Tag Archives: Pacers Summer League

Summer League Grades: Pacers have a few solid performances despite losing big lead

The Indiana Pacers fell in the first-round of the Las Vegas Summer League to the Atlanta Hawks. After building up a 27-point lead early in the third quarter, the Hawks slowly chipped away at the Pacers lead until suddenly it was gone. Trae Young finished them off with some ridiculous passes to keep holding the Atlanta lead down the stretch.

The Pacers will have a single remaining consolation game on Friday against the Brooklyn Nets at 4 p.m.

This was easily the most entertaining game for the Summer Pacers, even with the disappointing ending, with many players having their best games in Las Vegas.

Continue reading Summer League Grades: Pacers have a few solid performances despite losing big lead

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Pacers Summer League Grades: Holiday battles Sexton

The Indiana Pacers were defeated by the Cleveland Cavaliers in their third game in Las Vegas and fell to 1-2 in group play in the Summer League.

Today’s matchup was all about a pair of first-round draft picks with Collin Sexton, the 8th overall pick, and Aaron Holiday, the 23rd pick, going after each other on numerous occasions.

The statistics mostly favor Sexton but Holiday had his moments as well. We’ll go into further detail below:

Aaron Holiday: C+

For the second consecutive game, Holiday really struggled from the field. He hit only 4 of his 14 attempts and is now shooting only 36% over the three games.

He looked motivated to perform well against a player drafted higher than him in the first round in Sexton and held his own, going back and forth with him on occasion.

Sexton blew by Holiday multiple times after the first quarter but Holiday did offer some resistance to him early on, blocking a shot, deflecting a pass and forcing a couple missed attempts. He seemed to be more attentive off the ball compared to the previous game.

Holiday had 8 assists but he also tallied 8 turnovers. Multiple times he fell to the ground and lost control of the ball and a few more were poor passes that were overthrown.

He still showed some tantalizing flashes of real NBA potential but he’s got plenty to work on. During this rookie year, he’ll need to pay real close attention to Darren Collison and how he takes care of the ball.

Alize Johnson: B+

Johnson continues to impress with his high motor and looks like a player deserving of a roster spot. He ended the game with 16 points (6 of 11 from the field) and 7 rebounds. He hit his first 3-pointer of Summer League play from the corner, a shot that could be crucial to his long-term development.

Johnson made some impressive plays once again on both ends of the court. He continues to show the ability to switch onto guards and stay in front of them on defense. Today, he forced a turnover from Sexton and then finished the ensuing fastbreak with an and-1 bucket.

On one offensive possession, he showed off a well-polished move that led to an easy basket inside.

He also showed that he still has a long ways to go. A defender stopped him in the backcourt on one of his grab-and-go rebounds and forced a turnover by sitting on his right hand. Johnson will have to develop his left-hand to have success at the next level as NBA scouting reports will make it well known quickly about his inability to use the off hand.

“He’s not there yet,” said Kevin Pritchard who praised his ability to always be in on the rebound during the broadcast, “but I really like his determination to get the ball.”

He also took a few ill-advised shots in the halfcourt offense including a fadeaway and floater that both badly missed. Overall though, it was another positive performance for the second-round pick.

T.J. Leaf: B

Leaf scored 20 points but needed 21 shots to get to that mark against the Cavaliers. He continues to struggle from the 3-point line, coming up short on numerous attempts and only making one attempt in garbage time.

He made a few of his usual nice drives and hit a few shots in the post, showing more patience than in the first game.

Leaf also added 2 blocks and 9 rebounds. This was probably his best defensive game though his pick-and-roll coverage is still a work in progress.

Edmond Sumner: B+

Sumner had his best game in Las Vegas and had a few really nice offensive moments. He scored 14 points and made 6 of his 11 shot attempts. He added a pair of assists and steals.

He hit multiple jump shots and looked confident pulling up from 3 at the end of a quarter. He went 2 for 3 from behind the arc overall.

After struggling to finish at the rim in the first game, he made a nice move and finish here:

Other notes:

  • Alex Poythress has a nice quiet game with some solid energy moments and defensive plays. He finished with 7 points, 4 rebounds, 2 blocks and 1 steal.
  • Ben Moore hit all three of his shots from the floor as he made timely cuts and showed some aggression in his limited chances with drives to the basket. He finished with 9 points and 4 rebounds. He could easily end up with another 2-way contract this season.
  • Henry Sims murdered a man.

And destroyed a man’s soul.

Indiana Pacers Summer League Grades: Who stood out in Game 2?

