The goal for our Summer League coverage is always to tell you what REALLY happened while deeply ingraining in our mind further evaluations of NBA players and prospects. Those that rely on mass media usually only get pre-ordained information about the lottery picks of the most recent NBA Draft. Suffice it to say that “coverage” in this manner focuses on only 14 players out of about 190 who played enough minutes to deserve a spotlight.

We went to Vegas, and watched games LIVE. After each day was complete we did a stat audit on every boxscore before filing a daily report. And we didn’t just do that this time around, it’s something we’ve done for at least a dozen years straight (outside of 2020 due to COVID). It IS important to realize that the player that played the MOST minutes in Summer League did not play 300 minutes total. In general, we have found that “numbers” begin to stabilize at around 300 minutes played. So, Summer League statistics represent a small sample size and should be consumed as such.

So who stood out? Our Hoop Obsession All-Summer League Teams…

First Team: Donovan Mitchell - Sacramento, Cam Thomas - Brooklyn, Trey Murphy – New Orleans, Paul Reed – Philadelphia, Luka Garza – Detroit.

Second Team: Tre Jones – San Antonio, Antonio Blakeney – Portland, Cassius Stanley – Indiana, Jalen Johnson – Atlanta, Udoka Azubuike – Utah.

Third Team: Payton Pritchard - Boston, Chris Duarte – Indiana, Trevelin Queen – Lakers, Naji Marshall – New Orleans, Kyle Alexander – Phoenix.

MVP: Paul Reed – Philadelphia.

"Basketball Paul" averaged 16 points, 12 rebounds, 2.6 steals, and 2.2 blocked shots per game.

How did the lottery picks perform?

Cade Cunningham – Detroit. …The number one pick was solid. He finished ranked 51st in our Hoop Obsession Calculation (HOC) out of 186 that qualified by playing at least 80 mins. Cunningham made half of his three-point attempts which is brilliant. However, he only made it to the free-throw line twice in 83 minutes, and he had only seven assists but a dozen turnovers. For someone hyped as a clear-cut number-one pick, he didn’t look like a "clear-cut" number-one. He looked like a guy that was among the top-third of all the players participating.

Jalen Green – Houston. …Green suffered an injury and was "shut down" after just 72 minutes of playing time. In the time was on the floor, he wowed fans with his easy ability to score. He is lethal in transition and his ability to hit contested jump shots is going to serve him well in the NBA. Green made 10 of 19 three-point attempts (52% 3-pt.), and he only missed one free throw in 14 trips to the line (93% FT). Green impressed us so much we put money on him to be the NBA Rookie of the Year.

Evan Mobley – Cleveland. …Mobley has more “feel” to his game than I knew. While he was not good in a very small three-game sample size in Vegas, we did see the qualities that COULD lead to him being special. His length and ability to move his feet defensively can disrupt most opponent’s flow. Mobley struggled with shooting. He shot a horrid 35% FG (15 of 43), and he had more turnovers than assists. While he did flash an occasional long-reach dunk off a one-dribble drive, he often looked unassertive and off-balance. He certainly needs to gain core strength.

Scottie Barnes – Toronto. …Seeing Barnes LIVE, I was struck by how BIG he is. He’s tall and sturdy. Television didn’t do his size justice. Barnes averaged 15.5 points, six rebounds, and two blocked shots per game. While he continued to struggle as a perimeter shooter (3 of 11, 27% 3-pt.), he made good decisions (13 assists, 7 turnovers). Barnes finished rated 32nd out of 186 in HOC for the Las Vegas Summer League.

Jalen Suggs – Orlando. …The explosive athleticism, and uncanny instincts that Suggs possesses were on full display for 65 minutes in Las Vegas. Suggs sprained his left thumb in the third game for the Magic. That was the last we would see of him in competition. Suggs scored 15 points (35.7% 3-pt.), and grabbed six rebounds on average in 21.8 minutes per game.

Josh Giddey – Oklahoma City. …Giddey turned an ankle in the opening five minutes of his first game. He had a sweet drive and dunk before the injury. He never played again.

Jonathan Kuminga – Golden State. …Kuminga did some nice things (75th of 186 in HOC) but also showed he has holes in his game. The 18 year-old prospect averaged 17 points and six rebounds per game. He was able to draw fouls and get to the free throw line often. However, his shooting numbers were poor (37% FG, 27% 3-pt., 64% FT). He also had more turnovers than assists. Kuminga had the best individual move of the Summer League (below), with a crossover into a Stretch-Armstrong dunk that displayed his magnificent athletic gifts.


