Orlando Summer League recap day three: Mario Hezonja dunkin on everybody


The third day of Orlando Summer League is in the books and it actually had quite a lot of fun basketball. Sure the quality was the lowest of the low, but it’s the heart and hustle that matters in the end right!? Well maybe not, but it definitely had some high moments that make everybody say stupid things like “Mario Hezonja is going to be one of the five greatest players ever.” Of course, that example is just a fact of life, but that’s besides the point.

Orlando Magic (White) vs Indiana Pacers

This one was ugly from the very start, but also featured a lot of energy that was almost contagious. It definitely fit the young player narrative of everybody trying really hard, but that wasn’t enough to really make the game entertaining. Still, it had moments worth getting up about like Myles Turner once again showing that he’s just better than a lot of the other guys he’s playing with. Don’t ask him if he’s a four or a five though, because his response is going to be “I’m a basketball” player.

However, despite Turner’s good play the show was stolen by the unexpected Chris Singleton. A year removed from the NBA, Singleton has spent much of his career battling injuries and is using this time in summer league as a chance to prove to NBA teams that he’s 100 percent healthy. Another performance like this one, and he might start getting some calls for training camp, and if he’s lucky a full time contract.

MVP: Chris Singleton
Honorable Mention: Myles Turner

Oklahoma City Thunder vs Orlando Magic Blue

This was the game that everybody in the building was looking forward to. The practice arena was packed with people waiting to watch Elfrid Payton, Mario Hezonja, Aaron Gordon. The Magic’s Blue team did not disappoint, and put on a show that reminded everybody why two of those three are definite NBA players. Payton had flashes of brilliance despite his low scoring numbers, and Aaron Gordon was the clear best player on the court. Gordon did it all from passing, to scoring, to contesting players at the rim. Every year there’s a second year player that’s clearly too good to be at summer league, and this year it’s Gordon.

With Gordon dominating like this, it was almost easy to overlook Mario Hezonja. The confident wing had an up and down game, and struggled to get his jumpshot going, but he showed great vision with surprising passing ability, and some insane athleticism to compliment his speed. He also had play of the game with a monster dunk early in the first half.

MVP: Aaron Gordon
Honorable Mention: Mitch McGary

Miami Heat vs Detroit Pistons

The final game of the day between the Pistons and Heat didn’t get the proper hype it deserved. Stanley Johnson vs Justise Winslow was a treat any time the two were matched up against each other, and each showed off why they were top 10 draft picks with incredible skill and athleticism. An environment like summer league is the perfect place to take off the chains, put the two against a non system defense, and watch them go to work.

In the end though, the Heat came out on top thanks to a better overall team. Tyler Kalinoski, Josh Richardson, and Seth Tuttle all had good contributing performances to take down Stanley Johnson and the Pistons. Richardson in particular turned a lot of heads with some great highlights. He might be a second round draft pick, but he could very well make an NBA roster if summer league is any indication of how he might play in the future.

MVP: Stanley Johnson
Honorable Mention: Josh Richardson

Play of the day: Mario Hezonja’s dunk