Featured Image by: USATSI
Written by: Ben Pfeifer
The Summer League has already been very fun to watch, with loads of great games and buzzer beaters(DeAngelo Russell, Simmons). Many players have lived up to expectations, and many players have come out of nowhere and made an impact. Sp here they are.
Keifer Sykes – Point Guard – Golden State Warriors
Sykes is the ultimate hustle player. He is fearless, and that is a trait that not many have. Standing at 5’11, he will drive at anyone, no matter the size. He will occasionally miss shots and layups, but his heart and effort should absolutely earn him a spot on some roster. Against the summer league powerhouse Spurs, he scored a game high 15 points, but more importantly gave 100% every single possession.
Ben Simmons – Small Forward – Philadelphia 76ers
The number one overall pick has been very exciting to watch. His passing ability has been on display since the second that he stepped onto the hardwood. He racked up 8 assists and 8 points against the Lakers, with some Magic Johnson-like dimes to teammates. His defense was also solid, holding number two pick Brandon Ingram to 7 points on 3-12 shooting. If Simmons continues to play like this, he will surely make a big impact.
Kyle Anderson – Small Forward – San Antonio Spurs
They call him “Slow Mo” in the locker room. The reigning summer league MVP just seems like he really is playing in slow motion. His vast skill set is completely on display along with his insane hustle (check out his chase-down blocks). Anderson led the Spurs with 14 points and 8 boards against the Warriors, and threw a jaw dropping lob to Jonathan Simmons for the win. Anderson’s versatile skill set should definitely earn him some minutes for San Antonio.
Georges Niang – Power Forward – Indiana Pacers
Niang is not a typical modern NBA player. He is not very quick or athletic, and he is undersized for a power forward. But, he is a very smart player who knows the game very well, and loves to set up teammates. He was the only player in the OSL to average 10 points, 6 boards, and 2.5 assists. Niang is looking like a player who can contribute off of the bench, like a Boris Diaw type role. Niang is already looking like a steal at pick 50.
Arinze Onuaku – Center – Orlando Magic
Onuaku looked very solid last year in the summer league for the Pacers, and looked even better this year. He averaged 15 points, 10 rebounds, and 1 block in the middle for the undefeated Orlando White squad. He also scored double figures in all five games, and was tenacious on the defensive end. The main prospect is his age: he is 28. But this seems not to be an issue for him. Onuaku is reportedly gaining interest from several teams, and should be a solid big man off of the bench.
Brice Johnson – Power Forward – Los Angeles Clippers
Johnson was one of the best players in the nation, averaging a double-double per game and leading North Carolina to the national championship game. He is very good above the rim, is great in the post, and is an all around scorer. The Clippers are thin on the bench, and Johnson will certainly get some minutes. After a bad first game, he figured it out scoring 19 points with 8 rebounds. Johnson has potential to be a very good player in this league.