Summer League Standouts
David Thorpe shares his first-look insights
BY DAVID THORPE
In his first Summer League game, Derrick Rose was terrible. He had come out of a dribble-drive offense at Memphis that shirked ball screens. When he joined the Bulls, who ran ball screens, Rose had no idea what to do with them. That was understandable, of course, because no one before had ever been able to guard him. He was so bad, though, that the Bulls shelved him with an “ankle injury” after his appearance, fearing his confidence would be shattered. As we know, Rose ended up winning NBA Rookie of the Year and then became the league’s youngest-ever MVP. Bad players can get better after their first (or second) July tournament, and good summer performers can—and do—fail to make an impact in the NBA.
My point is, Summer League performances can be misleading. No one’s future is any better or worse off after a game or two. Nonetheless, Summer League can yield signs of a player’s floor, his weaknesses, and his professionalism.
Here’s what I’m seeing thus far:
Chet Holmgren – Center, Thunder
I love that Holmgren is excited to block shots and to be a rim-protector. He’s shown some patience in the paint offensively, too, and he’ll fake skillfully if he needs to help set guys up. He also moves pretty well.
However, I have real concerns. First and foremost is that Holmgren wants to be Kevin Durant.
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