5 things we learned from Orlando Magic Summer League
Anthony Black will hold his own
The main purpose of Summer League for a lot of teams is to introduce their rookies and draft picks to NBA practices and the NBA style of play. That is the biggest adjustment they will have to make in their rookie seasons. And the quicker they can hit the ground running and fit in the better.
So the mini-camp that is Summer league practice teaches them how to absorb a lot of information quickly and set the foundation for training camp at the end of the offseason so they will not have to pick up too many new things.
The speed at which games come with little time to practice and adjust is also going to be a shift for them. Teams want to see how these players react to these circumstances.
Summer League is often not about figuring out who can play because so much of what happens on the court in Las Vegas is out of context for the rest of the season. It is about figuring out who cannot handle the massive amount of information and extreme conditions the NBA will put on each player.
That goes double for point guards, who have a lot of information thrown at them and a lot of responsibility put on their plates. So it was as important as anything else to make sure he looked like he could hold his own on the floor.
Black was certainly among the Magic’s best players and he looked like he could hold his own and more as he ran the Magic during his three-game stint on the floor.
He averaged 11.0 points per game, 8.7 rebounds per game and 4.0 assists per game. He also averaged 4.0 turnovers per game (tallying seven in the first game and five in the third game with zero in the middle game) and shot only 13 for 32 from the floor overall (40.6 percent) and 1 for 6 from three.
In some respects, those stats show his promise. He can move the ball, compete on the inside and use his size to get baskets.
Black really seemed in control of his pace at all times and never looked sped up at any point. He looked comfortable and composed. And with better teammates and better spacing with the regular season team, he could be a real dynamic player.
That also does not get into his defense where he helped lock up Jaden Ivey and Bennedict Mathurin. He looked like he belonged on an NBA floor on both ends. That is something the Magic can work with.
Those numbers also show some of the problems.
Entering the draft, everyone knew Black’s shooting needed a lot of work. And he struggled at times to explode to the rim or to set himself up to shoot comfortably. Without that consistent shot, he is going to have a hard time taking advantage of his other tools.
But there are tools to work with. And that might be the most important thing to start with.