The Indiana Pacers bounced back from a loss in their first game against the Houston Rockets in the Las Vegas Summer League and defeated the San Antonio Spurs today.

But once again, the results of the game don’t matter in the end. This is all about development and getting introduced to some young Pacers and some NBA hopefuls.

If you missed the grades from Game 1, you can find them here. Quality in some of the clips may be lacking in this one as there’s no great place to get individual plays from Summer League.

Aaron Holiday: C+

Holiday struggled from the field in this one, making only 3 of his 15 shot attempts and is now shooting 40% over the two games (12 of 30). He still showed off his nice shooting form on occassion this afternoon.

Part of his struggles came at the rim trying to finish against some of the Spurs larger guards. This is something that he’ll have to continue to work on though it’s helpful that he’s able to finish with both hands, as he showed in the first game.

Some of his best plays on the day, however, were passing the ball. He finished with 7 assists and was very adept at finding the right guy in transition and making the right pass in the half court.

He still occasionally made poor decisions on passes but lowered his turnovers from 6 in the first game down to 4 in the second. Some of the turnovers are bound to happen as a product of unfamiliarity with teammates in Vegas.

While Holiday is small, he also seems to be around for rebounds often, adding 7 more to his total today.

Defensively, it was a mixed bag. He was inconsistent with his ability to fight over screens and at times relaxed when he thought his work was done only for his man to be immediately involved in the play again.

He also continued to show off his quick hands on that end and added a couple of steals.

Alize Johnson: B+

Alize Johnson was probably the Pacers MVP of the second game. Yes, he only scored 10 points and grabbed 9 rebounds and made only 3 of his 11 shots, but he was a huge difference maker with his high motor and effort in the second half especially.

He was relentless on nearly every rebound. He had four offensive boards but added numerous extra possessions for the Pacers on plays he wasn’t credited with a rebound by just never giving up on the play.

His field goal percentage isn’t as bad as it seems as a few of those attempts he ended up rebounding himself and another was a full-court heave that he nearly made at the end of the first quarter. He did force a couple of bad shots when he tried to do a little too much.

Full write-up on Johnson coming soon but he continued to show great passing ability in transition after grabbing a defensive rebound to start the break, his offense looks farther along than expected, his high motor is as advertised and he can defend multiple positions well with his quick feet.

It’s early, but he looks more and more like a player that deserves to be on the Pacers roster this season.

T.J. Leaf: B

This was the T.J. Leaf that we expected to see at Summer League. He led the team with 17 points and made 7 of his 13 shots. He showed a lot more patience from the beginning of the game compared to the first contest when he seemed to be forcing the action and rushing everything.

He made some really nice drives to the rim by attacking closeouts as seen below though he struggled to recognize when the defender would come up short and hesitated on taking a few open 3-pointers.

He didn’t score after around the 7-minute mark in the third quarter.

On the defensive end, there wasn’t much to like about his performance. It’s unclear what Summer League coach Steve Gansey wants Leaf to do when defending a pick and roll but him playing back has been highly ineffective.

There were multiple plays where Johnson appears to call for a switch or expects one with Leaf but he’s playing so far back and is too slow to react to do anything about it. His foot speed and reaction time on that end still need a lot of work.

There were many occasions of Leaf giving up too much room as Spurs players pulled up and hit jumpers as he offered only a late contest.

After grabbing 10 rebounds in the first game, Leaf hauled in only 2 today.

In game one, we saw the Leaf to be concerned about; in game two, we saw the Leaf we expected. Maybe in game three, we can see some signs of the Leaf that we hope for.

Ben Moore: B+

Moore really showed his skill set against the Spurs. The Pacers started the game off with him guarding Derrick White, who averaged 23/7/7 in the Utah Summer League and looks like a nice player, and Moore held his own pretty well.

White finished with 19 points but made only 6 of his 18 shot attempts and many of his makes came against Holiday and/or Leaf. He seemed much less aggressive when Moore was guarding him.

And after being almost invisible in the first game, Moore was able to contribute offensively as well. He scored 10 points on five shots, hit a corner 3-pointer and added 3 assists, 4 rebounds and 2 steals.

After missing his second 3-point attempt, Moore decided to cut inside on the next one and finished the lob play from Holiday.

Moore never tries to do too much on offense and always plays within himself. He has a high basketball IQ and makes the right pass quickly. Here he takes two dribbles, realizes he isn’t going anywhere and finds an open Holiday for 3.

