Jordan Bell, Damian Jones, Jacob Evans III, Kendrick Nunn and Marcus Derrickson were the players to watch for the Warriors during Summer League. Those players were only a topic for our precious little DubNation bubble. The world is bigger than us.
Top five picks like DeAndre Ayton, Marvin Bagley and Trae Young dominated Summer League discussions. However, a handful of other rookies separated themselves in the small sample size that is Summer League. Here’s who impressed:
Wendell Carter Jr.
“Wendell Carter Jr. is a much better player than Marvin Bagley.”
If I had to drink every time I heard someone say that in Vegas, I’d be a dead man. Carter’s defense, shooting and off-the-ball movement separated him from other rookies. I think when we look back at the 2018 Draft, we will be embarrassed for teams that missed out on Carter.
The gracious, kind and welcoming New York Knicks fans boo’ed Kevin Knox on draft night. Knox, the youngest player drafted this season, turns 19 in August. At Summer League, Knox outperformed for his age and showed that he belongs in the league. And while it might take a couple years for him to fully adjust, Knox looks like he’ll have a future as a versatile NBA forward.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (SGA)
I find it shocking how Kentucky players respond to the NBA (I know, it’s Summer League) after playing in John Calipari’s distinct college system. SGA looked better in a Summer League game against the Rockets than at any point in college. I’m still not sold on his mid-range game but the guy has some serious potential. The Clippers might be a top-flight League Pass team.
In his game against the Warriors, De’Anthony Melton confirmed his scouting report and then some. He played stifling defense throughout the game, keeping Golden State’s guards uncomfortable. Heading into the draft, scouts were concerned about Melton’s offensive potential. For at least a day, those concerns were assuaged after Melton went 6-for-12 from the field on Sunday against the Warriors. He added 26 points against the Clippers on Monday night.
Simons looks like a 9th grader but hoops with the poise of a vet. He exudes a calmness that is rare to find in Vegas. Simons, unlike most LVSL players, was working on executing a few parts of his game rather than being all things to all people. He found his shot, stayed with his man and was an overall surprise. Keep an eye on his development.