Another Orlando Pro Summer League is in the books, and the host Orlando Magic finished the week with a 2-3 record. The Magic have several roster spots to fill on the big-league team, and must fill those spots with a limited budget. Undrafted rookies, free-agents, and veterans of international ball--in other words, players who fit the Magic's said limited budget--made their cases for inclusion on the opening-night roster.
After the jump, 3QC breaks down the chances each player has of earning an invitation to training camp.
First, a look at each player's per-game statistics. They're sorted in descending order by total minutes played, in order to show which players got the longest looks from the team.
It's pretty easy to stratify the players from there.
The Sure Thing
Ryan Anderson will make the final roster, and would have regardless of how well he played in camp, because he's the only player here with a guaranteed contract. Orlando wouldn't surrender Courtney Lee to the New Jersey Nets as part of the deal for Vince Carter were Anderson not included. But even if all that weren't the case--if he were scrapping just like everyone else--he would have assured a roster spot with his play this week. He was the best player on the floor most of the time, and displayed some admirable versatility. Catch-and-shoot, pick-and-pop? Sure, that's what he did in New Jersey. But he added some strong drives to the basket, and did some work on the offensive glass. In the regular season, he'll revert to catch-and-shoot/pick-and-pop action, but he's developing an all-around game for the long haul. At 21, he could be in Orlando for quite some time.
The Likely Camp Invitees
Kasib Powell, too, looked like an all-around player. He struggles to finish near the basket, but he's a solid jump-shooter, with a better handle than at least one small forward on Orlando's roster. At 28, he has limited upside, but he's a smart player who works hard. There might be a spot at the end of Orlando's bench for him. Given his play this week, and given his familiarity with the organization--he went to training camp with the Magic in 2006--there's a darn good chance he'll go camping with them again this year.
Russell Robinson's shooting and scoring stats won't impress you, but his ability to run a team might. He turned the ball over 6 times in 109 minutes, coordinated the offense, and made smart plays. Defensively, he pressures the ball well. Coach Stan Van Gundy went out of the way to compliment Robinson after camp, and it appears as though the Magic will use their remaining free-agency dollars to address needs at small forward and at center. Maybe they'll take a flier on Robinson, hoping the 23-year-old can fill-in as their third point guard this year, and maybe develop into a backup down the line.
Richard Hendrix is neither tall nor athletic. That did not stop him from fairly quietly posting impressive numbers at both power positions or Orlando this week. He's not much of a shot creator or jump-shooter--regardless of the made three-pointer, at the end of a quarter, off a designed play-- but as a garbageman, he's efficient. Defensively, he holds his own, and has good-but-not-great instincts as a shot-blocker. The Magic could do worse than to fill their 6th big-man spot with Hendrix.
Jeremy Richardson's week ended due to a sore right foot, so his minutes played and per-game stats skew unfavorably. I thought he played better than his 35.1% shooting would suggest. Don't get hung up on his poor three-point shooting; if there's one thing he's proven in his brief NBA career, it's that he can hit the three-ball, with a career 38.5% mark from beyond the arc. His woeful percentage inside it has held him back, so to see him make almost half of his two-pointers? It's progress. He expects to sign soon, and I'm inclined to take his word for it.
The Possible Camp Invitees
Maurice Ager might have been the most vocal Magic player, in terms of yelling in either exuberance or frustration. He plays hard, and we can't fault him for that. But in 78 NBA games over 3 seasons, he's been just awful. He's a scoring specialist who doesn't score efficiently. So why might he make the Magic's camp roster? It's only someone else's hunch: one media member at RDV this week said Ager and his agent wouldn't have chosen to join Orlando's summer-league team without some sort of "wink/nod" agreement with GM Otis Smith.
Brian Chase elevated himself from "Everyone Else" to "Possible Camp Invitee" status with his play on Friday. On the court for the final 31 minutes after Robinson started, he put on a clinic against the Pacers. 16 points on 7-of-11 shooting, with 1-of-1 from downtown. He's quick, he can finish, and he has a nice handle. What he isn't, however, is a playmaker. But sure, he can make a professional career out of being a scoring guard. Professionally in Europe, in all likelihood.
Milovan Rakovic didn't play a single minute this week, apparently due to a paperwork/clearance issue. The Magic might want to see how their 2006 second-rounder performs in their own camp, if that paperwork is resolved. The more likely result is that Rakovic will spend another year with Spartak Saint Petersburg, and Orlando will take another look at him next summer.
Lance Allred was a step slower than his contemporaries all week, didn't rebound or defend especially well, and didn't do much besides hit some elbow jumpers. On the plus side, he's the only published author on the Magic's summer roster.
Courtney Fells did not meet a shot attempt he didn't like. 3-of-21 shooting, 2-of-9 from three-point range, no free throw attempts, and as many turnovers as points (8). He sure can jump, though.
Levance Fields played reasonably well in limited minutes--if we're honest, he's a cut above the other players in this section--but Robinson and Chase outperformed him. He'll catch on somewhere overseas and might get another opportunity in the NBA next season.
C.J. Giles appeared in one game, for 5 minutes. Not to be too glib, but that's about all you need to know about his chances of making the team.
Stevan Milosevic is a big guy, and that might be the extent of his positives, in terms of NBA potential. He was involved in arguably the two most embarrassing plays of camp: the Celtics' J.R. Giddens threw down a vicious tomahawk dunk on him on Wednesday. Later in the week, he made an impressive spin around Pacers center Scott Vander Meer, had a wide-open look to the basket... and airballed the layup. He threw the ball straight up in the air. One of the more spectacular misses in summer-league history. I hate to rip the guy, because he tried his best, but his best isn't going to get it done in the NBA.
Jeremy Pargo hardly played this week, and in limited minutes, did not do much to distinguish himself as a better shoot-first point guard prospect than Chase did.
Darian Townes started at center in 3 of the 5 games, but usually gave way to Hendrix in crunch-time situations. Defenders block his shot all too easily, even at the rim, which helps to explain his 34.8% shooting despite hardly taking any jumpers, that I can recall. There's room for a few offensive zeroes in the NBA--think Chuck Hayes--but they have to be able to do something else extremely well. Hayes, for instance, is one of the league's best post defenders despite standing only 6'06". Townes didn't distinguish himself as a rebounder, defender, or shot-blocker.
Okay, that's out of the way.
So, 3QCers, who would you like to see invited to Orlando's training camp in the fall?