Franz Wagner – Orlando. …It was a struggle for Wagner in Las Vegas. He shot a putrid 2 of 13 (15.4%) from three-point range, and he coughed up more turnovers than he dished assists. He averaged 8 points, and 3 rebounds per game. Wagner ranked 129th out of 186 in HOC.

Davion Mitchell – Sacramento. …Mitchell was the catalyst for the Kings’ Summer League Championship team. His on-ball defense was relentless and disruptive. Mitchell’s offensive numbers were solid at 10.8 points, and 5.8 rebounds per game. Most impressively, he had an assist-to-turnover ratio of better than four-to-one. Mitchell made 8 of 17 three point attempts (47% 3-pt) but only hit 2 of 7 free throw shots in Vegas.

Ziaire Williams – Memphis. …Similar to his freshman season at Stanford, Williams looked like a player still trying to figure out how to be efficient. In Vegas, he averaged 12.5 points, and 5 rebounds per game but he made just four of 20 three-point shots (20% 3-pt.), and he had more turnovers than assists. He ranked 140th of 186 in HOC.

James Bouknight – Charlotte. …Bouknight was solid. He averaged 16.7 points, and 3.7 rebounds per game. He hit 6 of 16 three-balls (37% 3-pt). Bouknight had only one more assist than turnover in four games. In Bouknight’s defense, he was playing on a terrible summer roster completely void of a Point Guard. The Hornets were the only team to go winless over the course of the ten-day Vegas experience.

Josh Primo – San Antonio. …The Spurs were extra cautious with their 18 year-old lottery pick. He only played in two games. In those contests, he looked pretty good. He scored 14.5 points, had 3.5 rebounds, and 2.5 assists per game as his averages. Primo’s three-point shooting was a little sketchy (5 of 16, 31.2%).

Chris Duarte – Indiana. …Duarte looked like an NBA veteran. He was outstanding on both offense and defense. He averaged 18.2 points, 4 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 2.5 steals, and 1.7 blocked shots per game. Duarte shot 48.3% 3-pt., and he made all seven of his free throws. He showed an ability to create his own shot, and to hit contested, difficult shots under duress. He ranked 16th of 186 in HOC.

Duarte impressed with his offense and defense!

Moses Moody – Golden State. …Moody is a scorer primarily, and he did that well in Las Vegas. He averaged 16.2 points in 24.2 minutes per game. Moody hit 37% of his three-point shots, and he shot 77.8% FT. He had twice as many turnovers as assists however. Moody finished 65th of 186 in Summer League HOC.


Among the great joys of Summer League game watching is reaffirming feelings you have for particular players. COVID certainly limited the abilty for scouts to see players LIVE. There is no replacement for being in the gym as an eye-witness. This time around, we were happy to have our enthusiasm for Cam Thomas’ skills be overwhelmingly confirmed. Thomas is the rare ACCURATE shooter that can also create his own offense. He hit a sudden-death game winning three-ball that showed off a side step that would have made James Harden proud. Thomas gets to the foul line with regularity and he converts at a high rate. Thomas averaged 27 points per game (36% 3-pt., 84.6% FT). He shot an average of 9.75 free throws per game!

Likewise, Jalen Suggs’ toughness and powerful presence was exactly as we expected. He had a follow-dunk that had me leaving my seat and walking a couple of rows up in the afterglow.… Jalen Johnson, who slipped to the Atlanta Hawks with the 20th pick in the 2021 NBA Draft, showed his considerable combination of size, skill, and athletic ability. He averaged 19 points and 9.5 rebounds per game. Johnson, a 6’9”, 220 lb., forward shot 57% FG, 41.7% 3-pt., and 81.8% FT in Las Vegas. …Gary Payton II continues to be a player we think should be in an NBA rotation. He defensive instincts are top tier. The game looks too easy for him sometimes which can be misread as indifference. The 28 year-old only played in three games in Las Vegas but he stood out each time he was on the court.  …Luka Garza didn’t miss a beat from his days at Iowa. He looked like the same guy, just in better shape. He hit shots. He out-hustled opponents. He remained efficient.

Garza is intense!

Antonio Blakeney is another guy that scores way too easily to not have a role on an NBA team. The 6’4” scoring guard averaged 17.4 points, and 3.8 rebounds per game (in 22.8 mins. per game). Blakeney is 24 years old. He still has tunnel-vision and he shoots dang near everything he touches but he continues to leave an impression as a stone-cold scorer.


