The NBA Summer League allows upcoming players to showcase their skills before the NBA season takes place. Some of the rookies in this year’s class have been impressive while the second-year players have used their experience as an advantage.
Fans expect to see certain players such as top draft picks play in the summer, but should some of these players be allowed to play in the Summer League?
While being named Western Conference Rookie of the Month four months in a row last season, Oklahoma City Thunder guard Josh Giddey decided to lock in and play a few Summer League games alongside rookie Chet Holmgren (second-overall pick of the 2022 NBA Draft). Last season, Giddey averaged 12.8 points, 7.8 rebounds and 6.4 assists as well as gaining an All-Rookie Second Team selection. Even with such achievements (four triple-doubles last season), Giddey still managed to play in this year’s Summer League.
This can be a great for young players, which can help them strengthen their team chemistry and get familiar with some of their new teammates. This also gives players like Giddey the opportunity to work on his game by taking it to the next level.
In his few games that he played, Giddey seemed to enjoy the presence of Holmgren, being impressed with his ability to play on both ends of the court. The second-year player also mentioned if he has any opportunity to play basketball, he’ll take advantage of it.
Paolo Banchero was the first-overall pick for the Orlando Magic in this year’s draft. Banchero has proven that he is worthy of being the No.1 pick by putting up averages of 20 points, five rebounds and six assists in the Summer League. However, after two games played, Magic head coach Jamahl Mosley ruled Banchero out for the remainder of the Summer League so that other players could get the opportunity to display their skill sets, or is it?
Some may be disappointed in this decision, but was this the right decision? Was the real reason why Banchero has been shut down for Summer League was to protect his health?
The Duke alumni has given us a glimpse of what he can do from his scoring and playmaking abilities. The Magic may have seen enough of what they wanted to see so that they could protect him from sustaining an injury that could keep him on the sideline for a lengthy period of time or for the entire year.
So far in the Summer League, Detroit Pistons guard Jaden Ivey has been out with an ankle injury and the New Orleans Pelicans forward E.J. Liddell suffered a torn ACL injury. The Magic are trying to play their cards by making the best moves as possible for their future and this might be a smart decision.