NBA Summer League: Rookies to Watch

NBA Summer League The NBA Summer League has already reached its Las Vegas stop in recent days and we have gotten see more games from the latest crop of rookies. While it is obviously too early predict candidates who will vie for the NBA Rookie of the Year award, observers now have gotten a better glimpse of the outlook for some promising young players.

So far, the Summer League has been dominated by the sophomores, which of course is understandable; but some rookies have had their fair share of the spotlight and have been able to display flashes of talent here and there.

Here is a short list of players to keep an eye on as they could be contenders for the award.

  1. Markelle Fultz, Philadelphia 76ers – The number one overall pick is a must-include on the list for obvious reasons. His scoring ability will be something that will be utilized and showcased by the Sixers this season. Fultz will get a chance to gobble up all the minutes he can handle this season as Philly’s rebuilding plans are slowly coming to fruition.
  2. Ben Simmons, Philadelphia 76ers – The Australian guard missed 2016-17, which would have been his actual rookie season, due to injury. There will be an interesting in-house rivalry between Simmons and Fultz this season. Simmons is projected to take over the team’s starting point guard duties and the rehab of his injury has been going well, keeping his target NBA regular season debut on schedule. He fits the mold of the big point guard archetype, which will give him some advantages in the rebounding department.
  3. Lonzo Ball, Los Angeles Lakers – The Lakers guard has had a rocky Summer League so far. He flopped with an underwhelming debut but bounced back in his second game with an 11-point, 11-rebound, 11-assist triple-double performance. Ball missed the Lakers’ most recent game with a sore groin. Despite the ups and downs, Lonzo should be able to carve out a good season with the rebuilding Purple and Gold.
  4. De’Aaron Fox, Sacramento Kings – Fox is a quick and athletic guard who will get a lot of usage from the Kings. He will be sharing time with veteran George Hill, who signed as a free agent from the Utah Jazz. Fox, Hill, and sophomore Buddy Hield will likely be at the core of solid three guard rotation for Sacramento this season, with any guard being able to bring the ball down the court. Fox has gotten comparisons to Washington Wizards’ John Wall and will be part of a new core of players at the center of the Kings’ post-Cousins era.
  5. Jayson Tatum, Boston Celtics – The third pick of the draft has turned a lot of heads so far in the Summer League with his impressive footwork and intelligent play in the paint. Tatum is playing in a stacked Celtics roster, so he won’t have the same opportunities to shine as the other players on the list, but has already put on display a skill set that is worth keeping an eye on, for sure.
  6. Lauri Markkanen, Chicago Bulls – Markkanen scored 14 points and pulled down eight rebounds in the Bulls’ loss to the Dallas Mavericks over the weekend but ended up with a disappointing outing against the Atlanta Hawks in his most recent game. The Bulls picked the Finnish big man seventh overall in the draft, a pick they received on draft as part of the package they received from Minnesota in a trade for Jimmy Butler.


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