Posts Tagged ‘Orlando Summer League’

Coach (Rasheed Wallace) Don’t Lie?

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — Jason Kidd isn’t the only former New York Knicks veteran to trade in his locker room stall for a spot in the coach’s locker room. In what has to qualify as the best news perhaps of the entire offseason, HT fave Rasheed Wallace will soon be announced as a member of the Detroit Pistons’ coaching staff under Mo Cheeks.

Wallace is in Orlando for summer league action with the Pistons and was spotted in the gym at the Amway Center this afternoon with a polo shirt on with the Pistons’ logo on the upper left side. Wallace helped the Pistons become an Eastern Conference power and won a ring in 2004 and made another trip to The Finals in 2005.

He’s expected to work with the Pistons’ young frontcourt core of Greg Monroe, Andre Drummond and Tony Mitchell, hopefully imparting some of the same wisdom he did for guys like Jermaine O’Neal and Zach Randolph when they youngsters in Portland playing behind a then-All-Star Wallace. Both O’Neal and Randolph went on to become All-Stars after being tutored by Wallace, who saw his season and likely his playing career come to an end this season in New York when a stress fracture sidelined him.

Wallace’s presence could be a huge boost for Pistons’ free-agent pickup Josh Smith, who has agreed to a four-year, $56 million deal with the team that cannot be signed until Wednesday. For all of the hype about Wallace’s technical fouls and run-ins with officials over the course of his career, he’s been lauded by many who have played with him as the ideal teammate and one of the smartest players to come through the league in his era.

Turner attends school of hard knocks

Posted by Fran Blinebury

ORLANDO – The No. 2 pick in the Draft looked like he took the wrong exit off the freeway in his second day of the NBA Summer League in Orlando.

Evan Turner scored 13 points, dished four assists and claimed three rebounds, but often looked lost.

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“I thought he looked lethargic,” said Sixers coach Doug Collins. “Probably what’s happened is you get knocked back a little bit and you start trying to figure it out, which is good.

“Evan’s searching right now. He’s trying to figure out what this is all about and he’s frustrated, no question. He’s frustrated and I think he wears that. You can see that very easily. I talked to him a little bit about that. You can’t wear that frustration.

“When you go into the NBA Draft and you’ve been watching the game on TV and then all of a sudden you get on the floor and the pace of the game, the size of the players, the speed, the strength is so much different than what you can get watching on television.

“Evan is a great competitor. I’m not worried about him at all. People are going to say, ‘We’re gonna go at you’ and you’ve got to take that challenge. The things about it is he’s got a lot of touch fouls that’s taken him out of the game. I’m not worried about him. He’ll be fine.”

Hayward gets comfortable

Posted by Fran Blinebury

ORLANDO – After playing tentatively and passing up a potential game-tying shot in his NBA Summer League debut on Monday, Utah’s top draft pick Gordon Hayward seemed more sure of himself in scoring 14 points, including the clinching trey, in a 78-73 win over Orlando.

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With the Jazz holding onto a one-point lead, Hayward nailed a 27-footer from the right wing with 49 seconds left in the game.

“It was nothing special,” Hayward said. “I did what I could to win the game. The ball just came to me.

“Today was a lot better. I felt a lot more comfortable out there. After getting that first day out of the way, overall as a team we were more comfortable.

“Everything is faster here, a little stronger. It’s a different game. For me it’s an adjustment. But I’ve got to keep learning and keep getting better every day.”

Getting the Magic point

Posted by Fran Blinebury

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Turns out that while most of the NBA seemed to be camped out on the doorstep of LeBron James and Dwyane Wade when the free agency period opened on July 1, Magic general manager Otis Smith was ringing the bell of Chris Duhon.

“It came down to he liked us and we liked him, weren’t courting other people and he wasn’t courting other people,” Smith said of the point guard who agreed to a four-year, $15-million deal with the Magic. “It just made sense.”

Smith made his first public comments on the deal just a few minutes after Orlando’s summer league team dropped to 0-2 after a 78-73 loss to Utah.

“When you look at Chris, I think you look at a guy who defends the position,” Smith said. “And defend the position well. Also, you have to look at the guy who could possibly start for you in the event you have an injury for that position. You also have to do your due diligence in that area.”

Smith said the Magic will use part of the mid-level exception to sign Duhon. He also said the move does not affect any plans the club has for free agents Matt Barnes and Jason Williams.

Knocking off the rust

Posted by Fran Blinebury

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ORLANDO – Actually, it was understandable that Evan Turner and Derrick Favors – the No. 2 and 3 picks in the draft – didn’t own the court in their head-to-head Summer League debut as Philly beat New Jersey 84-74.

“Stop and think about it, the lottery picks haven’t really played competitively in about 90 days,” said Sixers coach Doug Collins. “As they’ve been going through the process leading up to the draft, their agents had have them doing only individual drills and telling them not to do anything that might get them hurt.

“In the case of a guy like Evan, he probably hasn’t played a game of 5-on-5 since Ohio State was eliminated from the tournament. You’re talking 90 days and that means he’s got to get back into the game and get a feel for it all again. Same thing with Favors.”

Turner played 27 minutes, finishing with 12 points, eight rebounds and four assists. Favors had eight points and nine rebounds.

OKC’s Hardened Summer Veteran

Posted by Fran Blinebury

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ORLANDO – This time last year, James Harden was one of the new kids trying to find his way on the block. Now he’s back in the summer league trying to help along his Oklahoma City Thunder teammates.

“If I can give them any tips, be any kind of a mentor to them, that’s what I’ll do,” said the second-year guard. “I know what it’s like to try to come into the league and try to figure out everything that you have to do.”
Harden went aggressively to the hoop from start to finish in an 87-82 win over Boston. He scored his 19 points by getting to the foul line for 18 free throws (made 15).

“I don’t just want to be a guy who stands in the corner and looks for open shots this season,” he said. “I want to drive the ball, pass it off to my teammates, play defense, be an overall team leader.”

Short ‘n not-so-sweet for Orton

Posted by Fran Blinebury

ORLANDO – Daniel Orton was looking forward to getting his first bit of NBA action behind him. But probably not that quickly.

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After shooting a nervous and hurried looking 1-for-8 from the field, the Orlando Magic’s first-round draft pick was ejected from his debut game in the Summer League after tangle with Indiana’s Josh McRoberts in the third quarter.

“It’s not the best way to end it all,” Orton said.  “I didn’t have a great start at all.  I really didn’t get started.  I didn’t get anything going with myself.

“They said that he threw a punch first and then I threw a punch. But neither one of us ever threw a punch.  He just kinda pushed me off and I tried to push him, so I think that’s what the deal was.  That threw me for a loop right there.”

Orton says he’s trying to use the fact that he slipped down to the No. 29 spot in the draft as positive motivation, but knows that he has to calm down and not try to prove everything to every right away.

“It was crazy today,” Orton said.  “I was talking to my brother and he asked, ‘Are you nervous?’  I said no.  Then I texted him back about 30 minutes later and said, ‘OK, I’m nervous now.’  I didn’t think I was gonna be that nervous, but I really was.  Just to get that first one over is just a relief.”

The Pacers were led by second-round draft pick Lance Stephenson, with 21 points, four rebounds and three assists in the 86-77 win over the MagicPatrick Ewing Jr. scored 15 points to top Orlando.