Reviewing largest NBA summer season league winners, losers and nice surprises | NBA


Everyone knows how ineffective summer season league will be within the large image. It’s a small pattern dimension of 5 or so video games, performed in opposition to groups working with nearly no apply time and in opposition to few official NBA gamers. For essentially the most half, what occurs in Vegas Summer time League ought to keep in Vegas Summer time League. Or Sacramento, or Utah, for that matter.

Nonetheless, over the two-plus weeks of July basketball that featured high-profile rookies and veteran castoffs alike, there have been large winners offering pleasure for his or her fan bases. There have been additionally some losers and issues we discovered worrying. And there have been surprises, too.

Right here’s how we sorted out all three teams…


Greatest summer season league winners

Jaren Jackson Jr., Grizzlies: Consistency wasn’t Jackson’s factor at summer season league, and it is without doubt one of the considerations about him coming into his NBA profession after an up-and-down freshman yr at Michigan State. He opened his summer season profession with 29 factors on 9-for-15 capturing, Eight-for-13 from the Three-point line, then scored 35 complete factors in his subsequent 4 video games, on 27.Zero % capturing.

Nonetheless, his capability to run the ground, step again to the Three-point arc offensively and block photographs within the lane (Four.Three per recreation) bodes effectively for his future.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Clippers: The Clippers had been scheming to land Gilgeous-Alexander all through the pre-draft course of, and landed him in a commerce with Charlotte on draft night time. There’ll probably be groups regretting not taking him regardless of his reluctance to journey for exercises earlier than the draft.

He’s a long-armed dynamo defensively, averaging 2.Three steals and 1.Zero blocks, and the second-half scoring burst he had at Kentucky carried into the summer season, as he averaged 19.Zero factors on 45.Eight % capturing.

Kevin Knox, Knicks: The 35.1 % capturing in 4 video games was not preferrred, however Knox grew to become occasion viewing in his summer season league time, ending with a median of 21.Three factors per recreation. He commanded the ball, was aggressive offensively and ran the ground.

The knocks in opposition to Knox popping out of Kentucky had been principally defused by his strategy and manufacturing in Vegas, the place he performed to contact and confirmed a diverse offensive recreation.

Harry Giles and Justin Jackson, Kings: We noticed a few of Jackson final yr throughout Sacto’s most depressing season, and he confirmed what you’d need to see out of a second-year man taking part in in summer season league: ahead strides. He averaged 19.Zero factors in 4 video games in Las Vegas, and averaged 17.Zero in three video games within the Sacramento summer season league earlier than that.

However we had not seen something from Giles since his injury-plagued 2016-17 season at Duke. Lastly wholesome (we hope), Giles was spectacular along with his athleticism, depth and defensive presence that has earned him comparisons to Kevin Garnett. He’s obtained an extended solution to go, however his summer season displaying was a very good begin.

WATCH: LeBron James will get standing ovation at summer season league recreation

Wendell Carter Jr., Bulls: Carter was polished all the way in which on either side of the ball and lent some credence to those that thought he was undervalued because the No. 7 choose. He was clean offensively (14.6 factors, 55.1 % capturing) and spectacular defensively, one thing we’d not seen a lot throughout his one season at Duke.

Jonathan Isaac and Mo Bamba, Magic: The pair solely performed three video games, and the important thing phrase for each guys stays “uncooked.” However the different phrase is size, and the Isaac-Bamba combo has arms for days and the potential to be an imposing duo clogging up the paint defensively.

With Aaron Gordon, they might make for a stable defensive entrance, however the query will probably be scoring. Isaac confirmed extra of a knack for attending to the free-throw line, and he had 21 factors in his SL debut, however was 13-for-37 from the sphere in his three outings, and simply 1-for-Eight from the Three-point arc.

Collin Sexton, Cavaliers: He’s most likely by no means going to be a high-efficiency man — he took 112 photographs in seven video games, second-most in Vegas — however he makes large performs and confirmed a toughness that resembles Kyle Lowry. Sexton will get to the rim, however very similar to Lowry at his age, he might want to develop his playmaking abilities.

