Orlando SL Day One: XRM impresses for the Knicks

The NBA Draft was held less than two weeks ago but basketball is already back. The annual summer leagues are starting up and we’ll be following former Florida State stars as they embark on their professional careers.

The Orlando Summer League is the first tournament of the summer to start and it will last until July 6. The Utah Summer League will last from July 3-6. Finally, the Las Vegas Summer League will begin on July 7 and last until July 17.

Jonathan Isaac, Dwayne Bacon, and Xavier Rathan-Mayes each made their professional debuts yesterday in Orlando. Former `Nole Okaro White also participated with the Miami Heat.

Isaac finished with 7 points, 8 rebounds, and 2 blocks for the Orlando Magic. Although he shot a mere 2-10 from the floor, Isaac was impressive on defense. He called out where players should be and was active in communicating so his teammates understood who to guard. Isaac showed the same type of effort and determination he did at Florida State as he crashed the glass, and that led to him corralling six offensive rebounds.

All in all, it was a positive outing for Isaac, who admitted he was nervous.

“All emotions at once,” Isaac said after Orlando’s opening loss to Indiana. “You’re nervous. Everybody’s there just excited for you. You’re excited. You’re anxious. And then you’ve got to five minutes later step out and play a game.”

Bacon was selected by the New Orleans Pelicans and then traded to the Charlotte Hornets with the no. 40 pick in the NBA Draft. The Hornets were excited to welcome Bacon and Malik Monk to their franchise earlier in the week. Monk missed the game with an injury, but Charlotte got their first look at Bacon.

The rookie wing would go on to finish with 9 points, 3 rebounds, and 1 assist. Bacon drilled a fadeaway jumper just inside the three-point to start the game. He also threw down an impressive fastbreak dunk. Still, he finished a porous 3-9 (1-1) from the field. Bacon will need to be more efficient as summer league moves on.

“I definitely need to correct some defensive mistakes. Then, just keep playing offense,” Bacon said after his debut. “The shots are definitely going to fall.”

White was on the other side of this match-up, and he had an exceptional game for the Miami Heat. White recorded 20 points, 8 rebounds, and 3 blocks. The Heat are doing their diligence on White before likely guaranteeing his contract later this summer.

The former Florida State forward and 2012 ACC Champion will need to continue putting in hard work. He’ll want to improve his efficiency after shooting 5-14 in Miami’s loss to Charlotte. White also needs to cut down on his 7 turnovers. He did finish with the most points in the game.

Rathan-Mayes went undrafted but he was quickly scooped up by the New York Knicks. He agreed to a deal to play with the Knicks during the Orlando Summer League in hopes of earning a contract. XRM showed promising signs in his debut.

He finished with 11 points (4-10), 4 rebounds, and 5 assists. Rathan-Mayes paced the Knicks on offense as he led the team in assists. He also nailed a three-pointer from the corner as he was fouled and completed the four-point play at the line.

The Knicks are looking for young talent they can groom as they find themselves in the midst of a rebuild. If XRM can continue to put on performances like this, they may take a deeper look at him.

Day 2:

– New York Knicks Vs. Detroit Pistons, NBA TV, 1 p.m. ET

Who to watch: Xavier Rathan-Mayes, Knicks

– Orlando Magic Vs. Miami Heat, NBA TV, 3 p.m. ET

Who to watch: Jonathan Isaac, Magic and Okaro White, Heat

– Charlotte Hornets Vs. Indiana Pacers, NBA TV, 5 p.m. ET

Who to watch: Dwayne Bacon, Hornets

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