The Orlando Summer League has come and gone and the Pacers found themselves with a 3-2 record. However, it’s not necessarily the record that is important, but rather learning about the players. Can anybody make contributions right now? Has this player developed enough to warrant some more playing time? Can that player run the point? So with the passing of this year’s Orlando Summer League, what did the Indiana Pacers take away?
Miles Plumlee might just be worth that first round pick that many felt was wasted on the 6-foot-10 forward from Duke. One thing is certain about Plumlee: his defensive skills are right on course and ready for some quality minutes. In the four games that Plumlee played, he averaged 3 blocks per game, including a six block performance in the first game. Much more than the blocked shots, Plumlee also altered many shots. His offensive game still has a little bit to go, but he did show flashes especially with a tough jump hook. Plumlee could see some time at backup power forward this season and move Ian Mahinmi over to center.
There were two concerns about Solomon Hill when the Pacers took him in this year’s draft. One concern with Hill was how well he could shoot the ball.
Shooting appeared not to be a problem for Hill as he shot 48.9 percent from the field and an extremely solid 55.6 percent from beyond the arc. The second concern about Hill was the rate he turned the ball over. Hill still needs to work on this as he averaged 2.5 turnovers per game including four in the second game versus Utah. Hill did, however, only have one in both the first and third games. He’ll still need to cut down if he wants to get solid minutes this season.
The winning formula is easy for the Pacers: play defense and have scoring balance. Sure enough, their formula even extends down to the players who don’t see much playing time. The Pacers held their opponents in all five games less than 80 points. There was even scoring balance on their summer league team as well. Four out of the five of their guys that started the majority of the games averaged double figures.
While summer league is meant to answer questions, it may have created some about Ben Hansbrough. Newly acquired David Sloan started all five games at point guard. Also, the Pacers signed point guard C.J. Watson this offseason to fill the backup point guard role. With three point guards standing in his way, there might not be very many minutes left for Hansbrough.
Plumlee isn’t the only draft pick from last season who might get some more playing time this year; Orlando Johnson might have earned himself a more prominent role this season as well. Johnson played in 51 games last season for the Pacers and averaged 4 points per game. During the summer league Johnson averaged 14.6 points per game in five games. It wouldn’t be a stretch to see a lot more of Johnson off the bench especially if Granger isn’t there to soak up minutes.