Posted Jul 5 2010 9:10PM - Updated Jul 8 2010 8:53PM
ORLANDO -- NBA.com's Fran Blinebury is taking in the Summer League action in Orlando. He'll be filing daily updates as the next crop of draft picks and other NBA hopefuls make their case for spots on an NBA roster come October. You can e-mail him here and follow him on twitter.
And for more updates, check out Blinebury's Summer League blog.
Performance of the Day: It was the chance Mustafa Shakur had been waiting for since he arrived at the Summer League. When the Thunder held its top players James Harden, Eric Maynor, Serge Ibaka and D.J. White out of the lineup, Shakur made the most of his opportunity. The 6-foot-3 point guard hit 6-of-10 from the field and 7-of-8 from the free throw line, finished with 21 points, five assists and five rebounds and nailed the clinching 3-pointer for OKC in an 80-78 win over Orlando. Shakur was 2-for-4 behind the arc and didn't hesitate to rise up on the left wing and knock down the bomb that closed the door on the Magic. "I was feeling good about my offense, about the rhythm I had all day long in the game and I didn't give it much of a thought," he said. "The shot felt good when it left my hand. But mostly it was good to get so much time (29 ½ minutes) to be able to develop a rhythm and show all of the things that I'm capable of doing." Shakur was undrafted out of Arizona in 2007 and spent most of last season with the Tulsa 66ers in the NBA Development League. He was called up and signed to a 10-day contract by the Thunder in March, but did not get into a game.
On the sidelines: Celtics head coach Doc Rivers on Austin Ainge, son of GM and former player Danny Ainge, who is now the coach the Maine Red Claws in the D-League: "You could always tell that Austin was the one who was going to be a coach. Like a lot of players' kids, he's been coming to the gym with his Dad since he was little. But the difference is that when all the other kids were playing around in the standings, goofing around, Austin was sitting right there watching, taking it all in. He was gonna coach."
Under the radar: Point guard Oliver Lafayette only stands out on the court when you take notice of how confidently, how coolly he runs the offense for the Celtics. He scored 11 points to go with six assists and six rebounds in Thursday's 86-85 loss to Indiana. "Oliver has a big advantage because he's been with the Celtics and he's played in the D-League the last two years, and the rules are identical,'' said Boston Summer League coach Austin Ainge. "Especially early in the week here, you could see that Oliver was ahead of a lot of the young guys here who came straight from college ball. Lafayette, who played at the University of Houston, says he feels at home. "I'm very comfortable," he said. "I know what the coaches want. First, it's all about playing solid, aggressive defense and then it's about running the team the right way. I can do those things. Definitely."
-- posted July 8, 8:45 p.m.
Performance of the day -- Second-year man Jrue Holiday keeps looking more and more like he's ready to be the man and run the show in Philadelphia. He scored 25 points and handed out five assists in the Sixers' 89-80 loss to the Thunder. In addition, he was working against OKC's James Harden and Eric Maynor, both in the same 2009 draft class as Holiday, who made their marks as rookies.
"Jrue is so good," said Sixers coach Doug Collins. "That's why I'm so excited. This is a point guard league and when you get a young kid like that who has that kind of confidence, it's great. He's got a real demeanor about himself. If he has a play and he doesn't feel that he can't get a guy the ball, he might just look over and say, 'I didn't think I could get it to you.' He's a communicator in addition to having solid all-around basketball skills. He could really be special"
On the sidelines -- Orlando GM Otis Smith on the Magic's Vince Carter being a regular spectator from the sidelines at the Summer League: "He's a basketball junkie. He has nothing else to do. You work out and then you come into the gym and you watch basketball. What a life."
Under the radar -- If anybody needed a bust-out game to help his confidence, it was Philly's big man Marreese Speights, who connected on just 6-for-23 from the field in his first two Summer League games. But he played strong and confident in posting 20 points and nine rebounds against the Thunder.
