SALT LAKE CITY — Here’s a quick rundown of the top performances from Day 2 of the Salt Lake City Summer League.
Josh Giddey, Oklahoma City Thunder
Giddey, a second-year guard, quietly put on an impressive show as the Kenny Lofton Jr. vs. Chet Holmgren matchup got noticeable buzz. Displaying the pace and all-around skill that marked his 2021-22 season, Giddey finished with a triple-double (14 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists) and chipped in two steals and a block in Oklahoma City’s 87-71 win against Memphis as the Thunder moved to 2-0 in Salt Lake City.
On Wednesday, Giddey basically picked up where he left off on Day 1 (when he had 14 points, five rebounds, 11 assists, two steals and two blocks vs. Utah). His connection with Holmgren continues to grow in Summer League and he assisted on three of Holmgren’s buckets against Memphis to keep him in the mix after Lofton’s early barrage.
“They were going at him and it was a fun matchup and fun to be a part of. Chet’s the No. 2 pick and guys are going to go at him every night and want to prove themselves against him,” Giddey said. “But he’s a smart, high-IQ player and gets the job done on both ends for us.”
Kenny Lofton Jr., Memphis Grizzlies
Five days ago, the undrafted Lofton signed a two-way contract with Memphis. Fast-forward to Wednesday, when he started opposite No. 2 overall pick Holmgren in Memphis’ 87-71 loss and more than held his own. Lofton came out hot, nailing his first three shots in the first quarter. Throughout the game, he often tried to bully Holmgren around the basket and was physical with the star rookie on practically every possession.
Overall, Lofton finished with a game-high 19 points (8-17 FGs), six rebounds and three assists and filled in nicely as second-year center (and Day 1 starter) Xavier Tillman logged a DNP. Lofton is off to a solid start on offense in Salt Lake City, averaging 14 points per game while shooting 54.5% (12-22 FGs).
Chet Holmgren, Oklahoma City Thunder
Holmgren couldn’t quite replicate the scoring barrage of in his Summer League debut, but the night was notable in its own right: Holmgren showed the resolve to stick to his strengths and his game despite Lofton’s fast start and overall physical play.
Holmgren struggled to hit shots (3-11 FGs; 1-6 3PM), yet he didn’t let that stop him from being active on the glass (12 rebounds) or in the paint defensively, altering several shots. That was especially the case in the 3rd quarter, as he grabbed seven rebounds and got two blocks to help limit Memphis to 21.1% shooting.
Charles Bassey & Trevelin Queen, Philadelphia 76ers
Bassey was solid all night in Philadelphia’s 86-62 win against Utah. He finished with 17 points and nine rebounds while showing some craftiness in the passing lanes, too, collecting four steals. Selected No. 53 overall by the Sixers in the 2021 Draft, Bassey made seven shots vs. Utah — six of which came in the paint.
Queen recently signed with the 76ers and got off to a slow start in his Summer League debut with Philadelphia. He opened the game with a 3-pointer, but followed that up with a bad pass and a missed 3-pointer. Overall, he struggled from deep (1-4 3PM) and shot 5-for-12 overall, but didn’t let that slow him down. His resilience was evident in the fourth quarter when he checked in with 5:28 to go: he had an assist, two free throws and a clutch alley-oop layup with 34.2 seconds left. Overall, he finished with 15 points, four rebounds, three assists and two steals.
James Palmer, Utah Jazz
Palmer had a strong all-around performance, finishing with 14 points, eight rebounds, four assists, a steal and two blocks. While he struggled with his shot (5-16 FGs), he provided defense, rebounding and some playmaking and defense. A former NBA G-League player for the Agua Caliente (now Ontario) Clippers, the swingman Palmer is still seeking his first minutes in an NBA game, having played last season in the Polish Basketball League.