After graduating from Illinois in the spring, both Rayvonte Rice and Nnanna Egwu began preparations for the 2015 NBA Draft. Unfortunately neither of them were selected. However the good news is that they both secured contracts to play in the 2015 NBA Summer League.
The Summer League consists of a few separate week-long prospect camps in Las Vegas, Orlando, and Utah; professional franchises bring in prospects--both drafted and undrafted--to compete against each other. It gives fans a chance to watch their team's new draft picks while providing front offices further opportunities to estimate a player's ability against NBA competition.
Nnanna Egwu inked a deal with the Orlando Magic, who hosted the first rounds of play at their facilities in Orlando. Meanwhile, Rayvonte Rice was suiting up for the home state Chicago Bulls during the third week of play in Las Vegas. Here's a brief recap of how they each performed:
Egwu played for the Magic's Blue Team (they also had a White Team) and he got to play alongside some big names. Headlined by Aaron Gordan, Elfrid Payton, and Mario Hezonja, the squad also featured former Big Ten players Maurice Walker (Minnesota), Roy Devyn Marble (Iowa), Drew Crawford (Northwestern), and Jordan Morgan (Michigan).
Egwu held his own despite the talent; he played in all five games, starting four of them, and playing about 20 minutes per contest. He *only* averaged 3.2 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 1.4 blocks per game, but as we all know, Egwu is a player who provides value in a multitude of ways.
However, Egwu's inconsistency proved to be somewhat of a downfall throughout the week. In the first game against the Los Angeles Clippers, the former Illini big man notched 3 points, 3 boards, and 2 blocks in 32 minutes of action. That's a respectable stat line when you consider his impact on the defensive end. But in next two games Egwu combined for 0 points, 1 rebound, 2 blocks, 3 turnovers, and 6 personal fouls.
Those back-to-back poor performances resulted in diminished playing time for game four, but Egwu was able to recompose himself and he tallied 2 points, 5 rebounds, and 2 steals in just 15 minutes of action. Nnanna finished his Summer League session on a superb note by recording a double-double (11 points, 11 rebounds), 3 blocks, and 2 assists.
If Egwu can somehow find the success he had in the last game on a semi-consistent basis, he has a chance to make a struggling team like the Magic who are looking for prospects.
The Bulls' Summer League team featured 2014 lottery pick Doug McDermott and 2015 first-rounder Bobby Portis; they were coached by former Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg. Though talented, this Chicago squad wasn't as deep as Orlando's team so it's pretty surprising that Rice didn't play more than he did.
In short, Rice wasn't as fortunate as Egwu; he totaled just 4 points and 9 rebounds in the team's three games.
Rice had pre-draft workouts for nearly half the league so there's still a chance he could be signed to a 10-day contract or something like that. He needed a strong performance in Summer League to help get him on a team, but unfortunately that didn't happen.