He’s still got a ways to go on offense (he got blocked at the rim on one attempt that he could have made an easy layup by using the basket as a shield) but this was encouraging for Moore.

This play where Moore jumps into the stands and over the Gatorade shows off his incredible effort. This led to a bucket inside from Alex Poythress and helped seal the game for Indiana late in the fourth quarter.

Other Notes:

  • Edmond Sumner was out with knee soreness today. Scott Agness reported it was not the knee that had the ACL injury so that’s positive. No word on if he’ll be back on Monday.
  • Alex Poythress’s minutes were more limited today, probably losing out some to Johnson, but he was effective while out there, adding 6 points and 3 rebounds with a team-leading +14.
  • C.J. Wilcox was perfect from the field and from the line, scoring 13 points on four shot attempts. He added no other statistics except for a single rebound.

  • Travis Leslie started in place of Sumner and finished with 8 points and 9 rebounds. He also had this impressive dunk.

The Pacers next game in Las Vegas is on Monday at 5 p.m.

Indiana Pacers Summer League Grades: Rookies shine in their debuts

The Indiana Pacers lost their opening game in the Las Vegas Summer League the Houston Rockets by a final of 92-89, but the results of the game are meaningless.

Update: Game 2 Grades here

How did the players perform? Here’s some quick grades and recap for how they did in their first game.

Aaron Holiday: B+

Holiday did just about everything you could possibly hope for him to do in his debut. He hit tough shots both inside and out. He moved the ball well, made some nice defensive plays. Most importantly, he looked like an NBA player.

He finished with 23 points, 3 assists, 5 rebounds, 3 steals with 9-of-15 shooting from the field. His first three possessions of his career set the tone for his debut: 3-pointer coming off of a screen, deep 3-pointer after crossing up a big on a switch and taking it to the rack and finishing with a difficult left-hand move.

Continue reading Indiana Pacers Summer League Grades: Rookies shine in their debuts

“Experienced” Pacers all have something to prove in Summer League

This season the Indiana Pacers start Summer League play Friday at 3:00. This will be the first time they play in Las Vegas as the each NBA team will be participating.

These exhibition games are basically meaningless but not without purpose, especially for the players with varying motivations: proving their worth as a recent draft pick, looking to show how much they’ve improved from their previous season, or just hoping to show they belong in the NBA whether with a roster spot, a 2-way contract or a training camp invite.

In this series of articles coming before Summer League begins for Indiana on Friday, we’ll take a look at many of the players on the roster and what they will be looking to prove in Sin City.

In part one, we looked at the rookies, Aaron Holiday and Alize Johnson, and what to watch for in their professional debuts.

Today, we look at the four players that were members of the Indiana Pacers last season: T.J. Leaf, Alex Poythress, Edmond Sumner and Ben Moore. All four of these players will be in the starting lineup joined by first-round pick Holiday and receive lots of minutes in Vegas. Ike Anigbogu will miss these exhibitions with an injury.

All of these guys have been working out in Indianapolis since the season ended and sound excited to show how they’ve improved and grown.

While it’s important to never overreact positively or negatively to anything that happens in these games, “veterans” in the summer league can make a difference in their careers in both bad and good ways:

  • Solomon Hill played so poorly in his third Summer League by seemingly blowing it off that it may have pushed the Pacers to decline his team option for the fourth season on his rookie contract. It ended up working out pretty well for Hill as he played the best basketball of his life the last few months of that season and hit free agency during the madness of 2016 and got a $50+ million deal from the Pelicans (He hasn’t looked good since joining New Orleans).
  • Glenn Robinson III played very well a few years ago in the Orlando Summer League and solidified his place in the rotation that season and had the best year of his career.
  • Donald Sloan and Rasual Butler both earned roster spots on the team and their auditions both started at the Summer League.

You want to see these guys play above the competition having had the experience of a full season with an NBA team.  Continue reading “Experienced” Pacers all have something to prove in Summer League

What do Aaron Holiday & Alize Johnson need to show during Summer League?

This season the Indiana Pacers will be playing in the Las Vegas Summer League for the first time, joining all the other 29 NBA teams as well.

These exhibition games are meaningless but not without purpose, especially for the players with varying motivations: proving their worth as a recent draft pick, looking to show how much they’ve improved from their previous season, or just hoping to show they belong in the NBA whether with a roster spot, a 2-way contract or a training camp invite.

In this series of articles coming before Summer League begins for Indiana on Friday, we’ll take a look at many of the players on the roster and what they will be looking to prove in Sin City.

