Summer league report: Williams, Morrison, Redick
ORLANDO, Fla. -- Six first-round picks from last month's NBA draft -- Charlotte's Adam Morrison, Chicago's Tyrus Thomas and Thabo Sefolosha, New Jersey's Marcus Williams and Josh Boone, and Indiana's Shawne Williams -- are the headliners this week at Orlando's Pepsi Pro Summer League, which tipped off Monday. Here is a look at that half-dozen and others in Monday's games:
Most impressive (tie): Marcus Williams, Nets; Sean May, Bobcats
Williams, who shockingly fell to the 22nd pick on draft night, played as if he had something to prove Monday. He was on the attack all night in New Jersey's 86-82 defeat of the Orlando Magic, dispelling rumors he is out of shape.
The former UConn star made 9-of-15 shots and 4-of-5 3-pointers for a game-high 24 points. He also had 12 assists, many of them drop-off passes to Eric Williams (12 points) and Jamar Smith (11 points) for easy dunks. It looks like the Nets might have finally found the backup to Jason Kidd they've been searching for.
May, the 13th overall pick in the 2005 draft, cleared up any lingering questions about his injured knee with a dominant showing for the Charlotte Bobcats. May, whose rookie season was limited to 23 games because of season-ending knee surgery, looked trim and agile in the Bobcats' 83-65 throttling of Miami. May's dazzling performance -- 22 points, seven rebounds and six steals -- even overshadowed Adam Morrison's debut.
May showed off the work he's put in this summer, displaying his newfound shooting range. He repeatedly stepped away from the basket for face-up jumpers and even made a 3-pointer. Said May: "I'm just trying to extend my game and show that I'm not just a back-to-the-basket player."
Least impressive: Dorell Wright, Heat
Wright said he talked to good friend Dwyane Wade just before taking the court Monday night. But the second-year guard looked nothing like Wade, struggling with his decision-making most of the night.
Wright made just 4-of-10 shots and had three turnovers to go with his 12 points. Wright had two fouls in the first few minutes and allowed Morrison to shake free for two jump shots early on.
But Wright did pick up his defense in the second half after Heat assistant coach Keith Askins teased him that Morrison was about to score 30 against him. In fact, Wright played a role in Morrison's missing nine consecutive shots at one point.
If the 6-foot-8 Wright, who played just 23 NBA games in his first two seasons, is going to get on the floor for the Heat, it's going to have to be with his defense.
• Morrison had his "Welcome to the NBA" moment early in Monday's game when his first NBA shot attempt was swatted by Wright.
But Morrison did go right back at Wright, hitting a short jumper on an out-of-bounds play and shaking free for another shot with a nifty ball fake.
Overall, the night was a tough one for the Bobcats rookie, the No. 3 pick in the draft. Morrison made only 3-of-14 field-goal attempts and scored just 12 points -- about 16 fewer than he averaged per game while leading the nation in scoring last season at Gonzaga.
Afterward, he admitted to having some nerves.
"There were some jitters because this was my first NBA-type game," said Morrison, who added five assists, four rebounds and a blocked shot. "I was a little nervous and I rushed my shot too much. But with all of the other things, I thought I played a decent game. I stayed in front of my man, ran the floor and made some good passes. I just want to help this team win."
• Thomas, whom the Bulls acquired on draft night in a trade with Portland, also had his first shot as a pro swatted -- this one by fellow rookie Shawne Williams.
Unlike at LSU, where he played primarily close to the low block, Thomas says he sees himself ultimately playing small forward in the NBA. However, he struggled mightily with his shot, missing six of his nine attempts. And if he's to play small forward in Chicago, his ballhandling and decision making (six turnovers Monday) must improve.
Bulls head coach Scott Skiles watched the game and deemed Thomas' debut as simply "OK."
• With Pacers president Larry Bird looking on from seats near midcourt, Indiana rookie Shawne Williams impressed with his all-around skills. He grabbed 10 rebounds, snatched three steals and swatted a shot.
Afterward, he was concerned about getting more shots.
Said Williams: "I felt like I could have touched the ball a little more in the post, but that's the way it goes sometimes."
• J.J. Redick, the 11th overall selection of the draft by Orlando, is being held out of the summer league because of lingering concerns about his injured back. Redick, who was a near-unanimous pick as national player of the year at Duke, suffered a herniated disk in his lower back last month and hasn't scrimmaged in almost a month. Redick said that no determination has been made as to whether he will participate in the tryouts for Team USA later this month in Las Vegas.
But Redick did say that being away from basketball has soured his mood of late.
"My friends say that since I hurt my back I've been grouchy all the time lately," said Redick, who watched Monday's game from the Magic bench. "Usually, I'm a pretty laid-back guy off the court. But lately, because I haven't been able to play ball, it's made me kind of grouchy.
"I did some light shooting workouts at Duke [last week] and I actually dunked the ball," Redick continued. "When I came down here [to Orlando] after the draft they told me that they were going to be conservative with [the injury].
"I want to be out there, and I feel like I could be out there. But it's not worth risking at this time and I don't want to take that chance. I want to be a healthy cat come October."
John Denton covers the Orlando Magic for Florida Today.