<
>

Chalmers, CDR playing well with chip on shoulder

7/10/2008

ORLANDO -- Hell hath no fury quite like that of a scorned NBA draft pick.

The Orlando Pro Summer League is stocked full of top draftees, ranging from the first two picks (Chicago's Derrick Rose and Miami's Michael Beasley) to No. 4 selection Russell Westbrook to New Jersey's Brook Lopez, who was selected 10th.

But it's two players who shockingly plummeted into the second round -- national championship hero Mario Chalmers and All-American Chris Douglas-Roberts -- who have put on some of the most driven performances of the week. Suddenly, futures that might have seemed dim just a week ago have bloomed into downright rosy outlooks for Chalmers and Douglas-Roberts.

Take one look at their Wednesday performances -- Chalmers got to the free-throw line 17 times (all makes), scored 23 points and handed out six assists for Miami; Douglas-Roberts streaked his way to 20 points for New Jersey -- and it's apparent both second-round picks are playing with a purpose.

"A chip on my shoulder is an understatement," huffed Douglas-Roberts, who took advice from Nets star Vince Carter throughout Wednesday's game. "I'm going to have to play like this my whole career. It was sort of a blessing in disguise by me going 40th. I'm seeing a lot of teams this week that passed on me, and I get to slap them in the face a little bit."

Chalmers, the Final Four's Most Outstanding Player and a hero for hitting the clutch 3-pointer that forced overtime, looked on in disbelief on draft night as the first round came and went without his name being announced. Projected by some as a pick in the 10 to 20 range, Chalmers slipped to 34th and the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Heat president Pat Riley was as surprised as Chalmers that the player slipped so far and worked furiously to acquire the cat-quick point guard. When Miami failed in its attempts to buy a late first-round pick from Portland, it sent two first-round picks and $2 million to the Wolves for Chalmers.

The point guard has been so impressive in his first three summer league games that he secured a three-year contract that could be worth as much as $2.3 million. This is how highly the Heat think of Chalmers: His first-year salary is $700,000, roughly $250,000 more than a minimum deal.

"I signed my contract, and that gives me a lot of confidence," said Chalmers, who is averaging 17.7 points, 7.0 assists and 2.7 steals in three games. "It's a great feeling to know you have that contract officially with a team.

"Draft night is over and done with, and I definitely have that chip on my shoulder," Chalmers said.

Douglas-Roberts could be well on his way to locking up some long-term security of his own if he keeps playing as he did Wednesday. He was a blur on the break, and the unorthodox shooting stroke many GMs knocked in the days leading up the draft wasn't a problem as he made 6 of 10 shots and 8 of 9 free throws.

In practically every interview Douglas-Roberts has done this week, the first-team All-American has fumed about his horrifying draft experience. Not even a good week in the summer league, he admitted, will wipe away this sting anytime soon.

"I just couldn't understand it," Douglas-Roberts said. "It was a mixture of being disappointed, embarrassed and emotion. It's a good thing because I ended up in a place where I have a great opportunity. I'm glad I got to the Nets, but I'm still not happy that I went 40 regardless of what happens from now on."

Rose rested

Derrick Rose, the top pick in the NBA draft, by the Chicago Bulls, sat out to rest his sore right knee Wednesday, but insisted afterward that he could have played if trainers had let him.

Rose has been bothered by tendinitis in his right knee for weeks and "jammed" the knee in Tuesday night's game when he landed awkwardly after a jump stop on a layup attempt.

"I could have played, but they said don't worry about it because it's just the summer," said Rose, who went through stretching exercises before the game in hopes of easing the pain in the knee. "I was mad about not playing, but I knew they weren't going to play me."

Rose's introduction to the NBA has been a rough one so far, with 5-of-17 shooting, a so-so assist-to-turnover ratio (11 to 8) and persistent pain in his knee.

"I've just got to get used to the offense and my new teammates," Rose said. "It's still going to be a great time."

Learning experience for Ewing

Getting a technical foul in the summer league might be a cause for concern for some, but Hall of Famer Patrick Ewing might be forgiven this week.

Ewing, an assistant coach for Orlando, is getting his first shot at being a head coach for the Magic's summer league team. Ewing is open about his desire to be a head coach someday, and he was openly offended when he didn't merit even a job interview with New York when the Knicks' position came open.

Things haven't gone so well this week for Ewing, whose Magic squad is devoid of much true NBA talent other than rookie Courtney Lee and blossoming center Marcin Gortat. The Magic were whipped by 12 on Monday, routed by 23 on Tuesday and beaten 86-74 on Wednesday. A clearly frustrated Ewing was whistled for a technical foul in the third period when he argued a block/charge call.

"At least we competed a lot better today," Ewing said. "The last two nights, I went home and couldn't sleep. I thought I was going to come in here with big bags under my eyes like Jeff Van Gundy used to have in New York."

Ewing said serving as a head coach is a vastly different experience from anything he ever went through as a player or an assistant coach.

"The best kind of experience is getting to actually do it," he said. "This is my first week of learning about how to put together a practice plan. As an assistant, you are involved, but you're not. As the head coach, you're actually the one doing it."

Durant to return?

A day after making a surprise appearance at the Orlando Summer League, reigning rookie of the year Kevin Durant sat out Oklahoma City's 90-77 loss to New Jersey.

Durant hinted that he could play again Thursday against Miami's Michael Beasley, a close friend of his. Durant says that Beasley has been full of questions about life in the NBA and that he's been happy to serve as a mentor of sorts for the rookie power forward.

Beasley, who once again struggled with his jump shot Wednesday (5-of-12, 17 points), laughed at the notion that Durant might duck him when the two buddies' teams play Thursday. Already nursing a fractured sternum and a bruised shin, Beasley emerged from the locker room Wednesday wearing an ice pack on his right elbow and looking like a beaten man.

"Everybody wants to beat up on a rookie," Beasley joked when asked what he's learned so far. "It's a rough game out there. I think I've gotten more bruises and cuts in the last three games than I have in my whole basketball career."

In three games, Beasley has made just 15 of 46 shots (32.6 percent) while averaging 18 points and 8.0 rebounds a game.

John Denton is a regular contributor to ESPN.com. He covers the Orlando Magic for Florida Today.