Aaron Vacation, Pacers: The stat line speaks volumes: 14.5 factors, 6.Eight assists, 5.Zero rebounds, 2.Three steals. Vacation slipped to No. 23 within the draft and was undervalued as a result of not many groups had been available in the market for level guards. He’ll sit behind Darren Collison for a yr, however count on him to be able to take over as a starter in 12 months 2.


Greatest summer season league losers

Robert Williams, Celtics: He went from a possible lottery choose the day earlier than the draft, to skipping the inexperienced room on draft night time, to touchdown at No. 27 for Boston. He was late for an introductory convention name (a scheduling error was blamed), then missed his flight to affix the crew. As soon as prepared for motion in Vegas, he performed seven minutes earlier than struggling a calf damage. Oh, and he misplaced his pockets — twice.

He’s a low-risk, high-reward participant for Boston, however that top reward appears a good distance off.

Marvin Bagley III, Kings: There was a sigh of aid within the Kings’ entrance places of work when Bagley made his summer season debut and logged 18 factors on 6-for-11 capturing. Sacramento has a lot driving on Bagley’s success, contemplating it handed on Luka Doncic and associates to select Bagley.

Sadly, the primary recreation was the excessive level. Bagley was Three-for-16 for seven factors in Sport 2, and was — extremely — Zero-for-2 with one level in 29 minutes in his third summer season recreation. Taking part in in opposition to No. 1 choose Deandre Ayton in his solely Las Vegas look, Bagley was outscored, 21-15, and was simply 5-for-13 from the sphere.

Josh Jackson and Dragan Bender, Suns: These guys, back-to-back No. Four picks in 2016 and 2017, mixed to start out 72 video games for the Suns final yr. You may need anticipated them to return into summer season league forward of the curve, dominate for a few video games, then get pulled from the roster and allowed to hit the Strip — particularly Jackson, who was a much-improved participant within the second half of final season.

As a substitute, every was discouraging in how dangerous he was. Jackson averaged 10.Three factors and made simply 24.Four % of his photographs in three video games. Bender performed 5 video games and didn’t appear to suit with Ayton in any respect, averaging 6.6 factors on 37.1 % capturing. He could not final for much longer in Phoenix.

Trae Younger, Hawks: As we went over this week, Younger’s summer season was all around the map. He struggled badly in Utah, the place he shot Three-for-24 from the Three-point line, however he improved as soon as he obtained to Las Vegas. His skills as a playmaker had been spectacular, however he was drafted to attain, and he might want to set up himself as a constant shooter to try this.

MORE: NBA scouts break down Younger’s strengths, weaknesses

Terrance Ferguson, Thunder: Ferguson ended on a excessive observe, with 14 factors on 5-for-Eight capturing in his fifth summer season league recreation, however that couldn’t conceal simply how ineffective Ferguson was in his first 4 video games. Ferguson ought to have been essentially the most assertive participant on the ground, since he was the one Thunder common with vital NBA expertise.

As a substitute, he was 7-for-32 from the sphere, 2-for-16 from the Three-point line and scored 21 complete factors in these 4 video games. For the match, he averaged 28.Eight minutes per recreation — among the many prime 25 in Las Vegas in that class — however solely 7.Zero factors. Nobody else who performed as a lot as Ferguson scored so little.

Donte DiVincenzo, Bucks, and Jalen Brunson, Mavericks: There was a lot to love about fellow Villanova freshman Omari Spellman (a Hawks draftee), however his two veteran Wildcats teammates DiVincenzo and Brunson had a tough time in Las Vegas.

DiVincenzo was not anticipated to be a first-rounder (not to mention a top-17 choose) till his 31-point efficiency within the NCAA championship adopted by his sterling athletic testing on the pre-draft mix. However he carried none of that momentum to summer season league, the place he had a groin damage, performed two video games and missed all eight photographs he took.

Brunson fell to the second spherical on draft night time, however ought to have the chance to play for Dallas this season. In 5 summer season video games, although, he scored 6.Eight factors and was simply 6-for-20 from the Three-point line (30.Zero %) and, worse, Four-for-24 on 2-point makes an attempt (16.7 %). Brunson did a good job operating the offense, however he averaged Three.Zero turnovers in 20.2 minutes.

