While second-year players have dominated the early scoreboard at the NBA 2K24 Summer League, Wednesday’s action featured a few notable rookie breakouts. No. 5 overall pick Ausar Thompson led the Detroit Pistons’ comeback win against the Toronto Raptors. Mavericks bigs Dereck Lively II and Olivier-Maxence Prosper each played big roles as Dallas won in OT. And Boston Celtics rookie Jared Walsh put a game-high on the Los Angeles Lakers in the nightcap. Here’s the breakdown:
Chet Holmgren, Oklahoma City Thunder
The 2022 No. 2 overall pick continued to progress in this second Summer League, and a full run has only reinforced confidence in Holmgren’s potential. A third straight impressive performance ended with 25 points, nine rebounds and another five blocks. There’s a role to be found for Holmgren on the ascendant Thunder, and his rookie status — after missing all of 2022-23 with a right foot injury — could make for an interesting campaign.
Ausar Thompson, Detroit Pistons
While twin brother Amen was picked No. 4 by the Houston Rockets, Ausar gradually rose on Draft boards and landed fifth, joining a Pistons squad replete with young talent. Thompson’s steady play should earn him minutes under new coach Monty Williams, who surely noticed his cool in leading a come-from-behind 94-90 victory after Detroit trailed by 17. Though the turnovers (seven) need reigning in, Thompson’s four steals and two blocks showed a commitment to earning it back.
Dereck Lively II & Olivier Maxence Prosper, Dallas Mavericks
Though Braxton Key stole the show with a tip dunk winner to hit to the overtime target score, the Mavs’ pair of first-round picks dropped double-doubles to keep Dallas in the mix all game. Prosper (17 points, 11 rebounds) was more aggressive of the two offensively, shooting 3-for-5 from deep and adding an 8-for-10 showing at the line. Lively II (11 points, 4-for-5 FGs, 10 rebounds) added a pair of blocks, though he also committed five fouls — often an early bugaboo for young bigs.
Lester Quinones, Golden State Warriors
The reigning NBA G League Most Improved Player continued to pressure defenses on Wednesday, dropping 29 points on the Mavericks in a 98-96 overtime loss, and doing so despite an 8-for-23 shooting night. Quinones — trailing only Jabari Smith Jr. and Jaden Hardy with 9.3 free throws attempted through three games — shot 13-for-17 from the line Wednesday. He also had seven rebounds and five assists (and just one turnover) to position the Warriors for the victory before it was tipped away.
Jordan Walsh, Boston Celtics
The Celtics acquired Walsh on Draft night (he was originally selected by the Kings at No. 38 overall) and saw enough to sign him to a reported 4-year deal. He reinforced that with a 25-point showing in a 95-90 win vs. the Lakers in Vegas, efficiently shooting 10-for-20 while adding eight rebounds, two assists and a steal. The 3-point shot wasn’t there (2-for-7 Wednesday; 27.8% last season at Arkansas), but efficiency inside the arc is a skill, and could carry him toward the Celtics’ frontcourt rotation.