Thursday’s edition of the studs and duds from the Orlando Summer League could have probably been expanded to 10 players each, but we decided to just focus on the best of the best and the biggest letdowns. After much consideration, here were the five players who played great and five who didn’t play so well:
G Nick Johnson – Houston Rockets
22 points (9-14 FG), six assists and six rebounds
Nick Johnson had his highest-scoring game of the Summer League when he scored 22 on the Grizzlies on Thursday night. Johnson also added six assists and six rebounds in the game and hit two out of his five shots from deep. During the game, Twitter lit up with fans tweeting that the Rockets should keep Johnson on the roster after his performance against the Grizzlies. Heading into the game, Johnson was averaging 14 points per game and has quietly emerged as one of the Summer League stars to this point.
F James Nunnally – Indiana Pacers
19 points (7-11 FG), three rebounds and one assist
James Nunnally earned the stud label on Thursday after a strong performance against the Miami HEAT. Nunnally dropped 19 points on 7-of-11 shooting, including 3-of-5 from downtown, and added three rebounds. Thursday’s game was Nunnally’s best performance of the Summer League thus far, with still one game to go on Friday.
F Kevin Jones – Indiana Pacers
16 points (6-11 FG), 15 rebounds and two assists
Kevin Jones joins teammate James Nunnally on the studs list, as Jones scored 16 points and hauled in 15 rebounds in the Pacers’ 84-74 win over the Miami HEAT. Jones has been having an outstanding Summer League for the Pacers, averaging 12.7 points and nine rebounds heading into Thursday’s contest. With Pacers president Larry Bird and head coach Frank Vogel sitting courtside for every Pacers Summer League game, Jones’ play hasn’t gone unnoticed.
F James Ennis – Miami HEAT
17 points, four rebounds and two assists
James Ennis locked himself into Thursday’s studs list after leading the HEAT with 17 points on 6-of-13 shooting. Ennis also likely locked himself into tonight’s highlight reel after throwing down an alley-oop from point guard Shabazz Napier. Ennis has been playing great basketball for the HEAT, including a 29-point performance against the Nets on Sunday. With the HEAT roster in limbo, he might have earned himself a spot at the end of their bench for the upcoming season.
DeQuan Jones – Indiana Pacers
12 points (5-6 FG), three rebounds and one block
DeQuan Jones ultimately got the nod over some other players on the day because of his shooting performance. Jones scored 12 points on 5-of-6 shooting and looked extremely comfortable shooting. Players like Marcus Smart, Maarty Leunen and Tyler Johnson all were able to drop some points, but didn’t quite shoot as well as Jones did on Thursday. Jones has steadily increased his scoring output as the Summer League progressed, scoring two, seven and nine points in each of the Pacers’ previous games.
G Phil Pressey – Boston Celtics
Five points (1-15 FG), three assists and five rebounds
Boston Celtics guard Phil Pressey had a tough time shooting against the Orlando Magic. He ended up with five points after making just one of his 15 shots. He attempted six shots from downtown and didn’t make any of them. Overall, Pressey has played well throughout the week by averaging 12 points, 3.7 assists and 2.7 steals, but he struggled against the Magic on Thursday afternoon.
G/F Devyn Marble – Orlando Magic
Two points (0-7 FG), eight rebounds and two assists
Devyn Marble struggled against the Boston Celtics. He took seven shots, including three from deep, and missed all of them. He ended up with two points, but did get eight rebounds. The Magic’s second-round pick is averaging 9.3 points and six rebounds per game. It remains to be seen if the Magic invite Marble to training camp.
G Shabazz Napier – Miami HEAT
Seven points, five assists and two turnovers
Shabazz Napier has struggled all week and is slowly adapting to the NBA style of play. Napier shot 15 percent from the field and ended the game with seven points. He attempt six three-pointers, but only made one. His shot selection will need to improve, but he has some time to adjust before training camp begins.
G Frank Gaines – Indiana Pacers
Three points, one assist and two turnovers
Frank Gaines has played well throughout the Orlando Summer League, but struggled on Thursday afternoon against the Miami HEAT. Gaines was 1-for-7 from the field and ended up with three points. He did not have any rebounds and made one assist. He did had two turnovers, which matches the amount of turnovers he had in the entire tournament prior to today. Gaines will have a chance to bounce back against the Boston Celtics on Friday at 10 a.m. ET.
G Jahii Carson – Houston Rockets
One point, four turnovers and three rebounds
Jahii Carson missed every shot he took and ended up with just one point in the 25 minutes that he played on Thursday afternoon. Carson did have three rebounds and two steals, but turned the ball over four times. The Rockets have not won a game so Carson is not the only guy struggling on the roster. Houston and Brooklyn will play Friday afternoon for the ninth and 10th place of the tournament.
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