Aaron Gordon was the standout player of the Orlando Summer League a couple weeks back, averaging 21.7 points and 11.7 rebounds a game (both tops in the entire league). He also shot 50 percent from three.
However, his summer workouts have been put on hiatus for a few weeks after surgery to repair a fractured jaw, the team announced Friday. He is expected to be back and ready to play by the start of the NBA season, although no official timetable was announced.
How did it happen? From the official release:
Gordon, 19 and the second-youngest player in the NBA this past NBA season, was injured while visiting with family and horsing around with older brother, Drew. The native of San Jose, Calif. underwent surgery in California earlier this week.
Drew played part of last season with Philadephia.
Gordon is part of a promising young core that could make the Magic a team on the rise in the East next season. They have Elfrid Payton at the point, Victor Oladipo at the two, Tobias Harris at the three, Gordon at the four, and Nikola Vucevic at center, with guys like Channing Frye and Mario Hezonja off the bench. If Gordon can make the leap in the fall that he showed in the summer — and if he can stay healthy when around his family — he will be a big part of that future.
We already knew Luol Deng (Team Africa) and Chris Paul (Team World) would serve as captains in the NBA’s first exhibition game in Africa.
Who else will participate in that Aug. 1 contest in Johannesburg, South Africa?
Team Africa, comprised of players born in Africa and second-generation African players, will feature team captain and two-time NBA All-Star Luol Deng (Miami Heat; Great Britain; born in South Sudan), Al-Farouq Aminu (Portland Trail Blazers; U.S.; parents from Nigeria), Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee Bucks; Greece; parents from Nigeria), Nicolas Batum (Charlotte Hornets; France; parent from Cameroon), Bismack Biyombo (Toronto Raptors; Democratic Republic of the Congo), Boris Diaw (San Antonio Spurs; France; parent from Senegal), Gorgui Dieng (Minnesota Timberwolves; Senegal), Festus Ezeli (Golden State Warriors; Nigeria), Serge Ibaka (Oklahoma City Thunder; Congo)*, and Luc Mbah a Moute (Sacramento Kings; Cameroon).
Team World, comprised of players from the rest of the world, will feature team captain, NBPA President and eight-time NBA All-Star Chris Paul (Los Angeles Clippers; U.S.), Bradley Beal (Washington Wizards; U.S.), Kenneth Faried (Denver Nuggets; U.S.),Marc Gasol (Memphis Grizzlies; Spain), Pau Gasol (Chicago Bulls; Spain), Jeff Green (Memphis Grizzlies; U.S.), Marcus Smart(Boston Celtics; U.S.), Evan Turner (Boston Celtics; U.S.) and Nikola Vucevic (Orlando Magic; Montenegro).
Five-time NBA Champion Gregg Popovich will coach Team Africa, with 2014-15 NBA Coach of the Year Mike Budenholzer of the Atlanta Hawks and Oklahoma City Thunder assistant coach Monty Williams serving as assistant coaches. Brooklyn Nets General Manager Billy King and Toronto Raptors General Manager Masai Ujiri are the Team Africa general managers, with Eric Waters (Washington Wizards) serving as the team’s athletic trainer.
Brooklyn Nets Coach Lionel Hollins will coach Team World, with Boston Celtics Coach Brad Stevens serving as assistant coach. San Antonio Spurs General Manager R.C. Buford is the Team World general manager, while Keon Weise (Orlando Magic) will be the team’s athletic trainer.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver will attend the game along with NBA Global Ambassador Dikembe Mutombo (Democratic Republic of the Congo) and NBA Africa Ambassador Hakeem Olajuwon (Nigeria).
There’s a good amount of talent on both teams and coaching staffs – which speaks to just how far basketball has come in Africa and how committed the NBA is to growing it further.
Exhibition games are always hit or miss, but I’m looking forward to watching this one.
USA Basketball is holding a minicamp in Las Vegas later this summer, and seven new players have received invitations to participate.
Marc Stein of ESPN.com:
Sources told ESPN.com that USAB has extended invitations to Chicago’s Jimmy Butler, Memphis ‘ Mike Conley, Golden State’s Draymond Green and Harrison Barnes, Orlando’s Tobias Harris and Victor Oladipo and Utah’s Trey Burke to its Aug. 11-13 camp on the campus of UNLV.
USA Basketball is run like a college program, and with somewhat of an iron fist. Jerry Colangelo and Mike Krzyzewski take their responsibilities very seriously, and expect unflinching loyalty and obedience out of the players who want to participate.
More from Stein:
Colangelo stressed that USA Basketball is making attendance at the three-day event mandatory for invited players if they are interested in securing a spot on the Yanks’ 12-man roster for next summer’s Olympics in Brazil, even if the player is rehabilitating from an injury or otherwise not yet cleared to join in on-court activities.
USAB already knows that Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant, Indiana’s Paul George and the Cleveland Cavaliers duo of Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving will not be ready to take part in basketball activities at the camp, because they are recovering from their various serious injuries from the past year. But Colangelo’s view is that “it’s important for everyone to be here as a sign of commitment for ’16.”
This seems like a needless power play, but again, it’s how things are done. And with only so many highly-coveted roster spots to go around for the Olympics in 2016, you can bet that a Vegas trip in the middle of August will be in just about everyone’s plans.