For the Pacers 2018 draft picks, Aaron Holiday and Alize Johnson, this will be the first impresssion that many fans have of each player. Rookies are always the main attraction during Summer League so let’s start with them.

Continue reading What do Aaron Holiday & Alize Johnson need to show during Summer League?

Indiana Pacers add Elijah Stewart to Summer League roster

Undrafted free agent wing Elijah Stewart, formerly of USC, will play for the Indiana Pacers in Summer League and participate in training camp.

Stewart was a senior last season with the Trojans and is the school’s all-time leader in made 3-point attempts and shot 39% from deep last season. He averaged 11 points per game.

He’s got some major leaping ability and you can see his high-flying highlights via dunks and blocks in the video below.

This is likely a move for the Pacers G-League affiliate the Fort Wayne Mad Ants and Stewart will end up playing there next season.

Joining him in the Summer League will likely be Aaron Holiday, TJ Leaf, Ike Anigbogu, Edmond Sumner, Alize Johnson and others. The Pacers Summer League games will start on July 6th in Las Vegas.

Update: Pacers finish in 3rd at Orlando Summer League: A look at TJ Leaf, Joe Young, Jarnell Stokes and others

Update: Pacers finished in third in Orlando Summer League and played the final game without TJ Leaf and Joe Young. No major revelations stood out from the final game that changes the analysis given here for games 3 and 4.

Games 3 & 4:

The Indiana Pacers Summer League squad lost their first game in Orlando this week against the undefeated Dallas Mavericks while playing in their fourth game in four days. But once again, the results don’t matter as much as what the players are showing on the court.

If you missed games one & two, you can find a look at performances for those games here:

Here are some highlights from games three and four:

TJ Leaf: Leaf’s best game of the Summer League came against Bam Adebayo and the Miami Heat. Leaf had 19 points and 10 rebounds, continuing to show an impressive array of ways to get the ball in the basket. Adebayo, who looked really good for the Heat with 29 points and 11 rebounds, guarded him at times throughout the game, which gave Leaf a good test against NBA length and athleticism. 

There were a couple of times were Leaf scored on Adebayo with drives to the basket, creating space before starting a drive on one and making a quick move to score after a rebound on another. Leaf’s shown a lot of prowess off the bounce in his three games, consistently getting to a spot where he can score.

Leaf didn’t guard Adebayo much on the other end, but this still has proven to be his weakness and what may keep him off the floor early in his career. Leaf doesn’t know how to hedge on the pick and roll yet and struggles guarding anyone in the post with his current lack of strength. His short arms also make it a harder for him to challenge jump shots where it affects the opponent. These are all known issues, however, so it’s not like Leaf is showing anything the Pacers weren’t aware of when they drafted him.

In the fourth game, Leaf looked tired and the broadcasters noted his fatigue at multiple times. He wasn’t running the court or finding putback opportunities near as often as he had in the previous two games. His jumper was often left short. Leaf got outplayed by Christian Wood, who has NBA experience, and finished with just seven points, four rebounds and three assists.

One positive note for this game, Leaf did show the ability to make the right pass within the offense. Many of the Pacers seemed fatigued on their fourth straight gameday and it seemed to bring down the performances of just about everyone not named Jarnell Stokes.

Leaf’s 3-point shooting looks like it still needs some work to get used to NBA range. He’s now 0 for 8 on threes attempted above the break and 2 for 2 on corner threes. Don’t be surprised if the Pacers limit him early in his career to the midrange as he adjusts to the longer 3-pointer.

Joe Young: Young showed impressive toughness after dislocating his finger (broadcasters said his bone broke through the skin) and returning to play in game three and playing without limitation in game four. 

Young had his best game of the Summer League in game three with 17 points, six assists and six rebounds. He continues to show improvement in being able to run an offense and set others up in positions to score. He’s consistently shown the ability to find the right player on the perimeter after driving into the lane, especially to set up corner threes.

He’s also shown ability to finish strong inside in traffic and through contact on multiple occasions. He’s still struggling with turnovers at times, sometimes he doesn’t make the easy pass early and ends up dribbling too much. He’s had a total of 14 turnovers in the four games, but he does have a total of 23 assists.

He also seemed to be affected by fatigue in the latest game and is also playing with two fingers taped together on his left hand. Young’s biggest issue remains on the defensive end, where most of his struggles involve getting through picks quickly on the pick and roll. Young needs to find ways to practice those type of plays in his early morning workouts if he wants to eventually get rotation minutes.

