Commentary: Summer league success — or failure — means next to nothing
The Orlando Pro Summer League wraps up today. Plenty of guys had really impressive showings in their first few "NBA games."
Kelly Olynyk showed very well in his first few games for the Boston Celtics, averaging just fewer than 20 points, more than seven rebounds and three assists per contest.
The Sixers' Michael Carter-Williams has also played well, scoring 26 points to go with seven rebounds and eight assists in his first game. Victor Oladipo has put up nice numbers for the Orlando Magic as well, averaging more than 17 points, five rebounds, four assists and three steals in his first three games.
Plenty of summer league veterans have lit it up also. Terrence Jones dropped in 24 points to go along with 12 rebounds for the Rockets in their opening day win. Andre Drummond of the Pistons grabbed 16 rebounds while blocking six shots and scoring 12 points in their July 7 victory over the Brooklyn Nets. Alec Burks had a nice early showing for the Jazz before leaving in the second quarter of game one with an injury. Reggie Jackson was unstoppable, scoring 35 points, including 23 in the fourth quarter in the Oklahoma City Thunder victory over the Detroit Pistons on Tuesday.
What does a successful summer mean for your favorite team’s latest draft pick, prospective starter or new acquisition? Absolutely nothing!
Just have a look at last year’s summer leagues to prove that point. The top 10 scorers from last summer had vastly different experiences in the NBA last season. Damian Lillard dominated in Las Vegas and carried it through the 2012-13 season. Lillard was co-MVP of the summer league and then the NBA Rookie of the Year. Other summer league stalwarts that did have success in the regular season include Kawhi Leonard, Klay Thompson and Jimmy Butler. All played big roles on playoff teams.
As for his co-MVP Josh Selby, he wasn't as successful. Selby played in 10 games for the Memphis Grizzlies and averaged two points a game before being traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers. He was released shortly thereafter.
Selby wasn't the only summer star who didn't succeed in the NBA last year. Jeremy Lamb averaged 20 points a game to go with more than four rebounds in Vegas but barely saw the floor for the Oklahoma City Thunder during the regular season. He ended up playing in 23 NBA games and averaged a little more than three points per game, but at least he played in the NBA. Adam Morrison snagged five boards and scored 20 points a game on 55 percent shooting and didn't even make a roster.
Don’t get too excited or depressed when the newest player plays awesome or terribly in Las Vegas or Orlando. A player's success in the NBA doesn't have a whole lot to do with how he played in the summer.
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