NBA Summer League: Orange in Orlando

Former NCAA Tournament foes Kris Joseph and Jared Sullinger are now teamed up in Beantown. (ESPN)

The Orlando Summer League began play on Monday and newly minted Boston Celtics Fab Melo and Kris Joseph are in attendence.  The summer league is a far cry from true NBA action, but it’s a chance for the rookies to test their mettle against top young talent.

For each of the former Orange, the stakes couldn’t be more different.  By virtue of being a first round selection, Fab’s roster spot is safe.  He’s got that guaranteed contract, so his summer league experience is all about adjusting to the speed and physicality of the professional game.  For The Big Bastard, the summer session is a springboard for the big time.

Kris Joseph’s summer league experiece is much more meaningful.  He’s fighting for a job.  It would be easy to say that KJ is a long shot to make the squad, given that he fell into the last ten selections in the draft.  The Celtics, though, entered the summer with only six players under contract, with veteran Paul Pierce the only small forward among them.  It’s the perfect opportunity for KJ to prove himself a viable NBA player and work his way onto the roster.

Game:  7/9/2012

Opponent:  Oklahoma City Thunder

Stats:  Fab Melo- 14 M, 1-2 FG, 2 PTS, 2 REB, 2 BLK                                                     Kris Joseph- 17 M, 3-8 FG, 7 PTS, 4 REB, 2 STL, 3 TO

Fab did what he was expected to do, blocked a few shots, grabbed a few rebounds and was a general menace on the defensive end for the few minutes he was in.  Two rebounds in 14 minutes is sub-par at best.  Hopefully once he gets to training camp and is under the wing of one Kevin Garnett, he’ll learn how to balance challenging shots with remaining in position for rebounds.

__________________________________________________________

Game:  7/10/2012

Opponent:  Brooklyn Nets

Stats:  Fab Melo- 13 M, 0-2 FG, 0 pts, 5 REB, 1 BLK, 1 TO                                              Kris Joseph- 25 M, 4-5 FG, 11 pts, 5 REB, 1 BLK, 1 STL, 1 TO

KJ stepped it up in this one, showing the athleticism and finishing ability that made scouts take notice in the first place.  He looks odd wearing #43 on his jersey, but otherwise he was the KJ we Orange fans cheered for.  After a slow start to the summer session, consistency is key.  If he can keep this up, a roster spot is well within reach.

The Celtics play the Indiana Pacers Wednesday, and round out the Orlando session with games against Detroit and Orlando on Thursday and Friday.

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