NBA Summer League Report: Paolo Banchero vs. Jabari Smith
But neither was the star of the game as Vegas action got underway
LAS VEGAS — Despite scorching-hot temperatures outside and arctic temperatures inside the arenas (the Thomas & Mack Center and the Cox Pavilion), the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas is circled on my calendar as one of the most important times of the year.
This is my 10th summer league, and I’ve been amazed at how much the league has grown. In 2011, it looked more like a high school Christmas tournament than an NBA league. NBA front office executives and players roamed freely between games.
A lot has changed since then, but the overreactions to summer league performances have remained the same. Given it’s our first time to see these players in an NBA context, we all overreact to what we see in Vegas.
I can remember being impressed with Kevin Knox’s play in 2018 and concerned about Trae Young’s NBA fit after watching him struggle in his first few contests. Four years later, Young has progressed into All-NBA status, while Knox has moved on to his third team.
With that caveat, here are some observations so far:
Chet Holmgren shined in his debut Tuesday night against the Utah Jazz at the brief Salt Lake City Summer League, dazzling the small crowd with his shooting, defense and shot creation on his way to 23 points, seven rebounds, six blocks and four 3s in 24 minutes. He showcased a well-rounded game that we didn’t get a chance to see on full display at Gonzaga as he played a supporting role next to Drew Timme.