Jaylen Morris can really play. He was on my radar but I didn’t realize how nice his game is now. At age 25, Morris has continued to grind and he now is ready for the NBA. He had a short stint in the league from 2017 to 2019 in Atlanta and Milwaukee respectively. This summer, playing for the Spurs he scored 13 points, and grabbed three rebounds per game on 45% 3-pt. shooting. He made good decisions (2-to-1 assist-to-turnover). …Ade Murkey was a guy I knew virtually nothing about a month ago. Now, he’s firmly on my radar as a scoring, 23 year-old wing, that brought good energy despite playing only 15 minutes per game for Sacramento.

Despite his 2018-19 season with Phoenix and Miami, Emanuel Terry was another player I just wasn’t aware enough of. His energy level complemented the Kings each time he was on the floor. At age 24, Terry knows exactly what his role is. He is a 6’9” rim-running rebounder and he excels at that. …DeVaughn Akoon-Purcell (6’6”, 200 lb., wing) was another player that struck me as a guy that at age 28 should be given another look.  

View changers

Basketball skills can improve. Those that put in the work CAN be better than the last time you saw them live. Situations vary. The landscape of one roster can be 180 degrees from the makeup of the previous team a player was on. There simply is no substitute for watching games and staying updated on any given player’s progress. It is also important to be honest and acknowledge that a 2019 outlook on a player can be irrelevant in 2021. We changed our feel for a bunch of players over the course of the ten days in Vegas, plus the two nights of play in Sacramento.

Trey Murphy was a player I just didn’t think was aggressive enough. The 17th pick in the 2021 Draft proved me wrong in Vegas. Murphy is a 21-year old, 6’9” wing. He averaged 16.2 points, seven rebounds, and 2.7 assists for the Pelicans. He shot 44% 3-pt. and looked like he belonged in an NBA rotation. …Kyle Alexander, a 24 yer-old BIG that played for Phoenix, also has improved his game. He’s added some much needed muscle without losing any of his explosive quickness around the hoop. He averaged 11 points, nine boards, and 1.7 blocked shots per game in Las Vegas. …I gave a slight uptick to Cassius Stanley of the Pacers. Playing only 19.5 minutes per game, Stanley averaged 11 points, and 4.2 rebounds. At age 22, he has a chance yet for a solid base of skill to match-up with his considerable running and jumping ability. …Jaylen Hands of Cleveland is still only 22 years old. He looked way more confident and capable than I’d seen prior. The 6’3”, 180 lb., Point Guard did not shoot it well this Summer but the rest of his game looked nice. He was more under control and his decision making was sound. He’s an unrestricted free-agent that played overseas last season.

Hands is better in 2021.

On the other side of the coin, there were several players that struggled so badly, we wondered what we ever saw in them to begin with. I’m going to skip the details on individuals that stunk it up, if for no other reason, than to not be mean-spirited. For factual purposes, here are the five lowest HOC ratings for players that played over 80 minutes: Zeke Nnaji – Denver .012, Brandon Knight – Brooklyn .048, Mac McClung – Lakers .066, Nate Mason – Phoenix, .070, (TIE) Charlie Brown – Oklahoma City .073, Santi Aldama – Memphis .073.

Statistical Top Fives (80 mins. minimum)

Assist-to-turnover ratio: Louis King – Sacramento 6-to-1, Lamar Stevens – Cleveland 6-to-1, Jerome Robinson – Chicago 5.5-to-1, Cassius Stanley – Indiana 4.5-to-1, (TIE) Davion Mitchell – Sacramento 4.14-to-1, JaQuori McLaughlin - Golden State 4.14-to-1.

Points per-minute: Cam Thomas – Brooklyn .938, Tre Jones – San Antonio .829, Bol Bol – Denver .805, Antonio Blakeney – Portland .759, Jaylen Nowell – Minnesota .731.

Rebounds per minute: Emanuel Terry – Sacramento .494, Luka Garza – Detroit .453, Alperen Sengun – Houston .440, Alize Johnson – Brooklyn .424, Kyle Alexander – Phoenix .416

Blocked shots per minute: Isaiah Jackson – Indiana .182, Selom Mawugbe – Golden State .175, Daniel Oturu – Clippers .130, Alperen Sengun – Houston .120, Freddie Gillespie – Toronto .093.

Three-point percentage (15 attempts, minimum): Davon Reed – Denver (9 of 16) 56.2%, Miles McBride – New York (18 of 36) 50%, Cade Cunningham - Detroit (13 of 26) 50.0%, Jamorko Pickett – Detroit (9 of 18) 50.0%, Chris Duarte – Indiana (14 of 29) 48.3%.

