Former Hoosier Victor Oladipo (No. 4) is seeing a wealth of playing time for Orlando in summer league play.
If you happen to be a true NBA hoops junkie desperately in need of a fix now that the Cristal is nearly dry on the floor of the Miami Heat's dressing room floor.
I present to you the Orlando Summer League.
While the quality of basketball is only a little better than some of your top end AAU games, there are certainly plenty of interesting story lines, especially for Indiana hoops nuts.
The Orlando Summer League features 10 teams playing a short schedule of games against each other beginning in the morning and running into the early evening. The contests feature newly minted draft picks of the teams along with free agents trying to catch on with a squad and various players that propagate the back end of NBA benches in the regular season. The basic premise of the league is for new players to gain experience and for others to catch on and find a job.
This year's crop of teams features the Pacers, and both of their 2013 draft picks in Soloman Hill and Colton Iverson (who is playing on Boston's squad), as well as Utah, Miami, Detroit, Houston, Brooklyn, Philadelphia, Orlando, Oklahoma City and Boston.
While there certainly won't be any LeBron or Kevin Durant sightings on the court, Hoosier fans can get a first look at IU's Victor Oladipo (Orlando) and Christian Watford (Indiana) in the pro ranks. Notre Dame's Tim Abromaitis is on the Celtics' squad and Purdue's JaJuan Johnson is a member of the Pistons team along with familiar names like Duke's Kyle Singler, Louisville's Peyton Siva and the No. 8 draft pick, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. The Rockets also have a Hoosier tie as Notre Dame forward Jack Cooley is on the roster and the Pacers are giving Ben Hansbrough some PT along with Orlando Johnson and "the other" Plumlee, namely Miles. His brother Mason was drafted one spot ahead of Hill, taken at No. 22 by the Brooklyn Nets. Former Brownsburg High School star Julian Mavunga is with the Pacers after a season in Italy where he averaged 7.3 ppg. and 4.4 rpg. for Angelico Bl in the Italian League. Butler's Andrew Smith is with OKC this week along with Louisville's Kyle Kuric. Philadelphia boasts No. 11 pick Michael Carter-Williams on the roster with Golden Gopher teammates Rodney Williams and Trevor Mbakwe. Also of note is Michigan's Trey Burke competing with Utah this week and Jazz fans will see a familiar name on the back of their jersey as Hall of Famer John Stockton's son was a free agent signee.
Overall there are nine first round picks on Orlando Summer League rosters as play tipped off Sunday for the six days of competition at the Magic's practice court. While the public isn't allowed at the game, simply media and league personnel, NBATV has provided a window for those not oversaturated with the NBA following the playoff marathon.
Personally as an IU fan, I've been concentrating a bit on what surely has been one of the more difficult transitions for a player as Oladipo is put to the rookie fire in transitioning to the role of point guard. After spending three years as a college shooting guard, Oladipo has been thrust into the PG spot by the Magic and it hasn't all been sunshine and lollipops for the former Hoosier.
On Tuesday, Miami pressured Oladipo all over the floor and often trapped him with multiple players in the front court. Not surprisingly, Oladipo ended up with five turnovers in a 94-80 loss. However, this is what the summer league is all about. Transition. On the positive side, Oladipo did add 22 points and adjusting to the pressure to get to the line where he hit 12-of-14 free throws.
Through three games, Oladipo leads the team in scoring at 17.3 ppg., assists (4.7 apg.), steals (9) and free throws made (26).
The Pacers are being led by Hill's 15.3 ppg. followed by Johnson's 14.3 ppg. Plumlee has also played well in spurts with 11.3 ppg. and 10.3 rebounds per contest and 11 blocks.
Action continues on Thursday (July 11) with the Pacers taking on Utah at 11 a.m. in the first of four contests with Friday wrapping up play with five games beginning at 8 a.m.
The Las Vegas Summer League runs from July 12-22 with 21 NBA teams and a squad of NBA D-League Select players. The field contains 11 NBA playoff teams and eight of the top-10 selections from this year's draft. NBA TV will televise a full slate of games.