The NBA’s Summer League is upon us, and the time is now for the next generation to show their stuff.
The league wastes little time getting its newest members into game action, and though Summer League rosters are vastly different from regular-season ones, each game represents a meaningful opportunity for rookies to perform against professional peers.
Here’s how this year’s lottery picks are performing thus far.
No. 1 Pick — Paolo Banchero, Orlando Magic
Stats: 20 PPG, 5 RPG, 6 APG, 2.5 STL, 11/27 (40.7), 2/4 from 3 (50.0), 16/20 (80.0) in two games played.
Update: It’s early, but thus far, no player has made an impact on the league quite like Banchero. He showed off an easy scoring touch in his first outing, posting 17 points, while converting from a number of areas on the floor.
His playmaking flair reared itself in Game 2, and though he was stellar in the points department again with 23, his late-game block, followed by a rocket assist helped power Orlando over Sacramento in OT.
No. 2 Pick — Chet Holmgren, Oklahoma City Thunder
Stats: 15.3 PPG, 9 RPG, 3 APG, 4 BLK, 13/30 (43.3), 5/13 from 3 (38.4), 15/15 FT (100.0) in three games played (one DNP, rest).
Update: Holmgren has picked up where he left off from his college days in his initial Summer League offerings, breaking down defenses with easy baskets both inside and from deep range, and flashing a rare skill for his size. A Holmgren appearance is almost always a block party, and he’s been the life of said soirée, destroying several opponent attempts in each of his showings.
No. 3 Pick — Jabari Smith Jr., Houston Rockets
Stats: 11 PPG, 8 RPG, 2 APG, 2 STL, 9/29 (31.0), 3/13 from 3 (23.1), 1/2 FT (50.0) in two games played
Update: Smith Jr.’s gotten off to a slow start, but he remains an astonishing prospect with a smooth shooting stroke, and exceptional length that gives him the tools to morph into a plus defender. Offensive aggressiveness appears to be a vital missing component to Smith’s disposition in his pair of games, but he’s found plenty of ways to be effective nonetheless, including crashing the boards hard and jumping passing lanes.
No. 4 Pick — Keegan Murray, Sacramento Kings
Stats: 19.8 PPG, 8.3 RPG, 1 APG, 1 STL 28/56 (50.0), 11/24 from 3 (45.8), 12/14 FT (85.7) in four games played.
Update: Scoring. That’s Murray’s bread-and-butter, and he’s showing how efficiently he can do so. Murray’s first showcase was superb: He torched Golden State for 26 points and eight boards, shooting an impressive 10-of-14 from the field, and 4-of-5 from deep. Murray kept his scorching start going with 24 points and seven boards days later, and showed a collected disposition under pressure against Orlando, hitting a game-tying trey to force OT.
No. 5 Pick — Jaden Ivey, Detroit Pistons
Stats: 15.5 PPG, 3 RPG, 4 APG, 2 games played, 8/16 (50.0), 3/6 from 3 (50.0), 6/6 FT (100.0) in two games played.
Update: Notre Dame women’s basketball head coach Niele Ivey beamed proudly as she watched her son put the finishing touches on his team-high 20-point affair, while adding six rebounds and six assists in the process. Ivey’s probably the most athletic guard this rookie class has to offer, and that natural spring was on full display, as he jetted past defenders, and soared to the cup with ease.
Ivey exited his second tilt with an ankle injury, but tweeted Sunday that the ailment was just a minor one.
No. 6 Pick — Bennedict Mathurin, Indiana Pacers
Stats: 23 PPG, 4 RPG, 1 STL 9/16 (56.3), 3/6 from 3 (50.0), 2/2 FT (100.0) in one game played.
Update: Mathurin oozes with confidence, as evidenced by his recent comments regarding LeBron James. And though he’s not close to the King’s level, he wholly believes he can get there.
