrick Ewing Jr., SF, Orlando Magic - I ragged on Ewing quite a bit on twitter, but he deserved it. The 6-foot-8 forward not known for his shooting prowess was 2-for-9 at one point in the first half and repeatedly jacked up contested/fade away/bad decision jump shots on his way to finishing with 15 points on 17 field goal attempts. Methinks if his dad wasn't coaching the team, the leash would've been a little bit tighter.
- Marcus Landry, SF, Indiana Pacers - I never really liked Landry while he played in the D-League last season and Monday's game showed me why. In just over 15 minutes of action, Landry shot 1-for-7 from the field including missing all four of his three-point attempts. He also picked up four fouls.
- Daniel Orton, C, Orlando Magic - Aside from getting kicked out after this shoving match, Orton started the game with three quick offensive fouls and finished with four turnovers, three points and three boards on 1-of-8 shooting from the field. Uh, yikes.