Summer League. A time of the year meant to assist rookies in transitioning to the NBA. There’s not much emphasis put on the summer league and it really isn’t a true indicator of whether or not someone will be a bust. Going through the first 5 picks of the pick of the draft these are the players that have shown promise and some that seem to be struggling.
- Markelle Fultz/ Philadelphia 76ers
A very interesting prospect for the young core in Philadelphia. He is a player that has shown plenty of flash in his brief summer league stint. He’s a guy who is smooth on the court and shows little emotion while he is playing. He is showing everything that he showed while playing at Washington University. He has the offensive skill set that Philadelphia needs and has given them an asset who can shoot and create space effortlessly. Fultz looks comfortable and is active on offense even when the ball is not in his hand. At times he was shaky with his on-ball defense but he has very active hands. He will continue to develop and be that guard Philadelphia needs even if Ben Simmons becomes the primary ball handler.
- Lonzo Ball/ Los Angeles Lakers
Through all the family drama and time in the spotlight it was time for Lonzo Ball to show up and give the fans what they wanted to see. He’s a player who, in early games looked like he was trying to do much. His shooting was horrendous and in the first game and finished shooting 2-15 from the field and was 1-11 from 3pt range. His shooting has not improved much since and he is shooting 35 % from the field. Now on to the positives of his game, he is showing the vision he had at UCLA and is averaging 9.8 assists. He’s also leading all guards in rebounds and blocks which shows that he is not a one dimensional player. He even received a compliment from the King himself where Lebron said “He can really pass it.” He’s becoming more comfortable and has also shown his ability to drive to the basket which he hadn’t showed in his first two games. He should be fun to watch when the season actually starts.
- Jayson Tatum/Boston Celtics
The Celtics traded back and for a good reason with players like Isaiah Thomas and Avery Bradley in the backcourt, it wouldn’t have made sense to draft someone like Markelle Fultz or Lonzo Ball. Instead, they addressed their needs at the small forward position. This is no knock to Jaylen Brown’s ability, but he just hasn’t shown his offensive consistency. Now Jayson Tatum had great offensive skills in college and is now showing that through the summer league. He is hitting ridiculous shots and his mid range shot looks automatic. Tatum can score and is a technician from the post but where he lacks in is sharing the wealth with his teammates. He has struggled with that even in college and still is in the summer league where he has had 12 turnovers to seven assists through five games. That should improve when the actual season starts.
- Josh Jackson/ Phoenix Suns
Josh Jackson, a product of Kansas is another interesting prospect. Interesting in the respect that his offensive ceiling is unknown. He is astounding on the defensive side of the ball in all respects and is active with his hands. Jackson has the ability to guard positions 1-4; few players in the league possess that trait. In the summer league he has shown flashes of his offensive ability and is averaging 17.4 points a game as well as 9.2 rebounds. He has been showing his ability to work from the post, something that wasn’t in his arsenal in college. He has also showed his ability to drive in the lane and create contact; however he needs to work on finishing those plays in order to become great. His mid range jump shot has also been coming along and it will be interesting to see how that develops going into this season.
- De’Aaron Fox/ Sacramento Kings
In a year where point guards are plentiful where does De’Aaron fox stand? He was considered to be the best true point guard coming into the draft by some and he has shown flashes of what he can be. Fox averaged 21 minutes per game and averaged 11.8 points per game. He was injured with a minor ankle injury but he still had ample time to showcase his ability. He looks like a natural leader on the court which is something not many prospects have. Fox still needs to improve in areas like 3pt shooting where he shot 12.5 percent, granted he didn’t shoot a lot of 3 pointers in the first place. The ability to finish in the lane is where he excels and he has shown his mid range jump shot is getting better as well. De’Aaron shot 44 percent from the field during summer league showcasing his great shot selection. Fox’s length and speed will help him on both sides of the ball. The Sacramento Kings have their point guard of the future and it will be nice to see what they can achieve.