The NBA 2K23 Summer League 2022 takes place July 7-17 at the Thomas & Mack Center and Cox Pavilion on the campus of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
LAS VEGAS — We’ve hit the weekend at the NBA 2K23 Summer League in Las Vegas. Here are Saturday’s Summer League Standouts:
Paolo Banchero, Magic
Two games into the summer and Banchero has yet to lay an egg. At this point, the Magic will probably put him on ice soon; there’s really nothing else for the No. 1 overall pick to prove, at least not at this level of competition.
Banchero delivered big moments in the Magic’s double-OT thriller against the Kings. He made a savage game-saving block of a dunk, scored 23 points, six assists, six rebounds as well as four steals … and dished out the game-winning assist.
Banchero shows a solid understanding of the game and shoots with range. His block also demonstrated that, while defense isn’t his strength, he can put forth the effort. He did have eight turnovers but, with Orlando overloaded with point guards, he won’t need to worry about handling the ball much when the games start to count.
Armoni Brooks, Raptors
He’s an undrafted player entering his third season, but the summer league provides ample chances for those who deserve them. Brooks finished out last season with the Raptors following a pair of 10-day contracts, having played previously on a two-way contract with Houston and a preseason trial in Atlanta. He showed some hunger and skill Saturday, scoring 25 points in 27 minutes while adding seven rebounds against the Sixers.
Brooks is a 6-foot-3 guard with good athleticism and could improve with more seasoning in the Raptors’ player development system, which is among the best in the NBA.
Josh Christopher, Rockets
On a perfect inbounds pass late in a tie game, Christopher broke free for the catch and layup to put the Rockets up three points in a game they eventually won against the Thunder.
Christopher had 19 points, nine rebounds and five assists against Chet Holmgren and OKC. A first-round pick last year, Christopher saw scattered playing time as a rookie and will need a strong summer to earn more next season.
Jaden Ivey, Pistons
The incoming rookie deserves mention for two reasons. One: He’s OK after being undercut and suffering an ankle sprain. Two: He made the most of his five minutes prior to feeling the pain.
Ivey was on the way to a second straight impressive contest, with 11 points on perfect shooting against the Wizards. Given the injury, it wouldn’t be surprising if the Pistons either shut him down for the summer or give him a game off. There’s nothing else for the swingman to prove against summer league competition.
Mychal Mulder, Heat
You almost never see 28-year-olds with four years of NBA experience in the summer league, and when you do, it’s not the most encouraging sign. That said, Mulder could be another one of those Pat Riley discoveries who emerge from nowhere to make the squad and carve out a place in the rotation.
Time will tell. Meanwhile: Mulder, who was named after Mychal Thompson, the former Laker and also Klay Thompson’s dad, had an impressive showing Saturday against the Celtics. He finished with 23 points and four rebounds off the bench in the victory, shooting 5-for-7 from deep. It was a good start for someone who has played in only 17 games last season between Orlando and Miami.
Neemias Queta, Kings
The first Portuguese-born NBA player played 11 games last season in the G League, showed flashes but was largely raw and inconsistent. The Kings are looking for big men next season to play alongside Domantas Sabonis and Queta, with a good summer, can play his way into a more permanent place on the roster.
He was solid in the low post against the Magic with 23 points and eight rebounds in the double-OT loss.
Keegan Murray, Kings
Murray has delivered mostly solid results this summer, highlighting an especially attractive shooting touch and range. He was a bit inefficient against the Magic with five turnovers and only five made baskets.
But he did force overtime with a clutch corner 3 in the final frantic seconds of regulation, and finished with 20 points. That’s something the Kings, who had trouble closing out games last season, needed to see from their first-round pick.
Trendon Watford, Trail Blazers
Watford went undrafted a year ago and earned little playing time with the Blazers until Portland embarked on a late-season player development plan where they began emptying the bench to study and evaluate talent for 2023. Watford benefited from that; he scored 27 points in one game and the Blazers hope the 6-foot-8 forward works his way into a more prominent role.
He helped himself Saturday, and the Blazers, with 17 points, 11 rebounds and five assists in a win over the Pelicans.
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