The standout players from the 2021 NBA Las Vegas Summer League
The 2021 NBA Las Vegas Summer League has concluded, and there was no shortage of standouts from the slate of games.
By Stone Lexington
Updated: Aug. 18, 2021 • 8:50 AM ET
Cade Cunningham - Wikimedia Commons
In truly a team effort, the Sacramento Kings became two-time Las Vegas Summer League champions this week with a dominating 100-67 victory over the Boston Celtics in the championship game. The Kings won every game of the tournament by double digits and held all of their opponents under 75 points, but none of the Kings players averaged more than 16.2 points per game. Meanwhile, several players from other teams who took part in Summer League play displayed standout performances during the session.
Tyrese Maxey - Philadelphia 76ers
After a somewhat underwhelming rookie campaign (8 ppg, 2 apg, 1.7 rpg), Philadelphia 76ers shooting guard Tyrese Maxey could be poised for a breakout this season. In two Summer League games this year, Maxey averaged 26 points per game on 50 percent shooting from the field, along with 5.5 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game. Maxey only played two games this summer before returning home to Garland, Texas to coach a youth camp, but Sixers fans should be excited for a sophomore season from the shooting guard.
Cam Thomas - Brooklyn Nets
As if the Brooklyn Nets needed more firepower on their roster, rookie guard Cam Thomas led all scorers during this year’s NBA Summer League, averaging an impressive 27 points per game in four outings. Thomas shouldn’t be expected to be one of the top scorers on a loaded Nets squad this season, but expectations are a bit higher after his performance this summer.
Desmond Bane - Memphis Grizzlies
Desmond Bane was the last pick in the first round of the 2020 NBA Draft, and he showed flashes of becoming a core player for the Grizzlies during his rookie year with Memphis. The second-year shooting guard averaged just 9.2 points per game last season, but he shot 43 percent from three-point range and grabbed 3.1 rebounds in 22 minutes per game. He also shot 82 percent from the free throw line last season, but he may have taken another step in the Summer League this year. In two Summer League games, Bane averaged 24 points, 3.5 rebounds and four assists per game. The Grizzlies need as much talent around Ja Morant as possible, and Bane could be one of those pieces.
Tre Jones - San Antonio Spurs
Second round picks in the NBA Draft don’t often standout, but Tre Jones is attempting to become one of the exceptions. The Spurs selected Jones with the 11th pick in the second round of the 2020 draft out of Duke University, and the point guard didn’t receive much playing time in his rookie season (7.3 minutes per game). That may change next season after Jones’ performance in the Summer League this year. In four Summer League games, Jones averaged 22.8 points, dished out 6.3 assists and hauled in 4.8 rebounds per game, impressive numbers for a 6-foot-1 point guard. With Dejounte Murray and Derrick White already on the Spurs roster, it will be interesting to see if the Jones can find a consistent role with the team this season.
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Jaylen Nowell - Minnesota Timberwolves
Jaylen Nowell played in three games this summer and averaged 22.5 points, 5.3 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game while shooting 93.8 percent from the free throw line. Nowell was a second-round pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, and he showed improvement from his rookie season to last year. The Timberwolves have made the playoffs only once since 2005, so the team is hoping Nowell can develop into a player that can help the franchise return to postseason play.
Bol Bol - Denver Nuggets
Bol Bol is one of the most unique players in the NBA, but he’s stuck on the lower end of a very talented Denver Nuggets roster. The 2019 second-round pick actually saw his minutes decrease from his rookie season to his second year a season ago, and it’s difficult to imagine the 7-foot-2 Sudanese player getting a significant bump in minutes this season. Nevertheless, Bol averaged 21.7 points and 6.7 rebounds per game in the Summer League, while shooting 40 percent from three-point range. Sometime in the next few seasons, Bol may have to find another team to play with if he wants to receive meaningful minutes on the hardwood.
Obi Toppin - New York Knicks
Knicks power forward Obi Toppin should be ready for a breakout season with the New York Knicks after a somewhat disappointing rookie campaign last season. His performance last season wasn’t all on him, as the power forward didn’t receive many minutes behind the NBA’s most improved player, Julius Randle. Toppin, however, has plenty of potential, and the Knicks need to find a way to get him more minutes on the court this season. He didn’t disappoint in the Summer League this year, averaging 21 points and 8.3 rebounds per game while shooting 88.9 percent from the free throw line.
Patrick Williams - Chicago Bulls
Patrick Williams is looking to improve from an up-and-down rookie campaign last season, during which he averaged 9.2 points and 4.6 rebounds in 28 minutes per game. In Summer League play this year, the No. 4 overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft averaged 21 points and 9.7 rebounds while shooting 43.8 percent from deep and 80 percent from the free throw line. Attempting to reach the playoffs for the first time since 2017, the Bulls have added several talented players over the last few seasons, including Nikola Vucevic and Lonzo Ball. Williams will need to develop into a key piece in the Bulls’ rotation this season if the team wants to end its four-year playoff drought.
Jalen Green - Houston Rockets
Houston Rockets guard Jalen Green may have been the second-overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft, but the 19-year-old might have made a case this summer that he should have been the first selection. In three Summer League games, Green averaged 20.3 points, 4.3 rebounds and 2.3 assists while shooting 52.6 percent from three-point range and 92.9 percent from the free throw line. Green also shot an impressive 51.4 percent from the field, displaying the talent that made him one of the most coveted prospects in the draft. A backcourt of Kevin Porter Jr. and Green could be exciting for Rockets fans to watch next season.
Immanuel Quickley - New York Knicks
In Immanuel Quickly, the New York Knicks may have found a gem in the latter part of the first round of the 2020 NBA Draft. Following a solid rookie season, Quickly showed in five Summer League outings that his game is evolving, posting averages of 20.2 points, 3.8 rebounds and 7.8 assists while shooting 90.6 percent from the free throw line. His field goal and three-point percentages were underwhelming in the summer session, but the second-year combo guard continues to display the toughness needed to succeed in regular season play.
Omer Yurtseven - Miami Heat
It’s rare that undrafted players have any impact in the NBA, but Turkish center Omer Yurtseven is attempting to change that narrative. In three Summer League games this year, Yurtseven averaged 20 points and 9.7 rebounds per game while shooting 81.8 percent from the free throw line. Undrafted in 2020, Yurtseven spent some time in the G League last season and is hoping to earn minutes at center behind Bam Adebayo in the NBA this season.
Max Strus - Miami Heat
Summer League stats: 20.8 points, 6.3 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 40 percent from 3-point line, 78.6 free throw percentage
Jordan Nwora - Milwaukee Bucks
Summer League stats: 20.3 points, 4.8 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 80 percent from the free throw line
Nah’Shon Hyland - Denver Nuggets
Summer League stats: 19.8 points, 3.3 rebounds, 4.8 assists, 40 percent from 3-point line, 76.5 free throw percentage
Jalen Johnson - Atlanta Hawks
Summer League stats: 19 points, 9.5 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 41.7 percent from 3-point line, 81.8 free throw percentage
Skylar Mays - Atlanta Hawks
Summer League stats: 18.8 points, 2.5 rebounds, 3.8 assists, 100 percent from the free throw line
Cade Cunningham - Detroit Pistons
Summer League stats: 18.7 points, 5.7 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 50 percent from 3-point line