OrlandoMagic.com's Josh Cohen assesses players from the 2012 AirTran Airways Orlando Pro Summer League each day who show they are capable of being very good players in the NBA.
MarShon Brooks, BKN
Considering he had a very impressive first NBA season, it wouldn’t be outlandish to assume MarShon Brooks will have an even better second year.
Brooks is much like Jamal Crawford. He is a volume shooter and though erratic, Brooks can have nights where he is unstoppable.
This week – complete with a couple of discouraging stat lines and one absolutely sensational one – perfectly portrayed the expectations we all have of Brooks.
If he remains with the Brooklyn Nets – as there have been rumors that he may be available on the trade market – the former Providence standout will be a very valuable reserve for Joe Johnson.
I do believe, however, that the 6’5 guard warrants being a starter in this league. It’s just a matter of whether he will be in the right situation to excel.
Dwight Buycks, OKC
As expected, the name Dwight was discussed quite frequently around Amway Center on Thursday.
Except on this day – an absolute scarcity in this town – it was a different Dwight being talked about.
Dwight Buycks – not a household name by any stretch but a solid talent for sure – enjoyed a splendid game as his 22 points and five assists propelled the Thunder past the Nets.
Undrafted in 2011 out of Marquette, Buycks did hop on to the Phoenix Suns for a brief period before being waived and then spent some time in the NBA D-League.
While nobody expects the 6’3 guard to be a regular contributor in the NBA, it seems reasonable that he could step in from time to time and be relied on to deliver when asked to as a backend reserve.
Miles Plumlee, IND
There was a fair amount of criticism when the Indiana Pacers chose Miles Plumlee with the 26th overall pick in last month’s draft.
Some believe it may have been a stretch to pick him in the First Round, largely because of his offensive deficiencies.
But it should also be noted that Plumlee, the eldest of the three brothers who all played at Duke last season, has outstanding lateral quickness for his size and is a legitimate rebounder who can muscle up against other big men in a reserve role.
Now that the Pacers have re-signed Roy Hibbert and considering Tyler Hansbrough remains locked in as a valuable reserve, Plumlee will have the opportunity to watch and learn before getting significant playing time.
Zack Rosen, PHI
I had the privilege to watch and follow Zack Rosen’s career during his high school days in New Jersey. He was always the first and last at the gym and his skills kept blossoming every time he stepped back out on the court.
After a splendid four years at Penn, which culminated with Ivy League Player of the Year honors, Rosen now hopes to achieve his ultimate goal of playing in the NBA.
Scouts I have talked to say he is reliable because his decision-making is immaculate. Rosen doesn’t have superior size or strength to deal with all those bigger point guards in the league.
But as he demonstrated in Philadelphia’s game on Wednesday against Brooklyn in which the 6’0 guard dished out six assists in nearly 17 minutes with just one turnover, it’s possible some team could utilize a playmaker of Rosen’s caliber.
Reggie Jackson, OKC
There is certainly a bit of a log jam in the backcourt in Oklahoma City considering Eric Maynor will be returning from injury and it remains possible Derek Fisher could re-sign with the Thunder after his contributions with the team throughout the playoffs.
But Reggie Jackson is such an explosive and multifaceted point guard that some have to wonder if riding the pine is a waste for such a promising youngster.
Jackson again enjoyed another superb performance on Wednesday as his 15 points, seven rebounds and seven assists helped the Thunder cruise past the Pistons.
While he probably won’t ever be proficient enough to be a starter in the NBA, there is no reason for him not to be a primary backup. It’s not an option at the moment, however, in OKC.
Alec Burks, UTA
Devin Harris: Gone
Raja Bell: Gone
Mo Williams & Jamaal Tinsley: Older and less agile
Alec Burks is in a perfect situation.
Barring a big trade or free agency upgrade, it’s very possible Burks will be the Utah Jazz’s starting shooting guard next season.
The Jazz are loaded in the frontcourt with Al Jefferson, Paul Millsap, Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter. They also have Gordon Hayward locked in at small forward spot and can replace him with Marvin Williams, who they acquired from the Hawks in the Harris deal.
As was a frequent concern for Utah throughout last season, the Jazz remain indecisive and unpredictable at the shooting guard position.
After his 31-point effort on Tuesday, Burks looks ready to compete for that starting role and be a major contributor for a team hoping to advance deeper in the playoffs.
Lance Stephenson, IND
While the Indiana Pacers are already multifaceted at practically every position and don’t really need a replacement or reserve to fill a void, it’s possible they can make room if necessary.
Indiana is indeed comfortable with Paul George and Leandro Barbosa as the team’s shooting guards, but it may be worth exploring another option if it needs more perimeter scoring.
After a year to consume the pros while riding the pine, Lance Stephenson seems ready to elevate his game and be a contributor for the Pacers.
Last seen catching a nasty and advertent elbow in the playoffs from Miami’s Dexter Pittman, Stephenson looks unshaken from that incident and displayed one of the more dominant performances of the week so far. His 28 points propelled Indiana to its second straight win.
