By Hocine LOUKKAF on 7/20/2018
As usual, the Summer League offered us a glimpse of what what the rookies could bring to their new teams. Let’s take a look at the best performances of the event (two games minimum played).
Best rookies :
Wendell Carter Jr (6-10 C/PF Chicago)
Chicago may have picked the safest prospect and the most ready as of now. Carter was almost perfect, playing with poise and showing his versatility on offense (14.6pts on 55% fg and 43% 3pt) and defense (9.4rbds and 2.6blks). He averaged only 1.2to for 1.6a, very rare numbers for a rookie in the Summer League. Despite his age, he could become the anchor the Bulls need to build a playoff team.
Shai Gilgeous Alexander (6-6 PG LA Clippers)
SGA came out of nowhere in Calipari’s rotation to prove he was Kentucky’s best prospect and he did the same with the Clippers. At 6-6, he knows how to use his body, scoring regularly over his opponent from the high post (19pts on 46% fg) and using his size and wingspan to limit his opponent’s efficiency on offense (2.25stls 1blk). He could form a very complementary backcourt with Lou Williams, a smaller but better shooter teammate.
Mitchell Robinson (7-1 C New York)
There were a lot of talks about Robinson’s maturity. What we know now is that he’s a legit prospect and a potential steal for the Knicks. With 13pts on 67% fg 10.2rbds and 4blks, he had better stats than most top 10 picks. He’s still very raw, but his athleticism for his size and length are enough to project him as a defensive stopper. We’ll see how much he will develop offensively.
De’Anthony Melton (6-4 PG/SG Houston)
Melton had to wait until the 46th pick to hear his name but he has already made up for it. A young combo, Melton has been very solid, averaging 16pts 7rbds 4as and 3stls over five games. His offensive percentages may seem low (38% fg and 31% 3pt) but they are more than ok and better than most rookies in this wild Summer League.
Miles Bridges (6-7 SF/PF Charlotte)
A bit underrated, Miles has been his usual self, displaying his all around skills and athleticism. With 8.2rbds and 1.2blk, he proved that his size won’t prevent him from being active on defense. He struggled more on offense as he averaged 15pts on very low percentages (35% fg 20% 3pt). Bridges is known to be an hard worker and will need to find his spots to be more efficient.
Kevin Knox (6-9 SF New York)
No surprise either with Knox. The former Kentucky player averaged 21.5pts per game in the Vegas Summer League, food for dirst team, but he struggled being efficient, aboe all inside the 3pt line (35.1%). His 35% from three were pretty good but he has to tighten his handles (4tos per game) and to work on being tougher on defense where his 6.5rbds 1stl and 0.25blk are low considering his length.
Svi Mykhailiuk (6-7 SF/SG LA Lakers)
The perfect role player. A young senior born in 1997, Mykhailiuk has improved every year even if he hasn’t reached the potential he was supposed to have when he was the best European prospect his age. With 15pts on 47% fg including 39% from three, he’s exactly in the mold of a Kyle Korver, an efficient swingman who will use the spots he has to score.
Jaren Jackson Jr (6-10 PF Memphis)
Maybe the most intriguing prospect of the pack, Jackson Jr has been as flamboyant (29pts vs Atlanta on 8/13 from three) as he has been raw, averaging a poor 41% from the field. At the end of the day, he has a better shooting percentage from three (50%) than from the field, averaged a very good 3.25blks per game but grabs only 7rbds per contest. We’ll need more time to have a precise idea of how good and consistent of player Jackson Jr can become in the league.
Troy Brown (6-7 SG/SF Washington)
One of the younger players in last draft, Brown has been good despite his inability to hit that 3pt shot (16%). Yet, contrary to most rookies, his 42% from the field were ok and he showcased the versatility which helped him being picked that high with 6.8rbds 2as and 1.4stl per game. He needs to lower his tos but will be given time to improve behind Wall, Beal and Porter.
Chandler Hutchison (6-7 SG/SF Chicago)
A lot of experts wondered why Chicago had given a first round promise to a projected early second round pick. Now we know. With 7rbds 3as and 50% from three, Hutchison could be the glue guy the Bulls need on the wing. He could improve his defensive numbers as his 0.8stl and 0.2blk are weak considering his deceptive athleticism and 7ft wingspan. The former Boise State star can play several positions and is in the good situation to be an efficient rotation player when the season will start.
The rest :
Bamba has only played three games but he was efficient with 8.7pts on 60% fg, 5.7rbds and 2.3blks in 20min. More is expected from DeAndre Ayton who despite his 14.5pts on 60% fg and 10.5rbs hasn’t shown the ability to protect the rim as well as some of the other rookies. Trae Young has struggled offensively scoring 15pts per game on a very poor 30% fg. His 5.7as were hindered by his 3.7to, far too much for someone who will be given the starting PG spot. Like Young, Aaron Holiday will need to work on his shot selection and passing with 34% from the field and 5.5tos per game. Sexton has shown leadership scoring 19pts game. He still is more of a scoring PG than a passing one with only 3.4as per game and really needs to work on his inconsistent three point shot. Anfernee Simons has proved he was more ready than most of the other SG prospects with 11pts per game on 43% fg and 34% from three but has not shown any semblance of passing over six games. An old rookie, Trevon Bluiett may have gained his spot for the Pelicans with 18pts per game on an impressive 53% from three (with 7 attempts per game). Last but not least, despite his limitations, Mo Wagner has been a good inside threat withc 12.5rbds 8rbds and 1.7blk. His lack of length limits his offensive efficiency with only 37% fg but nothing more is expected from a late first pick.
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