The 2021 NBA Summer League has wrapped up. There were plenty of players that showed their skill and value. In this article, I’m gonna talk about some players that impressed me. Guys like Tyrese Maxey, Immanuel Quickley, Patrick Williams, and Payton Pritchard all played really well, but I’m not gonna talk about them because they got all the attention. I’m gonna talk about more unheralded guys. Let’s get going!
Sacramento Kings Roster
The 2021 Summer League champions were the Sacramento Kings. They had multiple players who impressed me, so I figured I’d talk about all of them in one section.
Davion Mitchell was co-MVP of the summer league. He showed why he was good enough to be a top 10 pick. He averaged 11 PPG, 6 APG, and 1 SPG while shooting 47% from three. He can score at all three levels. The most impressive part of his game is his defense. Just watch him guard lottery pick James Bouknight here. He is super tough for a guy who is listed at 6’2”. He was picked because he’s NBA ready, and it seems like he is. I still question his fit with the Kings, but it’s not his fault.
Louis King, a two-way contract player for the Kings, won finals MVP. He put up 21 points, 5 steals, and 4 threes in the championship game. He played well all summer league, averaging 15 points and 4 rebounds while shooting 45% from three. The Kings roster lacks forwards at the moment, so Louis could potentially get some bench minutes this season.
Emanuel Terry hustles hard. He averaged 9 rebounds per game, 4 of them offensive. Jahmi’us Ramsey can score. I wish Alex Antetokounmpo would have played more. Congrats to the 2021 Summer League champs!
After the draft, lots of people were questioning how Sharife fell so low in the draft (he was picked 48th overall). His performance in Summer League fueled that. He averaged 15 points and 7 assists. The big thing that stood out to me was his shooting. He had one game where he made five threes, including the game winner. He shot just 33% from three overall, but that’s big for a guy who shot just 23% in college. He probably won’t make an All-Rookie team next season, but I think Sharife can be a solid backup point guard one day.
Luka Garza proved a lot of people wrong this summer. Even though he was one of the best players in college, he fell to 52 in the draft. People questioned if his game would transfer to the NBA level.
Summer League isn’t the actual NBA, but Luka looked awesome. He can shoot, which will probably transfer to the actual NBA (40% on four attempts per game). He can rebound and score in the paint. Luka Garza is legit. It’s always a lot of fun to watch a player prove people wrong. I’m excited to see how he plays with the Pistons this season.
I’m a fan of Skylar’s game. He plays smoothly. He’s good at getting to the basket and he has a nice shot. In Summer League, he averaged 19 points per game. The Hawks are one of the deeper teams in the league, so Skylar might not play this year. I hope he ends up elsewhere soon where he can get consistent minutes.
Gary Payton II
Gary averaged 11 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists, and 2 steals in Summer League. He shot a ridiculous 74% from the field and 83% from three. He had this sick dunk, which LeBron James tweeted about. Gary is an NBA player. I hope somebody signs him before the season.
Some other impressive players: Tre Jones, Max Strus, Jalen Johnson, Trent Forrest, Saben Lee, Miles McBride, Naji Marshall
So, those are some players I was impressed with in Summer League. Keep your eyes on these guys!
My top 100 list is coming soon. Hopefully this tides you over until then. See you next time!