OPSL PLAYER RANKINGS

Posted by: Kevin Jones
07/13/10 10:23 am EST

Eight years ago, the Orlando Pro Summer League was created as a chance for rookie draft picks to get acclimated to their new NBA setting.  Over time the summer league evolved into redemption ground for once successful college players who had become overseas journeymen.  Today I would argue that summer league is suited best for second year NBA players looking to improve their game.  These participants were normally reserves in their rookie season in the League and spent most of last year trying to adjust to the pro level.  Therefore, at an event like the Orlando Pro Summer League, second year NBA players are ready to dominate as their year of seasoning gives them an advantage over most international players and certainly over the NBA rookies who are just tipping off their adjustment period.  

After a week of watching the action in Orlando, I have composed a power rankings list of the best five players from the OPSL and as you will see, my list is heavy on second year NBA guys.


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O-TOWN REVIEW

Posted by: Kevin Jones
07/12/10 7:54 am EST

After a week of summer league basketball in Orlando, the Philadelphia 76ers have a better understanding of where they stand – sort of.  

The 76ers saw some progression in it’s current roster players and got some live action practicing head coach Doug Collins philosophies.  But the Sixers top pick Evan Turner was average — that’s being extremely nice — and no one on Philadelphia’s bench really proved worthy of a training camp invite.  As a result, the Sixers finished 2-3 during the week. 

If Sixers fans didn’t realize the potential of Jrue Holiday, they do now.  Philadelphia’s 20-year-old point guard proved to Coach Doug Collins that he can be “the quarterback of the offense.”  Holiday played in just three games during the week but averaged 19.3 ppg, 6 assists per game and only 2 turnovers per contest.  Holiday started to turn the corner in the second half last season and it’s always encouraging when a second year player is able to have his way against summer league competition.  Holiday won’t be asked to score as much in the regular season but it was good to see him shoot 47.4% on 38 shots. Jrue routinely was able to get to the basket and will be starting for the Sixers from day one in 2010-11.


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OPSL GM 5: DISAPPOINTING FINISH

Posted by: Kevin Jones
07/10/10 11:23 am EST

It’s hard to judge a basketball team playing a 10 AM game with just 8 active guys on the roster, but the 76ers looked rather sloppy in their 29 point defeat (88-59) Friday morning which was the Sixers final game of the 2010 OPSL.  It was the squad’s third straight loss. 

For the first time all week though, Evan Turner was the Sixers leading scorer with 13 points and 6 rebounds.  Turner was 4-of-10 from the field and was often handling the ball as a point guard in the second half.  Turner admittedly had a frustrating week, and he wore those emotions on his sleeve.

“This was the best eight days of Evan’s life because he understands the level now that you have to be at competitively and in shape to play this game.  He’ll go from here until the end of September to do what’s necessary.” said Collins.

Collins all week analyzed why some lottery picks—like Derrick Rose a few years back—struggle in the summer league.  Collins said that agents go out of their way to make sure players don’t get hurt, mainly by limiting their client from playing five-on-five.  “He’s 90 days behind in his conditioning, he’ll catch up and he’ll be fine.”


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OPSL GM 2: BENCH TO THE RESCUE

Posted by: Kevin Jones
07/07/10 10:07 am EST

Philadelphia shooting guard Jodie Meeks was consistently scoring all night; ending with 18 points and helping his Sixers coast past Boston by 17 points (86-69).

“I’ve been getting in a rhythm and playing my game.  I’m not focusing all on scoring this week, but just getting better as a whole.” Meeks said.  Meeks added 2 steals and after two games is the 76ers leading scorer with an 18 ppg.

“Jodie could be a very explosive player off the bench for us.  The way we’re playing defensively really suits his style. He has very good instincts, he closes out very well and he disrupts passing lanes,” said a pleased Philadelphia head coach Doug Collins.  “I told Jodie that coming off the bench you have to be a high percentage shooter and you have to make minimal mistakes.  Those are things he does.”


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OPSL GM 1: HOLIDAY TIME

Posted by: Kevin Jones
07/06/10 9:39 am EST

The matchup between the Philadelphia 76ers and the New Jersey Nets was the game many NBA experts had pegged as the must see matchup from the 2010 Orlando Pro Summer League.

The game had quite a few different storylines.  First and foremost it was the debut of Sixers guard Evan Turner and Nets forward Derrick Favors, both top three picks.  Of course both teams also made coaching changes, both hiring former television analysts; Doug Collins (TNT) to Philadelphia and Avery Johnson (ESPN) to New Jersey.

 But instead it was Philadelphia point guard Jrue Holiday who stole the show Monday night, scoring 23 points and dishing out 8 assists.


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EVAN ALMIGHTY

Posted by: Lance Epstein
06/24/10 8:12 pm EST

A few weeks ago when the NBA Draft Lottery was held in New Jersey, the Philadelphia 76ers organization prayed for a miracle.  Of course, there prayers were answered and they were awarded with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2010 NBA Draft.

