Pacer Promise? An Indiana Pacers' Summer League Report
The 3-2 record may not leap off the page, but for the Indiana Pacers, the 2010 Orlando Summer League will go down as a big win.
The three players the Pacers chose in last month's NBA Draft, Paul George, Lance Stephenson, and Magnum Rolle, were the undisputed headliners.
George led the team with 15.2 points and 7.8 rebounds per game and impressed team personnel with his athletic ability and intensity. His shot wasn't falling, as he went 22-for-66 (3-for-26 from three-point range) from the floor in the five games, but Summer League coach Frank Vogel wrote that off as an inevitable adjustment.
"Paul didn't shoot the ball as well as he would've liked," said Vogel. "That is to be expected based on adjusting to the faster pace, adjusting to the deeper three-point line, and also trying to play the tempo we play."
George committed 24 turnovers for the week, but also added 12 steals, drawing more praise from Vogel for his anticipation in passing lanes. His defense helped to key a massive run that brought the Pacers back from a 27-point halftime deficit for a one-point win against the Celtics on Thursday.
Stephenson's play, according to reports, has the Pacers reconsidering their desire to acquire two point guards this offseason. He has spent most of his career as a dominant scorer, and over the four games he played in, he showed the ability to be just that. Stephenson scored 14.8 points per game and made 22 of his 30 field goal attempts.
Despite being the team's nominal point guard, he only recorded six assists in four games, but the rest of the team's anemic 36.7 percent shooting probably had a lot to do with that.
The Pacers plan to continue working with him on running the offense, and appear to envision him as a scoring and passing threat off the bench.
Rookie forward Magnum Rolle spent most of his time at center, which isn't likely to be his regular season position, given his 225-pound frame. He did perform well in the post, however, recording averages of 13.4 points, seven rebounds, and two blocks per game.
What excited the coaches even more was his ability to put up a decent face-up jump shot. He did commit 27 fouls in five games, so some defensive work is definitely in his future.
Fourth-year veteran Josh McRoberts was on the team to get some work on his outside shot. A player who has only taken 34 three-point shots in three NBA seasons, McRoberts jacked up 12 in one game against New Jersey's team on Tuesday. Unfortunately, he only made two.
Head coach Jim O'Brien verified in an interview with NBA TV that McRoberts taking those shots was part of the game plan. Insiders also indicate that McRoberts was taking 500 three-point shots per day in workouts under coaches' orders.
He bounced back well with 21 points against Utah's team the following day, and finished with three-game averages of 14 points, 3.7 rebounds, and a team-high 3.7 assists.
As far as the team's free agent invitees, not many made huge splashes.
Second-year man Marcus Landry averaged 7.3 points in less than 15 minutes per game, but was a combined 5-for-18 from the floor and 1-for-10 from downtown in games against Orlando and Boston.
Fourth-year journeyman forward Marcus Williams started all five games and was third on the team with 3.8 rebounds per game. Unfortunately, he also struggled with his shot, going 10-for-31 from the floor.
French point guard Thomas Huertel only played in the opening game against Orlando. He recorded four rebounds and four assists, but committed three turnovers and missed four of his five three-point attempts. No explanation was given for him not being seen again, which is rarely a good sign.
Former Purdue standout Chris Kramer brought his trademark defensive intensity, recording three steals in 32 minutes of action. He only scored eight points, however, and was whistled for seven fouls. Pacers beat writer Mike Wells tweeted, "Kramer was a solid college player. Don't see him in the NBA. He's better suited to play overseas."
While the Pacers didn't find too many diamonds in the rough, they can at least leave Orlando satisfied that their draft picks weren't wasted thus far.
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