Georgios Papagiannis, Path Blazers: It’s probably the final we’ll see of Papagiannis in an NBA uniform got here within the Las Vegas championship recreation, when he made it on the ground for 2 garbage-time minutes in opposition to the Lakers and missed a shot.

We had been as surprised as anybody when Kings president Vlade Divac made him a lottery choose in 2016, and fewer surprised when he proceeded to common Four.1 factors in 39 NBA video games. Vlade’s Folly put up 1.Three factors on Three-for-13 capturing in summer season league this yr, incomes himself a waiver and a brand new contract again in Greece.


Greatest summer season league surprises

De’Anthony Melton, Rockets: For a Houston franchise that didn’t have a lot go proper this offseason, the steal of the draft is likely to be with the Rockets. Melton was thought-about a top-20 expertise, however he fell to No. 46 as a result of he was compelled to sit down out final season, when he was caught up within the NCAA bribery scandal.

Melton confirmed he has a knack for getting out within the open flooring and making perimeter photographs. He can be a shutdown perimeter defender along with his size and athleticism.

Trevon Blueitt, Pelicans: Positive, Blueitt may not be capable to do a lot else in an NBA uniform aside from shoot, however in his time in Las Vegas, he confirmed he can do this very, very effectively, averaging 18.Three factors and making 53.6 % of his 3s. That ought to have come as no shock — he shot 41.7 % from the Three-point line at Xavier.

Perhaps the one shock is that the Pels gave Blueitt a two-way G-League contract, permitting him to return up for 45 days. For a crew all the time wanting so as to add perimeter capturing assist, Blueitt could have warranted a full rookie minimal deal.

Mitchell Robinson, Knicks: After a tumultuous yr during which he bolted Western Kentucky and determined to easily work out on his personal, Robinson was one of many nice query marks of final yr’s draft — we now have not seen him in a aggressive recreation since April 2017. It seems he didn’t have the rumored first-round assure, and the Knicks took an opportunity on him with the 36th choose on this yr’s draft.

To this point, so good: Robinson confirmed his athleticism, his capability to bolt down the ground with a clean gait that belies his 7-1 body and the power to regulate the paint with rebounding (10.2 per recreation) and blocked photographs (20 in 5 video games, a Las Vegas Summer time League file).

The Younger Lakers: Los Angeles earned a spot within the LVSL ultimate, and level guard Josh Hart was the match MVP, scoring a median of 22.Four factors, constructing on a stable rookie season and displaying he’s prepared for extra accountability. First-round choose Moe Wagner was so-so within the match, and he had his summer season stint shortened by knee and ankle accidents.

Second-round choose Svi Mykhailiuk, nevertheless, was excellent, and had probably the greatest video games by any participant within the match within the semifinals, when he logged 31 factors on 12-for-20 capturing. Each he and Hart determine to be contributing reserves in LA subsequent season. 

Wade Baldwin IV and Jake Layman, Path Blazers: Portland introduced a crew laden with veterans to Las Vegas, and gained the match championship with them. Zach Collins and Caleb Swanigan had been stable sufficient, draftees Anfernee Simons and Gary Trent Jr. confirmed potential and the crew was auditioning the likes of John Jenkins, Archie Goodwin, Casper Ware and Ok.J. McDaniels.

However the two guys who stood out had been Baldwin and Layman, vital for a crew in search of to cobble collectively a bench.

Baldwin had a disastrous rookie yr in Memphis, and was picked up by Portland final yr. He didn’t play a lot, however posted good G-League numbers that provided some hope for him as a defensive-minded combo guard. He pushed that function ahead in Las Vegas, displaying a functionality to run the crew, ending with 13.Four factors and seven.Four assists per recreation (second in Vegas). He must be prepared for minutes alongside Seth Curry off Portland’s depleted bench.

Layman obtained a little bit of a shock in that Portland assured his contract for subsequent season on the finish of June regardless of poor Three-point capturing in each the NBA (26.9 %) and G-League (22.6 %). Layman should make 3s to justify his NBA existence and was adequate in summer season league play (13.Four factors on 57.1 % capturing, 60.9 % from the Three-point line) to offer some hope for a rotation spot subsequent yr.

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