Scouting the 2017 Orlando Summer League

Just a quick reminder, Summer League is still Summer League.  It’s great to scout and see so many players at once but this is unstructured basketball.  It’s not similar to pro games during the season.  And evaluations, both good and bad, needs to be taken with a grain of salt.  Just because someone is ‘killing it’ or ‘getting destroyed’ doesn’t necessarily mean much on the prospects of how they will do in the season to come.

Orlando is for Scouting

Having been to Vegas four times, this was my first trip to Orlando.  And as far as a scouting experience, it’s great.  The gym can only hold so many people and there’s only three rows of chairs around the court.  So every seat in the Magic’s practice gym is a great seat.  You can hear everything the players are saying, you can see everything going on the benches, and you can really see the players up close.  I go to games around the world all year and rarely do I get a chance to get this close to so many prospects, it’s such a great opportunity.

This is my first time live in Orlando but the game play compared with many Summer League games in Las Vegas was starkly different.  In Orlando the game flow was much better, the players were more focused, and it was just a more intense atmosphere, closer to real basketball.  Now it’s still Summer League, these are basically scrimmages but not only is Orlando better because of the gym but also because the games were just flat out good.

Orlando Top Performers

The Top Performers list will just consist of players with the potential to play (or continue playing) overseas.  So no rookies or players with multiple year contracts will be mentioned.

Johnny O’Bryant, Charlotte Hornets

He’s really worked on his outside game and has great touch for a guy with such a wide frame.  Elbow, 3-pointers, turnaround jumpers in the paint, O’Bryant had all types of shots going.  Really looked like a tough big man scorer to cover.  As always with a big who stretches out his game, he still has to put his hard hat on and do the dirty work down low.  And that includes a more consistent focus on the defensive end.  Can easily see a CBA team going after him if the NBA doesn’t come calling again. Has non-guaranteed contract with the Hornets.

Briante Weber, Charlotte Hornets

Briante is Briante.  And I love it.  He brings so much energy, fight, passion, whatever you want to say, and we’re talking about a Summer League game.  The Hornets were a super in-to-it bench, great chemistry, everyone was loud and had high energy. That’s all led by Briante.  He’s pestering the shit out of the other team’s PG, trying to come from behind and swat big men, and jumping in on random double teams.  The level of intensity brought to a Summer League is so appreciated because then the players become more focused, the play is raised, and the scouting is better.  His jump shot is still broke but if you let him attack and play in space he can do some damage offensively.  The perfect Briante play of Summer League is that he was so loud from the bench he actually got called for a technical, while he was out the game.  Let Briante be Briante. Has non-guaranteed contract with the Hornets.

Tre Graham, Charlotte Hornets

Graham is a force and the NBA has shown they are not willing to let these types of bodies leave their supervision.  He’s so strong and plays with so much force.  An absolute monster on the offensive glass and overpowers defenders when he gets anywhere near the paint.  The jump shot has improved, he’s now a better spot-up threat.  But Graham’s weapon is all his mismatch ability, can unleash him as a 3/4 in the NBA and probably 3/4/5 in some unique lineups in Europe… if he ever gets there. Has non-guaranteed contract with the Hornets.

Jameel Warney, Dallas Mavericks

The ambidextrous post scorer had it going in Orlando.  You can find few bigs globally who can make all the different shots Warney is capable of.  With both right and left hands he’s doing hooks, floaters, push shots, whatever way he can get the ball thru the basket.  Matched up with Jarnell Stokes, O’Bryant, Moreland, the best centers in the tournament and he was giving them the business offensively.  Body looked better, he’s always going to be bulky in certain areas but he uses that to his advantage too.  Because of the equal strength in his hands Warney is a very skilled shot blocker, his timing is excellent.  As his defensive mobility continues to get better his Euroleague chances get bigger.

Vince Hunter, Oklahoma City Thunder

Was just Mr. Motor in Orlando.  Especially offensively he goes harder than everyone else (besides Briante).  Countless dunks, put back slams, alley-oops, Hunter was an absolute terror going to the basket.  And he has to be.  He looked like a combo forward body at best but he has the skills of a face-up 5.  Someone check the rim in Orlando, it might still be shacking.

Marcus Georges-Hunt, Orlando Magic

Georges-Hunt has a really cool game.  Been playing tons of PG the last couple seasons, it’s really increased his versatility.  He’s got such a big strong body for a guard and now with an increased playmaking ability you can really utilize him in a variety of ways.  And the Magic had tons of guards so what did they do, they had MGH play a lot of 4, guarding big men like Anthony Gill, and operating from the high post.  How many PG’s can do that?  And MGH was very successful at it.  The 3-point shot isn’t quite there yet, he was very confident taking them and the release looked quicker and cleaner but there is still room to grow. Has non-guaranteed deal with the Magic.

Daniel Hamilton, Oklahoma City Thunder

Another guy with cool positional versatility.  Hamilton is basically a playmaking wing but since OKC didn’t have a ton of true PG options, when Dakari Johnson wasn’t running the show, Hamilton played a lot of PG.  Set up the offense, created plays out of nothing, and really broke down the defense to create scoring opportunities for his teammates.  Hamilton will never be considered heavy physically but he has filled out and took contact better.

Rookies Quick Hits

No draft picks included.

Mangok Mathiang, Charlotte Hornets

Showed he’s more than just a defensive body, caught some tough passes, had big finishes. Was a force inside.

London Perrantes, Miami Heat

Type of player I love.  Leader and passer. Perrantes looks a lot quicker out of UVA shackles. Passes are so on the money. One of best PG’s in Orlando.

Justin Robinson, Miami Heat

Little Warrior! With emphasis on warrior. Doesn’t back down from anyone or anything. Was constantly being mentioned by Euro scouts.

Matt Williams, Miami Heat

Sleeper, good frame for wing, makes plays with the ball. One to follow.

Rashawn Thomas, Oklahoma City Thunder

Showed off some of that inside-outside monster ability.  He’s a tank, again the NBA doesn’t let bodies like this get away. He’s a load and if that jumper is real look out.

Dylan Ennis, Oklahoma City Thunder

Compared him to Sadiel Rojas (Ennis has a passport too), because he’s a god damn pest. Ennis flies around the court.

Derek Walton, Orlando Magic

He might stick around. Floor general, strong, makes the smart play and can shoot.  Has staying power.

Hassan Martin, Orlando Magic

Beast of an undersized center for Europe. Showed off a little bit of a mid-range lefty stroke. But he could be signing in Japan.

Przemek Karnowski, Orlando Magic (via trade from Hornets)

The best trade of Orlando, once Costello went early to Vegas, Karnowski jumped over from Charlotte and was super. Criticism has been he regularly looks to pass than score in the post and at his humongous size. But he was spinning and dunking for the Magic. More aggressive Karnowski = way more intriguing.