Taking a broader look at the Orlando, Las Vegas and Utah Summer Leagues, whether they are rookies, sophomores or free agents, who has stood out to you the most? Conversely, have any players been particularly disappointing in the face of lofty expectations?
AM: I can’t even pretend here. I very much enjoyed the excitement that the Bucks provided in their opener in Las Vegas (which was also the first game of the tournament) but that enthusiasm for substandard play quickly waned.
Outside of Bucks games, I watched very little for the sake of my own sanity. Ben Simmons looks very good on Vine but that doesn’t tell the whole story. That’s probably the best way of summing up Summer League overall too.
The guys who really impress tend to be the ones who have experience under their belts, are playing without the pressure of fighting for their NBA future and ultimately are just way too good to be on the floor. If I was to pick one rookie from teams the Bucks faced up with who I liked the look of it’d be Wade Baldwin. He still has a lot of work to do, but his potential is real. I hope he doesn’t become the one who got away for Milwaukee.
TWindisch: This won’t be a surprise to anyone, but even despite his weak offensive efficiency I liked a lot of what I saw from Denzel Valentine. Pascal Siakam also had a really strong Summer League with the Raptors–he’s not a very well-known player, but he’s going to have a solid NBA career.
As far as disappointments, it’s hard not to target Georgios Papagiannis. He scored an atrocious 0.50 points per possession during his time with the Summer Kings–that translates to an offensive rating of 50. Brandon Ingram also didn’t show much to justify his status as a second overall pick, although it’s always been known he needs to grow into his body before realizing his potential.
JT: There were certainly many impressive performers throughout all of the Summer Leagues, but the first one that comes to mind is Norman Powell of the Toronto Raptors. Over the course of his short career, Powell has already risen to become a solid NBA rotation player and based on his play in Las Vegas, Powell could be on his way to bigger and better things in the near future. Of course, the mention of Powell will drive some Bucks fans into a tizzy, but overall, Powell showed through his play why he’s above Summer League at this point.
As far as disappointing players go, I think I have to go with Ben Simmons. I have to be honest, I’m not a believer in Ben Simmons as a superstar talent and although he’s already a magnificent passer, I’m really lukewarm on the other aspects in his game right now. Again, reacting to Summer League play, whether good or bad, doesn’t do you any favors, but I really am curious to how he fares in his rookie season with the Philadelphia 76ers this year.
Check back next week when we’ll reconvene for another roundtable!