We’re now a few weeks removed from the end of the NBA summer league, and the same guys you saw looking spiffy on their dream night at the NBA draft had the chance to take to the hardwood and show what they are made of. From Paolo Banchero, the first pick in the draft, to Hugo Besson, the final pick, rookies all over the league are studying what they stumbled on during the intense two weeks, and strengthen any weaknesses that were shown. So, until we see them again in a few months in the NBA preseason, here are some points to takeaway from the Summer League.
Top Five Scorers
The NBA will always be filled with players that just know how to put the ball in the hoop by any means necessary. This summer 2022 expressed Moses Moody, Cam Thomas, Tre Murphy III, Keegan Murray, and Quentin Grimes as the leaders in points per game during the regular part of the summer league season. The most impressive out of the list, I would say was Thomas’ scoring performance. Playing in all five games, Thomas averaged nearly the same amount as the leader in points averaged, Moody. Thomas, the second year player, had an impressive game against Milwaukee, scoring 31 points in whatever way you can think of. Driving, shooting, and-ones, he’s able to do it all as he showed in his first season in 2021 also.
Summer League Tournament Champions: Trailblazers
For years prior, defense has been an emphasis to the Trailblazer team in the summer league, and this year was no different. While not racking huge blocking and stealing team statistics, you can see by the way Portland plays that there is an intensity and will to get the ball back for their offense. As we were also able to see in the championship game from the young players, they didn’t have a problem closing the game out. I feel like it is easy for players to take their foot off the gas and allow a team back into the game, but Portland showed in the championship that they will push until the clock hits zero. These additions from the draft, as well as players showing quality growth, shows there is a good future in Portland.
Summer League MVP Keegan Murray
Many impressed in summer league 2k23, but Murray was that guy. He played in four games in which he averaged 31 minutes, scoring 23 points. As said earlier, he was one of the top players in scoring, but by watching games with your eyes you can tell he brought way more than points to a game. Anyone that had the pleasure of competing beside him had to have gained some sort of confidence or motivation seeing the buzzer beaters, fast break dunks, and nice assists.
A lot is being done in the NBA currently, especially concerning trades and free agency. What can change the weight of the NBA player market? How effective first and second year players can be in the season to come. We are hopeful for breakout stars, and who knows, maybe these same guys will lead to the ultimate goal of a championship.