Georges Niang: Niang is out for all of Summer League with a sprained knee. He’ll also be getting an MRI to see if there’s further damage soon.

Rakeem Christmas: Christmas saw his first action in Orlando in these past two games as he recovered enough from a sprained ankle. He left Game four early, however, after reinjuring the ankle and did not return.

During his time on the court, Christmas showed skills at rebounding in traffic and made some nice blocks. He also showed some post moves with hook shots and running hook shots that he converted with ease.

He had nine points, five rebounds, and three blocks in his first game and followed that with four points, two rebounds, and one block in seven minutes before he left the game with the injury.

With all the bigs on the roster, it’s unclear if Christmas has done enough to show the Pacers that he shouldn’t be waived before his contract becomes guaranteed on 8/1.  Often during this week Jarnell Stokes has looked his equal, if not better than Christmas, which doesn’t bode well for him.

Jarnell Stokes: Stokes was the only Pacers player that seemed to have much energy against the Mavericks, scoring 15 points and adding seven rebounds and four blocks. Stokes finished his good looks inside more consistently in game four than he has been earlier in the week.

At one point, Stokes blocked a shot that he palmed and kept in his hand (sorry, no video on that one). He’s surprisingly nimble at times and has shown the ability to casually bring the ball to half court when necessary. Though I’m pretty sure if he did so as non-chalantly as he has this week for an NBA team, that he’d be taken out of the game immediately.

He gets out of position too often on the defensive end, probably due to chasing blocks and is very foul prone (had eight fouls in one of the games this week, takes 10 to foul out in SL). His matchup was an undersized center in 6’7″ Warney and Warney managed 17 points on 7-for-8 shooting, adding three steals and two blocks to his stat sheet as well.

Ben Moore: Moore, the undrafted sleeper, had his most productive game in Orlando against the Mavs with seven points and five rebounds. He’s played limited minutes in two of the four games, but has been solid when he’s played.

Moore continues to make the right plays on offense, always moving the ball ahead and only taking his own shot when the offense dictates it. He made a perfectly placed post-entry pass to Stokes on one play that put him in perfect position to score. 

Moore hit all three of his shots against the Mavs and has hit five of his seven shots in the four games (once again he’s rarely looking for his own shot), but none were more important to his future outlook than a nailed corner three. Moore’s potential success is greatly increased with that in his arsenal.

Moore hedges on the pick and roll, can switch onto wings in a pinch and challenge their shot attempts well. There was one sequence against the Mavs where Moore hedged on a screen well past the 3-point line and managed to get the defensive rebound close to the rim a few seconds later.

Travis Leslie: Leslie has come back down to Earth after his impressive pair of 20-point games where he scored with relative ease. He went 2 of 10 for only four points in the third game, but bounced back with a respectable nine points on 4-of-8 shooting yesterday. 

Chris Johnson: Johnson showed the ability to hit the corner three in the first two games, but went cold against the Heat making just one of his six attempts. He still found ways to score, however, adding 12 points and five rebounds. He didn’t play in yesterday’s game, perhaps because he’s left to play for another team in the Las Vegas Summer League.

Trey McKinney-Jones: McKinney-Jones is not shy when it comes to putting up his shots. He’s second on the team with 20 shot attempts in the last two games, making eight (40%).

Victor Oladipo: Oladipo stopped by yesterday to watch some of his new teammates play in Summer League. It’s good to see two of the best players on the team both come out to support the young guys this week in Myles Turner and Oladipo.

Summer League So Far: TJ Leaf, Joe Young, Travis Leslie

The Pacers have won both of their first two Summer League games to start off the week in Orlando, beating Charlotte 84-77 today and beating Orlando 85-74 yesterday, but the wins and losses don’t really matter, it’s all about how the young guys are playing, whose showing improvement or worthy of a further look in training camp.

With that in mind, here’s how some of the Pacers roster has performed after two games:

Joe Young: Young struggled early in the first game, committing five turnovers in the first half, but he’s only had three turnovers in the next six quarters. Young isn’t trying to only score in these games like in his first two SL appearances, but is trying to show that he can play point guard at an NBA level. He’s found shooters in the corners on multiple occasions after getting into the lane and found cutters with timely passes as well. He’s put up 13 assists in the opening pair of contests. He played well against an NBA-caliber defensive point guard in Briante Weber today, which is an encouraging sign for his potential next year. Defense is still a struggle for Young as opposing point guards have been able to get wherever they want to go, but part of that is the Pacers bigs being unsure whether to hedge or not on the pick and roll.

