In a game that perhaps epitomized the very definition of "summer league," the Orlando Magic fell to the Indiana Pacers, 68-54, to close out the 2009 Orlando Pro Summer League. The teams combined to shoot 34% from the field, with many players dragging after logging so many minutes. Orlando's Ryan Anderson, for instance, breezed through the first 4 days of the week, but came up short on every jumper he took today and finished a woeful 2-of-11 from the field. Reserve point guard Brian Chase (16 points, 7-of-11 from the field) and reserve forward/center Richard Hendrix (10 points on 4-of-7 shooting) were the only two Magic players to tally more points than field goal attempts. Just horrid to watch, and there isn't a heckuva lot to take away from this one.
The day wasn't a total waste, though. Anderson and Kasib Powell contributed despite their poor shooting performances, with 10 and 8 rebounds, respectively. Pacers center Roy Hibbert put together another fine game, with 16 points, 11 boards, and 3 blocked shots. Lance Allred pulled down 7 rebounds in just over 8 minutes, an impressive rate.
More on Anderson, about whose performance most Magic fans are interested, as he's the only player on the team with a guaranteed deal for this season: not everything he tossed at the basket today was garbage. He didn't get lazy and crank jumpers, if that's what his stat line might have led you to believe. Twice, he showed what may be his pet move: catching the ball on the right wing, sizing up the defender in a triple-threat position, driving left (with his left hand) into the paint, spinning right toward the baseline, then finally putting up a baby hook off the glass. Decent move, and he managed to shake Tyler Hansbrough twice with it, if memory serves.
The best Magic player on the floor was Brian Chase, who had played sparingly (just under 37 minutes in two games) before today. He might be the quickest player on the summer-league squad, and had no trouble getting by his defender and into the lane. Once there, he was able to get his floater off over the Pacers' defense--not an easy task, given the size of Hibbert (7'02") and backup Scott Vander Meer (7'00"). He executed a filthy spin-move around his defender on one transition possession, drawing oohs and ahhs from the crowd which, I should note, is composed only of team officials and media members.
Hendrix, too, played well. 4 blocked shots from the undersized (6'09") big man, whose chances of making the final team might be jeopardized by today's signing of free-agent power forward Brandon Bass to a 4-year deal. I had Hendrix pegged all wrong. Coming into camp, I assumed he was of the athletic/undersized type, like Bass or Jason Maxiell. Turns out he's not terribly athletic. But he does have good instincts for the ball, either coming off the rim for a board or out of an opponent's hand for the shot-block. He showcased a bit of his offensive repertoire today with a follow dunk, a lefty hook, and even a three-pointer coming out of a timeout.
Russell Robinson, who finished third on the team in total minutes played, didn't close out camp with a strong case for his inclusion on the final roster. He continued to look for his shot, as he did yesterday, which is a change-of-pace from what he did in the first 3 days. He's still looking for that shot, having missed all 4 of his attempts in the first 8 minutes before giving way to Chase for the rest of the game. I'm willing to chalk it up as an off-day... but with 4 missed field goals and 2 turnovers in that brief time-span? Not encouraging.
Finally, we'll look at Kasib Powell, who led the Magic in minutes per game this week. I discussed Powell with Zach McCann of Orlando Magic Daily, and we concluded that although he's a good player, he's not great at any one thing; in other words, he's not a specialist, and specialists are what teams usually round out their benches with. Still, Powell looked like an NBA rotation player, with per-game averages of 14.8 points, 5.8 boards, 2 assists, and 1 steal. He also shot fairly well, going 46% from the field and 52.9% from three-point range. It was good enough for him to make the All-Summer League Second Team.
We'll go more in-depth on every Magic summer-leaguer's performance sometime later this weekend. For now, the main takeaway is this: Ryan Anderson is not a scrub, and the Magic probably have some legitimate training-camp invitees on their summer roster, despite the team's 2-3 record.