Finally, a game where Aldrich and Jackson will be concerned about something more than Steve Blake's old man haircut.
Basketball never stops. Especially not for Cole Aldrich, Lazar Hayward, and Reggie Jackson, who spent most of their time late last season riding the pine, only getting action in practice or when gum was passed out. Now, we'll get to see what they really have to offer against some of the other league's top prospects in the Orlando Summer League this week.
The team will be playing Monday through Thursday, mostly in the morning and live on NBATV. But the team doesn't start and end with those three. There are a couple of familiar faces, along with a lot of unfamiliar ones. So just to give you an idea of what we can expect from all of these players this week, here's a quick run down of their profiles. The first game starts today at Noon, against the Boston Celtics.
The Guys You Know:
Cole Aldrich, Center, 6'11", 240, Kansas
Last Team: Thunder
The Lowdown: After being selected 10th in the 2010 NBA Draft, Cole Aldrich has pretty much spent his two years in the NBA riding the pine. In the event of injuries, he's seen so very limited minutes during real action, but the vast majority of his time has come during blowouts. He didn't play in the 2010 Summer League and there was no Summer League last year, so this is Thunder fans first true look at this guy.
Lazar Hayward, Swingman, 6'6", 225, Marquette
Last Team: Thunder
The Lowdown: Hayward was one of the oldest players drafted in his class, as he spent two years at a prep school before spending four years at Marquette. His card seems to have been pretty well marked. He has the ability to fire up to nice corner threes, but he's usually too hesitant to drive the lane, and he likes to force shots he shouldn't be taking. In other words, he's probably going to be a Summer League All-Star.
Reggie Jackson, Point Guard, 6'3", 208, Boston College
Last Team: Thunder
The Lowdown: Reggie Jackson got regular minutes at the point when Eric Maynor went down with a season-ending injury. He was replaced in the late season by Derek Fisher, but we know what type of player he is. He's a reasonably good distributor, never impressing you too much, but never really turning the ball over, either. He can shoot from most distances, but his percentages were pretty bad last year, and he hasn't found his niche shot yet. This Summer League run will show us what he's really good at doing, which might be helpful for him developing a few scoring plays next year.
Perry Jones III, PF/SF, 6'11", 235, Baylor
Last Team: Baylor
The Lowdown: Perry Jones III slipped out of the lottery due to injury concerns, but many are also concerned about his willingness to play the role he's supposed to play, and his desire to play the game. In other words, the question surrounding him is whether he's the next DeJuan Blair, Elden Campbell, or Greg Oden. How he performs in the Summer League alongside other Thunder players should begin to answer this question.
Below: The Guys You Should Know, The Guys You Don't Know!
The Guys You Should Know:
Ryan Reid, PF, 6'8", 200, Florida State
Last Team: Tulsa 66ers
The Lowdown: Most people, even Florida State fans, were totally shocked when the Thunder selected him with a second round pick two years ago. There's nothing physically outstanding about the guy and he doesn't have any particular skill. But he was known as an energy guy who gave effort on every play, and the Thunder admired that about him. He eventually worked his way into a roster spot last year before he was cut to make room for Derek Fisher. He never played beyond garbage time, so it's hard knowing exactly what the guy has to offer without watching the 66ers, but he'll most likely be the king of the boards in this year's Summer League, and likely get a few putbacks.
Latavious Williams, PF, 6'8", 225, Christian Life Center High
Last Team: Joventut Badalona, Spain
The Lowdown: Famous as the first player to skip college and foreign leagues to go straight to the NBA D-League, he hasn't made too much of a mark in the US since being drafted in the second round by the Thunder. But in Europe, he was the best player on a middle of the league Spanish team, getting 9.6 PPG, 7.1 RPG, and 1.3 SPG. The team was about middle of the road, but the Spanish league is known for being one of the best in Europe, and he was nominated as the ACB MVP.
