It's just summer league, but that doesn't mean it wasn't a blast.
Rookie second-round pick, Lance Stephenson attacked from the opening tip in the Indiana Pacers' first Orlando Summer League game, showing several flashes of greatness while leading the Pacers to an 86-77 win over the Orlando Magic.
Stephenson did a little bit of everything today in Orlando while playing most of his nearly 30 minutes at point guard. Along with his 21 points, Born Ready handled the ball quite well, made plays in transition, found his way to the rim in the half court, dropped some sweet passes in traffic, caught the eye of Kevin Durant watching courtside and rose to #2 on Twitter's trending toics during the game.
Not a bad debut.
By no means did Stephenson win the starting point guard job with his performance today. In fact, he has a long ways to go before running a team with this kind of success in November, so keep your expectations in check. But for summer league action, BR's performance certainly gave hope that the Pacers may have stole some solid first-round talent with the 40th pick. That's about as far as your excitement to get over this performance.
There was plenty of noteworthy action for a summer league game, including the play of first round pick Paul George, second rounder Magnum Rolle (Magnum P.F.), French point guard, Thomas Heurtel and oh yeah, Josh McRoberts was TOSSED in the first half. More thoughts after the jump.
- Lance Stephenson scored his 21 points on only 10 field goal attempts (8-10). He made 5-8 FTs and did have a nice step back 20-footer among his hoops in the lane. Not known for his outside shot, at least he knows his game since he didn't take a 3-point shot. His game can be reminiscent of Tyreke Evans. He's not the athlete Evans is but he defnitely has the handles.
- Hopefully Stephenson can maintain the intensity he played with today, especially if he continues having success. How will he handle it? He will likely struggle as the week continues since this is the fifth day in a row the Pacers have been going full steam and it won't stop until Friday's final buzzer. Also, Stephenson worked against some undersized point guards for the Magic today. Should be interesting to see him go against bigger point guards later in the week.
- One more Stephenson note about defending other point guards. Quicker guards may get by him but they also have to deal with him around the rim. Early in the first half, Stephenson took Jerome Randall in the post for a couple of hoops.
- First round pick Paul George floated through most of the game, admitting afteward that he was nervous and tentative. Early in the game he drained a long three-pointer when the Pacer rooks were putting on a show. But George floated around the arc too much. He did have a nice finish after getting fouled in transition. Also, was a bit more aggressive looking to create a shot late in the game. Rick Kamla mentioned that George was also dealing with a sore groin. George finished with 12 points, 4 rebounds, 3 turnovers and 6 fouls in 25 minutes. BTW, you can't foul out in summer league.
- Josh McRoberts started the game pretty strong, knocked down a couple of threes and was doing his best to remain active. You could tell he was getting a little frustrated playing with so many new faces that didn't really know what they were supposed to do. The frustration boiled over a bit when Josh was tied up under the rim with rookie Daniel Orton. After the two exchanged some pretty mellow elbows, both players were tossed out of the game. Pretty funny, in hindsight. And I thought DeMarcus Cousins was the wild card big man out of Kentucky.
- Magnum Rolle had a strong start and a solid finish while fouls kept him pretty quiet in between. Magnum P.F. was out and running early, teaming up with Stephenson for the first bucket of the game. He has great hands and did a pretty good job of finishing around the rim. Also showed he can knock down the 18-footer from the high post. Real solid outing for the rookie, finishing with 13 points, 5 rebounds and a blocked shot in 18 minutes.
- French free agent point guard, Thomas Heurtel showed real well off the bench for the Pacers. The Magic cut what was an 18-point lead down to 3, but Heurtel's solid play helped push the lead back to double-digits. Heurtel was 1-5 from 3-land but finished with 6 points, 4 assists and 4 rebounds. Heurtel played about half of his minutes with Stephenson at shooting guard which worked well for the Pacers.
- Among the other free agents, Marcus Williams played pretty well off the ball starting at shooting guard. Williams finished with 6 points and 6 rebounds and a couple of nice blocks to highlight a solid defensive effort.
- The Pacers play the Summer Nets tomorrow at 7:00PM.