NBA Rookies: Biggest Surprises and Disappointments
Results so far from the NBA Summer League in Vegas show a number of prospects looking stellar and a few who are not
LAS VEGAS — We are now a little past the halfway point of NBA Summer League in Las Vegas. That means we’ve probably seen the last of several big names.
The Orlando Magic shut down No. 1 overall pick Paolo Banchero after two games, and lottery picks Jaden Ivey, Shaedon Sharpe and Dyson Daniels had their participation cut short by injuries. Another lottery pick, Jeremy Sochan, is unlikely to play after recently being in the NBA health and safety protocols.
The second half of the Vegas summer league allows teams to take a deeper look at undrafted free agents auditioning for two-way deals and training camp invites.
Yesterday I covered my top six rookies through the first five days of the Vegas summer league. The list could’ve easily expanded to 10, as I’ve been impressed by several other rookies — which makes me feel comfortable about my prediction that the 2022 NBA draft class will be better than expected.
But of course, it’s early, and there are always surprises, disappointments and overreactions. The sample so far is small, and a lot of the players aren’t in perfect game shape simply because they haven’t played 5-on-5 since the college season ended.
During the predraft process, some trainers and agents prefer their players stay away from full-court action to minimize the chance of injury, meaning a number of players are rusty and out of sync. No matter how many hours players spend in the gym and preparing for the draft, it’s impossible to simulate the conditioning that comes with full-court action.
In this evaluation, when documenting slow starts, I’m also taking into account each player's role and the lack of continuity among new teammates. To make a long story short, I am not putting a great deal of stock into a player's summer league struggles.
Plenty of players overcome a rough summer league. For example, in seven summer league games in 2018, Trae Young averaged 15 points and five assists per game while only shooting 30% from the floor and 27% from 3.
And for some of the same reasons, as noted yesterday, we can’t take summer league success too seriously either.
All that said, here are the rookies who have struggled so far in Las Vegas along with several players that have caught my attention with their strong play.