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Orlando Magic Summer League: Day 1

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Day one of the Air Tran Pro Summer League in Orlando has come to a close and most Magic fans are upset with the way Orlando’s first round pick, Daniel Orton, performed. Sure it was a disappointing day for the Magic and especially Orton, but there was some good to go with the bad.

After the jump, you can read my observations from day one with a few quotes I was able to get mixed in.

  • Yes, Orton was a disappointment. He couldn’t buy a bucket (he shot 1-for-8), picked up quick fouls, set moving screens, committed 5 turnovers and was ejected after an altercation with Josh McRoberts of the Pacers but he showed a few flashes of his potential. Orton is a big body and made a couple of strong challenges defensively, even blocking two shots.  Although his overall debut was very disappointing, it doesn’t mean anything yet. Orton is just 19 and really hasn’t played much basketball over the last two years.
  • After the game, Orton said he was happy to get his debut over with.
  • Orton said that no punches were thrown between he and McRoberts and the whole situation was overblown.
  • Orton admitted that he was a little out of shape but said he didn’t want to use that as an excuse for his performance.
  • I really like what Stanley Robinson brings to the table. He’s long, athletic and a good defender. On one particular possession, he got way up for a defensive rebound and then threw a perfect outlet pass to Donell Taylor, who finished the play with a layup.  Robinson finished with 4 points and 7 rebounds.
  • Robinson felt he gave it his all, but he was upset his team lost. Still, he said the team just “had to move on.”
  • Robinson said “I’m fine, I’m still breathing,” when asked about tweaking his left shoulder.
  • Robinson told reporters his role was to “play defense and just give it all I have.”
  • He said it “felt great” to get his first dunk.
  • Patrick Ewing Jr. scored a game-high 15 points but it took him 17 shots to do it. He made some poor decisions on when to shoot in the first half but after shooting 3-of-10 in the first half, Ewing had a much more efficient second half, shooting 4-of-7 from the field. He did a better job of setting his feet in the second half. In the first half he took too many off-balance shots.
  • After the game, everyone wanted to know about Ewing and his father, the team’s summer league coach, Patrick Ewing Sr. Ewing Jr. said it was the first time his father was his coach because Sr. was always playing while Jr. was growing up. Jr. said he was very happy to play for his father.
  • Ewing thought his experience around NBA players has really helped him. He singled out Walter McCarty as someone who was especially influential. He also said Vince Carter was trying to help him with his shot during the game.
  • It was Ewing’s first real game in 16 months after having knee surgery. He said his knee injury was originally misdiagnosed, which is why his recovery has taken so long.
  • He said he originally injured his knee after former North Carolina forward David Noel fell on it. Ewing joked that Noel “did it on purpose” because Ewing’s Georgetown Hoyas knocked Noel’s Tar Heels out of the NCAA tournament.
  • I got to ask Ewing how it felt to be playing with two major rivals in college – Robinson and Jeff Adrien out of Connecticut.
  • “It’s great actually,” Ewing said. “I like Stan and I like Jeff. As you can see, I do a lot of talking on the court so I liked to talk to the guys during the game back then. It’s great to be on a team with them especially because I know their games from playing with them so much in college so to have them out here and being my teammates is great. And me and Sean (Singletary) were drafted to the same team so I’ve played with Sean before so it’s good to be familiar with some of the players. That way you’ve already established a little bit of chemistry.”
  • Former Kentucky guard Joe Crawford did a good job getting out in transition on a few different occasions.
  • Donell Taylor had a fairly nice day, finishing with 12 points.
  • Jerome Randle looked like he had a decent handle on the team but his lack of size really hurt him. Lance Stephenson ran point for the Pacers and was excellent – he scored 21 points on just 10 shots and was the star of the game.
  • Ben McCauley may have been the only player that felt worse than Orton – he was just 1-of-10 from the field.
  • The first thing you notice about Jeff Adrien is that he’s a big, muscular guy. The second thing you notice is that he can play. Adrien did an excellent job of getting to the free throw line, where he went 9-of-15. He scored 13 points on only 4 shots and pulled down 10 rebounds in just under 21 minutes of action. Adrien is undersized height-wise but it will be interesting to see if there’s a place in this league for a guy who’s as big and strong and works as hard as he does.

Check back tomorrow for day 2 updates.

(Andrew Melnick is Howard the Dunk’s lead blogger and a contributor on the Fansided Front Page. Subscribe to his RSS feed, add him on Twitter to follow him daily and you can get the HTD app here).