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NBA Summer League Risers and Fallers

fantasy basketball offseason trades free agents NBA sleepers

With the NBA Summer League over, it's time to take a look at some numbers and see if anything from Summer League will end up mattering for this upcoming NBA season.

Warning: don't read too much into Summer League. For every Damian Lillard and Blake Griffin that win Summer League MVP, there's a Josh Selby and Glen Rice Jr. who also won Summer League MVP. The event is predictive to a point, but also that doesn't mean the Summer League is the singular thing that predicts NBA success. Players do well in SL and then struggle in the NBA all the time.

But knowing what we do know about this year's Summer League, I've compiled some Summer League risers and fallers.

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NBA Summer League Risers

Keegan Murray - F - Sacramento Kings

Count me among the people who were skeptical of the Kings taking Keegan Murray. Jaden Ivey was right there! The Kings had a need for a playmaking combo guard after trading away Tyrese Haliburton! It was simple!

But, well...Murray has started to shut me up.

Murray averaged 23.3 points per game in SL while shooting 50% from the floor and 40% from three. He also contributed 7.3 rebounds and 1.3 steals per game.

I recently mentioned Murray in a piece about rookies whose teams' lack of free agency move bodes well for them, and Murray was a key part of that piece. The Kings have cleared the way for him to start immediately and if his SL performance is indicative of what we'll see in the NBA, then that's a good move on Sacramento's part.

Moses Moody - F/G - Golden State Warriors

The second-year wing is one of the most interesting players heading into this upcoming season because there are just so many possible outcomes for him. He started 11 games in the regular season for Golden State last year, but then he played a total of 11 minutes in the NBA Finals.

But with how this offseason went, Moody could easily be the fourth guard on this team, and his SL performance showcased what he can do if he gets minutes. While he only appeared in two games, he averaged 27.5 points, 4.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.5 steals and 1.5 blocks per contest and was crucial on both ends of the floor. His offense could be needed to help bolster the Warriors bench unit.

Cam Thomas - G - Brooklyn Nets

Nets fans love Cam Thomas because with last year's regular season being a long slog filled with Kyrie Irving discourse, Thomas offered them a distraction at times. He averaged 17.6 minutes per game and while he wasn't particularly efficient, he was fun to watch, especially the time he went off for 30 points against the Jazz, and then less than a week later had 27 against the Wizards.

In Summer League, Thomas averaged 27.4 points per game over five games, while also adding 4.2 assists. We don't know what the Nets will look like in 2022-23 yet because the possibility of big trades could shake everything up, but Thomas is someone who could find himself as a scoring threat off the bench.

Quentin Grimes - G/F - New York Knicks

The former Kansas and Houston product started six games for the Knicks last year. Overall, he averaged 17.1 minutes per game, with averages of 6.0 points, 2.0 rebounds and 1.0 assists. A knee injury cost him some time, right as Grimes was starting to build some momentum in early February.

He averaged 22.6 points per game on 41.4% shooting in Summer League, plus added 4.2 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 1.2 steals per game. The added playmaking element was especially good to see. Grimes should be the primary backup at the two with a good number of minutes at the three as well.

Matt Ryan - F - Boston Celtics

The two-way forward played just one game for Boston last season, playing five minutes and scoring three points to go along with one steal.

The former DoorDash driver is a favorite on Twitter and while he played just two games in Summer League because of an ankle injury, his shooting was lights out. He went 6-for-11 from three against the Bucks and overall shot 52.6% from three. Ryan showed that some NBA team could use his shooting off the bench.

Tari Eason - F - Houston Rockets

Like Murray above, Eason was mentioned in my recent piece over rookies who should get minutes after their teams didn't sign free agents at their position.

At this point, Eason might start at small forward as part of an extremely young frontcourt, or he might come off the bench as the first forward behind Jabari Smith and Jae'Sean Tate. All of that is still up in the air.

What we do know about Eason is that in Summer League, he averaged 17.2 points per game on 44.7% shooting with 1.4 threes per game, plus he added 10.4 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 1.8 steals and 1.0 blocks per game. Keep a close eye on Eason. Huge sleeper potential.


NBA Summer League Fallers

Didi Louzada - F/G - Portland Trail Blazers

Louzada played in seven games with Portland last year, averaging 17.4 minutes per game and shooting 40% from the floor. There was no guarantee he was going to have a role in Portland this year, but if he was hoping to then this Summer League campaign definitely didn't help.

Appearing in four games and averaging 14.9 minutes per game, Louzada shot 0% from the floor on 1.5 attempts per game. He averaged 1.3 rebounds, 1.0 assists and 1.3 turnovers per game.

Jared Butler - G - Utah Jazz

Utah is going to look different next season and at this point we don't really know how much different. There could be room for 2021 second-round pick Jared Butler in the rotation, or there could not be. He played 42 games last year, but only averaged 8.6 minutes per game.

In Summer League, Butler averaged the ninth-most field goal attempts out of every player...but he only averaged 12.8 points per game because he shot 30.2% from the floor and 17.1% from three. And that three-point number wasn't some kind of "well, he didn't really take many, so it's hard to trust that number" thing. He averaged 8.8 three-point attempts per game, the fifth-most in SL.

Tre Mann - G - Oklahoma City Thunder

The Thunder have a wide-open depth chart and Tre Mann is likely heading for the backup point guard role. But his SL performance was rough.

Man shot just 26.3% from the floor on 12.7 attempts per game, and was at 25% from three on 5.4 attempts. His 3.7 assists per game were really solid, but that was coupled with 2.7 turnovers per game.

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