Mathurn’s self-belief was evident in his first outing as a pro. He was all over the floor, hustling for loose balls, showing an energetic on commitment on defense, and knocking down shots from the floor, including half of his attempts from 3-point territory.
No. 7 Pick — Shaedon Sharpe, Portland Trail Blazers
Stats: 2 PPG, 0 RPG, 0 APG, 1/3 (33.3), 0/2 from 3, 0/2 FT (0.0), in one game played.
Update: Sharpe didn’t get much chance to impress his Summer League coaching staff, after going down with a small labrum tear in his shoulder. The injury will sideline him for the rest of Summer League.
No. 8 Pick — Dyson Daniels, New Orleans Pelicans
Stats: 1 PPG, 1 RPG, 2 APG, 1 STL, 0/5 (0.0), 0/0 from 3 (0.0), 1/2 FT (50.0) in one game played.
Update: Like Sharpe, Daniels had to exit his first outing, leaving N.O.’s opener with a sprained ankle. His status is uncertain for the rest of Summer League.
No. 9 Pick — Jeremy Sochan, San Antonio Spurs
Update: Sochan will not play in Summer League after a positive COVID test, plus a hamstring injury.
No. 10 Pick — Johnny Davis, Washington Wizards
Stats: 6.0 PPG, 4 RPG, 2 APG, 2 STL, 1/11 (9.1), 0/2 from 3 (0.0), 4/4 FT (100.0) in one game played
Update: Davis struggled mightily in his first game vs. Detroit, knocking down just one FG, while hitting four free throws to finish with six points in total. He’ll get a chance to correct his shortcomings Sunday vs. Phoenix.
No. 11 Pick — Ousmane Dieng, Oklahoma City Thunder
Stats: 8 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 1 APG, 12/42 (28.6), 4/23 from 3 (17.3), 4/7 FT (57.1) in four games played
Update: Dieng was one of the more unheralded prospects heading into this year’s draft, but he’s putting himself on OKC fans’ radars. Dieng hasn’t been brilliant from a percentage perspective, but he hasn’t shied away from the spotlight in the slightest, continuing to hoist shots with regularity. Dieng will need to improve his metrics to sneak into the team’s rotation, but as far as his own conviction is concerned, that cup is full.
No. 12 Pick — Jalen Williams, Oklahoma City Thunder
Stats: 13.8 PPG, 3.8 RPG, 1 APG, 22/39 (56.4), 4/7 from 3 (57.1), 7/11 FT (63.6) in four games played.
Update: Santa Clara’s Williams (not to be confused with Arkansas’ Jaylin Williams) is proving critics who believed Oklahoma City reached to snag him at No. 12 dead wrong. Williams is providing a ton for the young and active squad, including a dependable scoring presence, rim-running and a deft catch-and-shoot ability.
Williams has been extremely efficient, shooting 8-of-11 in his first appearance and going 4-of-4 from deep through his first two outings.
No. 13 Pick — Jalen Duren, Detroit Pistons
Stats: 11 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 2 APG, 2 BLK, 8/11 (72.7), 0/0 from 3 (0.0), 6/9 FT (66.7) in two games played.
Update: There were a plethora of Jalens in this year’s draft, and each has made an impression on the NBA landscape. The 6-foot-11, 250-pound Duren has been a beast in the painted area, getting off the ground with ease and erupting for a few thunderous slams that have Detroit salivating over his pick-and-roll potential with Ivey and Cade Cunningham.
No. 14 — Ochai Agbaji, Cleveland Cavaliers
Stats: 16 PPG, 3 RPG, 2 APG, 5/11 (45.5), 4/9 from 3 (44.4), 2/2 FT (100.0) in one game played.
Update: Ogbaji is known for his winning leadership, rangy athleticism, and dependable 3-ball. And in his debut for the Cavs, he showed all three, hitting four of his nine tries from beyond the arc, and collecting three rebounds to go with two assists. Ogbaji is viewed by scouts as a ready-made, heady player, and his maturity was easily detectable in his first contest on the pro circuit.
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