All in all, it’s a good couple of games for Young as he’s scored the ball efficiently while also running the offense and setting up teammates with on-time, on-target passes.

TJ Leaf: Leaf missed the first game because his brother was getting married, so his first action as a member of the Indiana Pacers came today. Early on, it looked like the nerves were getting to the rookie as he had a turnover on his first two touches of the game. Once he re-entered the game in the second quarter, he seemed to settle into a rhythm and show why the Pacers drafted him with their first-round pick.

Leaf scored his first bucket with a nice left-hand drive to get past the bigger defender. He was battling a a 7’0″ 300-pound center on defense down low and while Leaf confirmed that he’ll need to add strength to his 19-year-old body while giving up some easy baskets, he forced a couple misses out of him as well. Leaf finished with 12 points on 5-of-9 shooting, scoring in a variety of ways. He also added five rebounds.

Defensively, his biggest issue is defending the pick and roll. He’ll have to learn how to effectively hedge on those plays instead of playing back like he does below. Kevin Pritchard and the Pacers were aware that he’ll need work on this end when they drafted him as Pritchard said that he expects Nate McMillan to make him better on defense.

Georges Niang and Rakeem Christmas: Unfortunately for the Pacers, Niang was injured just a minute into the first summer league game. He’s out for the rest of the week with a knee sprain. Christmas has missed the first two games with a sprained ankle. The timing isn’t great for either of them as they’re on the fringes of the roster and constantly have to prove they’re worthy of a spot on the roster. Niang did what he does best in those few short possessions, scoring on a nice drive to the basket and making high-IQ, quick passes. We’ll see if Christmas is able to come back later this week.

Travis Leslie: The surprise of the Summer League so far is the Fort Wayne Mad Ants alum Travis Leslie, who has scored 20 points in each of the Pacers first two games while shooting over 55% and adding 6 rebounds per game. Leslie has shown a smooth outside stroke and an ability to get up and finish with a highlight reel slam. Leslie’s a wing, but the Pacers have played him a little as a small-ball four as well. If he can keep up this level of play, he’ll at least earn a training camp invite, if not a roster spot, from the Pacers or another team in the league.

Ben Moore: Moore surprisingly played very little in the Pacers second game as they went smaller with Leslie at the four, but he showed why he’s been tapped as a potential undrafted success story in the opening game. He’s scored just two points in each of the games, but he’s not the type of player that is worried about scoring. He makes the right plays, passing the ball quickly to wherever the offense dictates that it should go, setting screens to get others open, playing solid man defense, and having the ability to switch onto anyone in a pick and roll. Hopefully, we get to see more of him the rest of the week. The Pacers signed him to a partially guaranteed contract, so he could end up as one the Pacers 2-way contract players, on the Mad Ants, or find himself a spot on the roster.

Chris Johnson and Naz Mitrou-Long: Johnson and Mitrou-Long have both shown a smooth shooting stroke. Johnson has hit multiple corner threes in each of the team’s first two games and Mitrou-Long scored 16 points in the Pacers first games.

Jarnell Stokes: Stokes is a big, strong center that has nice hands inside. He’s a player with an NBA-ready body and has played well in the first two games starting in place of Christmas. Stokes put up 10 points and 7 rebounds today to follow up his 10 points and 9 rebounds yesterday.

Myles TurnerNo, Myles isn’t playing in the Summer League, but he’s been there in support of his young teammates. Turner’s been eager to become a leader on the team and he’s taken the Summer League as an opportunity to get a head start on his new duties as face of the franchise. No one has been more into the games from the bench than Turner, getting excited whenever Young makes a good play or getting on the referees to call a charge on the opposing player.

2017 Summer League Preview

Tomorrow, the Indiana Pacers start their annual Summer League games in Orlando, continuing to prefer the more intimate atmosphere without fans over the Las Vegas Summer League.

The Summer League is made up of players trying to prove something whether it’s a young player with an NBA contract trying to show they deserve playing time when the real games start (like Glenn Robinson III last year) or an NBA hopeful just trying to catch the eye of some team that will give them a shot in the league (Willie Reed dominated Summer League for a couple of years before finally getting a contract from the Nets). 

This is often the first time fans get to see their new draft picks play with their NBA team and get excited with their potential (Myles Turner, Paul George, Lance Stephenson).

