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NBA PM: Orlando Summer League Standouts

Cody Taylor breaks down standouts from Orlando Summer League.

Cody Taylor

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With the 2017 Orlando Summer League officially wrapped up, it’s time to take a look at those players that performed well throughout the week.

In total, eight teams competed during the six-day event, with each team playing in five games. From rookies to veterans, each player attempted to impress their respective clubs and we saw a number of guys take advantage of the opportunity.

Here are six Orlando Summer League standouts (in no particular order):

Treveon Graham, Charlotte Hornets:

Although Graham was held out of the Hornets’ final two games due to hamstring soreness, he was among those that stood out in Orlando. He averaged 17.7 points, 8.3 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 2.3 steals in three games for the Hornets.

Graham turned in his best outing of the week on Saturday after he recorded 16 points, 13 rebounds (six offensive), four assists and three steals. As a player with prior NBA experience, Graham showed why the Hornets kept him on the roster last season.

Bam Adebayo, Miami HEAT:

After being drafted with the 14th overall pick, Adebayo showed flashes of excellence throughout the week. He averaged 17.5 points, 8.2 rebounds and 2.2 blocks in four games for the HEAT. One glaring weakness was his shooting, though. He finished the Orlando Summer League by shooting 35.2 percent (19-of-54), including a 1-of-10 outing on Thursday.

Adebayo looked noticeably uncomfortable during his first game on Saturday, but that’s to be expected of a rookie making his debut in the NBA. While he struggled for much of the week from the field, he proved to be dominant on Monday after recording 29 points, 11 rebounds and two blocks. He even pulled out a Eurostep in transition that wowed those watching.

Henry Ellenson, Detroit Pistons:

After a strong week in Orlando, Ellenson certainly proved that he should be able to compete for NBA minutes next season. In five games, Ellenson averaged 17.4 points, 7.2 rebounds and 1.4 assists. In addition, he also shot 33.3 percent (11-of-33) from three-point range.

Ellenson turned in his best outing of the week on Wednesday after scoring 29 points and six rebounds, while shooting 12-of-20 from the field. He showed off his improved jumper in each game and looks poised to become a legitimate big man that can help stretch the floor.

Brandon Paul, Dallas Mavericks:

Paul had perhaps one of the best outings this week among all guards. The former Illinois guard averaged 16.5 points, 5.5 rebounds, three assists and 1.2 steals per game. Even more impressive for Paul was he shot 44.4 percent (12-of-27) from three-point range.

Paul recorded his best game of the week on Wednesday, scoring 20 points, six rebounds, four assists and three steals, while converting on 6-of-10 shooting from beyond the arc. It was one of the best shooting performances of the week and he drained four of those 3s in the first quarter alone.

Following his impressive week, Paul is said to be close to landing an NBA deal.

Dwight Buycks, Dallas Mavericks:

Buycks and Paul formed quite the backcourt duo in Orlando this week. While Paul turned in some memorable performances, Buycks did so as well. He came up with several big shots for the Mavericks in the Championship Game on Thursday. He averaged 17.8 points, 4.4 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 2.8 steals per game for the Mavericks.

Buycks had one of the most impressive stat lines of the week on Saturday after recording 16 points, seven steals, six assists and four rebounds. After playing mostly overseas since going undrafted in the 2011 draft, Buycks had an impressive run this week in Orlando that could be what’s needed to get back into the NBA.

Josh Huestis, Oklahoma City Thunder:

Huestis looked to be among the best players this week in Orlando. He averaged 15 points and 6.8 rebounds in four games for the Thunder, while shooting 48.9 percent from the field and 42.9 percent from three-point range. He told reporters he worked to improve his shot and it showed this week during games.

Huestis has played mostly up until this point in the G-League with the Oklahoma City Blue. After turning in a great showing during Summer League, Huestis figures to be a candidate to earn more playing time next season.

Honorable Mention:

Semaj Christon, Oklahoma City Thunder; Pierre Jackson, Detroit Pistons; Joe Young, Indiana Pacers; T.J. Leaf, Indiana Pacers; Damyean Dotson, New York Knicks

*****

Following a busy week in Orlando, we saw several players step up and turn in some memorable performances. With the Orlando Summer League now in the books, the NBA turns its attention over to the Las Vegas Vegas Summer League with games beginning Friday. Basketball Insiders will have all of your coverage from Las Vegas.

