The NBA Summer League is usually for one of two things: players on their way into the league and players on their last hope. Former Syracuse players in both categories are playing in the NBA’s Summer League this year, and Saturday started what they hope will be the first step on their path to the show.
Former Orange star Michael Gbinije has made the most noise through two games in the league. Gbinije has started both of the Detroit Pistons’ first two games, playing 30 and 22 minutes, respectively. He scored seven points and went 2-6 from behind the arc in his first game against the Oklahoma City Thunder, and scored eight points Sunday against the Knicks.
Gbinije played nine games for the Pistons last season and spent the majority of the year in the D-League. His contract with the Pistons runs through this season with a team option on the 2018-19 season. This summer and upcoming season are his chance to prove he’s worth the $1.5 million he would get paid next year.
Joseph, a 2012 SU grad, spent last season in Italy after playing the last three seasons in France. He has 10 games of NBA experience under his belt, averaging a mere 0.9 points per game. This summer, he’s playing with the Charlotte Hornets and scored just two points in 10 minutes Saturday against the Miami Heat. In his second game he played 12 minutes and scored eight points, including 2-5 from behind the arc against the Indiana Pacers.
Joseph falls into the “on their last hope” category. He’ll need to turn a lot of heads this summer to be offered an NBA contract at 28 years old.
Christmas has yet to play for the Indiana Pacers’ Summer League team. He suffered a sprained ankle earlier in the week.
Christmas played 29 games last season for Indiana, averaging 2 points per game and 1.9 rebounds. He also has a team option for the 2018-19 season. Christmas now also has to compete with Domantas Sabonis for time after the Paul George trade.
Syracuse’s Tyler Roberson, Tyler Lydon, James Southerland, Malachi Richardson and Chris McCullough will also play this summer, but have yet to start their seasons. Southerland’s first game is today with the Utah Jazz.
Posted: Nathan Dickinson