Playing well in the summer league is expected for most first-round draft picks. They are the top talents competing and therefore should put up star numbers. When stars underperform against less competitive talent than the players they will see in the regular season, it raises red flags.
Many first-round picks who were expected to dominate summer league scuffled. Even though it is “just summer league”, the talent is only going to get better and more competitive moving forward. The sample size in summer league is only a few games, but who’s to say that the regular season statistics get better?
Here’s a couple players who caused some concern after their summer league performances.
Many were surprised to see Zach Collins taken as high in the draft as he was. Regardless of where he was selected, he underperformed even for a late first-rounder.
Collins only played in three games this summer but averaged 6.3 points and 5.7 rebounds in just over 23 minutes of game play. He shot 26.1 percent and went just 6-for-23 from the field overall.
Coming out of Gonzaga, he was valued for spreading the floor and shooting 47.6 percent from three, but has sputtered and has been missing those same opportunities this summer.
The good news is Collins will be one of the few lottery picks who plays better as a deferred option. At Gonzaga, he played just 19.3 minutes per game, and although the potential was high, it was clear he wasn’t going to be a team’s number one option.
Collins will increase his productivity and will shine as a rim protector for the Portland Trail Blazers.
Late First Round
Lydon has struggled the most of anyone this summer. In 121 summer league minutes, Lydon had just 12 points and shot just 4-for-20.
Lydon does almost all his work with under two dribbles, whether it’s in the post or from the perimeter. He works off of other people because he struggles to create shots for himself.
One statistic that is alarming is that Lydon shot 2-for-15 from three. As a strong catch and shoot threat, for Lydon to shoot just 13 percent from three is not promising.
Summer league isn’t judgement day, and there’s still plenty of time for players to save themselves from being a bust.
With players just beginning to adjust to the NBA style of play, hiccups are expected. At the same time, almost every star in the last two NBA Drafts has performed which sets the precedent for others to put up star numbers.
All NBA fans enjoy speculating about the players they see in summer league, yet some of the players in the league aren’t even 19 years old yet. There is still time for almost every player to grow into the players that NBA teams believe they will be.
Summer league statistics don’t mean a thing when the regular season starts, but thus far, a few players have yet to live up to their draft slot.
Featured Photo Courtesy of NBA.com.
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