The NBA Summer League is separated into three different leagues that play over the course of July: Orlando, Las Vegas, and Denver. Who are the Europeans to watch in each? Who will make the team? Even more, could they have an impact in 2009? Slam is your answer man. The Orlando league started today, so let’s start there:
Serge Ibaka (Oklahoma City Thunder) - This 19 year old has a world of talent but a need for experience. Fresh off a successful year in the Spanish ACB League where he averaged 7.1 points and 4.5 rebounds per a game in limited minutes, Ibaka wants to try and make the jump to the NBA. The Thunder are young and building for the future, and if Ibaka can hustle and use his long 6’10” frame to block shots and show off his athleticism, there might be a spot for him on this year’s squad. Ibaka was a first round pick in 2008 so if it’s not this year it should be next year.
Goran Suton (Utah Jazz) – Suton played college basketball at Michigan State but since he is originally from Bosnia and there are so few Europeans playing in Orlando I decided to include him on the list. What is going to get Suton a roster spot with the Jazz is his ability to rebound. With Okur, Boozer, Koufos, and possibly Millsap back for the Jazz they have very few big men spots available. If Suton can show that his rebounding, defense, or outlet passing skills are superior to the average NBA big man then he could find himself in Salt Lake next season. Regardless of his prospects for the 2009 Jazz, expect big Summer League numbers from the four-year college player with a refined skillset.
Stevan Milosevic (Orlando Magic) – Milosevic played in the German league last year and fared well averaging 9.2 points and 4.9 rebound a game. He is a little older at 23 but has a pretty filled out frame at 7’0” tall, 260 pounds. With Marcin Gortat leaving Orlando could be looking for another European big man to fill the void. Milosevic will have to show that he can be a capable defender and a finisher off the bench (the role Gortat played) if he wants to play for the Magic. This may be his last shot to make the NBA so he could be giving it his all but my guess is that he will be back in Germany next year.
Milovan Rakovic (Orlando Magic) – Standing at 6’10” and 280 pounds, Rakovic is a load. His game is a lot different than the other three big men above him as his game is more back to the basket. He will have to establish some serious post moves to be able to have any shot to make the regular season Magic squad. He was the last pick of the 2007 draft and at 24 years old his NBA career aspirations are getting slimmer by the minute. With Milosevic a little bit younger and more athletic I give him the edge over Rakovic as the European big man that could make the Magic team.