2023 NBA Summer League: Top Performances and Rookie Debuts

2023 NBA Summer League: Top Performances and Rookie Debuts

The NBA season doesn’t even stop in summer, it’s been less than a month since the Denver Nuggets lifted their first NBA title. The 2023-2024 season began to take shape with the 2023 Draft, which proclaimed Victor Wembanyama as number 1 in the draft, the San Antonio Spurs took what was an open secret since they obtained pick no. 1 in the draft draw The first chance to see the draft players and some young players who need to step up this season starts with the Summer League, the big pre-season tournament for most NBA franchises.

Wembanyama, the main favorite to win the rookie of the year, will not make his debut until next Saturday the 8th, when the Spurs face the Charlotte Hornets, a duel between the first and second chosen in the draft. The second in the draft, Brandon Miller, did make his debut on the first day of the tournament. The young forward played 34 minutes against San Antonio, finishing with a discreet performance of 18 points (5/11 shots from the field), 5 rebounds and 3 assists. A performance from more to less with a great last quarter, but a disappointing first three quarters. At halftime he left with 5 points and 20% shooting from the field, 3 rebounds and 6 fouls. It must be remembered that in this tournament the number of fouls required to be expelled is 10.

Jul 3, 2023; Sacramento, CA, USA; Charlotte Hornets forward Brandon Miller (24) shoots against San Antonio Spurs forward Julian Champagnie (30) during the second quarter at Golden 1 Center. Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY SportsDarren YamashitaUSA TODAY Sports via Reuters Con

Without a doubt, the most striking performance of the first night was that of the center of the Thunder, Chet Holmgren. The center drafted last year returned to play a game almost a year after the serious injury that took him off the field for the entire season. In the 29 minutes that he was on the field, he left with 15 points, 9 rebounds and 4 blocks. A performance that has once again put his name as one of the most promising players in basketball. His help in the paint will be key for his team, as Oklahoma was the team that received the most points in the paint in the entire league. His game has also put his name on the shortlist of players with the possibility of winning the trophy for best rookie of the year. The situation experienced with the injury that prevented him from playing minutes last season makes him eligible for this distinction this year.

Previous cases lived in the NBA

Chet would not be the first player to win the award a year after being drafted, we have up to five precedents for this situation. The most recent is current Brooklyn Nets player Ben Simmons. The Australian player was drafted first in the 2016 draft by the Philadelphia 76ers, but a broken metatarsal caused him that season, making his debut a year later against the Washington Wizards. That season he finished with 12 triple-doubles and averaged 15.8 points, 8.2 assists and 8.1 rebounds. The next player to appear on the list is Blake Griffin, the American center also number one in his draft (2009) was lost due to a serious knee injury his first season. His debut would come against the Portland Trail Blazers with 20 points and 14 rebounds. Griffin managed to be an All-Star and end up taking the award with averages of 22.5 points and 12.1 rebounds.

Carmelo Anthony and Blake Griffin at the game at Madison Square Garden.Joe CamporealeUSA Today Sports

The other three players, all of them big names in the Hall of Fame, did not have injuries as the cause of not making their draft year debut. David Robinson, had to wait two years from the 1987 draft to finish his commitments with the US Army to debut in the NBA. The number one in the draft would end up being a legend in the Spurs, getting several rings with his partner in the paint Tim Duncan. Another legend of his franchise, Larry Bird, decided to continue for another year at the University, despite being selected number 6 in the 1978 draft. A year later he would begin his great career in the NBA, in which, in addition to the ROY, he won 3 rings and 3 season MVPs. Finally, the oldest case in NBA history is that of Jerry Lucas. He was selected by the Cincinnati Royals in the 1962 draft. At that time there was the American Basketball League, an NBA competition, in which Jerry played for the Clevelands Pipers for a season before joining the defunct Cincinnati team. The player averaged 20 points and 20 rebounds over several seasons, something only within the reach of Wilt Chamberlain at the time. He would end up taking a ring in season 73 with the New York Knicks.

Miller, Henderson, gemelos Thompson

If Holmgren prevails this season, he will become part of this select club of players. One point that favors the American against the French may be the team record. While San Antonio was fighting to win the highest pick in the draft, the Thunder managed to enter the play-offs, losing to Minnesota in the second game. The fight for the trophy could be exciting if we add Brandon Miller, Scott Henderson, the Thompson twins to these two… We’ll see what the Frenchman is capable of when he makes his debut with his team in the Summer League in a few days Las Vegas.

2023-07-05 18:24:41
#Wembanyama #competition #rookie #year


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