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Success in the NBA Summer League is anything but a sure thing when it comes to translating over to the regular season. Sometimes the stars of the summer barely crack the rotation in the fall.
This year there were a number of players who stood out during Summer League play. Here are five strong bets that they have an impact on their NBA teams this season:
Last year’s No. 1 overall pick, Anthony Bennett turned a lot of heads with his play. Bennett shed almost 20 pounds between now and his rookie season, and looks to have made major strides between now and then.
Bennett averaged 13.3 points and 7.8 rebounds per game over the summer, and if those kind of numbers translate to the NBA season it could translate into a starting job at power forward for the Cavaliers.
2. Doug McDermott
Doug McDermott is one of the best players in college basketball history, so I’m not taking it as a surprise that he averaged 18 points per game in the Summer League.
The Bulls were not able to land Carmelo Anthony, so expect the team again to rely on a more team-wide effort, especially on the offensive end. That was the plan when they drafted McDermott, who should contribute right away.
3. Nick Johnson
The Rockets’ second-round pick proved he’s an NBA point guard this summer, notching a triple-double (15 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists) against the Nets.
Rockets GM Daryl Morey apraised Johnson, calling him the best player on college basketball’s best team and also referencing his athleticism and defensive ability. With Jeremy Lin out of town and a need at the point, Johnson could help pilot this very potent offense.
4. T.J. Warren
T.J. Warren was one of the best players in the ACC last season, and finished as one of the top scorers in the Summer League. Warren shot almost 60 percent of the field, giving reason to believe he can contribute to a rising Suns squad.
Warren won’t be shooting 60 percent come November, and he didn’t hit a 3-pointer during this summer season. But he did fill up the scoresheet and did so by taking good shots in an efficient manner.
5. Glen Rice Jr.
How can you exclude the Summer League MVP from this list? Glen Rice Jr. put up eye-popping numbers — averaging a league-high 25 points per game on 46.9 percent shooting from the field.
Rice has a chance to back up Bradley Beal this season as the seventh or eighth man off the bench for the Wizards. We know he has an NBA pedigree, and last season we didn’t see much out of him as a rookie. But now that he’s a year older, a year wiser, and a year more experienced in the NBA culture, he could be on the verge of major things in the nation’s capital.
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