Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Orlando Summer League: Players to Keep an Eye On Part 2

Seton Hall's Fuquan Edwin, undrafted, but playing for the Thunder Summer League squad, could breakout in Orlando

If you haven't done so, check out part 1 for highlights on under-the-radar players participating in the Orlando Summer League for Boston, Brooklyn, Houston and Memphis. Now let's check out part 2 and look at some players to keep a watch for in the Orlando Summer League.

Indiana Pacers

  • Jake Odum, G, Indiana State
  • Tyler Stone, F, SE Missouri State

MLH Take:

The Pacers will be loaded up with D-League stars on this summer league squad, with Dee Bost, Frank Gaines and Sadiel Rojas being the prime examples. However, undrafted rookies Jake Odum and Tyler Stone are interesting, under-the-radar cases, and could be seen as emergency backup plans for the Pacers in terms of solidifying their perimeter depth if Lance Stephenson doesn't re-sign with Indiana this offseason.

Odum was a four-year player at Indiana State and considered the 51st rated senior in the 2014 class according to DraftExpress. DraftExpress noted that Odum was a "Missouri Valley Conference version of Kendall Marshall...big, pure, creative PG who can handle and make every pass in the book." Odum was the standout player of a 23-11 Sycamore squad, as he posted an offensive rating of 111.5 and an assist rate of 29.1 to only a turnover rate of 15.3. One of the issues though with Odom was that he didn't play against very elite competition at ISU, especially his senior season, with Wichita State being the only real challenge left in the MVC. Against the Shockers, he had two sub-par performances (89 rating in first Jan. meeting and 94 rating in MVC tournament matchup) and one slightly above par (103 rating). A local kid who is actually from Terre Haute (the location of Indiana State), Odum will win some fanfare because of his Indiana ties.

Stone is an interesting PF prospect who also comes from the small college circles. After transferring from Missouri after his freshman season, Stone brought his skill set to the Ohio Valley Conference school.  Though the Redhawks struggled to find success, Stone really came into his own in the smaller, less-pressure setting. In his senior season, Stone, the 53rd rated senior according to DraftExpress, scored 19.1 ppg and nabbed 9.2 rpg. He also ranked in the top 100 in defensive rebounding rate (22.7%) and top 120 according to adjusted offensive rating (120.7) according to KenPom. Stone bring some athleticism to the table, and his profile is very similar to a poor man's Thomas Robinson in the sense that he is known for his effort and tenacity, though he is a bit undersized for a power forward. It'll be interesting to see how Stone adjusts after playing against mostly meager competition in the OVC.

Orlando Magic
  • Kadeem Batts, F, Providence
  • Asauhn Dixon-Tatum, C, Auburn

MLH Take:

Batts was a key cog in helping the Friars not only return to the NCAA Tournament, but win a Big East Conference Tournament Championship as well. Batts was named 2nd team All-Big East his senior year, as well as the 2013 Most Improved Player in the conference. Batts primarily profiles as an around-the-rim player, but he wins points with his tenacity and toughness around the rim. His offensive rebounding rate was 12% last season, so he is the kind of guy that can crash the board and not give up after the first shot. He still has to work on his touch around the rim (only 44.1 eFG% a year ago), but his effort and growth as a player at Providence could bode well for him in the future as a professional, especially in Summer League play.

Dixon-Tatum is a project of sorts and most likely will find a spot on a D-League roster this upcoming fall. He has an impressive frame at 7'0, 230 pounds, but he overwhelmed a bit in his career at Auburn. He only averaged 6.0 ppg and 6.0 rpg with the Tigers his senior year, but his advance stats were better than expected. His 14.2 offensive rebounding rate was 27th best in the nation, and his 10.9 block rate was 26th best in the nation according to KenPom. At the very least, Dixon-Tatum could fit himself to be a good shot blocking and rebounding energy guy off the bench for a professional squad. Whether that professional squad will be a NBA is yet to be seen, but he is an under-the-radar guy who didn't get a lot of love leading up to the draft who could surprise in Orlando.

Miami Heat
  • Danilo Barthel, F/C, Germany
  • Nobel Boungou Colo, G, Republic of Congo
  • Ivan Aska, G, Murray State

MLH Take:

The "under-the-radar" players all have an international flavor to it, as the three listed above all played some form of international basketball in 2014. Barthel is a 6'10 220 pound post from Germany who played for the Fraport Skyliners of Frankfurt in the German Basketball League last season. As the starting power forward, Barthel averaged 11.3 ppg and 4.9 rpg. Not a lot is known about the German prospect, other than the fact that he is spent most of his career in the German league and appears to be a very raw prospect. However, considering Germany's development when it comes to basketball players since the arrival of Dirk to the states (Dennis Schroeder was a draft pick of the Hawks last season), Barthel could be an interesting player to watch in Orlando.

