The NBA’s offseason well underway. With that said, by now, it’s officially the offseason. Summer League is over. Now, hoops junkies are left with limited options. The best you can do is give yourself a history lesson by watching old games on replay.
As always, the league’s midsummer showcase was enjoyable. This is an opportunity for fans to get a glimpse at top prospects and fringe NBA talents alike.
With that said, it’s not only for fans. The league’s general managers use Summer League as an opportunity to glean meaningful information. What were the key takeaways from this year?
Cam Whitmore Was a Steal
Some teams should be feeling pretty badly about passing on Cam Whitmore. He was supposed to be a top-five pick, but on draft night, he slipped to 20th.
The Houston Rockets are not complaining. Whitmore was the Summer League MVP, and with good reason. He flashed some impressive shot-creation abilities whenever he got on the floor.
Are there flaws in his game? Sure. Whitmore is prone to tunnel vision. Still, he’s got star upside, and that’s not something teams expect to find with the 20th overall pick.
…And so was Jordan Walsh
Whitmore may have slipped on draft night. Walsh didn’t. He was selected in the second round as expected. In Summer League, it looked as if scouts got it wrong on Walsh from the start. This is a hyper-aggressive defensive wing who spaces the floor. Boston got a winner.
Perhaps Walsh didn’t get a chance to showcase his game in Arkansas. He was sharing the floor with Anthony Black and Nick Smith Jr. If he keeps this level of play up, he’ll quickly find a role in Boston.
Emoni Bates Still Has Hope
Few NBA prospects have had as winding of a road to the NBA as Bates. A few years ago, he was the next big thing. Bates was touted as a future top selection. Somewhere along the line, his draft stock torpedoed.
As he helped lead the Cleveland Cavaliers to the Summer League championship, we couldn’t help but wonder why. Bates is an immensely talented shot-creator and a surprisingly solid passer. He’s still got a shot at stardom at the NBA level.
Overtime Elite is Legit
Amen and Ausar Thompson have got to be the most anticipated set of twins to ever join the NBA. With that said, there were reservations with that anticipation. The twins played for a relatively new Pro-Am league called the Overtime Elite. Many people had questioned the level of competition they faced as prospects.
In the summer league, it didn’t appear to be an issue. Amen was limited to one game as a result of an injury, but he was fantastic in it. Meanwhile, Ausar performed very well throughout the entirety of Summer League. The Overtime Elite is an emerging source of NBA talent.
Give Victor Wembanyama Some Time
Finally, there was one player that everyone was waiting to watch. Victor Wembanyama was the star of the show in Summer League.
At least, on paper. In practice, Wembanyama struggled in his first game. With that said, in his second (and final) performance, he looked like the prospect we’d all been waiting for.
Will Wembanyama have some growing pains? Absolutely. Unless he adds some muscle to his frame, he can be exploited physically. Still, he flashed the upside that’s had experts labeling him as “generational” since long before this season’s Summer League.