The Guys You Don't Know:
Morris Almond, Swingman, 6'6", 220, Rice
Last Team: Washington Wizards
Since being selected at the tail end of the first round by the Utah Jazz in 2007, he's bounced around between a lot of teams. He's played for the Wizards as recently as last season, and featured in both D-League teams and European teams as well. In his recent stint with the Wizards, his shooting percentage was in the mid-30s, but he was a nice glue guy to have, nabbing 1.8 steals and grabbing two rebounds per game. Expect him to play the role of the defensive stopped on this team.1
Kent Bazemore, Swingman, 6'5", 195, Old Dominion
Last Team: Old Dominion
He's an undrafted prospect, but he was instrumental in the Old Dominion 2011 NCAA tournament team. He was named as CAA defensive player of the year in both his junior and senior years, and averaged 15.4 points, 6.1 rebounds, 3.5 assists, and 2.1 Steals in his senior season. His shooting percentages were pretty low though, so he's along the lines of Morris Almond, a energetic defensive stopper.
Dwight Buycks, Guard, 6'3", 190, Marquette
Last Team: Tulsa 66ers
He was a teammate of Lazar Hayward at Marquette, so I wouldn't be surprised if Lazar got in the Thunder's ear about signing him to the Thunder's Summer League roster, much like Kevin Durant did for his brother Tony Durant in 2009. But, he has held his own in his one year out of college, averaging 15.1 PPG, 2.6 Assists, and 1.3 Steals for the 66ers last year. He was even signed by the Suns at one point. I'd expect him to play the role of a backup combo guard.
Marquez Haynes, Guard, 6'3", 185, UT-Arlington
Last Team: Gran Canaria 2014 (Spain)
He played for Boston College as a freshman and sophomore, but spent most of his time stuck on the bench. So he transferred to UT-Arlington, and scored 22.6 points a game in his senior year, acting as a fish in a small pond. After his college career, he signed with Gran Canaria 2014 in Spain, playing as a sixth man on one of the better Spanish teams. He was mostly a scorer, averaging 10.9 points in only 24.4 minutes. I'd expect him to be used in a similar role with this Summer League team.
John Holland, Swingman, 6'5", 205, Boston University
Last Team: Chorale Roanne Basket, France
John Holland was another big fish in a small pond, making noise at Boston University by being the scoring champion of the America East conference twice. He then spent time playing for the Puerto Rico National team in the 2011 FIBA Americas tournament over the summer, after which he played for Roanne Basket of France. He functioned as a 8th man or so on the Puerto Rico team, but he was a starter for Roanne, scoring 14.1 points in 30 minutes a game. He also had 4.6 rebounds and 1.9 assists a game.
James Mays, Small Forward, 6'8", 227, Clemson
Last Team: Arecibo (Puerto Rico)
After going undrafted out of Clemson in 2008, he spent time for several different clubs, playing in China, Turkey, Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic. The only thin I know for sure is that he played for the Colorado 14ers in 09-10, and picked up by the Toronto Raptors at some point. He didn't shoot too well, but he grabbed rebounds and would occasionally block a shot. He also played in the 2010 Summer League, but didn't get off the bench very often. Last Summer, he played for the Central African Republic in the 2011 Afrobasket, scoring 12.2 points and grabbing 4.8 rebounds in 20.8 minutes. Last season, he played for a second division Turkish team and a first division Puerto Rican team. I think he's mainly going to be a post guy for the Thunder Summer League team, if he doesn't cut out in the middle of it and fly to the Falkland Islands to play for the Port Stanley Sheepherders.
Gary McGhee, Center, 6'10", 250, Pittsburgh
Last Team: Bandırma Kırmızı (Turkey)
Gary McGhee was undrafted out of Pittsburgh, but he was known as mostly a defensive guy, rebounding more than he scored and getting almost two blocks a game. His scoring has improved to 10.8 PPG while playing in the Turkish league, but his rebounding and blocking have held relatively solidly. I'd expect him to swap minute with Cole Aldrich.
Garrett Temple, Swingman, 6'5", 200, Louisiana State
Last Team: A.S. Junior Pallacanestro Casale
After going undrafted in 2009, he spent two years in the D-League, refining his skills and bouncing between various NBA teams. Whenever he did get stable minutes, he showed himself to be a capable scorer while aptly filling out the areas of steals and rebounds. Last season, he went to Italy, where he played with former Thunder player Mustafa Shakur for A.S. Junior Pallacanestro Casale. In 27 minutes, he had 9.3 points, 2.8 rebounds, 1.4 assists, and 1.5 steals. Expect him to be another guy off the bench for the Thunder Summer League Team.
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