Cody Taylor is an NBA writer in his fourth season with Basketball Insiders, covering the NBA and NCAA out of Orlando and Miami.

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2018 NBA Draft Diary

#17 – Donte DiVincenzo – Milwaukee Bucks

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Donte DiVincenzo put himself on the map with his breakout performance in the 2018 National Championship, scoring 31 points and winning the Most Outstanding Player award. The Milwaukee Bucks, needing spacing around Giannis Antetokounmpo, nabbed the sharpshooter with the 17th pick in the draft.

DiVincenzo’s shooting ability and high basketball IQ should fit nicely with new coach Mike Budenholzer’s pace and space offense and will be able to provide rebounding help and toughness at the guard position. One of Milwaukee’s biggest issues last season was spreading the floor, finishing 24th in three-point percentage. DiVincenzo will give them a scoring option off the bench that can stretch the floor. Posting a 42″ vertical leap at the Combine, DiVincenzo is a superior athlete who competes on defense and will benefit from the long-armed Bucks frontcourt behind him.

DiVencenzo has already played in several high stakes games including two National Championship games and was not afraid of the moment, likely a factor in the Bucks’ selection. He projects to be a longtime rotation player with a lot of room for growth.

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2018 NBA Draft Diary

#20 – Josh Okogie – Minnesota Timberwolves

David Yapkowitz

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The Minnesota Timberwolves selected Georgia Tech’s Josh Okogie with the 20th overall pick of the 2018 NBA Draft.

At the NBA level, Okogie probably projects as a shooting guard. Despite being 6-foot-4, Okogie has the physical tools and the ability to guard taller shooting guards. He was a pretty good defensive player in college and that will probably be one of his strengths in the NBA.

On the offensive end, Okogie is a good shooter. He shot 38 percent from the three-point line last season as a sophomore. An outside shooter is something the Timberwolves will definitely welcome to the rotation. In terms of the rest of his offensive game, he might struggle a bit getting his shot off over taller wing defenders in the NBA. At the college level, he was able to get to the rim and score and it will be interesting to see if that translates to the NBA.

Overall, he does project as a nice 3-and-D prospect. Defense and shooting are his strengths and lockdown defenders who can hit the three-ball are highly desired at the next level. It’s a bit difficult to imagine him getting regular rotation minutes right away for a playoff team but down the line he should emerge as a solid rotation player.

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Draft Diary

#19 – Kevin Huerter – Atlanta Hawks

Lang Greene

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With the No. 19 pick in the NBA draft, the Atlanta Hawks selected Kevin Huerter from the University of Maryland.

After 10 consecutive seasons reaching the playoffs, the Atlanta Hawks failed to win 25 contests in 2018. Gone are All-Stars Joe Johnson, Al Horford, Paul Millsap, Kyle Korver and Jeff Teague, each of whom the franchise groomed at various points during their decade of playoff bliss. Now the team is faced with a daunting rebuild under second year general manager Travis Schlenk and first year coach Lloyd Pierce.

Huerter becomes the first Maryland player to be selected in the first round since center Alex Len was drafted by the Phoenix Suns in 2013. Huerter was projected to be available in the 16 to 24 range and the Hawks get a 6-foot-6 shooting guard, who has the ability to spread the floor.

In two seasons at Maryland, Huerter averaged 12 points, five rebounds and three assists on 46 percent shooting from the floor. As a sophomore, Huerter connected on 73 three-pointers on a sparkling 42 percent accuracy from long range.

The Hawks have been looking for consistent production from the two guard spot ever since Tim Hardaway Jr. left the team to join the New York Knicks in free agency last summer.

Huerter will join a young Hawks core of point guard Dennis Schroder and forward John Collins, two of the team’s first round draft picks from prior years, as well as dynamic guard Trae Young, who was selected with the fifth overall pick of this year’s draft (pending the trade with the Dallas Mavericks being finalized).

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