LAS VEGAS -- A look at top performers from the 13th day of action at the MGM Resorts NBA Summer League:
Collin Sexton, Cleveland Cavaliers
Sexton’s summer schooling of the competition was on full display against the Toronto Raptors as he helped propel the Cavaliers into Monday’s semifinal against the Los Angeles Lakers with 18 points, six assists and three rebounds. Sexton’s most impressive trait so far has been his ability to impact the game in so many different ways, most notably with a change of pace in the open court that turns routine plays into end-to-end highlights. His maturity and measured approach in his first blush against fellow pros has been a bit of a revelation to those who didn’t watch him in his lone season at Alabama. But if you listened to Alabama coach Avery Johnson -- an NBA veteran who knows a little something about playing guard at this level -- none of what Sexton is doing this summer should come as much of a surprise.
Jaren Jackson Jr., Memphis Grizzlies
Kobi Simmons has been solid all summer for the Memphis Grizzlies. And Brandon Goodwin led the way with 21 points in an 82-73 win over the Philadelphia 76ers that pushed the Grizzlies into Monday’s semifinal showdown against the Portland Trail Blazers. But it’s hard for anyone to outshine rookie and No. 4 overall pick Jackson Jr., whose ability to shoot from distance and still dominate around the rim has given us all a glimpse of the immense potential the Grizzlies (and plenty of other teams) saw in him during and after his freshman season at Michigan State. His 14 points, eight rebounds and four blocks against the Sixers came a night after he flirted with a triple-double (nine points, nine rebounds and seven blocks) in a 92-86 Saturday win against the Utah Jazz. He’s given the Grizzlies a little bit of everything they could have hoped so, so far, from the youngest player selected in last month’s draft.
Josh Hart, Los Angeles Lakers
The somewhat surprise visit from his new teammate, LeBron James, wasn’t necessary for Hart to continue his impressive showing this summer. It certainly didn’t hurt that the new King of Los Angeles made the trip over to see the Lakers’ Summer League squad continue its rampage over the competition. Hart has led the undefeated Lakers into Monday’s semifinal against none other than LeBron’s former team, the Cleveland Cavaliers, after notching 18 points, four assists, two rebounds and two steals in a 101-78 blowout of the Detroit Pistons. Hart has clearly taken his game to another level after an impressive rookie season. It’ll be interesting to see where he fits into the mix with LeBron and the other new Lakers come the 2018-19 season.
John Jenkins, Portland Trail Blazers
Jenkins led a balanced scoring attack for the 5-0 Trail Blazers in their 95-80 triumph over the Boston Celtics, scoring 25 points in another statement performance for the one-time first round pick of the Atlanta Hawks. Jenkins is making a strong impression in his comeback bid, showing off the shooting touch and scoring ability that made him a hot commodity after he starred at Vanderbilt. He’ll need to keep the momentum going for Monday’s semifinal tilt with the Memphis Grizzlies. But that shouldn’t be an issue with Wade Baldwin IV (14 points, 10 assists) getting a crack at his former team, Archie Goodwin chipping in and big men Zach Collins and Caleb Swanigan playing strong around the rim.