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NBA

Who are the most interesting players to watch in the Las Vegas NBA Summer League 2022?

There have been some fantastic showings from the rookie class in this year’s Summer League. These are the players to keep an eye on over the next few days.

Update:
There have been some fantastic showings from the rookie class in this year’s Summer League. These are the players to keep an eye on over the next few days.
Bart YoungGetty

The NBA Summer League has never been known as must see TV, but for the basketball fanatics who can’t wait until next season’s tip off, this short sprint of summertime hoops is sure to quench that thirst that has been lingering since the Warriors won it all last month.

What is Summer League

Aside from being a first glimpse at the new wave of rookies coming into the league, the Summer League serves as a chance for young players who are on the fringe, or still have something to prove before teams are molded in a few months time.

There are a good amount of rookies getting their first taste of the speed and physicality at the next level. For second-year guys and G-League players, the Summer League is a chance to showcase their talent while getting healthy minutes over the course of the short summer season.

Chet Holmgren

The lengthy sharp shooter who draws comparisons to Kevin Durant, and drew praise from KD himself after his debut, is one of the most interesting players in this edition of Summer League. The 7 footer that weighs under 200 pounds has brought a lot of excitement to an already talented, but young, squad in Oklahoma City.

His debut was a dream, scoring 23 points, seven rebounds, four assists, and six blocks sending shockwaves around the league. He followed that up with an 11 point, 12 rebound outing the next day against the Grizzlies, and in a matchup against Jabari Smith Jr. and the Rockets, he had 10 points and 8 rebounds and four blocks.

Paolo Banchero

A lot of people were surprised by the Orlando Magic’s selection with the first overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft. It was thought that the Magic would go with the big man Jabari Smith Jr. out of Auburn, but Orlando went with the dynamic Dukie who can score, make plays, and rebound the ball.

Banchero and Smith, coincidentally, played each other in their Summer League debuts. The Magic and Banchero won that matchup, as the first overall pick dropped 17 points, four rebounds and six assists in his first taste of NBA action. Banchero then went off against Sacramento Kings, scoring 23 points, six points and six assists.

Jabari Smith Jr.

There will be a whole lot expected from Jabari Smith Jr. in Houston, and the Rockets should feel thankful that he dropped to the number three pick in this year’s draft. He will always be compared to Paolo Banchero because it was the former Auburn Tiger who was favorite to be selected by Orlando.

We got our first look at this newest rivalry in the NBA in Smith’s Summer League debut against Banchero. The Rocket’s newest big man started slow, but finished the night with 10 points, seven rebound and three assists. Smith and the Rockets then played Chet Holmgren and Oklahoma City, and Smith scored 12 points and had nine rebounds in the two point win over the Thunder.

Jalen Ivey

The slasher guard out of Purdue was one of the most coveted players to come out of this year’s draft. While he didn’t get the accolades or attention that the top three picks got in the pre draft hype, he had a fantastic two seasons with the Boiler Makers and was taken 5th by the Detroit Pistons.

Ivey had 20 points, six rebounds and six assists against the Trail Blazers, in his Summer League debut. He showed his lightening quickness and freakish hops are going to translate just fine at the next level. He played just five minutes in the next game against Washington, but scored 11 points in his short shift.

Jaden Hardy

The Mavs took Hardy with the 37th pick in the draft, which was a shocking drop down the board. Now it’s time for Hardy to show all the other teams that passed up on him early in the selection show.

He averaged 17.7 points and 4.6 rebounds with the NBA G-League Ignite last season, and was one of the most league-ready players in this class. He showed that in his debut scoring 28 points in the 100-99 overtime loss to the Chicago Bulls.

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