David Thorpe’s Summer League journal
Watching Victor and Scoot in person
BY DAVID THORPE
The good news from my time in Las Vegas is that I got to see a lot of incredible players who we’ll be writing about for years to come. One of my big takeaways: boy, do I love Jabari Smith Jr.!
I have a notebook full of observations, about big names, undrafted players, and everything in between. Last week, we wrote about the Summer League performances of players like Chet Holmgren, Jalen Williams, and Brandon Miller. Next week, we’ll dig into some returning players and second-round picks.
Today, though, it’s time to discuss first-round picks like Victor and Scoot.
The assessment is a little tricky. Summer League is incredibly well organized off the court—the NBA should be proud. But on the court it’s weak on things like passing and teamwork. It’s populated by players who just don’t understand how to play good basketball—yet. There are also a whole bunch of guys who have been taught well and are just choosing poorly. The Spurs have drawn the most attention, but did you notice what their guards are doing almost every play? Looking to attack or shoot at all times—like coaches everywhere, I long for the simple pass that might lead to a better shot.
The Spurs were far from an isolated example. The goal of basketball is to win a possession, but that often fails to materialize here. With everyone competing for a handful of spots or jostling for position on depth charts, there’s too much me and too little we.
Thus, the real bar for me is a player’s ability to make himself impactful in addition to—or in place of—scoring. Through that lens, I’d like to share my firsthand observations on some of the best first-round talent in this year’s Summer League.