Boungou Colo hails from Congo, but has spent most of his career playing in France. Last season, he played for the Limoges CSP Elite team of the France ProA league. As the starting shooting guard, Colo averaged 15 ppg and 5.1 rpg for the 20-10 Limoges squad. Colo has showed some touch from beyond the arc, as he is a 40 percent three point shooter. And, his 6'8, 207 pound frame gives him ability to play the forward or guard position on the wing. Check out Boungou-Colo's mixed tape below and it is obvious to see that he does bring an interesting skill set to the Miami Heat summer league roster.

Aska made a name for himself in 2012 for a Racer squad that only lost 1 game during the NCAA regular season. Aska had a solid campaign his senior season that year, averaging 10.5 ppg and 8.5 rpg as a 6'7 athletic combo guy. A bit of a tweener, he went undrafted in the 2012 NBA draft and has been bouncing back and forth internationally playing in Greece for Ikaros for 25 games, averaging 15.2 ppg and 7.0 rpg for the Greek squad. He also has been playing in the BSN of Puerto Rico, where has suited up as a reserve for the Santurce squad, averaging 6.9 ppg and 4.5 rpg. A tweener that really doesn't have a true position, Aska is a long shot to make a NBA squad, but he has proved that he has developed a bit overseas and it'll be interesting to see if he can continue that growth in the Summer League.

Philadelphia 76ers

  • Melvin Ejim, G, Iowa State
  • Jakarr Sampson, F, St. John's
  • Aaron Craft, G, Ohio State

MLH Take:

If Miami is going the international route, Philly is going the "college stars" route with undrafted players. Ejim, a native of Canada, had a solid season for the Cyclones in helping them to a Big 12 Tournament title and Sweet 16 appearance, but his game profiles as a bit of a tweener, and with his 6'6 frame, he went undrafted in this year's draft. Ejim statisically was solid as he averaged 17.8 ppg and 8.4 rpg for the Cyclones last season, and Hoiberg's system will have dividends for him in his adjustment to the NBA game. Whether Ejim finds a true position, and whether or not he can find a consistent outside shot (34.6 3pt% last season) will determine whether or not Ejim can find a roster spot in the NBA.

Sampson on the other hand brings a lot of intangibles to a possible NBA roster. Primarily a post player at 6'8, 207 pounds, Sampson came in No. 98 in DraftExpress' Top-100 prospects leading up to the Draft. There is no question athletically Sampson can play at the next level, but his play at St. John's often underwhelmed. His 101.6 adjusted offensive rating last year was nowhere close to matching his potential, and he underwhelmed in many "physical categories" such as rebounding and block rate. Though, it is possible that the NBA may be in his future, it is likely Sampson will be manning a D-League roster next season. However, a good showing in Orlando could put him back on the radar as a possible callup from the D-League next year.

Craft doesn't need much of an introduction. A defensive-first player who was either loved or hated by most college basketball fans and analysts, Craft went undrafted, but found a spot on Philly's roster. Whether Craft makes the league or not will depend on how his defense will transition to the next level, but Craft needs to carve out some kind of semblance of an offensive game in order to have that possibility realize. His 30.2 3pt percentage was flat out lousy for a guard, and his 24.3 turnover rate didn't inspire much hope that he could handle being a NBA point either. Craft needs to find some kind of role or identity on an offense, as his defensive ability is NBA ready, but he won't find a spot on a NBA roster unless some kind of offense is developed.

Oklahoma City Thunder
  • Fuquan Edwin, G/F, Seton Hall

MLH Take:

If you want a breakout candidate for this Summer League, look no further than Edwin, a combo player from Seton Hall. A high-shot (32% shot rate last year) athletic guard/forward who stands 6'6 and 207 pounds, Edwin was rated as the 69th best prospect according to DraftExpress leading up to the NBA Draft. Big East Coast Bias, SB Nation's Big East basketball blog, had a good writeup on Edwin, and what stands out the most about Edwin's game is his defensive ability. His 5.3 percent steal rate was 3rd best in the country last season, and he according to sources has tried to model his game after Bruce Bowen. Unlike Craft, he has some semblance of an offensive game, though he will need to shore up his outside shooting a bit if he wants to truly realize that Bruce Bowen-potential (33 percent 3pt % last year). Edwin is a polished player who is known for defense and effort, and those kind of characteristics could go a long way. OKC is known for finding under-the-radar talent and utilizing max potential out of them. It could be possible Edwin could satisfy that role, especially with their need for more perimeter help since James Harden left town.

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