"That's the way Marreese has been playing before you guys saw him," said Sixers coach Doug Collins. "That's why I was so excited. Then in the first game he was 1-for-11 and in the second game he came alive a little bit in the fourth quarter. But when I've seen our guys play (in practices), I've seen Mo play like that ... The guys who have been veterans have been doing a really good job ... I told Mo that late in the game there Jrue made a great play and he made a little pass (to Speights) and he had about a 12-footer and he tried to dribble it and he took a tough shot and I said, 'That's your shot. Go up and take that shot.' But Mo finished strong, which is good."
-- posted July 7, 8:32 p.m.
Performance of the day -- Just how good was Gerald Henderson on Day Two of the Summer League in Orlando?
Well, Bobcats assistant Dave Hanners, who is handling the coaching (instead of Larry Brown), made a Michael Jordan comparison.
Yeah, that Michael Jordan.
"They're all worried about his athleticism -- his one bounce-and-dunk," said Hanners. "If you play off of him because of that and he takes one bounce and makes (a jumper) and you look over at the bench and say, 'What do you want me to do?'
"Michael Jordan was like that. If you got on him, he dunked on you. If you stayed off him, he made jump shots."
Henderson mixed jumpers in with drives to the basket -- and one especially eye-popping take-off for a slam dunk -- to score 21 points and also collected eight rebounds and four assists in Charlotte's 86-85 win over Oklahoma City.
The 12th pick in the 2009 Draft, Henderson saw little playing time as a rookie and has heard whispers of complaints from Bobcats fans. But even those whispers will be quieted if he delivers more of this.
On the sidelines -- Reigning NBA scoring champ Kevin Durant of Oklahoma City Thunder on why he keeps coming back to Summer League to sit on the bench and offer encouragement: "It's about getting an early start, learning more and more of our offense and helping the young guys out ... Besides, there's no more basketball on TV. So why not come here and see NBA basketball up close?"
Under the radar -- When the Sixers picked up guard Jodie Meeks at the trade deadline last season, he wound up playing just a limited role in 19 games. But new coach Doug Collins sees a place for the 6-foot guard to make his mark, especially after he shot 6-for-11 and scored 18 points Tuesday in an 86-69 win over Boston.
"Jodie could be a very explosive player off the bench for us," Collins said. "The way we're playing really suits his style, because defensively the way our system is he can lock and chase on all those screens. He's got very good instincts. He closes out very well. He plays passing lanes very well.
"The one thing I talked to Jodie about is when you're going to come off the bench you have to be a high percentage shooter and make minimal mistakes. You can't turn the ball over and he's done a good job of that. When I was first in town before the draft I saw some pick-up games. And he's a much better player playing now in structure than in those pick-up games. I think the structure helps him a lot."
-- posted July 6, 9:05 p.m.
Performance of the Day -- Lance Stephenson hardly looked like a second-round draft pick trying to find his way into the league. He played strong and confident with 21 points, four rebounds and three assists to lead the Indiana Pacers to an 86-77 win over the Orlando Magic.
Word in the Stands -- "He's got good instincts, a feel for the game, where he is, where he needs to be and I think that will help him as he moves forward." -- Utah Jazz assistant coach Scott Layden after first-round draft pick Gordon Hayward made his NBA debut.
Under the Radar -- Byron Mullens, who played just 13 games with the Oklahoma City Thunder and spent most of last season in the D-League, thrived on a steady diet of pick-and-roll in an 87-82 win over Boston. Mullens scored 24 points and grabbed seven rebounds. "Screen-and-roll, screen-and-roll, screen-and-roll. That's all the coaches have been saying to me," Mullens said. "I guess this is proof that it works."
-- posted July 5, 9:15 p.m.
|Bulls Season Preview: Breakdown|
The guys breakdown how the Chicago Bulls attack the defense.
|Bulls Season Preview: More or Less|
The crew debate whether the Bulls will win more or less than 51 games this season.
|Lakers Season Preview: Breakdown|
Greg Anthony and Mike D'Antoni breakdown what the Lakers need to do to succeed this season.
|Lakers Season Preview: More or Less|
The guys discuss whether the Lakers will win more or less than 30 games this season.
|Raptors Season Preview: More or Less|
The guys talk more or less on the Toronto Raptors for this upcoming season.