Tonight, the 76ers wisely selected the mature, silky smooth and do-it-all junior guard/forward Evan Turner out of The Ohio State University.  Some experts believe that Turner is too eerily similar to what the Sixers already encompass in starting shooting guard Andre Iguodala and that the two cannot co-exist together, but nothing could be further from the truth.  When Iguodala declared after his sophomore season from the University of Arizona (2004), he was labeled an athlete, was a complimentary role player for the Wildcats and did not possess the ball handling skills that Turner beholds in his repertoire.

Additionally, Turner’s resume is far more accomplished than Iguodala in these early stages of his career. Just this past season, Turner earned First Team All-American honors, Big Ten Player of the Year and the Big Ten Tournament’s Most Outstanding Player.  Furthermore, he did all this as the “go-to” guy and has handled the pressure that came with it. Even though Turner missed numerous games with a broken vertebra in his back, he still managed to win the Associated Press, Naismith and Wooden awards for Player of the Year in college basketball.  In fact, Turner is widely considered to be the most NBA-ready prospect coming out of his draft class and should be an early favorite for rookie of the year.


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IT’S UNANIMOUS

Posted by: Philadunkia
06/24/10 5:13 pm EST

The 2010 NBA Draft is just hours away and if you have been following all of the mock drafts, online expert predictions and television analysis, it seems pretty obvious that the national sports media believes that the 76ers are locked in to taking Ohio State’s Evan Turner with the No. 2 pick in tonight’s Draft.

However, no one knows the Sixers better then our colleagues on the Philadelphia basketball scene and in the local sports media.  So with that in mind, we reached out to our contacts across the city and pulled together a sampling of opinions from Philly basketball minds on which prospect the 76ers will draft at No. 2 tonight as well as why Ed Stefanski and company will go in that direction.

Check out their thoughts after the jump.


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IS TAKING TURNER THE RIGHT MOVE?

Posted by: C. Smith
06/24/10 10:27 am EST

Recently there have been two online posts by reputable basketball writers in this town that have raised some red flags for us here in the Philadunkia offices over the possibility of the 76ers drafting Evan Turner.  Don’t get us wrong, we still think Turner is a great basketball talent, the best overall player available to the Sixers at the #2 spot and that he could have an immediate impact on the team.  However two pieces we have read in the last few days both of which have included quotes from NBA front office types have caused us to further review just how good of a fit Turner would be for the 76ers.   

The first article that caused us pause on the Turner front ran on “The Philly Post” and was written by local college basketball guru Michael Bradley.  The short and sweet of Bradley’s post was that if the Sixers draft Turner, Iguodala has to go as they can not play together.  The second story that made us reconsider the selection of Turner by the Sixers was put together by legendary basketball scribe Dick Jerardi for the Daily News.  That story included NBA player personnel people on the record about Turner and how he is not the prototypical NBA 2-guard, which in our opinion is what the Sixers desperately need to find in the 2010 Draft.     


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NOTES, LINKS & TWEETS

Posted by: Philadunkia
06/22/10 10:29 am EST

Over at CSNPhilly.com, Dei Lynam is killing it with her 2010 NBA Draft Coverage.  Another great video she posted over the last couple of days is this interview with Doug Collins about how the 76ers can get better defensively despite trading Sammy Dalembert.

Foxsports.com’s NBA scribe Jeff Goodman has the 76ers drafting Evan Turner.  The highly respected experts at draftexpress.com also say it will be Turner.  But more importantly, did the Sixers own website accidentally tip off the rest of the world to the franchise’s plans for draft night with this image?

Stephen A. Smith writes that the Sixers must draft Evan Turner as “When you’re the Sixers, you have no choice but to pick a player of Turner’s caliber…”  However, Smith flat out refutes the idea that Collins is running the Sixers player personnel decisions, something many sources inside the NBA rumor mill are saying is happening.


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WITH the 2nd PICK…

Posted by: Philadunkia
06/07/10 9:58 am EST

The “Miracle on Lottery Night” as we like to call it significantly improved the 76ers position in the 2010 NBA Draft, so we excitedly had to change the title of our draft prospect preview series (formerly “With the 6th pick…”) and start looking at a whole different list of college kids.

We again reviewed a number of the well respected “Draft Expert” projections, this time with a giddy focus on the #2 spot and then created a list of prospects from which the Sixers will likely pick a player on Draft Night 2010.  That Sixers projection list includes heavy favorite Evan Turner (Ohio St.), big man DeMarcus Cousins (Kentucky) and forward Derrick Favors (Georgia Tech).  However there are also a couple “experts” who are predicting that the Sixers will make a trade on Draft night that includes the #2 pick and a player or two from the current roster.  So do not be surprised if the Sixers do something unusual on June 24th

Now it would have been easy for us to profile the college players “experts” are saying will end up in a Sixers uniform simply via stats and analysis, but here at Philadunkia we go the extra mile for our readers.  Thus we worked the phones and asked several of these potential future Sixers to give us a few minutes so that you could get to know them up close and personal.

First up in our retooled series of draft prospect interviews now titled “With the 2nd pick…” is 7-foot, 227 pound shot blocking machine Hassan Whiteside of Marshall. 


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