We’re long past the point of most teams playing their top players in Summer League. Cleveland, Utah, Houston and Brooklyn will face off for the NBA 2K24 Summer League championship over the next two days, and the teams that didn’t play on Saturday will play their final game on Sunday. Over the past two weeks of games, plenty of second year guys starred (Keegan Murray, Jabari Smith, etc.), and we got a taste of what other rookies can provide (Victor Wembanyama, Scoot Henderson, etc.). Now, we’re getting to see more of the later picks, as well as a ton of players trying to secure contracts. Since very few of these players have a chance of impacting fantasy basketball this upcoming season (or even over the next few seasons), let’s talk about the ones that have the best chance!
A former five-star recruit, Bailey was selected with the 41st pick in the draft after a subpar season at UCLA. For the most part, his minutes have been limited this summer, but he was able to play his largest role yet in the finale, which allowed him to finish with 17 points, three rebounds and three assists in this game. The upside is there, but it’s unclear what his role will be this season.
Charlotte nabbed Nnaji with the 31st pick in the draft, though his role hasn’t been huge this summer. Like Bailey, he was able to play a larger role in this game, and he posted a 10/4/1/1/5 line on 3-for-5 shooting. Even in a limited role, he has been able to swat his fair share of shots this summer. Mark Williams will be the starting center in Charlotte, but there’s a chance that Nnaji could earn the backup role within a few seasons.
Minott didn’t get to play much during his rookie season (15 games, 96 total minutes), but he has been excellent so far this summer. He didn’t have a great game on Saturday (13 points, four rebounds, two blocks, 5-for-10 FGs), but before that he had been averaging a 17.3/6/1.3/1/1.5 line. It may not be this season, but Minott is a dynasty stash that could certainly benefit managers in the future.
It is a bit surprising that Miller ended up falling to Minnesota in the second round. For G-League Ignite last season, he averaged an 18/11/1.6/0.9/0.8 line on .554/.327/.792 shooting splits. He didn’t have his best game on Saturday (4-for-14 FGs, 13/7/1/1 line), but overall he’s been excellent this summer. He should have a role for the Timberwolves this season, though it may not be large enough for him to contribute in fantasy. However, within a few seasons, he could be a real factor in fantasy hoops.
After spending the majority of his rookie season in the G-League, Quinones has been a star this summer. He dominated on Saturday with a 32/4/6/3/2 line and has been an excellent scoring option this summer. Of course, he notably has drawn comparisons to Jordan Poole, who moves similarly and also spent time in the G-League before starring for the Warriors. Could Quinones be the next Poole? Only time will tell, but his Summer League performance is encouraging.
TJD slipped to the end of the second round after being projected to go about 20 picks earlier. He is an older rookie that could end up seeing minutes during his first season, especially in Golden State. He could fill in as Kevon Looney’s backup and see 15-20 minutes which should lead to some value in deeper leagues. He finished with an 18/10/2/2/2 line on Saturday to finish off a strong summer.
Podziemski hasn’t had a great summer after the Warriors selected him with the 19th pick. He ended it with an 11/6/5 line on Saturday, though he had five turnovers and shot 4-for-13 from the field. He has struggled with his shot, but he should be able to find minutes during his rookie season after the departure of Donte DiVincenzo.
After being drafted with the 13th pick, Dick should play an important role during his rookie season. He didn’t shoot the ball well this summer, but he did finish with a strong performance (21/5/0/2/1 with three 3PTs). He didn’t play with anyone that will be part of Toronto’s rotation this upcoming season, so he should be more efficient when he’s playing with better players.
Terry didn’t play much during his rookie season, but he has had the chance to see a larger role this summer. He delivered solid numbers across the board, but he struggled with his shot for the most part. However, he ended Summer League on a high note with a 20/5/4 line in 7-for-10 shooting with four 3-pointers. Terry could end up playing a role off the bench for the Bulls this season.
Summer League MVP? It could be Freeman-Liberty with how well he’s played this summer. He averaged 21.2 points and 4.4 assists per game to lead the way for Chicago. Freeman-Liberty played for the Windy City Bulls last season after going undrafted, but that could change this season. It’s still more likely that he spends more time in the G-League, but he could earn a contract and suit up for Chicago, especially with their need for a point guard now that Lonzo Ball has been ruled out for the season.
After struggling during his single season at Arkansas, the former five-star recruit has been much better for the Celtics during Summer League. He shot 27.8% from deep during his singular college season, but he shot 11-for-27 (40.7%) from beyond the arc this summer. He slipped to Boston at 38, and he could end up being a steal for them with how well he played this summer. He only played 16 minutes on Saturday, but he scored 12 points and hit two 3-pointers.
The three Denver rookies
Denver made three picks this summer: Julian Strawther (29th), Jalen Pickett (32nd) and Hunter Tyson (37th). All three have shown this summer why the Nuggets selected them. They’re all older rookies, but they could see minutes during their first season for a team that will be fighting to repeat as champions. Strawther finished the summer with a 25-point performance, Tyson scored 17, and Pickett posted an 11/4/6 line. It’s no guarantee, but all three have a chance to play real roles off the bench during their first season.
Jackson slipped to Memphis at pick No. 45 after a poor season at South Carolina. However, he was expected to be the top pick of the 2024 draft before that. The upside is there, but there’s no guarantee that he pans out. He’ll spend his rookie season with the Memphis Hustle, though if things go his way, he could eventually be worth stashing. However, he didn’t have a great summer, and he finished with just eight points on 2-for-11 shooting in his final game.
Camara was Phoenix’s only draft pick, and they got him with the 52nd pick. This summer, he showed what he could be if the Suns give him minutes. He recorded a 20/10 double-double with two blocks in the finale. Phoenix has enough scoring, but Camara could help do a lot of the dirty work to help the Suns compete for a championship.
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