The Mountain Dew Orlando Pro Summer League is in the books. I discussed the takeaways with The Step Back and The Bird Talks.
The Mountain Dew Orlando Pro Summer League ended in excitement. Or something close to excitement.
Luke Kennard drained a 3-pointer to help the Detroit Pistons force overtime against the Dallas Mavericks. Dallas found a way through the two-minute overtime with second-round pick Johnathan Motley hitting a runner in the dying moment to win the Summer League.
Of course, no one cares about the championship — except the players and coaches playing in it. Summer League is about evaluating talent and learning a little bit more about the rookies they drafted and trying to unearth diamonds in the rough. Or fill a G-League roster.
Summer League often is about finding out who cannot play than determining who can play. And the good news for the Orlando Magic is they found out Jonathan Isaac, Wesley Iwundu and Marcus Georges-Hunt are solid players, at least at this level.
Jonathan Isaac especially was a focus of some attention. He was considered a raw prospect and no one quite knew where he was.
The good news was he showed up defensively. He displayed all the physical tools that made him the sixth overall pick. And through his three games, he got more comfortable offensively. His 10.3 points per game and 8.0 rebounds per game seemed like they were only getting better before his hip injury knocked him out for the rest of the week.
For The Step Back, I recapped Summer League in Orlando and wrote about Jonathan Isaac’s performance:
"Isaac, the sixth overall pick, looked a bit further along than many believed with his defensive intensity and length. His offense still has a long way to go but by the end of the week he was gaining confidence and beginning to take over. He averaged 10.3 points per game, but he scored nine points in the first quarter and a half of his third game before a hip injury knocked him out for the week. He was active on the glass and showed every bit of his athleticism."
Even Wesley Iwundu had his moments, specifically on defense where his athleticism really shined through. In the open court and in transition he showed plenty of ability to get to the basket and mix things up.
He struggled offensively averaging 5.6 points per game and 3.8 rebounds per game while shooting 30.3 percent from the floor. His offense, as somewhat expected, was a bit of a work in progress. He struggled with his jumper, which will be key to him sticking in the NBA. He will have to continue to develop that skill.
Summer League is definitely a nuanced experience. You always have to look a little bit deeper than the raw numbers to get a good determination of who the players are and what they can do. A lot of players are playing outside their preferred roles for their careers in the NBA.
I joined Preston Ellis of The Bird Talks podcast to discuss what to look for in Summer League, the Orlando Summer League as a whole and the Orlando Magic’s future:
For the Magic, Summer League is now over. The team has made its evaluations of the players they brought in. They cut former second-round pick Stephen Zimmerman. The Magic had a solid look at roster players like Marcus Georges-Hunt and rookies like Jonathan Isaac and Wesley Iwundu. Orlando also got a good look at point guard prospects Derrick Walton Jr. and Kalin Lucas. All before the team signed Shelvin Mack.
With Summer League in the rearview mirror, fans are looking forward to the rest of free agency. And then the season beginning with training camp in September.