It’s important to remember that you can’t overreact to anything that happens in these ultimately meaningless games. These are a group of guys that got thrown together a week prior and it often looks like bad pickup basketball. Some players will play great in Orlando against these young hopefuls, but struggle once the regular season starts (Joe Young). Others won’t take these games seriously and look like they don’t belong in the NBA at all, but once the regular season starts, they start to show their value and abilities again (Solomon Hill).

With that said, there’s still value in these games (otherwise, why keep doing it every year?). Here’s a look at the Pacers roster and what the Pacers will be looking for out of each player:

Joe Young: In Young’s third Summer League, his experience should make him one of the best players on the court at all times. The Pacers will be looking at how well Young can run an offense as a point guard and how well he defends on the other end. Kevin Pritchard gave Young a vote of confidence in his press conference saying he could potentially play off the ball with Lance Stephenson running the point, but Young’s clearest path to a consistent role in the NBA is if he can play at the point guard position.

According to Spotrac.com, Young’s contract becomes guaranteed tomorrow for next season, so Joe should be on the roster next year. But this may be his final season to prove he’s an NBA player as 2018-19 is a team option for the Pacers.

Georges Niang: Niang played very well in the Summer League last season, showing off his high basketball IQ and scoring ability. It’s still a surprise that Niang was never given an opportunity last year as a stretch four especially with limited spacing coming from the bench units, but Nate McMillan must have been too concerned about Niang’s defense. The Pacers will be watching Niang on that end of the court this week as he has showed in the past that while his basketball IQ gets him to the right spots, his limited athleticism gives him problems on that end.

Rakeem Christmas: For the second straight summer, Christmas is playing to keep his contract. Last year, Christmas beat out Shayne Whittington. This year the Pacers have a load of centers already on the roster: Myles Turner, Al Jefferson, Kevin Seraphin, Christmas, and second-round pick Ike Anigbogu. The Pacers did decline Lavoy Allen’s team option.

Christmas will have to show that he’s worthy of keeping around. He showed his value in a brief stretch in February as an energetic big off the bench that sets screens and rebounds. The problem Christmas had was defending without fouling. Seeing a theme yet? He’s another player to watch on the defensive end.

TJ Leaf: The Pacers first-round pick will miss Saturday’s game to be the best man at his brother’s wedding, but when he comes back, the Pacers will get their first look at Leaf in an NBA setting. Leaf shot the 3-pointer well for UCLA but on limited attempts so it’ll be interesting to see if his range goes out to the NBA 3-point line. Leaf shows off some great athleticism in finishing some dunks at the rim, but defensively he needs a lot of work, especially in the pick and roll. How well the 19-year-old rookie plays on that end will likely determine how much playing he can get this year.

Leaf’s fellow draft picks Ike Anigbogu and Edmond Sumner will not play due to injury.

Ben Moore: Moore, who the Pacers signed to a partially guaranteed contract, has been described as a potential undrafted success story by the Ringer and is seen to have potential defensively as a modern big man that can switch everything on screens. The key for Moore making a place for himself in the NBA will be on the offensive end where he didn’t show much ability to shoot at SMU.

Augusto Lima: Lima is Brazilian and is under contract with Real Madrid currently, but he could be bought out by an NBA team. He’s a 6’10” center that runs the floor well and can make some phenomenal rim protections plays. He went undrafted in 2013, but the Pacers had been scouting his progress in Europe since then.

Jordan Loyd: Loyd played at the University of Indianapolis and last season with the Fort Wayne Mad Ants. He averaged 15/4/4 with Fort Wayne last season and was getting some NBA attention at the end of the season. He’ll also play in the Las Vegas Summer League with the Raptors.

Isaac Hamilton: Hamilton joins his UCLA college teammate Leaf in the Summer League. The guard averaged about 14 points and shot 38% over his three seasons with the Bruins.

Naz Mitrou-Long: One of three former Iowa State players on the Summer League squad. He improved his scoring average every year with the Cyclones and finished at 15 points per game in his final season.

Bubu Palo: Another former Cyclone, Palo averaged 16.1 points and 5 assists for Sioux Falls Skyforce in his third season in the D-League.

Jarnell Stokes: This power forward has played 28 NBA games in his career over the past three seasons with the Grizzlies, Heat and Nuggets. He was a D-League All Star two years ago averaging over 20 points and 9 rebounds per game.

Chris Johnson: Johnson has nearly 150 NBA games on his resume after playing for six teams in four seasons, but spent last year in the D-League, averaging 13.5 points and 6.6 rebounds per game.

Travis Leslie: Leslie, a 6’4″ guard, played for the Mad Ants last season averaging 13.9 points and 6.2 rebounds.

