Nick Smith Jr. Heats up Late

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2023 NBA California Classic - Golden State Warriors v Charlotte Hornets

2023 NBA California Classic – Golden State Warriors v Charlotte Hornets

We’re at the point of Summer League where some players aren’t playing. Whether it’s because of injury (Scoot Henderson, Amen Thompson) or because players proved that they don’t need to be playing anymore (Jalen Williams, Jabari Smith Jr.), we’re missing out on some star talent. That gives other guys the chance to shine, as we saw on Tuesday. Whether these performances will translate to the regular season remains to be seen, but it’s always fun seeing guys step up and give themselves a chance to play in the NBA.

Nets 92, Bucks 71

Brooklyn made three picks in the draft, though we haven’t been able to see Dariq Whitehead suit up. Noah Clowney was their other first-round pick, and while he didn’t provide much offensively, he was able to contribute four stocks. Their other pick was Jalen Wilson, who posted a 14/8/5/2/1 line with three 3-pointers. Wilson played four seasons at Kansas, so it isn’t surprising that an experienced player is having success in Summer League. Aside from their picks, David Duke led the way with a 24/8/3/3 line, while Kennedy Chandler added a 17/4/7/2/1 line. Solid performances from both of them, but they’ll likely both play more minutes in the G-League than in the NBA this season. Armoni Brooks and Matt Lewis each added 13 points off the bench.

The price of being a really good team in this league is that you don’t get many good picks and don’t have much young talent. That has limited Milwaukee’s success this summer. Lindell Wigginton was the only player to score in double figures, and he finished with 11 points. MarJon Beauchamp has been an effective scorer this summer, but he was held scoreless on just five shot attempts in this game. It was a strange performance, even for a team that lacks talent.

Rockets 105, Thunder 92

This wasn’t the star-studded matchup that we expected to see, but there was still talent on both teams. Houston was without Amen Thompson, Jabari Smith Jr. and Tari Eason, while the Thunder played without Jalen Williams, Jaylin Williams, Chet Holmgren, Tre Mann, Ousmane Dieng and Jeremiah Robinson-Earl. Trevor Hudgins ended up leading the way for the Rockets with 26 points, seven assists and five 3-pointers. He’s on a two-way deal and will likely spend the majority of his time in the G-League this season. Cam Whitmore was probably the only Rocket in this game that will see a consistent role in the NBA this season. He finished with a 16/8/3/3 line, but he also turned it over six times and shot 1-for-8 from deep. There was plenty of good and bad for him, but it was his first game without any help from other lottery talents. Matthew Mayer added 19 points and 10 rebounds, and Jermaine Samuels Jr. scored 19 points.

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Cason Wallace had the chance to play a large offensive role in this game, but he really struggled, as he shot 2-for-12 from the floor and turned it over five times. He was much better in his first game, and he’ll have a few more opportunities this summer to show us what he can do. Hopefully we’ll get more performances like the first game than his second. Keyontae Johnson played well off the bench with 19 points. He’s currently on a two-way, but he’s showing that he’s capable of being a rotational piece. KJ Williams added 19 points and 13 rebounds. Jaden Shackelford posted a 16/3/4/3 line off the bench.

Pelicans 82, Suns 73

New Orleans has plenty of talent on their roster, but they don’t have much suiting up in Summer League. Jordan Hawkins has been a solid scoring option this summer after being selected with the No. 14 pick out of UConn. He had his worst game of the summer, as he shot 1-for-12 from the floor and turned it over six times. Hawkins could end up being a rotational piece this season, but he’ll have to be much better than he was in this game. Dyson Daniels has so much upside in fantasy, but he was buried on the bench as a rookie. We know he’s a very good defender, but he also showcased playmaking in this game, as he finished with eight assists and three blocks. Tevian Jones led the way with 16 points.

The Suns didn’t have much on their Summer League roster, but the two pieces that have a chance to see minutes this season didn’t play in this game. Both Jordan Goodwin and Toumani Camara sat this one out. Hunter Hale led the way with 21 points, but there isn’t really much to glean from this team for fantasy.

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Trail Blazers 97, Hornets 93

This was by far the most exciting game of the night and potentially this summer. Portland got the win on the back of Shaedon Sharpe, who took over late and scored 26 points. He should have the ultimate green light for the rest of the summer and be an important offensive piece for them this season. Kris Murray also had his best game of the summer, finishing with 19 points, seven rebounds and four 3-pointers. He should be a solid piece during his rookie season. Michael Devoe, Duop Reath and Jabari Walker all scored in double figures as well.

Despite all the young talent on their team, Charlotte hasn’t had much success this summer. They still weren’t able to get a win, but they had some big time performances. Nick Smith Jr. took over the fourth quarter of this game, scoring 16 in the final period. He was a five-star recruit, and his scoring ability was on full display in this game. He slipped to pick 27, and Charlotte could come away with a steal. Brandon Miller also had his best game of Summer League, as he finished with a 26/6/2 line and three 3-pointers. If this is the Miller that Charlotte gets, they’ll be very happy. Kai Jones also had a solid game with 13 points (6-for-7 FGs) and five stocks.

Bulls 107, Kings 99

If he keeps this up, Javon Freeman-Liberty could very well end up winning the Summer League MVP award. He had another big time performance in this game with 28 points and six assists to lead Chicago to victory. The Bulls have to figure out a point guard option to replace Lonzo Ball, but they have so many possibilities on their roster. Freeman-Liberty could end up on an NBA roster with how well he’s played. Julian Phillips had a much better second game (13 points, three 3-pointers) and showed his offensive upside. Dalen Terry’s shooting woes continued, but he still posted a 4/7/5/1/2 line. Nate Darling added 16 points, while Adama Sanogo scored 15.

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Now that Keegan Murray isn’t playing, there isn’t much fantasy value on their summer squad. Jordan Ford led the way with 25 points and eight assists, and as well as he has played this summer, he’ll still likely spend another season in the G-League. Mike Daum added 22 points, and Keon Eliis scored 19 points with four stocks. Colby Jones struggled with his shot, but he was able to hand out seven assists. Unfortunately, Sacramento’s rotation will likely be very similar to last season, so none of these guys will be able to impact fantasy.

Spurs 96, Wizards 85

Victor Wembanyama is done for the summer, so the Spurs don’t have as much excitement around them, but there were still some solid performances. Just two days ago, Malaki Branham had an awful performance where he shot just 1-for-18 from the floor. He bounced back in this game 29 points on 12-for-20 shooting. Branham may be more of a sixth man for San Antonio, but he should continue to be much better than he was in their previous game. Dominick Barlow also had a solid performance with 20 points and seven rebounds. Blake Wesley struggled with his shot, but he still posted a 14/5/4 line. Julian Champagnie also had a poor shooting night to go with a good stat line, as he finished with 18 points, eight rebounds and seven assists.

The performance of Bilal Coulibaly is the most important fantasy factor out of Washington this summer. Coulibaly stuffed the stat sheet in this game with a 10/6/4/2/3 line, and he showcased just how much upside he has. Johnny Davis has had a green light this summer after spending most of his rookie season in the G-League. He’s done some solid scoring, but he continued to struggle with shooting efficiency in this game. If he isn’t able to figure that out in Summer League, it’s hard to imagine him becoming a rotational piece in the NBA. Xavier Cooks recorded a double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds. Ryan Rollins posted a 13/3/2/1/2 line off the bench.

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