Impressions of the 2022 NBA Summer League So Far

Impressions of the 2022-23 NBA Summer League So Far

July 15th, 2022

By Alan Lu

Over the course of this summer, numerous future NBA rookies have made impressions due to their performances over the course of numerous summer leagues that have occurred this year.  Among them, Sacramento Kings’ forward Keegan Murray, Oklahoma City Thunder’s rookie big man Chet Holmgren, and Orlando Magic’s forward Paolo Banchero have been the most impressive of the bunch.  Here are my thoughts on how some of the other rookies have fared this summer.

Sacramento Kings’ forward Keegan Murray, and Oklahoma City Thunder’s big man Chet Holmgren have been two of the best rookies in the Las Vegas Summer League this year.
(Photo:
Stephen R. Sylvanie/USA Today Sports, via Yardbarker)

Notable Performances from The Las Vegas Summer League:

Here are my thoughts on rookies that have played well in the 2022 Las Vegas Summer League so far.

STOCK UP:

Keegan Murray, F, Sacramento Kings

Keegan Murray has been terrific in the summer league.  He’s been a steady, sterling performer, and he’s excelled as a shooter, scorer, and defender in Las Vegas.  He’s consistently played well in every game he’s played, and he looks like he could be a future NBA superstar in this league.

Chet Holmgren, F-C, Oklahoma City Thunder

Chet Holmgren has been absolutely terrific in the Summer League.  He’s shown strong all-around skills, court vision, and he’s been a much more dynamic offensive player while still being an absolute defensive force on the court.

Paolo Banchero, F, Orlando Magic

Banchero did a great job of making shots, and he also showed off good court vision, as he consistently found open teammates to get them shots and to make them better around him.  He made an immediate impact, as he consistently made sterling plays on the court, and Banchero looked every bit to be a good bet for the Rookie of the Year award for the upcoming NBA season.

Bennedict Mathurin, G-F, Indiana Pacers

Mathurin has played very well this summer.  He’s excelled at attacking the rim to score the basketball, and he’s thrived as a shooter on the court.  He’s a high-motor, high-effort player that has a vast amount of athleticism, and he’s consistently played well to help the Pacers in the Las Vegas Summer League.

Tari Eason, F, Houston Rockets

Eason did a good job of shooting, scoring, and making plays on both ends of the floor.  He made sound decisions on both ends of the floor, and Eason could end up being one of the best players to come out of the 2022 draft class.

Jaden Ivey, G, Detroit Pistons

When he was healthy, he showed that he is a very athletic guard that can shoot and score and make hustle plays defensively.  Ivey was a natural at creating his own shot off the bounce and at scoring the basketball, but ended up getting hurt midway through.

Dalen Terry, G-F, Chicago Bulls

Dalen Terry did a great job of attacking the hoop to score the basketball, and he looked to be a far more dynamic offensive player than anticipated.  He continued to show off strong playmaking and defensive skills, and Terry also shot the ball well.  Terry has played very well in the Las Vegas Summer League, and he looks to be a very good pick for the Bulls.

Jabari Walker, F, Portland Trail Blazers

Walker did a very good job of shooting and scoring the basketball, and Walker made sound plays on both ends of the court.  He was the second-to-last pick in the 2022 draft, but his strong performance out in Las Vegas rewarded Portland, and Walker also had a very good sophomore season this past year for Colorado, a Pac-12 team.  Walker recently signed a standard contract as he was rewarded for his strong play, and he could be a sneaky good player for the Blazers this season.

STOCK DOWN:

Johnny Davis, G, Washington Wizards

Davis really struggled with his jump shot, particularly from the outside, and he just looked lost at times in the modern NBA game.  He is an old school, throwback type of player that has an old school feel to his game, but he doesn’t shoot the three-ball well, and didn’t show any sort of athletic or vertical pop that would enable him to score or make plays consistently on offense.  On the bright side, he does play hard, which would enable him to rebound and challenge shots vertically, but Davis will certainly need to make adjustments to his game to avoid being an NBA draft bust in the future.

Players’ Health or Lack Thereof, Too Many Injuries

One thing I noted was that there were too many injuries that occurred in Las Vegas, especially from players that were on the New Orleans Pelicans.  Shaedon Sharpe injured his shoulder in the first game and still looks to be the draft’s mystery man.  Detroit Pistons’ guard, Jaden Ivey got hurt as a Washington Wizards’ player closed out too hard on his three-point shot.  Dyson Daniels rolled his ankle on a drive to the hoop.  E.J. Liddell suffered a serious knee injury as he tore his ACL out here.

Too many players had gotten hurt this summer, and the smart move would be to have them shut it down before they could aggravate their injuries any further, but this is a significant blow for both the players, the fans, and their teams, as it robs them of the opportunity of showing off their skills this summer.

Vrenz Bleijenbergh, Phoenix Suns

Last year, he was the talk of the 2021 NBA Draft, and the seldom seen 6-10 Belgium forward was thought to be a unique, unicorn of the draft that showed some first round potential.  However, he went undrafted, and ended up playing in the Spanish ACB League and in the NBA G-League this year.  He wound up signing on with the Suns’ summer league team in hopes to earn a roster spot in the NBA this year.

This year though, he looks to be a rather irrelevant addition to the Suns’ summer league roster.  He hasn’t played much this summer, and when he has, he’s looked lost, out of place, or non-existent when he’s been on the floor.  He’s struggled to pass the ball well, and he hasn’t been making shots in limited minutes.  He was considered to be the Belgium version of Poku, but Bleijenbergh has really struggled to make an impact, and he will likely need to spend much more time in the G-League before he can earn a call-up to the NBA.

Notable Performances from The California Classic:

Keegan Murray has been outstanding in the summer, both in the California Classic and in the Las Vegas Summer League.  He’s a terrific scorer that has been shooting very well, and he is a rangy defender that can quickly get steals and turn them into fast break points.  He’s looked like a future NBA star, and he looks to be a good pick for the Sacramento Kings thus far.

Gui Santos played very well for Golden State in the California Classic.  He did a good job of making hustle plays on both ends of the floor and scoring off the dribble, and he scored 23 points in his summer league debut.  He struggled more in the Las Vegas Summer League, as he’s struggled with his outside shot, but he’s shown flashes of being able to knock it down, and Santos looks to be a solid candidate to earn a two-way contract prior to the start of the NBA season this year.

Notable Performances from The Utah Summer League:

Chet Holmgren was terrific in both the Utah and Las Vegas summer leagues.  He is a point center that handles and passes the ball very well, has terrific court vision, and he also excelled as a shooter, scorer, and defender on the court.  He looks to be unshackled as he looks to be much more dynamic than he appeared to be in college, and he is a Rookie of the Year candidate for the upcoming season.

Overall, these were my impressions from the 2022 NBA summer league this year.  Thank you for reading.

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