NBA SUMMER DAYS 2015 Part IV: A Lucky Process

Utah Jazz Summer League

Our initial look into this league can be read here as we took a look at both the Utah Jazz and the Boston Celtics. Part I of the series can be read here. Part II can be read there. All scouting reports are courtesy of or

Philadelphia 76ers

“Trust the Process” has been the battle cry since Sam Hinkie took over as General Manager of the team. Will the process accelerate in the 2015 NBA draft?

Ten-Year Reunion

In 2005, the Sixers took a flyer on small guard, Lou Williams. Taken with the 45th pick out of high school, Williams has been one of the best scorers off the bench, averaging more than 10.0 points per game in every season since the completion of his third year.

Graduation Year

Nikola Vucevic was selected 16th overall in 2004. He would eventually make his way to the Orlando Magic where he has become one of the better big men, especially on offense.

Team Selects

Jahlil Okafor, 6-11, 272 lbs, center out of Duke. Arguably the best prospect available in the draft, Okafor was ranked second by SB Nation’s Kevin O’Connor. Many mocks had him going to the Los Angeles Lakers, even after rumors started to spread about their interest in D’Angelo Russell. Sometimes, a team needs a bit of luck to see the process lead to success.

Scouting Report

NBA Comparison: Brook Lopez and Al Jefferson

Good: “… One of the most advanced low-post scorers the college game has seen in quite some time…Very difficult to defend one-on-one, constantly draws attention from the defense down low, leading to a lot of open looks for perimeter players…”

Bad: “…Lacks great lateral quickness and is not an explosive leaper…has struggled from the FT line…Lack of athleticism will hurt on defense, which might not make him the most ideal “franchise big man”…”

Thoughts: If the game was always about getting buckets, then one would think Okafor would be the ideal prospect for any of the top three teams selecting in the draft. He does lack athleticism, but he more than makes up for it in skill and size. Possessed with long arms and big, soft hands, Okafor can also score off-the-dribble. However, despite having the physical attributes, defense is a big question mark for him. Not only does he struggle one-on-one and defending pick-and-rolls, but he’s not much of a rim protector. Rebounding is also a concern (which explains the Brook Lopez comparison). Nevertheless, Okafor is a wonderful player on offense and has also impressed with his attitude, showing he’s a very coachable player. Going to Philadelphia, where Nerlens Noel complements him on defense, will hide many of Okafor’s defensive deficiencies. It couldn’t have worked out better for Philly who scored a big win on draft night with this selection. Similar Demos: 

  • Derrick Favors, third overall pick in 2010 draft.
  • DeMarcus Cousins, fifth pick, 2010
  • Greg Oden, first pick, 2007

Other Picks

Philly had a total of five picks in this draft. Let’s take a quick look at them:

  1. Richaun Holmes, 6-10, 243 lbs, power forward from Bowling Green (37th overall). Athletic, strong forward. Has a nice, face-up game with an improving post game and jump shot, which has shown to have some three-point range in it. Sloppy dribbling skills is a concern. Unlike Okafor, Holmes takes advantage of his physical tools on the defensive end, becoming one of the better shot blockers in the college game.
  2. Arturas Gudaitis, 6-10, 253 lbs, center from Lithuania (47th pick). Face up game has promise and although his shot is full of holes, he gets high marks for his three-point range. Post game needs a lot of work. Does not deal with contact well.
  3. J.P. Tokoto, 6-6, 196 lbs, shooting guard from North Carolina (58th). What he has in athleticism, he desperately lacks in skills. Ideal height and length for the NBA, especially on the defensive end, his jump shot needs work and can be really sloppy with the ball. Needs to add weight.
  4. Luka Mitrovic, 6-8, 200 lbs, power forward from Serbia (last pick of the draft). A stretch four in the making, Mitrovic can extend his shot from behind the arc. Has the footwork to play solid defense. He’s a bit undersized for the NBA power forward spot. Post game still need work.

San Antonio Spurs

The Spurs will be coached by former WNBA star, Becky Hammon, becoming the first female head coach of a Summer League team. Congratulations to her!

Ten-Year Reunion

Unfortunately, they all can’t be winners. With the 28th pick, the Spurs selected center Ian Mahinmi.

Graduation Year

In 2011, the Spurs traded for Kawhi Leonard (15th overall) for George Hill. To replace Hill, they selected Cory Joseph at 29. Safe to say, this draft was a success for San Antonio.

Team Selects

Nikola Milutinov, 7-0 220 lbs center from Serbia (26th overall). As it can be expected, the Spurs selected another foreign player who they probably won’t see for a while. A long, long while. SB Nation’s Kevin O’Connor had him listed as an early, second round pick, but he also had Milutinov going to the Spurs at this spot.

Scouting Report

NBA Comp: Malick Badiane

Good: “…remarkable wingspan (7-3), to which he combines excellent footwork and great mobility…has shown solid range as a spot shooter…”

Bad: “…lanky and skinny and he needs to work in the weight room to adapt his body to NBA standards…”

Thoughts: A center who lacks strength and toughness are a dime a dozen in these drafts it seems like. But the Spurs are constantly adapting and they know big men who can shoot are valuable in today’s NBA. Although he can block shots, he’s not a very good rebounder. His post game has a long way to develop as well.

Other Pick

Cady Lalanne, 6-10, 241 lbs, power forward from Massachusetts (55th overall). Has length and size to defend most big men in the NBA. He uses physical attributes along with hustle to be a very good rebounder. He made his mark as a post player, but can get sloppy with the ball and needs to continue to improve those skills. Similar Demo: Amir Johnson, 56th pick in 2005 draft. And this concludes our overview of the Utah Jazz Summer League teams.

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

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Felipe Melecio
Felipe Melecio was the managing editor for the blog Pathological Hate. He believes that math is your friend and numbers can be fun, especially when it comes to baseball. Keep tabs on all his knee-jerk reactions on Twitter: !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],p=/^http:/.test(d.location)?'http':'https';if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);;js.src=p+'://';fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document, 'script', 'twitter-wjs');