The 2017 NBA Summer League has come to a close, and it’s time to construct the All-Summer League first- and second-teams.
On the one hand, we have no more Summer League. We also have no more basketball. And that’s saddening. It’s a tricky tightrope to walk. Even though Las Vegas, Orlando and Utah aren’t the homes of the most polished talent, it’s still entertaining watching the lottery picks take the court and dominate the way they should. Guys like Lonzo Ball and Dennis Smith showed us that they’re more than ready to compete and manhandled opponents without even breaking a sweat.
It’s tough to evaluate prospects in the Summer League setting, but it’s not impossible. Some put up incredible numbers, but what’s more important is how they got them. Were prospects forcing the issue? Did it come in the flow of the game? Those are questions you need to ask yourself when watching the potential stars of tomorrow.
Also Read: Is There a Big Three Brewing in Los Angeles
Remember, high lottery picks are supposed to excel. But that doesn’t mean they’ll be superstars in the NBA. Moreover, it doesn’t solidify them as a bust if they struggle. Lonzo had a few off games, as did Lauri Markkanen and Jayson Tatum.
The 10 guys on the two teams put up the numbers but also had the play to back it up. Moreover, only players from the Las Vegas Summer League were selected. It consisted of the most talented and, I guess, was the toughest of the three leagues.
Guard, Lonzo Ball, Lakers – 16.3 points, 9.3 assists, 7.7 rebounds
It’s okay to have watched Lonzo and thought he was impressive. He was. How he controlled the game was something to marvel, and, even on a court with guys who have almost no chemistry, Ball made them better from the get-go.
Despite having issues with his shot (38.2 percent), Lonzo impacted the game in other areas, and that’s why the Lakers took him second overall. Lonzo was one of the best players in Vegas, and the former Bruin took home MVP honors.
Guard, Dennis Smith Jr., Mavericks – 17.3 points, 4.8 rebounds, 4.2 assists
I feel sorry for the Knicks fans who had to watch Smith. Of course, they shouldn’t be too hard on Frank Ntilikina because he didn’t play. It would’ve been different had the French rookie suited up and got blasted by Smith, but we have no foundation to compare them.
Smith played the game effortlessly. He scored from all over, and he showcased his bonkers athleticism on more than one occasion. Dallas has a dynamic player for the first time in a long time, and Smith put up the numbers to match.
Forward, Josh Jackson, Suns – 17.4 points, 9.2 rebounds, 1.6 assists
I don’t know if I’m the only one who thinks this, but Jackson was one of the more surprising players. He was active on both ends just like at Kansas, but his offense was far more versatile than I expected.
Jackson got to the rack at will, showed strong ball skills and even knocked down a handful of mid-range jumpers. He shot just 42.5 percent from the field, but Jackson had the confidence to test out some things he couldn’t with the Jayhawks.
Forward, John Collins, Hawks – 15.4 points, 9.2 rebounds, 1.0 assists
Like Jackson, Collins was another player who opened some eyes. He was a walking double-double almost and played just like he did at Wake Forest. Defenses fought hard to keep him off the glass, but Collins’ size and strength made their efforts futile.
On the other end, Collins was a great target for alley-oops and got his fair share of scrappy buckets. Very seldom did he create his shot, but the explosiveness he possesses should have Hawks’ fans grinning ear-to-ear.
Forward, Cheick Diallo, Pelicans – 18.6 points, 9.8 rebounds, 1.6 blocks
The NBA had Caleb Swanigan over Diallo on their teams. I don’t. Although Swanigan was a better rebounder and almost equal on defense, Diallo got his buckets with ease and was a better rim protector.
He showed poise in the post and also stretched his range a little bit. Outside of his defense, the biggest thing Diallo can do is run the floor, especially if he gets significant minutes at the next level.
Guard, Bryn Forbes, Spurs – 26.0 points, 3.4 assists, 2.8 rebounds
Guard, Wayne Selden Jr., Grizzlies – 22.7 points, 3.8 rebounds, 3.0 assists
Forward, Jayson Tatum, Celtics – 17.7 points, 8.0 rebounds, 1.0 assists
Forward, Kyle Kuzma, Lakers – 21.9 points, 6.4 rebounds, 2.7 assists
Forward, Caleb Swanigan, Trail Blazers – 16.1 points, 10.6 rebounds, 2.3 assists
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