The Las Vegas NBA Summer League provided the first glimpse into the future for many bright young players in the Association. Victor Wembanyama was clearly the main attraction, but I was impressed by the performance of several players. They may not immediately add to the fantasy (or even this season), but it’s worth reflecting on some of the best performances from the opening weekend of the Summer League.
The number one overall pick of the 2023 NBA Draft shook the rust from his first game, putting up 27 points (9-14 FG, 2-4 3PT, 7-12 FT) with 12 rebounds, two triples, three steals and one block over 27 minutes in a loss to the Trail Blazers on Sunday night.
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I thought he looked a lot more comfortable in his second Vegas Summer League game, and it looked like the Spurs were making a concerted effort to get him a better look at the basket and also give him room to operate above the break and reach its middle class. shot that could become his bread-and-butter. He wasn’t the best player, but his athleticism and creativity on the fringe really showed against Portland, and while we won’t see him again this summer, his fantasy allure has been validated.
He has been the best player in the Summer League and to no one’s surprise he has been eliminated for the rest of the tournament. He deserved that and is the early lead for Summer League MVP.
He led the Rockets to two wins in his two games (including a thrilling buzzer-beater on opening night) and led the Summer League in scoring through Tuesday. Before being eliminated, he averaged 35.5 points with seven rebounds, four assists, three triples and 1.5 shares with 49/33/85 shooting splits. I doubt fantasy managers were expecting such a big offensive explosion, but hopefully this level of confidence will continue into the season.
He averaged 21.5 shot attempts per game in Vegas, and while that won’t happen once the regular season is over, it was great to see him succeed with so much volume. The other point for improvement was his positional play. He registered only a few assists against Portland, but against Detroit he totaled six dimes. Play alongside different shoot-first guys like Yellow green, Fred VanVleet And Kevin Porter Jr., adding this element to his game would improve his fantasy value for next season.
As I said on Good Word with Goodwill, Smith “understood the assignment.” He came into Summer League to show a willingness to get better and put in the work, as he alluded to after his first game in Vegas, and he did, plus some. His growth was one of the biggest takeaways from the first few days of Summer League.
George’s play in the Summer League made me doubt whether he even belongs in the Summer League. He’s been so good.
The 16th pick of the 2023 NBA Draft is firmly in talks for Summer League MVP after delivering two impeccable performances:
During his first two Summer League games, he averaged 29.5 points, 8.5 assists, 2.5 rebounds with 5.5 threes, 1.5 steals and 1.0 blocks in 32.2 minutes per game. He is second in points, third in assists and second in three-pointers per game over that period and looks like a player who can contribute right away.
And the path to playtime isn’t very far off. Jordan Clarkson And Languages Horton-Tucker signed up for their respective player options this summer, so they will be on expiring contracts next season (which is very attractive in this market) and unlimited free agents. Also, Colin Sexton is also on the trade block. Ohai Agbaji can play SG or SF, so he’s the only Jazz backcourt player I see staying in Utah for the next several seasons.
George is a player I’ll definitely keep an eye on during training camp, and if any of the aforementioned three players were moved, George’s fantasy stock would grow massively.
Heat culture may have done it again. How do they find consistently underrated players who exceed expectations? Robinson is just the latest example.
He put one together most dominant performances through the first few days of Summer League and followed it up with 15 points (6-10 FG, 1-3 3PT, 2-2 FT) with nine rebounds, one assist and one steal. He’s the only player to average at least 20 points and 10 rebounds, yet he’s unlikely to crack the rotation by playing behind Bam Adebayo And Thomas Bryant. Still, he’s played well enough for his achievements to be recognized so far.
Tari Eason – SF/PF, Houston Rockets
He made the NBA2K22 All-Summer League team and has a good chance of winning it back after averaging 23.0 points, 9.5 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 2.0 threes, 1.0 steals and 3.0 blocks in 32.2 minutes per game. Houston also knocked him out, and I came away encouraged by his offensive aggressiveness. He converted 36% of his three-point attempts and 49% of his 19.5 shot attempts in his two Vegas games.
Eason is known for his defensive tenacity and effort, but the growth in his willingness to shoot threes (he averaged 5.5 tries over two games) and shot attempts in general gave me hope that he can be more than a stock man in fantasy. Speaking to sources close to the Rockets, the power forward spot is still open to competition. Jabari Smith Jr. did his best to fend off Eason, but this is going to be a position battle that I’ll be watching closely as the season gets closer.
His talent is undeniable, but unfortunately he will have to miss three to four weeks with an ankle injury. He put the stats in his lone play against the Trail Blazers on opening night, finishing with 16 points, five boards, four assists, four blocks and three steals.
Collecting seven stocks in one game is special. He went back and forth with the second overall pick Scott Hendersonand it was arguably one of Summer League’s best matchups through Tuesday.
Some of Thompson’s finishes wi
th his left hand are nice. Little did I know he had an enticing mix of creativity and finesse in his bag:
Of Fred VanVleet Signing with the Rockets, Thompson’s path to playing time is yet to be determined, but playing this level of defense, coupled with his playmaking, earns him minutes.
I wish we got to see more of him in just one game, but every Amen denier saw that playing with Overtime Elite didn’t affect his ability to compete at the NBA level.
I came away with the impression that Wallace would apply pressure Lu Dorts starting role. He is a better shooter with a smoother handle that can also facilitate.
He lost six threes in his debut, an aspect of his game that could help the Thunder right away. OKC was middle-of-the-pack in three-point percentage and three-pointers made per game, so if Wallace can keep knocking down shots on the perimeter, he could emerge as a deep-league pick or early waiver target. Although, I wouldn’t be surprised if he jumps Dort into training camp and becomes a regular in OKC’s rotation by the season opener.
He looks like a man among the boys, averaging 17.0 points, 12.5 rebounds, 0.5 assists, 0.5 steals and 1.5 blocks in less than 30 minutes per night in Vegas so far .
The Pacers may have called up Jackson’s replacement Jarace Walker (traded to Indiana on draft night), so he goes to training camp in competition for the starting PF spot. Jackson’s strong performances in Summer League should boost his chances.
Chet Holmgren – PF/C, Oklahoma City Thunder
Watch Chet live and the similarities between Holmgren and from Wembanyama games was hard. Holmgren averages 16 points, 10 rebounds, three assists, two blocks and one steal in his only game in Vegas.
In terms of value, Holmgren will be a bargain compared to Wemby per draft season, and they will do similar things such as scoring, rebounding and blocking. I had hoped Holmgren would try more shots from beyond the arc, but he’s probably still getting into a rhythm after missing all season last season with a Lisfranc injury in his right foot. The Summer League hasn’t changed much about my stance on Holmgren as a Rookie of the Year candidate and a mid-round pick in fantasy.