The NBA Summer League ended on July 17th. It was an opportunity for young players to show the world their skills and what they can bring to the NBA. These amateur players were battling each other for a spot on their team’s regular season roster. Now that the regular season has started these young guns must show they can contend against the world’s greatest players like Lebron James and Russell Westbrook. They have to prove they are capable of competing at the highest level of basketball.
One player, De’Aaron Fox, is showing his potential and putting up 15 points per game, second best for a rookie so far this year. Fox was drafted 5th overall to the Sacramento Kings. He averages 27.3 minutes per game and is the starting point guard over veteran George Hill. Many compare Fox to John Wall because of his speed and his ability to cut to the basket. If he can keep up his good work in the NBA and stay healthy, he can become a key part of his team and become one of the top point guards in the NBA.
Many believe Lonzo Ball of the LA Lakers could win Rookie Of The Year. Ball was drafted 2nd overall and ended up being Summer League MVP. He is known for his elite passing ability as he led the Summer League in assists, averaging 9.3 per game. Lonzo Ball is dead last in shooting percentage in the league which is concerning for his coach and his fans.
Donovan Mitchell of the Utah Jazz was the highest scorer in the Summer League, averaging 28 points per game. Now in the regular season, he is only averaging 9.5 points. It is still just the beginning of Mitchell’s career and he still has potential in the league.
There are some underrated players in the draft that were low picks but have been making an impact on the floor. Kyle Kuzma was the 27th pick in the draft, he averages 16.7 points per game and 31.2 minutes.Some of the current top players in the NBA went low in their draft and turned into superstars. Players like Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kawhi Leonard, and Steph Curry were all slept on in drafts and are now some of the league’s best.
Most lower picks don’t see a lot of floor time in their first season, and most won’t be starters. Going from college to pro is a huge change. Pro basketball is faster and more intense, also some court features change, so it takes time for rookies to adjust.
The champions in the Summer League were the Orlando Magic, whose pick of the 2017 draft was Jonathan Isaac. Isaac is a 6’11 power forward who is a decent shooter and is able to hit threes. Many compare him to Kevin Durant because of his height and his ability to shoot. He is also one of the best defenders in the draft and is a monster shot blocker. But he is still not getting a lot of floor time, averaging only 18.3 minutes in a 48-minute game.
Markelle Fultz was drafted first overall to the 76ers this year. Many say if Fultz’s shoulder injury does not heal, the first overall pick might turn out to be a bust. According to Philly.com he has Scapular Dyskinesis. The 76ers are on top of his rehab and will have him back on the court as soon as possible.
Now 3 weeks into the NBA season, we are getting our first glimpse at if the rookies are living up to their hype, or are a bust. De’Aaron Fox, is showing his potential on the Kings, 27th overall Kyle Kuzma is getting minutes and points on the Lakers, and Lonzo Ball is struggling to shoot with confidence.