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NBA SUMMER DAYS 2015 Part II: Basketball Crossroads

Felipe Melecio talks about the NBA Draft, and Summer League.

Myles Turner, NBA


We take a look back at the NBA prospects who were selected in last Thursday’s NBA draft as we do a preview of sorts for the upcoming Summer League. The first teams we covered were:

  • Orlando Magic
  • Detroit Pistons
  • Charlotte Hornets
  • Miami Heat

We now take a look at a few teams who are sort of in their crossroads, coming off very disappointing NBA seasons, but looking to contend for the 2015 campaign. Please be sure to check out our first part in our series for further explanation on how we break down our overview.

Orlando Pro Summer League

Indiana Pacers

A team on the crossroads, nothing like new blood to reignite a championship run; or so the theory goes.

Ten-Year Reunion

Way back in 2010, the Pacers looked to have gotten lucky with the 17th pick in Danny Granger. Then came the emergence of Paul George and he made Granger expendable.

Graduation Year

The Pacers selected Kawhi Leonard at 15 and then proceeded to trade him to San Antonio for point guard, George Hill. A pretty even trade back in 2011, it has now looked like a steal for the Spurs.

Team Needs

High Usage Shooting Guard (like DeMar DeRozan), Stretch Four (Kevin Love), Scoring Post (Enes Kanter).

Team Selects

Myles Turner, 7-0, 239 lbs, center from Texas. With the 11th pick, the Pacers were able to fill the Scoring Post need and got an extra bonus as Turner is considered a Rim Protector as well.

Turner was thought of as a top 11 prospect although more mock drafts thought Trey Lyles would go in this spot.

Scouting Report (per NBAdraft.net)

NBA Comparison: Raef LaFrentz

Good: “…Turner also has great hands, and a face up game giving him immense potential in the pick and roll and pick and pop heavy NBA landscape…”

Bad: “…His legs appear to be extremely stiff to the point where it appears he runs with a slight limp…”

Thoughts: Scouts were impressed with his jump shot and his length and think he can take advantage of his size, especially on defense where he will be planted in the paint. He does seem to lumber up-and-down the court and many wonder how much this will affect his game in the pro game.

Similar Demographic: Kelly Olynyk, 13th pick, 2013 draft.

Other Pick

With the 43rd pick, Indiana selected Joseph Young, 6-2, 182 lbs out of Oregon. Listed as a combo guard, it would appear he is more shooting than point as a pro. He has a terrific jump shot and can score in many ways. The problem is his size or lack thereof and can be sloppy with the ball.

Similar Demo: Patrick Beverly, 42nd pick, 2009 draft.

Oklahoma City Thunder

The Thunder owned the 14th and 48th pick of this year’s draft. Like the Pacers, they’re looking to bounce-back from a disappointing, 2014-15 season.

Ten-Year Reunion

Back in the old days, the Thunder were known as the Supersonics. With the 25th pick, they selected Johan Petro. A center who couldn’t block or rebound.

Graduation Year

In 2011, the Thunder stole Reggie Jackson with the 24th pick. An exciting player to watch, Jackson would eventually get tired of playing in the shadow of Russell Westbrook and get traded to Detroit.

Team Needs

Traditional Point Guard (Chris Paul), Facilitating Shooting Guard (James Harden), 3-and-D Wing (DeMarre Carroll)

Team Selects

Cameron Payne, 6-2, 183 lbs, point guard from Murray State. In terms of prospect rankings, Payne was rated anywhere between 15-20. But most mock drafts thought the pick to make was for Payne because many thought the Thunder needed another guard to complement Westbrook.

Scouting Report

NBA Comp: George Hill and Devin Harris

Good: “…Lefty scoring point guard who can mix things up with strong passing abilities…”

Bad: “…Lack of explosiveness off the dribble limits shots at the rim…”

Thoughts: Yes, Payne can score, but his primary role with the Thunder is to set up plays for others as his passing and playmaking abilities were seen as major positives. However, a lack of athleticism and size is cause for concern on offense and most especially on defense where Payne struggles to fight off against bigger guards and big men setting up screens against him.

Other Pick

Dakari Johnson, 7-0, 265 lbs, center from Kentucky. Yet another Wildcat is selected in the draft. A big man with size, length, and strength, to go along with intangibles, his lack of athleticism is what dropped him in the draft. He also does not have much of an offensive game to speak of.

Similar Demo: Marc Gasol, 48th, 2007

Brooklyn Nets

Talk about a mess of a team. Overpaid veterans, brittle stars, and irresponsible decision-making, it appears as if multiple drafts will be required to fix all the issues Brooklyn has.

Ten-Year Reunion

With the 15th pick, the New Jersey Nets picked Antoine Wright. Most games he ever played in a season was 67.