Free throw attempts per minute: Bol Bol – Denver .384, Cam Thomas – Brooklyn .339, Jonathan Kuminga – Golden State .281, Alperen Sengun – Houston .280, Saben Lee – Detroit .269

They played well in limited minutes

There are many reasons why a player may or may not have played significant minutes during Summer League. Some players simply were not high on a depth chart. Some were injured during play and had their Summer League come to an unexpected premature end. Others were being babied by their parent team. Whatever the reason, there were players that played less than 80 minutes total that deserve some love for how well they played when given the opportunity.

Here are the top 15 in Hoop Obsession Calculation (HOC) among players that played at least 40 minutes but less than 80 minutes: Tyrese Maxey – Philadelphia .770, Olivier Sarr – Memphis .751, Matt Morgan – Toronto .689, Jalen Green – Houston .674, Bruno Fernando – Boston .636, Tres Tinkle – Lakers .626, Zach Auguste – Boston .592, Precious Achiuwa – Toronto .591, Javin DeLaurier - Atlanta .588, J.T. Thor – Charlotte .587,  Cam Oliver – Golden State .539, Jalen Suggs – Orlando .534, Simi Shittu – Chicago .531, Terry Taylor – Indiana .528, Keaton Wallace – Memphis .526.

The Kings angle

Sacramento won the Summer League Championship. They did so, in part, because they committed to playing their guys and giving themselves a chance in Las Vegas with a roster that was better than what they rolled out in the California Classic (Sacramento’s two-game Summer League). Chimezie Metu’s addition to the roster was huge, giving the Kings some badly needed scoring punch (pun intended). Unfortunately for Metu, he was not around for the Championship game due to suspension for throwing a wicked forearm blow at Eugene Omoruyi in Sac’s previous game against Dallas.

Sacramento deserves credit as an organization for playing to win. Davion Mitchell, their lottery pick, played in all the games. That is not the standard mode of operation for most NBA teams who coddle their young pieces and “shut them down” at the slightest of bumps or bruises. Mitchell’s defensive ferocity made everything difficult for opposing guards. His on-ball pressure forced passes under duress that Kings teammates feasted on. Steals directly led to transition run-outs that seemed to gain momentum for the Kings energy.

Louis King played very well. Not only did the 22 year-old score 14.6 points per game, he also took care of the rock! King led the Summer League in assist-to-turnover ratio at 6-to-1. King’s 3.0 steals per contest were directly tied to Mitchell’s relentless pressure at the point of attack. King is under two-way contract to the Kings. …Emanuel Terry was a rebounding machine each time he saw action. Terry averaged 8.6 rebounds per game in just 17.4 minutes per contest.  

Jahmi’us Ramsey played as well as we have ever seen him play. He scored 16.2 points per game in Vegas, looking very effective in transition. His speed and scoring ability at age 20 offer some promise. …Matt Coleman III was a solid choice to bring in as a back up Summer League Point Guard. He is well seasoned, as a former leader of the Texas Longhorns, and he displayed confidence when he was on the floor.


Las Vegas can be as much about basketball as you desire. Games are running from noon until 9 pm daily over the course of ten days. When the hoop obsession is filled Las Vegas remains a fantastic destination for entertainment and GREAT food (most of the time).

Topping out as our favorite meal this time around was Bang Bar by Momofoku at the Cosmopolitan. Located in Block 16, a mini food court on the second floor of the resort hotel, Bang Bar is a counter-style space that cooks up freshly griddled flat-bread sandwiches and rice bowls. Chef David Chang is world renowned for his Asian contemporary recipes. The spit-roasted spicy pork is not to be missed!

We were not as lucky with our one foray into food at the new Resorts World complex. The majority of the NBA teams were staying at Resorts World which offers three different hotels in one huge property, north of the Wynn & Encore (and on the opposite side of The Strip). The Resorts World idea of Asian inspired street foods in a food court fell flat due to small portions and outrageous prices. I had a Brisket Fried Rice that was so over peppered I had to throw half of it out. The Resorts World casino and high-end retail shops are all immaculate. It’s an impressive contender to the ultra hotels of Vegas but unless prices come down to earth a bit, it’s nowhere I’ll be going back to soon.

We continue to sing the praises of the Cosmopolitan. Sitting on the private balcony (which most rooms have) and looking out at the lights of the city never gets old to us. The Cosmo is always clean to my OCD satisfaction, and they offer at least five different restaurants on the property that I really enjoy visiting.