Rookie Studs and Duds from the Las Vegas Summer League
The NBA’s annual Summer League is a great time for teams to evaluate their rookies, getting a better sense of where exactly they stand skill wise and how they’ll translate once the regular season commences.
So far numerous mid-to-late round selections have done an excellent job standing out from the rest of the pack, while other cream of the crop picks like Jabari Parker and Andrew Wiggins haven’t exactly showcased unforgettable performances to this point.
Even though success in the Summer League doesn’t always necessarily mean these players will pan out in the pros, it still allows teams to figure out how they’ll fit into their respective systems.
So with the Las Vegas Summer League more than halfway over, lets take a look at which rookies have proven to be studs and duds so far during their first somewhat NBA level games.
Phoenix Suns, T.J. Warren: Stud
Stats: 20 PPG, 4.8 RPG, 59.6 FG%
Warren’s scoring ability has been on full display during his first 3 games (excluding the one where he was injured), utilizing an array of unorthodox but effective offensive moves to light up the scoreboard almost every night.
Many scouts questioned whether or not his scoring style would translate to the next level, but so far Warren has shown he has no difficulty leading the Suns offense, even though he has yet to register a three point attempt.
Chicago Bulls: Doug McDermott: Stud
Stats: 20.3 PPG, 3.7 APG, 48.5 FG%, 52.4 3FG%
The Bulls may have missed out on signing Carmelo Anthony, but the selection of Doug McDermott should still help alleviate their need for more consistent offensive production heading into next season (that and Pau Gasol).
The former Creighton star has already showcased his ability to drain three pointers at will, shooting a blistering 52 percent from downtown despite taking nearly 7 attempts per game.
Combine that with his new-found willingness to get to the rack (6.3 FTA per game) and we could be looking at a guy that has the potential to develop into more than just a three point specialist down the line.
Jordan Clarkson: Stud
Stats: 16.8 PPG, 4.8 RPG, 1.8 APG, 43.6 FG%, 42.1 3FG%
Clarkson has looked like one of the biggest steals in the draft so far, as he’s done a phenomenal job running the Lakers offense at either guard position and continually getting to the rim at will.
With Jeremy Lin set to hold the reigns at point guard Clarkson may not get starter’s minutes, but he’s sure to be utilized as a sixth man off the bench that can provide points in a hurry for Los Angeles.
Bruno Caboclo: Stud
Stats: 11.8 PPG, 2 RPG, 41.2 FG%, 34.8 3FG
For a guy that was labeled two years away from being two years away, Caboclo has shown he may not be quite as incredibly raw as people think.
Yes, his numbers aren’t anything to go crazy about, but he’s shown that he could develop into a phenomenal talent way earlier than expected and warrant why Toronto selected him with the 20th pick.
Shabazz Napier: Dud
Stats: 9.0 PPG, 3.3 APG, 2.7 SPG, 27.6 FG%
Shabazz has been in an absolute shooting funk for the last few weeks, knocking down under 30 percent of his shots from the floor and continually hoisting up jumpers in an attempt to break his cold streak.
The bigger downside though is that it’s begun to effect his entire game, as he’s been unable to get teammates involved and is more fixated on correcting his shooting touch than making his teammates around him better.
Dante Exum: Dud
Stats: 7.3 PPG, 2.7 RPG, 3.0 APG, 40.0 FG%, 22.2 3FG%
Although Exum has shown flashes of his killer speed and athleticism through his first few games, conditioning has been a huge issue for the Australian native, as he often looks out of breath and has struggled with logging big minutes.
Even Exum admitted his nutrition wasn’t up to standards in a recent game.
Per SB Nation:
“I got my first taste of it tonight where I wasn’t prepared in my nutrition heading into the game,” Exum said. “So I think just learning from this mistake and coming to the next game prepared.”
It’s not a major red flag for the Jazz organization, but its clear Exum still has some work to do if he’s to live up to his lofty expectations. There were increasing concerns that he may struggle early since he’s been sitting out for nearly a year, so it’s key he bounces back into shape by the time the regular season rolls around.
Jabari Parker, Andrew Wiggins, Gary Harris, Zach LaVine: Studs/Duds
Even though all of these highly touted picks have shown loads of scoring potential, it’s really their inefficiency that has made them placed right in-between the stud and dud category.
Not one of these guys is shooting over 40 percent from the floor or above 31 percent from three point range (Parker and Wiggins are below 20%). To be honest, calling their overall performance a vastly successful one seems questionable at this point.
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