It’s not a surprise that Stephenson, who shined at the high school that made Stephon Marbury and Sebastian Telfair stars before ever stepping on an NBA court, is beginning to show signs that he could last a long time in this league.
Justin Holiday, PHI
Any chance we see an all-Holiday backcourt in Philadelphia soon?
Well, we know Jrue Holiday is locked in as the Sixers’ starting point guard for many years to come.
Could his older, yet less experienced, brother Justin join him next season as Evan Turner and Nick Young’s third string backup?
With both Lou Williams and Jodie Meeks likely not returning, there may be room on Philly’s roster for a third and reliable scoring guard.
Justin is certainly different from Jrue, who is more of a playmaker. Though he struggled from 3-point distance on Tuesday (0-of-6), Justin had no inhibition firing up as many shots necessary. The former Washington standout finished with 16 points on 7-of-17 shooting from the floor in Philadelphia’s defeat to Utah.
Depending on what happens with Andre Iguodala (rumors he is on the trading block) and considering their most recent draft selection Moe Harkless needs time to progress, it may be valuable for Doug Collins and his Sixers to consider adding a second Holiday to the roster to add more of a scoring punch.
MarShon Brooks, BKN
It’s no secret that MarShon Brooks is being discussed in potential trade scenarios. Depending on what ultimately happens with Dwight Howard will determine where Brooks will be playing next season.
While he hasn’t dazzled over the first two days of Summer League action, it’s apparent he has the scoring aptitude to be a prolific offensive player for many years.
If he remains with Brooklyn, learning from Joe Johnson and being the primary backup on a vastly improved team will help Brooks progress more gradually. If he is traded and lands on a rebuilding team it’s possible he could step in right away and make a difference.
Kyle Singler, DET
Kyle Singler has the tools to be long standing citizen in the NBA. That’s not just because he has the Duke experience and is a recognizable name.
By deciding to play in Spain last season rather than join the Pistons right away, Singler now has developed into a complete player. He can shoot it, rebound it and because of his length, guard it.
Especially in Detroit where eventually Tayshaun Prince’s age will deny him from being a 35-minute contributor on a nightly basis, Singler will probably have the opportunity to find success rather quickly in the NBA.
Andrew Nicholson, ORL
The Orlando Magic definitely did some extensive and effectual homework in the weeks leading up to the NBA Draft.
Andrew Nicholson shimmered in his professional debut, racking up a game-high 24 points and 12 rebounds in the Magic’s victory over the Brooklyn Nets.
Not many casual fans had the opportunity to watch Nicholson, who thrived for four years at St. Bonaventure, throughout his collegiate career.
However, if his performance on Monday was any cogent indication of things to come, the Magic will be exultant about their most recent First Round draft selection.
Perry Jones, OKC
Sure, there was some ambiguity about a potential knee issue. And yes, he may not quite have been as prolific as some expected in his second and final year in college.
But despite slipping in the NBA Draft to Oklahoma City at No. 28, Perry Jones demonstrated on Monday why many teams may regret not choosing him way sooner.
The former Baylor standout recorded 16 points and eight rebounds in the Thunder’s defeat to the Boston Celtics.
With an intriguing blend of athleticism, fluidity and mobility, one can anticipate Jones having an immediate impact on a championship contender next season.
Jared Sullinger, BOS
Like Perry Jones, who slid down draft boards as a result of some injury concerns, Jared Sullinger’s stock also plummeted in the weeks leading up to the NBA Draft.
And also like his opponent on Monday, Sullinger glistened as his 20 points and six rebounds catapulted the Celtics past the Thunder.
Many teams passed on Ohio State’s Sullinger because of recurring back spasms and out of trepidation his skills wouldn’t translate in the NBA.
If his performance on Monday, however, was a sign of future excellence once he teams up with veterans such as Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, then Boston will be ecstatic so many clubs before it opted not to take a chance on him.
Kim English, DET
If you look at a recent OrlandoMagic.com Mock Draft, you will notice that I had Kim English being selected in the First Round.
Despite his potential to transform into an elite NBA shooter, every club passed on English until the Pistons secured the 3-point specialist with the 44th pick of the Second Round.
Hopefully his 18-point effort, which was highlighted by a 3-for-4 mark from long distance, in Detroit’s win over Utah will raise his spirits.
With such a sweet and smooth release on the jumper, English has the potential to evolve into a lethal outside threat. Especially in Detroit, which traded Ben Gordon to Charlotte a few weeks ago, the former Missouri standout will get plenty of opportunity to succeed.
Orlando Johnson, IND
He is a player in all likelihood you have never seen play and, in fact, you may never have even heard of him before.
That’s explicable, considering he played his college ball at UC Santa Barbara.
But if you watched Indiana’s victory over Philadelphia on Monday, suddenly Orlando Johnson is on your radar.
Aside from scoring 19 points and grabbing nine rebounds, Johnson showed he has a confidence that is perfect for the NBA.
Also, when you get a chance, read up on his personal story. It’s inspiring.