Orlando Pro Summer League Preview Part 1 - Orlando and New Jersey

New Jersey Nets draft picks Damion James (l.) and Derrick Favors each hope to be running the floor in Newark this season with two-time MVP LeBron James (b.).                                

The post-Draft sabbatical is over and as we enter NBA Summer League season, I will be bringing you coverage of both the Orlando and Las Vegas Summer Leagues.  In preparation of the Orlando Pro Summer League starting July 5, I will be previewing the 8 teams taking part.  First up – The host team Orlando Magic and the New Jersey Nets. 

 

Orlando Magic

 

 

Player

Position

Age

Height

Weight

College/Country

Daniel Orton

C

19

6’10

255

Kentucky

Stanley Robinson

SF

21

6’8

213

UConn

Jerome Randle

PG

23

5’10

172

California

Jeff Adrien

SF

24

6’7

243

UConn

Paul Davis

PF/C

25

6’11

270

Michigan State

Joe Crawford

SG

24

6’5

207

Kentucky

Trey Gilder

SF

25

6’9

205

Northwestern St.

Yaroslav Korolev

SF

23

6’10

245

Russia

Ben McCauley

PF

24

6’9

245

NC State

Sean Singletary

PG

24

6’0

185

Virginia

Vladimir Stimac

C

22

6’10

255

Serbia

Curtis Stinson

PG

27

6’3

225

Iowa State

Donell Taylor

SG

27

6’6

220

UAB

The Rookies – Daniel Orton and Stanley Robinson will get their first opportunities to wow the hometown fans.  Orton needs to prove that he was not just a byproduct of the Calipari hype and that he was worthy of a first round pick.  Look for Orton to try and establish himself immediately as a workhorse down on the blocks.  Robinson, who had been considered at some point a possible first-round pick, is out to prove that he is still a first-round talent.   Fortunately for Robinson, the Summer League style of play – a fast-paced, transition style – showcases his game perfectly.  Look for Robinson to be the star of this team over the next week, including a few highlight reel dunks.

 

The Vets – There are two players on this team who are going to be interesting to watch – Yaroslav Korolev and Sean Singletary.  Korolev was a former lottery pick of the LA Clippers and was with the team for 2 uneventful seasons.  He has great size, is a very good perimeter shooter and is still only 23 years old.  With a game very similar in style to Hedo Turkoglu, if he impresses here, he may got a shot with the Magic this fall.  Singletary, a point guard, is a former 2nd round pick out of Virginia who spent time in the NBA playing for the Phoenix Suns and Charlotte Bobcats.  A good showing here could earn him a shot at the backup point guard position for the Magic.

 

The Wild Card – Jerome Randle, point guard of California, saw his stock soar after taking the MVP of the Portsmouth Invitational.  However, it looks like the NBA front offices saw the same things I did in him, a guard who would prefer to make himself look good rather then helping the team win.  He is good perimeter shooter, though with a slow release and standing below 6 feet tall, he will have a tough time getting his shot off against NBA level point guards.  If he can adjust his game during the week in Orlando and in Las Vegas, maybe he will get a shot at being a 3rd point guard for someone, but his best bet is to go to the NBDL and refine his game to be a pass-first point guard.

 

 

New Jersey Nets

 

Player

Position

Age

Height

Weight

College/Country

Terrence Williams

SF

23

6’6

220

Louisville

Derrick Favors

PF

18

6’10

246

Georgia Tech

Damion James

SF

22

6’7

230

Texas

Lance Thomas

PF

22

6’8

225

Duke

Brian Zoubek

C

22

7’1

260

Duke

AJ Abrams

PG

23

5’11

165

Texas

Connor Atchley

PF

25

6’10

228

Texas

Tweety Carter

PG

23

5’11

185

Baylor

Wayne Chism

PF

23

6’9

246

Tennessee

Jakim Donaldson

PF

26

6’8

220

Edinboro

Vernon Goodridge

PF

26

6’9

220

LaSalle

Brandon Heath

SG

26

6’4

198

San Diego St.

James Peters

SF

29

6’8

215

UNLV

Gabe Pruitt

SG

24

6’4

170

USC

Alex Ruoff

SG

23

6’6

215

West Virginia

Garret Siler

C

23

6’11

310

Augusta St.

Cezary Trybanski

C

30

7’2

235

Poland

Ben Uzoh

PG

22

6’3

200

Tulsa

 

The Rookies – The Nets two first round picks, Derrick Favors and Damion James, will look to make an impact immediately in Orlando.  Depending on how the team’s foray into free agency this summer plays out, there could be a lot of playing time available for these two rookies.  Favors, still only 19 years old, will need to learn to play a more physical game, though he has the frame to add some muscle.  James is much more ready to play at the NBA level.  He is extremely tough and physical, can consistently hit out to 15 feet and is a great rebounder for his size.  Look for James to establish himself early in the Summer League as a go-to player for this Nets squad. 

 

The Vets – Terrence Williams should look at this upcoming season as his last shot to prove himself with the Nets.  His play was very uneven which led to him not getting consistent minutes.  He will need to show the athleticism and defensive skills that impressed people last summer.  It would also help if he could improve the consistency of his perimeter game, including lowering his release time and increasing his range.   

 

The Wild Cards – Two recent graduates, Brian Zoubek and Ben Uzoh, have the best chance to make the case that they belong in the NBA.  Zoubek, at 7-1, has a shot to make  it  based simply on that.  Add in that he saved the best play of his college career for the 2010 NCAA tournament, which ended with his Duke team winning it all, and you would need to figure that if Zoubek was going to have any shot at the NBA, it’s going to be now.  The only way Zoubek is effective in the NBA is if the league decided to make all games half-court.  In the time it would take him to make it from one end of the court to the other, the 9 other players have gone back and forth twice.  In case you don’t get it – he is painfully slow.  He is so slow that the fact that he can rebound doesn’t make him appealing.  On the other hand, Uzoh has an excellent chance to make a NBA roster as a backup point guard.  Everything that you want a point guard to do, he does very well.  Nothing about his play is spectacular, but he is very solid passer, especially entry passes into the post, can get into the lane, and goes to the basket strong.  Look for him to battle Tweety Carter during the week for a shot at the Nets backup point guard position.

 

Make sure to check back tomorrow for previews of Philadelphia, Indiana, Oklahoma City, Utah, Boston and Charlotte, as well as some of the intriguing matchups to watch next week.

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