After struggling to steadily crack the Philadelphia 76ers' rotation for much of last season, former UNLV standout Christian Wood is still trying to get his NBA career jumpstarted. With more performances like Monday night's showing against the Boston Celtics in the opening game of the Utah Summer League, Wood may not be simply pigeonholed as a benchwarmer for too much longer.
Wood led all scorers with a twenty point display in a 102-94 loss to the Boston Celtics, on a night when most of the hype was supposed to be surrounding the debuts of #1 overall pick, Ben Simmons and #3 overall pick, Jaylen Brown. Simmons, whose professional debut was ended by some late fourth quarter leg cramps, posted 10 points, 8 rebounds and 5 assists in just over 23 minutes of court time. Brown added 16 points and 6 rebounds of his own, in a game where he was able to reach the charity stripe a stellar 17 times. Former Boise State forward James Webb III also suited up for the 76ers, pitching in 10 points and 4 boards on 4-10 shooting from the field, in what could be considered a solid debut.
The nightcap of the Utah Summer League featured a trio of former Mountain West stars as well, in Alex Kirk (New Mexico - San Antonio Spurs), J.J. O'Brien (San Diego State - Utah Jazz) and Spencer Butterfield (Utah State - Utah Jazz), who all had less than memorable nights. O'Brien, the biggest contributor of the threesome on the day, scored just three points on a 1-6 shooting performance in over 20 minutes of court-time while Butterfield, his new Utah teammate, failed to get called off the Jazz bench, even in a 90-69 blowout loss at the hands of the Spurs. Former New Mexico center Alex Kirk had a lackluster night as well, failing to reach the scoring column for San Antonio. The final game of the day mirrored a similar rough outing for the former Mountain West players on the third day of the Orlando Summer League.
With three former Mountain West players (Alex Davis, Stephen Zimmerman and Goodluck Okonoboh) all in action over the course of the abbreviated three-game daily slate in Orlando, the Mountain West alumni posted a combined total of 12 points on an abysmal 4-16 shooting from the field. Orlando's Stephen Zimmerman, who impressed Magic personnel in his initial Summer debut, struggled to break his cold shooting ways in just under 30 minutes of court-time and finished with only 6 points on the afternoon.
Former New Mexico star Alex Davis improved from his first day output with increased playing time for the Dallas Mavericks, adding 6 points in almost 21 minutes of action during a 92-85 loss to Orlando Magic-White. The same cannot be said for one-time UNLV big man Goodluck Okonoboh and his current run of form with the Charlotte Hornets. Okonoboh failed to score in more than 13 minutes of play, tallying just four rebounds in the process and bringing his three-game Summer League total with Charlotte to a mere seven points. If Okonoboh expects to find himself on an NBA roster later this year, the 6' 10", 225 pound forward must work to find more ways to contribute.
The NBA Summer League continues in both Orlando and Utah on Tuesday, with a total of five games being played between the two host sites. In Orlando, Stephen Zimmerman, Marvelle Harris and Chris Obekpa will all be in action while Utah's schedule, with only four teams in the league, will feature the same former Mountain West alumni from today.
The full Tuesday schedule is listed below:
Orlando Summer League
Game 1: #1 Miami v. #9 Orlando-Blue (1:00 PM ET)
Game 2: #8 Los Angeles Clippers v. #10 New York Knicks (3:00 PM ET)
Game 3: #2 Detroit Pistons v. #6 Indiana Pacers (5:00 PM ET)
Utah Summer League
Game 1: Philadelphia 76ers v. San Antonio Spurs (5:00 PM ET)
Game 2: Boston Celtics v. Utah Jazz (7:00 PM ET)