Usually this question would come in the form of a command, delivered by an overly masculine, ex-olympian female weightlifting champ who wore mens pants, and showered in the boys change room, no? maybe thats just me. In any case, there were always those kids, the nerds, the benchwarmers, your future employers.
The NBA summer league and those who spend most time on the court during are sort of like these kids in the sense that normally, you wouldn’t pass them the ball. However since they have been asked to ‘participate’, you have to.
This can often lead to interesting outcomes for the 2nd string bench players that have only accrued 5 mins of court time all season. The summer league is run for a few reasons, to keep players in shape during the offseason, to separate the bench players that have been practicing from those that haven’t and to showcase each teams fresh rookies.
We’re gonna take a look at the top 5 summer league preformances from rookies, bench players and the dark-horses of the league.
Dante had a shaky start to his career this season, being pushed around the key by the more commanding players on the court. Yet if his recent performance in the summer league is anything to go by, Exum seems to be making a strong push to come back harder and faster for next season. Unfortunately the Australian prodigy lightly rolled his ankle, so that will see him become a spectator for the next month or so. He had 20 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists. If you’re not a fan of seeing ankles twisted in ways they shouldn’t twist, don’t watch on.
The Pacers in recent years have been known for their slow almost boring style of play. However securing Myles Turner with the 11th pick of the draft this season, has already brought some much needed excitement into their mix-up. He had 20 points, and 8 rebounds in the Pacers’ opener last Saturday. Though Turner has a lot of work to do before he can run down any of the leagues big players, he is definitely a prospect to watch.
The number 3 draft pick this season was set to impress from the get go, exhibiting superior mobility, commanding size where it counts, and an inside finesse that led him to score 20 and pull down 9 rebounds. Unfortunately the 76ers came up short against a stronger Spurs side. Regardless, Okafor could just be the dominant inside presence the 76ers lacked this last season.
The number 8 overall pick came out absolutely firing in his second professional game vs The Clippers, with 24 points. The freshly 19 year old small forward showed extreme versatility from outside the arch and inside, introducing some big man moves into his repertoire, a crucial inclusion as he looks to show off his diverse skill to head coach Stan Van Gundy. His contribution to the game was a no doubt a welcome addition, and definitely aided the Pistons victory.
The Clippers Sophomore shooting guard stole the show from the fresh picks this past Tuesday as he made 12 of his 22 points from three point attempts alone. Just like Dante, Wilcox showed that sometimes it takes a year of league play before you come into your own. Hopefully the 24yo dark horse will be able to keep impressing coaches through the summer league tournament. Check the clip below, his shot is just too damn pretty.