The Las Vegas Summer League may have more teams, games, and even allows fans in the stands, but the Orlando Pro Summer League--which continues today--is every bit as important. Teams looking for a strictly basketball experience for their summer squads seek out the Orlando Magic's no-nonsense league, which they host in their practice facility. This year, the Boston Celtics, Charlotte Bobcats, Indiana Pacers, New Jersey Nets, Oklahoma City Thunder, Magic, Philadelphia 76ers, and Utah Jazz will all attend.
I'm Evan Dunlap, known as Ben Q. Rock at Orlando Pinstriped Post, SB Nation's Magic blog, and I'll be there to cover all 20 games this week for SB Nation.com. Here's what's on tap tonight. The games are available on NBA TV, but you can watch the action streaming on NBA.com for a fee, if that's more convenient. Check back in this StoryStream for updates after every game.
Game 1: Thunder (3-1) at Pacers (3-1), 8 AM - The day starts bright and early with this matchup of two of the three teams to go 3-1 so far this week. The Thunder's stacked roster helped them put the Magic away without their four best players here yesterday, while the Pacers' cast of athletes led them to erase a 27-point deficit to beat the Celtics on Paul George's reverse layup. No matter who takes this game, both teams will leave Orlando feeling pretty good about what they saw here.
Game 2: 76ers (2-2) at Jazz (2-2), 10 AM - Philadelphia's Evan Turner, the second overall pick, gets one last chance to redeem himself in this game. He shot one-of-six yesterday to drop his shooting percentage to 31% on the week, and he's averaged 8.5 points and three turnovers. Just not getting it done. On the flip side, fellow lottery pick Gordon Hayward has made the most of his curiously limited touches, shooting 62.5% from the floor for 10 points per game. Second-year center Kosta Koufos hasn't blown anyone away this week, but he has put together some effective games, averaging 12.5 points, 7.3 rebounds, and 1.3 blocked shots.
Game 3: Nets (2-2) at Celtics (1-3), 12 PM - Relative to draft position, no one here has outplayed Luke Harangody. The 52nd overall pick in this year's draft drew comparisons to incumbent Celtics power forward Brian Scalabrine, whom fans celebrate ironically, but unlike Scal, Harangody looks to have legitimate NBA skill. In addition to shooting 49% from the floor, Harangody has pulled in 6.5 boards per game. Remarkably, he has just four turnovers in 105 minutes, which attests to his handling skill and vision. For a player to handle that much and not cough the ball up more is surprising and impressive. Contrast his approach with that of New Jersey's Terrence Williams, who's the most talented player on the court at any given time but can't seem to reign himself in. He's averaging 5.5 turnovers per game and must stop leaving his feet to pass if he ever hopes to shift to point guard at this level. It seems doubtful that he'll play today. Maybe Derrick Favors, the third overall pick, will finally get some chances to show what he can do.
Game 4: Bobcats (3-1) at Magic (0-4), 2 PM - The Magic would like to leave their own league without getting shut out in the win department, but a more important goal for them is to see what exactly they have in Daniel Orton, the project center they drafted 29th overall this year. He had his best game yesterday, with four points and four rebounds, though he did shoot merely 2-of-6 from the floor. A team official told me, though, that Orton's stretch of active, engaged play in the second half was his best of the summer, which encouraged the team. Two of the Bobcats' three wins this week have come at the buzzer, so they're a prime candidate to be the Magic's first victim, despite their 3-1 record. Can the Magic force the combination of Derrick Brown and Gerald Henderson to shoot Charlotte out of contention?