Five of the most recent stars to compete in Summer League

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During all the euphoria surrounding free agency, the NBA's latest batch of youngsters are preparing for their unofficial bow in their new franchise's colours. The Orlando Summer League started over the weekend, the Utah edition starts tonight and the big one; Las Vegas, tips off on the eighth.

A number of big-name stars have started their careers in the tournaments. LeBron James was involved with the Cleveland Cavaliers ahead of his rookie season, Stephen Curry competed for the Golden State Warriors on two separate occasions, Chris Paul represented New Orleans, Russell Westbrook was on duty for the Oklahoma City Thunder and Kevin Durant for their previous incarnation the Seattle SuperSonics.

Ahead of the tip off in Nevada, GiveMeSport looked at five of the most recent big names to showcase their talents ahead of Ben Simmons, Brandon Ingram et al's debuts.

Jimmy Butler

The shooting guard was drafted with the 30th pick of the 2011 draft and competed in the Las Vegas event following his rookie season. The lockout meant there was no Summer League after his arrival in the NBA.

Four years later, Jimmy Butler is the franchise player with the Chicago Bulls - especially after Derrick Rose's trade to the New York Knicks - and is a two-time All-Star and the 2015 Most Improved Player.

The Bulls struggled during the competition in 2012, they won just one of their five games with the shooting guard taking part in four. One a personal note it wasn't a bad tournament for the then 22-year-old. He dropped 20.7 points a night, pulled down 6.5 rebounds and provided two assists.

His best outing was a 24 point, seven rebound outing in a 96-88 loss to the Houston Rockets. Their only win was against the L.A. Clippers where they were victorious 77-74.

Andre Drummond

The Detroit Pistons picked up Andre Drummond from Connecticut with the ninth pick in 2012. His performances in the Orlando tournament were solid at best as the franchise went on to win the competition.

The big man has been tipped to be a superstar for some time and is well on his way to becoming just that. He was given All-Star honours for the first time in his career this year, led the league in rebounding and double-doubles and was named to the All-NBA third team.

Drummond and the Pistons were victorious in four of their five games in the Sunshine State and the New York-native produced averages of 7.4 points and 5.4 rebounds.

His strongest performance, statistically, came in the Pistons' only defeat of the tournament as he posted 10 points and nine rebounds in an 83-62 defeat to the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Damian Lillard

The sixth pick from 2012 and subsequent Rookie of the Year, Damian Lillard was competing in the Las Vegas edition for the Portland Trail Blazers while Drummond was plying his trade in Orlando.

Dame showed a sign of things to come as he scooped the tournament's MVP award. Today he is a two-time All-Star, an All-NBA second team selection of 2016 and led Portland to an improbable playoff appearance after they lost four of their starting five in the summer of 2015.

In Nevada, Lillard played four of the Blazers' five outings as they finished joint second with a 4-1 record. He averaged 26.5 points, four rebounds and six assists while shooting 43.8 percent from the field.

His best outing was 31 points and seven assists as Portland downed the Atlanta Hawks 84-78.

Draymond Green

Often described as one of the greatest second round draft picks in NBA history, Draymond Green competed for the Golden State Warriors in 2013 after being drafted with the 35th pick.

The Warriors star showed signs of his all-around game in Las Vegas but has come on leaps and bounds since then. The 2015 champion was named an All-Star for the first time in Toronto, was an All-NBA second team selection, a two-time All-NBA Defensive first team choice and came second in the race for Defensive Player of the Year in 2016 while being top ten in the race for MVP.

Golden State won the 2013 Summer League and Green made a solid contribution. He averaged 12.7 points, 7.4 rebounds and 1.9 assists as the Dubs won all seven games following the change in format.

His best personal performance was a double-double of 15 points and 12 rebounds in a 75-67 win over the Charlotte Hornets in the second round.

Karl-Anthony Towns

He is not a star yet, but Karl-Anthony Towns is well on his way. The 2015 number one pick was shoved straight into the action by the Minnesota Timberwolves in Vegas.

In a year Towns has shown incredible form. He was named the unanimous Rookie of the Year ahead of Kristaps Porzingis, selected for the All-Rookie first team and became the first big man to win the Skills Challenge at All-Star weekend.

The Timberwolves, who are tipped for a brilliant future with their current roster, struggled in Nevada as they won just one game and fell in the first round. Towns averaged 12.8 points, 7.2 rebounds and two assists.

He recorded a double-double in the 82-77 loss to the Portland Trail Blazers for his strongest display of the competition.


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This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

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