The NBA Summer League is the time of year when young players from the top of the recent college draft all the way down to the developmental league fringe get a chance to showcase their talents. For these lower echelon players, the Summer League turns out to be their swan song. But for others, it’s the first professional-ish test in what promises to be a long and storied career.
How The First Three Picks Have Fared So Far
First, let’s assess how the top three picks in June’s NBA draft have performed thus far in Summer League play. We’ll be tracking these young men all season long, so we had might as well get an early start.
In news that’s certain to shock absolutely no one, Sixers‘ Top Pick Markelle Fultz was, well, injured, thus joining every other Philadelphia prospect on the currently inactive list. Fortunately, Fultz’s sprained ankle sprained ankle should only keep out of action for about 10 days and came after a pair of remarkable performances.
After a slow start in his Lakers debut, No. 2 pick Lonzo Ball was spectacular in his second game, recording a triple-double in an 86-81 loss to the Celtics with 11 points, 11 rebounds, and 11 sparkling assists. He ended with a summer league championship and the MVP. Lakers fans will take that start.
Active in that same game was Celtics‘ No. 3 pick Jayson Tatum, who actually outperformed Ball with 27 points, 11 rebounds, and a notch in the win column for his team. This was hard on the heels of a three-game burst in which Tatum averaged almost 19 points and 10 rebounds per contest. Again, it’s very, very early, but assuming proportionate improvement as the competition becomes fiercer, Tatum could make a significant impact even sooner than expected.