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Oklahoma City Thunder: Dwight Buycks the Summer League star

by Berry Tramel Modified: July 9, 2013 at 2:20 pm •  Published: July 9, 2013

NBA Summer League is hard to evaluate for us non-professionals, but there are things we can see. Here’s what I’ve seen from the Thunder’s first two games:

* Dwight Buycks is at least making the Thunder consider him as its third-team point guard. It’s still a longshot. Derek Fisher is far more likely to be on the OKC roster than is Buycks. But Buycks has played well for OKC.

Buycks went undrafted out of Marquette in 2011 and played in the D-League for Tulsa in 2011-12. He had an eight-day trial with the Suns in December 2011 but never played. In Tulsa, he averaged 15.1 points and 2.6 assists per game in 2011-12. Then Buycks went to Europe and was MVP of a French league.

In OKC’s 76-68 win over Indiana on Sunday, Buycks had 12 points and 13 assists. Then Buycks had 11 points and five assists in a 79-78 win over the Magic. Buycks has a nice shot and clearly is getting better at ball distribution, considering he didn’t play point guard until he got to Marquette.

It’s most likely Buycks is auditioning for some other team. But he looks like a ballplayer.

* Andre Roberson might not help the Thunder this year, but in two games, he’s been exactly what Sam Presti said Roberson was. Long, athletic, defensive-minded, rebounding force. The 26th pick in the NBA Draft two weeks ago gets after it. If he learns to make a 3-pointer, he’s Thabo Sefolosha. Of course, if Roberson doesn’t learn to make a 3-pointer, it will be hard to play him.

But Roberson seems to be a fundamental player. In two games, he’s 4-of-5 shooting, mostly at the rim, with 10 rebounds in 44 minutes. And his steal in the final seconds against the Magic secured the game for OKC. Roberson will get his hands on a lot of balls.

* Jeremy Lamb needs to drive. That’s clear. He can’t just be a 3-point specialist. The Thunder needs more from Lamb than just being Daequan Cook. In two games, Lamb’s shot has been off — he’s 3-of-13 on 3-point shots. But Lamb has shown the ability to drive, so he needs to do it, which would open up more outside shots.

With all that said, it was good to see Lamb come through in the clutch. In the final seconds against Orlando, down one point, the Thunder play broke down and OKC settled for Lamb going one-on-one. He made a cross-over, step-back move against Orlando’s Mo Harkless that resulted in as wide-open of an 18-footer as a guy could ever get. Lamb sank the shot and the Thunder won.

* Grant Jerrett can’t do much yet. But the guy can shoot. Oh, can he shoot. The second-round pick out of Arizona is 8-of-13 on 3-pointers in two games and 11-of-19 overall. He’s scored 31 points and has led OKC in scoring in both games. Jerrett is 6-foot-9 and can’t match up defensively, not yet, so his chances of playing are zero. But a big guy who can shoot will always have a chance.

* Daniel Orton will get a chance to prove himself. Probably not in OKC, where the Thunder has three other centers. Two — Kendrick Perkins and Steven Adams — have guaranteed contracts, so Orton will have to beat out Hasheem Thabeet, which is unlikely. Orton’s defense must improve for most teams to get really interested, but his offensive game is getting there. Orton is really good on pick-and-rolls and taps around the hoop. Orton has 24 points and nine rebounds in two games.

* Good thing we know Reggie Jackson can play. Because he was awful (seven turnovers) against Orlando on Monday. Sometimes, established NBA players can be Summer League duds, because they feel they have to dominate. Hope Jackson is OK from the nasty head-butt he sustained with Orton.

by Berry Tramel
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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