(Justin Danziger and Juan Toribio will be in Orlando this week to cover the Thunder's summer league experience. Be sure to check in daily for their in-depth reports on OKC's new rookies as well as veterans looking to take their next leap forward - Sherman)
The 2014 Orlando Summer League kicks off today. For the Thunder, tonight around 4PM CDT is when we will get to see how our new players compete and our former rookies developed.
For your personal planning purposes, here is the Thunder schedule along with approximate CDT tip-off time:
Oklahoma City has recently released their roster. Some players have been playing for the Thunder for some time while others are not even on the team yet. Here is a quick overview of this year's roster.
12 Steven Adams, C (7-0, 255) Pittsburgh
We all know the Kiwi. After exceeding his pre-season expectations, Steven Adams is back in Orlando. Last season, Adams recorded 9 PPG and 6.5 rebounds as a rookie. Now with his experience in the NBA and his ability to compete at a high level, expect him to be a leader on the floor and an impact player. His physical style of play will make him a large presence on the court. Look out for Steven Adams this week.
9 Ron Anderson, F (6-8, 260) South Florida
Son of the former NBA player Ron Anderson, Anderson was a player down in Tulsa with the 66ers in the Development League. In two seasons with the 66ers, Anderson recorded 6.2 PPG and 5.3 RPG. Last year in Orlando, he averaged 3.6 points and 2.2 RPG. Anderson is a rebounder, and a mediocre one at best. I wouldn't expect to see him make a huge impact on the floor but as a small contributor.
22 Semaj Christon, G (6-3, 190) Xavier
Originally drafted to the Miami Heat (actually the Charlotte Hornet's pick because of the trade) at 55, Christon was traded to the Thunder for cash. With good size for a point guard, Christon is a fierce competitor who finds the rim relatively easily. His jump shooting may cause him some issues in the future, but that can be worked on. At Xavier University, Semaj was a star. In his freshman season, Christon recorded 15.2 points per game and 6.2 APG. In his sophomore season, he scored 17 points per game. In the NBA, his size gives him a good chance of being a decent scorer, but his jump shot holds him back.
30 Fuquan Edwin, G/F (6-6, 215) Seton Hall
Going undrafted in the 2014 NBA Draft, Fuquan Edwin from Seton Hall has been asked to play for the Summer League Team. He has good size to be a guard but too small to be a forward. At Seton Hall, Edwin was a great scorer. He can possibly provide solid scoring for the Summer League but I cannot see him providing valuable minutes.
14 Josh Huestis, F (6-7, 230) Stanford
OKC's 29th overall pick, Josh Huestis, came as a surprise to most people. Huestis, from Stanford, may or may not be an NBA type player, we will just have to wait and see. Huestis is an excellent defender. He can guard a variety of positions and is notorious for shutting down Andrew Wiggins in the NCAA Tournament. His offense is raw but that can be worked on. Do not expect to see outstanding statistics but do expect good, quality defense.
3 Perry Jones, F (6-11, 235) Baylor
Perry Jones is the veteran of the group in Orlando. After two seasons in the NBA, Jones has not fit well in OKC's system. He is a solid three point shooter but has not found a way of consistency. Jones has the physical attributes to be successful but lacks many things in his game. In Orlando, I expect Jones to make a big impact on the floor because he has more experience than almost every other player on the floor and he needs to prove to OKC that he is worth keeping around for the long term.
11 Jeremy Lamb, G (6-5, 180) Connecticut
A fan favorite, Jeremy Lamb, was expected to have an improved year last season. He was playing very well and receiving lots of minutes before Caron Butler joined the team. After that, Lamb barely found any minutes at all. His skill set is valuable to the team, in that, he can shoot, dribble, and play defense. Like Jones, Lamb is an Orlando veteran and will be a vocal leader. Expect him to make a huge impact on the court. Since the Thunder lost Thabo Sefolosha to free agency, there is now an opening at the starting 2-guard spot, and Lamb should have a chance to compete for it.
31 Marcus Lewis, F (6-8, 245) Oral Roberts
Marcus Lewis is a familiar face on the OKC Thunder Summer League team. In 2010, Lewis played in Orlando. While he barely contributed, he is a physical player who has rebounding skills. His offense is raw but he thrives on the low post. His size makes him a physical player and he has the ability to bully people in the paint.
23 Mario Little, G (6-6, 218) Kansas
Mario Little is a guard who spent two years in Tulsa. Last season in Tulsa, Little averaged 18 PPG in 42 games. He has lots of offensive talent. He can shoot, find the rim easily, and move the ball pretty well. Little has the ability to contribute to the team's offense during the Summer League, but he will need to be physical down low.
33 Mitch McGary, F (6-10, 255) Michigan
The Thunder's 21st overall pick, Mitch McGary, will debut tonight. He is compared to Nick Collison because of his hustle and leadership. He is a big body but is not such a defensive menace. Same on offense. He will be a vocal leader on the floor and will put all he's got into the game. That is what we should expect from McGary, even in the NBA. There are questions concerning his back issues, but it seems as though they won't affect him.
21 Andre Roberson, F (6-7, 210) Colorado
After an uneven rookie season that actually included getting 16 starts, Andre Roberson will look to develop his offense this offseason. Roberson was drafted based on his defensive potential, and he has not fully reached it yet. He is a work in progress but can be valuable to OKC's defense in the future. Roberson's offense will be put on display in Orlando. It will be a sneak preview of his development.
2 Nolan Smith, G (6-2, 190) Duke
Nolan Smith is known for his illustrious career at Duke University. In 2010, Smith was a vital role in the NCAA Tournament Championship team. By his senior season, Smith was averaging 20 PPG and won ACC Player of the Year. Smith bounced around from the NBA to the D-League to Europe. Now he is back and is ready to showcase his play. He is an all around solid point guard who never truly made it in the NBA.
6 Michael Stockton, G (6-1, 178) Westminster
The son of the Hall of Famer John Stockton, Michael has Summer League experience. From Westminster College, Stockton will be looking to find success in the NBA by following in his dad's footsteps and playing "pass-first" basketball. Stockton plays bigger tan his size and his a tough point guard. Like his dad, his size does not matter in terms of talent.
44 Maurice Sutton, C (6-11, 220) Villanova
Maurice Sutton played for the Tulsa 66ers as a center. The near 7-footer presents a physical type of play. Sutton averaged 7 points, 5 rebounds, and 1 block on Tulsa. He is not such a dazzler on offense but he is a big body and can be utilized as a clogger in the paint.
Learn these players now so that as the games unfold you will be on top of all the action!