2022 Summer League

Summer League Standouts: Chet Holmgren delivers in OKC's romp

Chet Holmgren shines in his 1st Summer League game, Keegan Murray rolls along and more from Summer League action in Utah and California.

The No. 2 pick in the Draft piles up 23 points, 7 boards, 6 blocks, 4 assists and four 3s against Utah in the Salt Lake City Summer League

SALT LAKE CITY — Here’s a quick rundown of the top performances from the final day of the 2022 California Classic Summer League and Day 1 of the Salt Lake City Summer League.

Chet Holmgren, Oklahoma City Thunder

Chet Holmgren did not disappoint in his Summer League debut. The No. 2 overall pick delivered oohs and aahs in his first game at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City, scoring 23 points and powering the Oklahoma City Thunder to a 98-77 win over the Utah Jazz.

Here’s a small sampling of Holmgren’s play, just in the first quarter: Three blocks (including one on 7-foot-6, 250-pound Jazz center Tacko Fall), three 3-pointers (including a step-back on Fall), a nifty dime to set up a Jalen Williams’ and-1 layup, and a steal.

Those highlights continued throughout the night as Holmgren did damage from deep (4-for-6 on 3-pointers), locked down the paint, and most notably, wasn’t pushed around too much by either Fall or Utah’s other center, rookie Kofi Cockburn (7-foot, 290 pounds). Holmgren grabbed seven rebounds and had four assists, but most of all he looked confident and meshed well with OKC’s other young talent including Josh Giddey, Alekesej Pokusevski, Jaylin Williams and Jalen Williams. 

“I thought he was really good offensively. The thing that impressed me the most with him was how well he played within our style,” said Kameron Woods, coach of the Thunder’s Summer League team. “He obviously had a great game, but the most impressive part to me was he did it within our offense. It looked like team basketball out there and he found success within what we’re doing.”

Keegan Murray, Sacramento Kings

No. 4 overall pick Keegan Murray breaks down his 24-point performance in a win over the Lakers at Summer League.

Consistency has become Murray’s calling card — at least based on his last two games at the California Classic. Murray finished with 24 points on 9-for-16 shooting while notching seven rebounds and three steals in Sacramento’s 87-75 win against the Los Angeles Lakers.

The No. 4 overall pick was clutch in the fourth quarter, nailing a jumper with 4:18 left to help Sacramento go up 71-70 and reclaim its lead. He also had a big block with 3:05 left before getting a big steal and dunk with 42.1 seconds remaining to help seal the win. His performance Tuesday comes after his 26-point night in Sacramento’s win Sunday vs. Golden State in which he showed a consistent scoring touch.

Nikola Jovic, Miami Heat

Nikola Jovic scored 25 points in Miami's win against Golden State on Tuesday.

In Miami’s 90-74 romp against Golden State, the Heat’s top pick in the 2022 Draft showed why he went No. 27 overall. Lauded before the Draft as a player able to make shots from all three levels, Jovic showcased that in shooting 9-for-16 en route to finishing with 25 points in just over 28 minutes. He also had nine rebounds and was big in the fourth quarter, going 4-for-5 overall and perfect (3-for-3) from 3-point range.

Overall, Thursday’s finale for Miami at the California Classic was a good sign for Jovic as the team gets set to play at the NBA 2K23 Summer League in Las Vegas (July 7-17). After struggling to get going offensively in Miami’s first two Summer League matchups (a combined 4-for-14 FG and 1-for-7 on 3-pointers), Jovic certainly redeemed himself with his showing on Tuesday.

Ziaire Williams, Xavier Tillman, Memphis Grizzlies

The Memphis Grizzlies beat the Philadelphia 76ers in Salt Lake City.

Two of six players on Memphis’ roster with previous NBA experience, Williams and Tillman both looked solid in the opening game at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City. In all, Williams had 15 points, but most notable was his passing and defense in the Grizzlies’ 103-99 win against the Philadelphia 76ers. Williams finished with eight assists and two steals and had a timely dime to Tillman with 1:36 left.

Tillman showed the kind of solid play that made him a key rotation player for Memphis throughout its 2022 playoff run. He had 16 points, three rebounds and four assists, showing aggressiveness in either going to the basket or seeking out cutters when he got the ball in the low post. While he was the victim of a vicious, highlight-worthy late-game block by the Sixers’ Jalen Springer, Tillman stood out for his consistency and aggressiveness.