The Stage is Set

Four players, four situations. Orange alum are heading to where oranges grow to show if they can blossom into successful professionals. More inside.

With the NBA a few weeks removed from its national championship and even shorter a distance from its draft, Summer League will get started on Sunday, July 7th, and run through Friday, July 12th, in Orlando, Florida.

Getting their first time on the court with a professional franchise are Michael Carter-Williams and James Southerland, both Syracuse Orange alum.

Carter-Williams enter this crucial workout time after being drafted in the lottery, 11th overall.

With July 10th potentially being the day that the Philadelphia 76ers trade away their starting point guard Jrue Holiday, Carter-Williams' reps at Orlando Summer League become vitally important to how the 76ers' staff view him in their current and future plans.

Southerland comes to Summer League in a different situation. He is not guaranteed a team. He is not guaranteed money. Frankly, he is not guaranteed anything from anybody. It is up to him to play well enough to catch the eye of a franchise.

The benefit of being an undrafted free agent is that Southerland does not have to grab the attention of the 76ers alone. They do not have his rights. No one does. The better Southerland plays, the more teams can potentially give him a look which can result in raising his opportunity to get into the NBA. Summer League is crucial for Southerland, therefore, to get a franchise to like him enough to offer him a contract that provides him the bridge he needs to get from the porch to inside the house.

Joining Carter-Williams and Southerland in Orlando, Florida, is their former Orange teammate Fab Melo.

Though not on the same squad as them, Melo will be competing in the Sunshine State with the Boston Celtics, the team that drafted him a year ago in 2012.

Melo, despite being under contract, is on a rebuilding franchise that just hired first-time-NBA coach Brad Stevens and is in the process of trading away large pieces of their veteran talent. The plays he makes or does not make can weigh heavily in how he is viewed and used in the upcoming Celtics' season.

The former Syracuse center spent most of his first professional season playing in the NBDL, the NBA's development league.

Jonny Flynn, who competed with the Orange before the time of the aforementioned players, will have his first opportunity to be on the same court as his fellow Syracuse alum when he takes the hardwood with the Indiana Paces in Summer League.

After being the starting point guard of the Minnesota Timberwolves in his rookie season (2009-10), Flynn went on to become a reserve with the Timberwolves, Houston Rockets, and Portland Trail Blazers.

He did not even compete in the NBA last season, playing in Australia.

Thus, Flynn is in a tougher position than he was as a rookie. With no contract or roster spot, he is fighting to get noticed and get a second chance after dropping off the NBA needs list.

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