Summer League Takeaways
The NBA Summer League came and went so fast, but there were many players who left themselves with an impression.
Keep in mind that most of these players mentioned will not have an instant impact on their potential teams, but almost every big name and cool story starts in Summer League.
After a lot of evaluation of the big men in this tournament, I have narrowed down my list of talent to the following: John Collins, Mitchell Robinson, and Christian Wood.
Let's get right into it:
John Collins: 4 GP: 19 PPG, 7.5 RPG, 1 APG, 1 SPG, 0.75 BPG, 22.35 PER
John Collins was part of the "Too Good For Summer League" elite group of players. He was already an incredible talent last season, however he struggled with staying out of foul trouble, and his perimeter offence was not used too often.
One aspect of Collins' game that really impressed me this summer was his perimeter shooting ability. Collins shot 16 threes in four games while converting on 6 of them, but his willingness to shoot the ball was certainly encouraging, and if the raw 20 year old adds that to his game in the next few years, he might branch out as one of the very best bigs in the NBA.
His blocking ability, his pick and roll ability and his athleticism is already elite, and if he adds this to his game, we might start to say him in the same sentences as Karl-Anthony Towns and Nikola Jokic for one of the game's greatest young centers.
Collins needs to work on not fouling as much and keeping himself in games. Often times he would pick up two early fouls and lose his rhythm for the remainder of the game, despite Budenholzer's staggered rotations.
It will be interesting to see how he and Trae Young mesh, but regardless, expect Collins to be the focal point of the Hawks offence this year.
Christian Wood: 20.4 PPG, 10.8 RPG, 0.4 APG, 2.80 BPG, 33.26 PER
Here is my inspiration for writing this article. Christian Wood is one of the most intriguing young players in all of basketball to me. At just 22 years old, Wood has been around for a while, and has some NBA experience during the ugly part of the "Process" days in Philadelphia, and some spot minutes in Charlotte. However, Wood was young and he seems to only be getting better with age.
Taking a look at his intangibles, Wood has a 7"3 wingspan, he is athletic, can jump out of the gym, and he has the ability to rim protect at a really high level. While he sounds like a traditional big, he is far from that. Wood has shown an increased ability to shoot the three (Career high 32% in the G league last year), and has seen his numbers increase every year in the G League.
It is a mystery to me as to why a team wouldn't want a 22 year old with his intangible abilities combined with an elite ability to rim protect and alter shots from opposing bigs. This is the type of big that teams are just drooling for and he seems to just not be getting the respect he deserves from NBA teams despite everything going for him.
From an outsiders' view, there is no reason for this guy to not be getting a contract from NBA teams immediately, yet the Bucks chose to overlook his remarkable summer and have let him go into free agency.
The Raptors have reportedly worked out Wood, and he is a guy who I personally believe has a ceiling off the charts. After continuing to show out in Summer League and the G League last year, there is zero excuse for all thirty NBA teams to pass up on this guy. There are many young teams out there who could use a big, and in my eyes, Wood has a ceiling that is just as high as some of the biggest names we have seen in this draft. Hopefully he finds an opportunity to showcase himself at the NBA level next year, because it should be a seamless transition to being a solid rotation player.
Wood needs to work on becoming a more consistent shooter, as he has been, and he also needs to put on some more muscle, but there is a lot of time for him to do that.
Mitchell Robinson: 13.0 PPG, 10.2 RPG, 1 SPG, 4.0 BPG, 34.72 PER
Mitchell Robinson is another player we should really be excited about. The 20 year old was drafted in the 2nd round, 36th overall, but it was not due to the fact that he wasn't a first round talent. It was simply because Robinson chose to not play college basketball, and elected to workout on his own. This decision can create a negative perception from NBA organizations, but for Robinson, he let his talent do the talking.
The things that Mitchell Robinson does on the basketball court are absolutely special. He is a freak athlete at 7"1, he has massive hops, and he was the best rim protector in the summer league. He also had an elite ability to guard players in space. He specifically focused on just being a rebounding big who can roll, jump, and play defence, and in many ways reminded me of a budding Deandre Jordan with Anthony Davis like ability in terms of dunking, and blocking shots on the perimeter.
This is not to say he will be any of those players, but with a rebuilding Knicks team, and an injured Porzingis, Robinson is a huge darkhorse for rookie of the year this season if he takes advantage of the window being presented to himself.
The Knicks already felt the need to sign Robinson to a 3 year deal, and I think he will instantly be a fan favourite at MSG.
Robinson still has very little post game, his jump shooting ability is not there yet, and free throws were an issue in a small sample, but he is only 20 years old and his freakish ability that he put on display make him a likely candidate to be the steal of the 2018 NBA draft, even if it takes a while for those intangibles to surface themselves. Even if they don't, he has a ceiling of being Deandre Jordan, and that is a great value in the second round to say the least.
I will have a follow up piece coming soon regarding some of the guards and wings in the tournament!