Trey McKinney-Jones: Another member of the Mad Ants last season, McKinney-Jones has spent three of the last four years with Fort Wayne. Last year, he averaged 16.6 points, 5 rebounds, and 3.1 assists per game.


Glenn Robinson III, Georges Niang continue to impress in Summer League play

The Pacers fell to the Pistons in their third game of Summer League play after a late rally fell short as Joe Young’s tying layup attempt somehow bounced out, 80-76. Their record is now 1-2.

More important than the results of a very entertaining, but meaningless game, a couple of the Pacers young players played very well with challenging matchups.

Glenn Robinson III was up against the Pistons previous first-round pick and defensive stalwart Stanley Johnson. GR3 put up 20 points and 7 rebounds, while going back and forth matching bucket for bucket with Johnson in the closing minutes of the game.

At the same time, Georges Niang, the 50th pick in the draft, went up against Henry Ellenson, who the Pistons picked at 18. Niang put up 14 points, 6 rebounds and 3 assists.  Continue reading Glenn Robinson III, Georges Niang continue to impress in Summer League play

Pacers Summer League Game 2 Grades and Recap

In a sluggish, whistle-filled game, the Pacers Summer League squad lost to the Hornets 80-70. Glenn Robinson III and Shayne Whittington were the only double-digit scorers for the Pacers as the team seemed to struggle offensively against a more physical opponent than yesterday’s game. The first half was hard to watch as it was dominated by officiating. You know it’s a bad sign in the Summer League when the refs are a topic of conversation for the broadcast team. If you missed the analysis and highlights from Game 1, they are here. Much more positive notes to take from that game than this one.

Joe Young: 6 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 block, 0 turnovers in 22 minutes. (2 of 6 from field, 0 of 2 from 3-point range)

Grade: B-  Continue reading Pacers Summer League Game 2 Grades and Recap

Summer League Game 1 Grades: Indiana Pacers 93, Orlando Blue 66

The Pacers couldn’t have asked for a much better showing from their five-rostered players in their first Summer League game as they combined for 75 points in the blowout win over the Orlando Blue, 93-66. Keep reading for a look at each of those player’s performances and some highlights.

Joe Young: 22 points, 4 assists, 2 rebounds, 5 turnovers (8 of 12 from the field, 5 of 7 from 3-point territory)

Grade: B+  Continue reading Summer League Game 1 Grades: Indiana Pacers 93, Orlando Blue 66

Pacers Summer League Preview

The Indiana Pacers announced their roster for the Orlando Summer League earlier this week. The roster features many familiar faces including five players likely to suit up for the blue and gold next season and will be coached by Popeye Jones, Pacers assistant coach. The team will play five games that will run through the heart of the NBA free agency madness from July 2 through July 8 (Pacers schedule below). No one’s playing in the Summer League without something to prove and we’ll look at what some of the key players on the roster need to work on.  Continue reading Pacers Summer League Preview

Joe Young SIGNED PHOTO GIVEAWAY and Summer League Recap

SIGNED PHOTO GIVEAWAY DETAILS

Click here for more entries into the Joe Young signed photo giveaway

Tell me what you think about Joe Young and leave a comment on this page for 5 additional entries into the raffle.

And now for the post:

If you missed the post on Myles Turner’s performance at Summer League click here.

After missing his first game due to illness, Joe Young had a tremendous Summer League as he was the leading scorer in Orlando with 22.5 PPG. So, how will his game translate once the games start to matter? What does he still need to work on? Here’s an overview of what we saw at Orlando.

Continue reading Joe Young SIGNED PHOTO GIVEAWAY and Summer League Recap

Myles Turner: Summer League Recap

The Orlando Summer League ended over a week ago, but the Pacers draft pick performances deserve recognition and analysis. While the Pacers squad only won a single game of their five in total, Myles Turner and Joseph Young were two of the top three scorers at Orlando, and each were named to NBA TV’s All-Tournament Team along with Russ Smith of the Grizzlies, Aaron Gordon of the Magic, and Stanley Johnson of the Pistons. Here’s a look at the stats for the Pacers picks:

Myles Turner: 18.7 PPG, 8.3 RPG, 4.3 BPG, 61% FG in 3 games

Joe Young: 22.5 PPG, 2.3 RPG, 3.3 APG, 51% FG in 4 games

I’ll talk more about Joe Young in my next post (EDIT: Available now), but here’s some analysis on Mr. Turner:

Continue reading Myles Turner: Summer League Recap