Graduation Year

After a promising rookie year, MarShon Brooks is fading faster than Antoine Wright. Bojan Bogdanovic would eventually make his way to New Jersey. He eventually made his way to the NBA and wrapped up his rookie campaign in Brooklyn this past season.

Team Needs

Traditional Point Guard, Two-Way Wing (Jimmy Butler), Rim Protector (Rudy Gobert)

Team Selects

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, 6-7, 211 lbs, small forward out of Arizona (23rd). RHJ does not fill any of the holes the Nets would have been trying to plug. But as a top 20 prospect, the Nets got themselves a value pick here.

Scouting Report (per Draft Express)

Good: “…able to match up athletically with many wing NBA players, as his combination of strength, quickness and explosiveness will be difficult to match.”

Bad: “…he isn’t much of a jump shooter, as his inconsistent form prevents him from being reliable from any kind of range…”

Thoughts: RHJ relies heavily on physical traits to get through offensively. An exciting player in an up-tempo offense, he will struggle when a defender puts a body on him as he lacks any offensive game and jump shot to be a real threat. But because of his athleticism, he should be able to hold his own on defense.

Similar Demos: James Anderson (2010) and Renaldo Balkman (2006), both 20th picks overall.

Other Picks

Chris McCullough, 6-9, 199 lbs, power forward, Syracuse (29th). Size and length are ideal for the NBA, but needs to hit the weights, immediately. Possessing a raw, offensive game, he at least has a good mid-range jumper to fall back on. He has the tools to rack up the hustle stats (blocks and steals), but a lack of strength will have opponents abusing him like a rag doll.

Juan Valuet, 6-6, 200 lbs small foward, Argentina. Lacks a consistent jump shot, but is not afraid to attack the rim. He has been known to explode to the basket and can show off his quickness, but does not have the handles to match.

Memphis Grizzlies

Another disappointing playoff exit has the Grizzlies on the crossroads. Not helping matters is Marc Gasol’s contract has expired, making him a free agent.

Ten-Year Reunion

Hakim Warrick out of Syracuse went in the 19th pick. He never did live up to the hype following college.

Graduation Year

Josh Selby out of Kansas was the only pick in 2011 (49th overall). He lasted two seasons in the league and shot 14.3 percent from three-point range.

Team Needs

High Usage Shooting Guard, Rim Protector, Help Five (Joakim Noah).

Team Selects

Jarrell Martin, 6-9, 239 lbs, power forward, LSU. Martin was ranked as the 28th best prospect, but the Grizz selected him 25th overall. Mock drafts were mixed on which direction Memphis would go, but based on needs, a few “experts” thought Montrezl Harrell would be an ideal pick based on needs.

Scouting Report (per NBAdraft.net)

NBA Comp: Kenny Thomas

Good: “…Martin possesses an improving offensive game with the ability to score on the block as well as step out and face up when going against bigger, slower and less athletic defenders…”

Bad: “…not a great shooter and will need to be able to step out with more consistency at the next level…”

Thoughts: Pretty much a forward with good ball-handling skills who is hard to stop once he’s in motion. But the post-up game and jump shot are works in progress. Although he has the physical traits to be a good defender, he has a lot to learn about defense and being on a defensive-oriented team in Memphis might see him sitting on the bench for long stretches.

Similar Demos:

Other Pick

Andrew Harrison, 6-6, 213 lbs, guard from Kentucky. One half of the famed “Harrison Twins” from Lexington, a year ago, they were guaranteed first round picks. This year, only Andrew was drafted (44th). The extra season in college only helped scouts expose a lot of his flaws to his game.

Andrew is listed as a point guard, but lacks the quickness most point guards have in this level. He probably would be better off playing off-the-ball, but Harrison is a player who needs the ball in his hands to be effective and even then he does not always consistently set up teammates. His intensity could be a plus, but he’s been known to let his emotions get the best of him.

Los Angeles Clippers

Clips continue to be in “win now” status and did not have a pick coming into this draft. They eventually made a trade and acquired at least a second round selection in this draft.

Ten-Year Reunion

Both Yaroslav Korolev and Daniel Ewing only lasted two seasons in the league.

Graduation Year

Both Trey Thompkins and Travis Leslie never made it to a second season in the NBA.

Team Selects

Branden Dawson, 6-7, 230 lbs, forward, Michigan State. The 56th pick of the draft belonged to New Orleans, but was traded to L.A. Rebounding and defense is his calling card as his length and strength offers the versatility to defend a couple of positions.

However, even though he was a senior, his motor and consistency are questioned. Lacks a jump shot or any other offensive skill, as a matter of fact. Scouts also questioned if he really is fully back from a knee injury.

After the Orlando League wraps up, the Summer League goes west for the Utah Jazz Summer League.

Main Image Credit: TonyTheTiger (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons (cropped)

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