The NBA is currently in a very tense and emotion-filled offseason with the quality and quantity of free agents that have been moving around, but all of the excitement about the NBA draft seems to have disappeared.
The reason for this is because all of the players that were drafted, with the exception of those who are injured, are currently playing for their lives in the Summer League.
What is it?
The Summer League is a developmental offseason league designed to allow coaches and players to get to know each other and for the players to get used to the NBA level of play. For many rookies, this has been an opportunity to prove to their teams that they can make the transition quickly, and even assume a starting role, but for others it has been a disappointing start to the Summer League season.
The other night a showdown between the top two picks in the draft took place. Andrew Wiggins, who probably had more to prove because he was picked in front of Jabari Parker, led his team to a victory with a team-high 18 points. He had a poor shooting performance from range, however, and ended 1 of 8 from downtown. Parker also led his team in scoring, tallying 17 points and grabbing seven rebounds.
Another rookie that has come into his own in the first couple of games of Summer League is Doug McDermott. Mcdermott was traded to the Bulls in the draft, and had a slow start in his first game, going 2 for 8 with only 10 points. He followed up this performance with a 31 point explosion, while going 5 for 9 on three-pointers. The Bulls have also benefitted from Tony Snell's play, as the sophomore has posted 23+ in two consecutive games.
Another rookie who has had a great start is Derek Fisher, who is starting his coaching career by coaching the Knicks Summer League squad. His team has started 2-0, and has enjoyed the production of second-year guard Tim Hardaway Jr. who has posted 20 or more in his first two outings.
One player who has had a disappointing start is Shabazz Napier. He has only topped 12 points once, and has shot a dismal 6 of 28 from downtown. Napier has also turned the ball over 29 times in six games. The Heat are going to need him to get his act together if they are going to avoid falling apart this season.