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NBA Summer League Winners - Guards: Josh Giddey, Cam Thomas, Bennedict Mathurin

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A key part of doing a fantasy draft is avoiding players who find themselves in a bad situation. The wrong pick can completely tank your season. On the other hand, rostering players in perfect situations can be the ultimately league-winning move for savvy fantasy GMs.

Today, let's talk about some potential busts and sleepers that have been part of the Summer League tournaments held in early-to-mid July. For whatever reason – be it talent, lack of opportunity, chances to rack up minutes, good and bad environments, etc – these are players who fantasy GMs are currently buying at too high or too low ADPs this early in the pre-season and who should be kept under the radar to track their progress in training camps as we each closer to the regular season's tipoff.

Let's look at some guard-eligible players that have sleeper potential this year in fantasy basketball leagues that appeared in July's Summer League tourneys and explore their situations going forward.

Editor's Note: Our incredible team of writers received five total writing awards and 13 award nominations by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association, tops in the industry! Congrats to all the award winners and nominees including NBA Writer of the Year, Best NFL Series, MLB Series, PGA Writer and Player Notes writer of the year. Be sure to follow their analysis, rankings and advice all year long, and win big with RotoBaller! Read More!

 

Summer League Winners: Guards - 2022-23 Fantasy Basketball

Josh Giddey, PG/SG - Oklahoma City Thunder

Not happy enough with drafting Chet Holmgren and sending him straight to Las Vegas, the Thunder deemed correct also using Josh Giddey in the kinda-pro-am tourney. And of course, this guy was so good and above the competition.

Giddey is definitely not an unknown asset after his rookie year in OKC, but he was so fantastic in the five games of Summer League ball that he just merited a namedrop. Coming off a top-6 season among rookies in total fantasy points last year (and an even better top-3 campaign in actual FPPG as he missed nearly 30 games), Giddey took the court running in Vegas and put up something close to a ridiculous 13-6-9-1-1 line.

Haters will come at Giddey pointing at the gaudy 4.6 TOPG in the summer competition, but it's what tried, tested, and swaggy-proved sophomores play in this sort of tournament. They don't give a damn because they don't need to. Shai is still in OKC. Lu Dort re-signed with the team. Holmgren will be waiting for either inside or outside cupcake-basket passes. Bet on Giddey breaking the top-100 OVR season he nearly (103rd) had last year and becoming a perennial top-30 G in the fantasy NBA realm.

Trey Murphy III, SG - New Orleans Pelicans

The truth is that TM3 got such a small role last year that he reasonably flew under the radar of 99% of fantasy GMs out there. That should/might change next season with New Orleans drafting Dyson Daniels and E.J. Liddell this summer... only to see the two of them get injured and potentially miss time come tip-off day next fall. Daniels should be available and taking time from Murphy's pie, but the vet showed glimpses last season and doubled down on those in Vegas.

Murphy murdered the Pels opposition at what he does best and can contribute the most to your fantasy team: dumping buckets in bunches. Murphy hit 26.5 PPG in his couple of games played (63 total minutes, though) to go with 7 RPG and 2.5 SPG on top of everything. The rebounding wasn't that neat at just 1 RPG in those two outings, but his RBD% was above average last year among players with 500+ MP, so there's that.

The pair of Jose Alvarado and Herb Jones (defensive pests, can't argue against that) got most of the media plaudits last season, but nobody believed in Jaxson Hayes back in the day either, and look at us now. Murphy left Vegas averaging 42+ FPPG, the most among Pelicans more than 10-full FPPG over second-best Jared Harper's 30.7 figure. Can't complain about a man shooting the rock 17 times per game and hitting 50% of them, this TM3.

Bennedict Mathurin, SG/SF - Indiana Pacers

You know who's got it and you know who doesn't just by looking at Vegas' playing time from recently drafted kids. Mathurin only logged three appearances and a total of 67 minutes, which is less than half what Chet Holmgren and Tari Eason got, and nearly the same minutes that no. 1 pick Paolo Banchero (63) spent on the flaming courts. (This is a little bit of a lie because Mathurin got shut down due to a sore toe, but keep reading).

Mathurin, though, was the second-best player doing it in Vegas on a per-minute basis. Mathurin's 1.41 FP/min figure was only topped by Holmgren's 1.42 and no other player with at least 60+ MP in the SL got to even 1.40 throughout the tournament. Just saying. Mathurin dropped 19+ PPG per contest while also adding 4 RPG, 1+ APG, and 1+ SPG every day he was on the court.

The Pacers guard will have a tough season ahead in terms of competition even with Malcolm Brogdon out. Tyrese Haliburton is the starting PG and Chris Duarte got drafted inside last year's lottery, so they should retain their roles. Buddy Hield might be headed out of Indy though, and other than T.J. McConnell there aren't many better-looking options that Mathurin available. Mathurin won't be a day-one starter, but he's definitely a player to keep an eye on.

Cam Thomas, PG/SG - Brooklyn Nets

There is so much stuff and so many question marks floating above BKN's short/mid/long-term future that it's hard to make any sort of prediction of what will happen next. There is even a very realistic chance everything stays the same and all of Kyrie/KD/Simmons share the court come October. Who the hell knows.

Anyway, Cam Thomas did what he must in the Summer League: proved he's already arrived and made his case for snatching a starting role at the point/two guard slot come next season. Seth Curry and Patty Mills (assuming the trio aforementioned gets traded) are still on the roster, but Thomas is about to catch them.

Thomas closed Vegas' SL with five games played, 25+ points dropped in each of them, only one shooting outing below 43.8% from the field, and an average per-game line reading  27-1-4-1 while logging 30 MPG. Thomas also went to the free-throw line 10.8 times per game hitting 9.4 (!!!) of those freebies for a mighty 87.0 FT%. Third-most FP among all SL players this summer.

Mac McClung, PG - Golden State Warriors

Mac got a little bit of an advantage over other SL players as he got to hone his game a bit for a couple of games in Cali's courts (with the LA Lakers) before moving on to perform in Vegas (with the GS Warriors), thus totaling seven games in a span of 15 days. McClung came off the pine in the first two games in California donning purple and gold, but then started all five in Vegas for GSW playing at least 21 minutes in each of those (25 MPG) compared to 16 and 19 in his first two summer outings outside of Sin City.

McClung is a Mixtape King, of course, but he also showed enough talents to the Warriors brass that they have already extended his partnership with the franchise to a (non-guaranteed) one-year deal. Baby steps, I guess. McClung closed his SL stint averaging a per-game 13-3-4-1 line and turning the ball over almost three times a pop. Growing pains.

Most important is the fact that McClung was good to do all that while surrounded by a bunch of up-and-coming guys and not the mighty Steph, Klay, Wiggins, and Dray. I'm not saying he will be on the court with those three (best-case scenario: Mac avoids spending the whole year in the G League), but the guard can surely hit shots (49.3 FG%) and has a long-range prowess too (46.2% on nearly 2 3PA a game).

 

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