Cohen 8-Ball: Ranking Top 8 Players at Summer League
July 12, 2013
#1 Andre Drummond
Josh Cohen’s Analysis: To nobody’s surprise, Drummond was a beast at Summer League this week. Despite being the youngest player at the competition, he was the most physically daunting and most likely to have a significant impact for his team next season.
It remains a tad cloudy and indeterminate how he, Greg Monroe and Josh Smith will coexist, but it is very possible that Drummond’s physical prowess could help propel the Pistons into the playoffs.
Down the road if Detroit can find a method to bolster its backcourt and become more balanced, the development of Drummond can make Monroe expendable in any potential trade.
#2 Victor Oladipo
Cohen’s Analysis: It hasn’t taken long for Oladipo to silence his critics who claim he doesn’t have a jump shot and can’t transition into a point guard.
Already super explosive and relentless defensively, Oladipo has proved this week he can score in a variety of ways. But most impressive is his no fear attitude and willingness to accept contact to force his way to the free throw line. He also isn’t terrified of those anxious moments as we learned when he buried a step-back game-winning jumper.
If he can effectively evolve into a point guard and develop the required vision to facilitate and make others better, Oladipo will become a nightmare for opponents in the backcourt.
#3 Terrence Jones
Cohen’s Analysis: Often overshadowed during his time at Kentucky because he played alongside Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Terrence Jones proved this week he perhaps was deserving of being a higher draft pick after all.
Jones slipped to the No. 18 pick in the 2012 NBA Draft and mostly played in the D-League last season, but it starting to look like he will have a significant impact playing with Dwight Howard in Houston.
Noticeably packing on more muscle and expanding his overall offensive repertoire, Jones may ultimately transform into a dependable stretch four because of his ability to consistently hit the outside shot.
#4 Kelly Olynyk
Cohen’s Analysis: Everyone at Summer League was raving about Olynyk, who revealed how polished and adaptable he is.
While he still has plenty of limitations – mostly on defense because of his measly lateral quickness – Olynyk can score in a multitude of ways and has a basketball IQ that ranks high up on the charts.
Assuming Boston hangs onto Rajon Rondo, he will help Olynyk become a steady scorer in the NBA, both on pick-and-pops and rolls.
#5 Jeremy Lamb Cohen’s Analysis: Many have started to conclude that the James Harden trade was a disaster for Oklahoma City. Kevin Martin has already darted off to Minnesota and Steven Adams is a project in the very infantile stages of his development.
But suddenly Lamb has caught the attention of many. His performance at Summer League offered some hope for the Thunder, who expect Lamb to play significant minutes off the bench at the shooting guard position.
#6 Solomon Hill
Cohen’s Analysis: There may be no team better at drafting than the Indiana Pacers. Without a top nine pick in these last several years while building a team with championship aspirations, the Pacers have landed Danny Granger, Paul George, Roy Hibbert (as part of Jermaine O’Neal trade) and acquired George Hill in exchange for Kawhi Leonard.
Many thought Solomon was picked too high (23rd), but based on his Summer League performances; perhaps the Pacers will dazzle us again.
#7 Ian Clark
Cohen’s Analysis: It is starting to seem that teams were reluctant to select Clark in the draft because he didn’t play under the spotlight. Despite his outstanding play at Belmont, nobody cared to pay enough attention.
Clark, was the Ohio Valley Conference Co-Player of the Year with Murray State’s Isaiah Canaan, will likely land on some team’s roster, mostly because of his ability to effectively knock down shots from long distance.
#8 Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
Cohen’s Analysis: With the kind of frontline they have assembled and the needs for more useful spacing on the offensive end, Caldwell-Pope is likely to have a big impact in Detroit.
The Pistons will rely on him to be their go-to option on the perimeter, both in isolation and in situations coming off screens.