Holiday, Speights, and Christmas

I know Deep Sixer has been dormant for a few days, but we're back up and running.

So the talk the last week has been about free agent point guard Andre Miller and whether the 76ers will reach an agreement with last year's starting guard, or whether Sixers General Manager Ed Stefanski will execute a sign-and-trade, or whether Miller will just walk. And that's still at the front of this week's news, but since I'm also in Orlando for the Orlando Pro Summer League, I'll try to keep everyone updated on the play of this year's No. 17 pick Jrue Holiday, as well as last season's pick Marreese Speights, and Temple star Dionte Christmas.

The Sixers have combined with the New Jersey Nets to form one team. There are six teams in this Summer League, a much smaller gathering than the Rookie League in Las Vegas. Games start in about an hour, with the Sixers/Nets playing the Indiana Pacers. Here are the teams: Sixers/Nets, Pacers, Orlando Magic, Boston Celtics, Utah Jazz, and Oklahoma City Thunder. Here are some recognizable names playing, all from this year's draft: James Harden, the Thunder's No. 1 pick, B.J. Mullens, also the Thunder's first-round pick, Terrence Williams, the Nets' first-round pick, Tyler Hansbrough, the Pacers' first-round pick, and Eric Maynor, Utah's first-round pick.

Here's the schedule for the League, July 6-10, being held at the RDV Sportsplex just outside of Orlando: 


3 p.m: Indiana vs. Sixers/Nets

5 p.m: Orlando vs. Oklahoma City

7 p.m: Utah vs. Boston

July 7: 

3 p.m: Orlando vs. Boston

5 p.m: Sixers/Nets vs. Utah

7 p.m: Indiana vs. Oklahoma City

July 8:

3 p.m: Utah vs. Indiana

5 p.m: Boston vs. Oklahoma City

7 p.m: Orlando vs. Sixers/Nets

July 9: 

3 p.m: Sixers/Nets vs. Oklahoma City

5 p.m.: Orlando vs. Utah

7 p.m: Boston vs. Indiana

July 10: 

11 a.m: Oklahoma City vs. Utah

1 p.m: Boston vs. Sixers/Nets

3 p.m.: Orlando vs. Indiana

Unlike the Vegas Summer League, which is open to the public and also broadcast on NBATV, this league is closed to the public. Here's the Sixers/Nets roster: AJ Abrams, Jeff Adrien, Blake Ahearn, Dionte Christmas, Chris Douglas-Roberts, Jason Ellis, Gary Forbes, Jrue Holiday, Chris Johnson, Rob Kurz, Marreese Speights, and Terrence Williams. The team is being coached by Mike O'Koren and Aaron McKie for Philly and Tom Barrise and Roy Rogers for the Nets.

Clearly, the three guys we'll be focusing on are Holiday, Speights, and Christmas.

Holiday: With Miller's contract still up in the air, Holiday's status becomes at least a little more important. I do believe if Miller walks, or if there is a sign and trade that brings a player other than a point guard, the Sixers would consider giving the team to Lou Williams, putting Holiday as a back up. This is Rookie League, so the competition is minimal compared to the season, but last year in Vegas we saw Speights play very well, and he continued that play by contributing during the season. Since you can't watch these games (although I heard a rumor they might be broadcast on-line), I'll try to break down Holiday's play.

Speights: Speights is beyond having to prove his NBA ability, but it will be good to see what kind of improvements can be made in his game. I'm looking for him to shoot the three-pointer a little bit this week. He should be one of the best players here.

Christmas: He has a great chance. It seems he really brings something (outside shooting) that the Sixers still need. Chances are high he'll receive an invite to Sixers training camp, but he'll probably receive other invites as well. The thing with Christmas -- as I'm sure he has faced his entire career -- is the question about whether his game can translate to the professional level. I'm sure people said the same thing when he started in D-I. My bet is he'll shoot the heck out of the ball this week.

Keep checking back, I'll post at halftime of this first game, which now starts in about 30 minutes, to give you an idea of how the Sixers guys are playing. If I'm allowed (and I'm wondering who will tell me I'm not), I'll take some Blackberry photos and be posting them throughout the week.

Also, I know the Andre Miller situation is still in flux, so any updates I'll get on here ASAP.

Be back soon ...