Early Look at the All-NBA Summer League Starting Line Up
The NBA Summer League marks the beginning of the new calendar season.
Often times its hard to project players by their levels of play this time of year, but that being said, there are always players who definitely stand out from the pack. Surprisingly enough, so far, it hasn’t been the Zion Williamsons or the RJ Barretts who have been stealing the show. It has been rookies selected lower down in the draft as well as some Summer League veterans, if I may.
Nevertheless, more basketball is always good for the soul and we have put together our list of early Summer standouts!
Honourable Mentions: Jaxson Hayes (NOP), Chris Boucher (TOR), Cameron Payne (DAL), Anfernee Simmons (POR), Kendrick Nunn (MIA)
C Mitchell Robinson, New York Knicks
There is a reason why the New York Knicks were hesitant to part ways with their franchise big man in any sort of Anthony Davis trade.
A two-way force, Robinson has the athleticism and instincts to transform into a defensive player of the year calibre player, while remaining an effective offensive player. Averaging 12.8 points on an eye-popping 84-percent shooting percentage is one thing, but he has also grabbed down 11 boards and blocked 3.5 shots on average through four games.
The whistle doesn’t mean much in Summer League, but totalling 22 fouls through just four games may be the lone concern.
PF Tony Bradley, Utah Jazz
While Utah Jazz fans wait on Mike Conley and Bojan Bogdanovic to make their Jazz debuts, there is reason for them to already be excited. Obviously, the anticipation is one thing, but during the Summer League, another name has played himself into the rotation’s picture.
Tony Bradley has averaged 19 points and 13 rebounds while shooting the ball at a 56.5-percent range. The 21-year old is in his third season, but has shown that he has the strength, finishing ability, and the rebounding prowess to establish himself as an NBA regular.
The potential to become a solid rim protector is also there.
SF Tyler Herro, Miami Heat
While most 2019 first-rounders are sitting out the Summer League, Tyler Herro is quickly making a name for himself.
With effortless range, Herro has looked pure from deep and shows that with experience and reps, he can develop into the legitimate three-point shooter many believe he could be. Averaging 19.5 points through six games, Herro has shot the ball with no hesitation, has looked comfortable on both ends of the court, and has displayed a nice overall game in terms of handling the ball and passing.
The shot is of course the selling point on the Kentucky product and despite only shooting 33-percent from deep this Summer, the form is textbook and the tools to become a solid all-around basketball player are there.
SG Lonnie Walker IV, San Antonio Spurs
No one has looked more comfortable this Summer than Lonnie Walker IV.
Now healthy and ready to put his rookie season behind him, Walker has come out just as advertised – explosive, shifty, and flat out dismantling any and all defenses. Averaging 24.8 points per game on 55-percent shooting from the field, Walker has been able to generate his own offense with ease from inside the three-point line, while showing the ability to set up his teammates as well.
Dropping 32 points on the defending champion Toronto Raptors Summer League squad was simply a showcase of what Walker is capable of. He is extremely athletic and has all the physical tools to become the next household name in San Antonio.
PG Nickeil Alexander-Walker, New Orleans Pelicans
Very quickly the hype around the New Orleans Pelicans Summer League team has faded away.
Zion Williamson played all but nine minutes this Summer before injuring his knee and being ruled out until training camp. Fewer eyes now tune into the Pelicans, but that has not stopped their other rookies from showing out. Brandan Clarke and Jaxson Hayes have been great, but Canadian Nickeil Alexander-Walker has been absolutely phenomenal.
Averaging 24.5 points, seven assists, two steals, while shooting the ball at a 52.8 percent clip is truly remarkable. Moreover, Alexander-Walker has been shooting 46.2-percent from the three point line, adding to his incredible Summer run. The combination of his shooting and playmaking ability should make the Pelicans very exciting for what’s to come.
No Zion, no problem.