Orlando Summer League 2012: Rookies Sure to Make Huge Impressions

Patrick Clarke@@_Pat_ClarkeCorrespondent IJuly 9, 2012

HARTFORD, CT - JANUARY 29:  Andre Drummond #12 of the Connecticut Huskies looks on before the game against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish on January 29, 2012 at the XL Center in Hartford, Connecticut.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images

Rookie center Andre Drummond will shine during this week's 2012 NBA Summer League action from Orlando, Fla. 

The seven-footer was drafted No. 9 overall by the Detroit Pistons last month, and for good reason. With a 7'6" wingspan, Drummond is a long and athletic big man who can elevate and get up and down the floor with ease. 

Despite turning 18 just months before his first season with the Huskies, he averaged 10 points, 7.6 rebounds and 2.7 blocked shots per game last season with Connecticut. 

You can bet that skill set will be on display this July in Orlando, along with several others. 

Fab Melo

Much like Detroit's Andre Drummond, Boston Celtics rookie Fab Melo is a seven-footer with the ability to alter a game on the defensive end of the floor. The Brazilian averaged nearly three blocked shots per game last season at Syracuse, and blocked 113 shots total in two seasons with the Orange.

Video Play Button
Videos you might like

Although Melo won't consistently dominate on the offensive end, he is still a deadly weapon on the break via lob passes, as well as in the pick and roll game on occasion. Melo shot around 58 percent for his career at Syracuse, but his bread and butter is clearly defense, swatting shots and igniting the fast break. 

Maurice Harkless

The Philadelphia 76ers will likely enjoy what they see from their first-round pick from a month ago. Small forward Maurice Harkless is still young, just 19, but boasts a frame perfect for the NBA game. Harkless is 6'9" with a 7'0" wingspan. His length makes him a versatile scorer and ideal rebounder.

Harkless averaged 15.3 points and 8.6 rebounds per game last season as a freshman at St. John's. If Harkless doesn't settle for jump shots in Orlando and is determined to attack the rim on most possessions, he will steal the summer league show. 

Orlando Johnson

The Indiana Pacers made one of the more underrated steals of the draft when they traded for UC Santa Barbara guard Orlando Johnson on draft night after he was chosen in the second round with the 36th overall pick by the Sacramento Kings. Johnson is 23 years old and already much more experienced than most of the rookies entering the league this summer, giving him a slight edge over most. 

The 6'5" shooting guard averaged 18, 21.1 and 19.7 points per game in his sophomore, junior and senior season at UC Santa Barbara. During those three seasons, Johnson was also hitting at least 40 percent of his shots from beyond the arc. We have seen scorers take over NBA Summer Leagues in the past, so expect Johnson to make a huge impression in Orlando this July. 

Follow Bleacher Report Featured Columnist Patrick Clarke on Twitter For More Reaction on the 2012 NBA Summer League Action. 

Follow _Pat_Clarke on Twitter

Related

    LeBron Out Thursday vs. Rockets

    Lakers star is dealing with a sore right groin

    NBA logo
    NBA

    LeBron Out Thursday vs. Rockets

    Joseph Zucker
    via Bleacher Report

    Ben Simmons Out Indefinitely

    76ers star is considering treatment options for knee injury and has been ruled out vs. Magic

    NBA logo
    NBA

    Ben Simmons Out Indefinitely

    Scott Polacek
    via Bleacher Report

    Every Team's All-Time Playoff Superstar

    @AndrewDBailey picks the best playoff performer for all 30 teams

    NBA logo
    NBA

    Every Team's All-Time Playoff Superstar

    Andy Bailey
    via Bleacher Report

    Can the Lakers Fix Their Offense?

    Los Angeles' shortcomings are obvious and concerning as playoffs loom

    NBA logo
    NBA

    Can the Lakers Fix Their Offense?

    Grant Hughes
    via Bleacher Report