The 2022 Hoop Obsession Las Vegas Summer League Report - July 28, 2022. By Bobby Gerould.

What really happened in Las Vegas at NBA Summer League is quite different from what ESPN, NBA-TV, and the masses of media presented to the public. It is always that way. The most glaring example occurred after a Lakers game (Friday July 8th). What really happened? The Phoenix Suns destroyed the Lakers by 20 points. Ish Wainright was the standout performer individually with 17 points, including five made threes. But how did ESPN SportsCenter present the game to their viewers? They highlighted the two sons of famous NBA players from the losing team. Scotty Pippen Jr., and Shareef O’Neal (son of Shaq) received all the TV time in the highlights package from the game. There was NO MENTION at all of Wainright. Pippen was a minus 21 in the final boxscore for that game. O’Neal had played all of 14 minutes, scoring seven points.

That is just one example of what goes on every day in the world of television. Producers assume that the public knows little about the “deep cuts” in Summer League so they grasp at PREMEDITATED angles that can be tied to popular culture. I’ve worked in and been around TV productions my entire life and I know how the sausage is made.

This is why we offer a Summer League report that may not fit the narrative of what you have previously read or seen. We were there. We spent nine days in Las Vegas (on our own dime). We watched basketball until we were blue in the face (mostly from the "ARCTIC" temperatures inside the Thomas & Mack Center).

Trendon Watford helped the Blazers to the NBA Summer League Championship.

It is important to keep in mind that Summer League represents a small sample size of minutes played. At the most, some guys logged 150 minutes. Most fall in the 80-120 minute range. We believe numbers don’t really stabilize until 300 minutes have been established. So take all Summer League statistics with a grain of salt.

So how did the lottery picks perform?

Paolo Banchero – Orlando. Banchero was good to very good. Not great. He only played in two games, averaging 20 points, 5 rebounds, and 6 assists per contest. He shot just 40% FG (11-27). He did an excellent job of getting to the free throw line (20 attempts in 60 minutes total). The Magic felt the need to end his Summer League run early.

Chet Holmgren – Oklahoma City. Chet did not meet my expectations in Las Vegas. That’s on me for having super lofty beliefs that he would dominate. In reality, Holmgren ranked 31st in Hoop Obsession Calculation (HOC) among players who logged more than 80 minutes. He averaged 12 points, 7 rebounds, and 2.3 blocked shots per game. He had more turnovers than assists. He did affect the game on defense but not to the level I was anticipating.

Jabari Smith Jr. – Houston. Smith was the third best player on the Rockets Summer team behind Tari Eason and Josh Christopher. Smith settled for perimeter shot after perimeter shot. He was near awful offensively, shooting just 37.7% FG, and a woeful 25.9% from three-point range. He had more turnovers than assists. Defensively, Smith was very good when on the ball. He competes. 

Keegan Murray – Sacramento. Murray was excellent. He clearly outplayed the three players picked before him in the 2022 NBA Draft. Officially, Murray was named the Most Valuable Player of the eleven-day run in Las Vegas. He averaged 23.2 points per game on 50% FG, 40% 3-pt., and 80% FT. He showed an ability to fit within a team structure. He made timely cuts. He knocked down shots under duress. The one area he struggled was turning the ball over more than he assisted it.

Ben Mathurin played like a future star

Jaden Ivey – Detroit. Ivey played a brilliant 37 minutes in Las Vegas. In his second game, he turned his ankle and he never played again. Seeing him “live”, his size and strength stood out. He was able to get to the basket virtually at will. He went to the free throw line 12 times in those 37 minutes, making all 12 by the way.

Ben Mathurin – Indiana. Mathurin appeared in just three games in Las Vegas but he was outstanding in his opportunities. He only turned the ball over twice in 67 minutes, while showing his ability to take and make difficult shots. He averaged 19.3 points, and 4 rebounds per game.

Shaedon Sharpe – Portland. Sharpe played just five minutes before suffering a tear in his labrum that shot him down for the entirety of the Vegas stay.

Dyson Daniels – New Orleans. Daniels played eight minutes before suffering a right ankle injury that kept him from further competition.

Jeremy Sochan – San Antonio. The Spurs held out Sochan from Summer League after he tested positive for COVID-19 prior to the start of play.

Johnny Davis – Washington. Davis did not play well. At all. He shot 29% FG, and he had more turnovers than assists. We were courtside for two of his games and he was barely noticeable. Davis lacked aggression and seemed generally unsure. The only thing that was decent was him making 3 of 9 three-point attempts.

Ousmane Dieng – Oklahoma City. Dieng, again, teased with flashes of what he may become. His length and ball-skills have tantalized at times. However, overall, he continued his trend of horrid inefficiency. He ranked 349th out of 366 players in HOC. He shot 26% FG.

Jalen Williams – Oklahoma City. Williams didn’t shoot the ball well from deep in Las Vegas (1-8 3-pt.) but he played well otherwise. He averaged 10.5 points and 3.3 rebounds in the four games he participated in.

Jalen Duren – Detroit. Duren played in three games and was as advertised. He shot 65% FG and played above the rim, scoring on lob catches. Duren had six assists and only two turnovers across 61 minutes. He didn’t rebound at a high rate but his efficiency was very good.

Jaden Ivey and Jalen Duren have Pistons fans excited.

Ochai Agbaji – Cleveland. Agbaji was just okay in Las Vegas. He shot just 37% FG, and for our money, he settled for too many deep jump shots. In 124 minutes, he shot just 11 free throws. He did do a good job of taking care of the ball with only 5 turnovers in the four games he played.


As a scout, it is a good feeling to see a player you have championed perform well and reaffirm what you strongly believe. Players that fell into that category this time around:

Moses Wright – Dallas. The 23 year-old, 6’8” forward, went un-drafted in 2021. He showed again that he can be efficient. He averaged 15.5 points (52% FG, 37% 3-pt., 77% FT) and 6.7 rebounds in just 19 minutes per game. Wright was First Team All G-League in 2021-22. He should be on an NBA roster.

Kyle Alexander – Portland. We’ve always admired the way Alexander moves on the court. He is a factor defensively, and on offense, he understands his role. In Vegas, Alexander played a shade over 16 minutes per game but was crucial to the Championship success of the Blazers. He blocked seven shots in 65 minutes.

Tari Eason – Houston. Eason’s hands are held in the highest regard over here. I don’t throw around the term “suction cups” for just anyone. Eason grabbed a one-handed board in his opening game in Las Vegas that was like something you see once in three seasons of watching basketball. Eason’s game is a little wild. His shot selection needs to cure a bit more. But his ability to finish near the rim, run the floor, rebound, and guard any perimeter player was obvious. 

Eason is gifted.

Sandro Mamukelashvili – Milwaukee. Mamukelashvili mixed up his perimeter game and his strength to score near the basket well in Las Vegas. He made 10 of 21 three-point attempts (47.6%), while also getting to the free throw line six times per game.

Tyrese Martin – Atlanta. I love Martin’s demeanor while he plays. The rookie from Connecticut did not shoot it well in Vegas but he did compete hard, and he looked like a pro with every step. 

Brandon Boston Jr. – Clippers. I was late to get on the Boston train. But I did change my view of him after the G-League Showcase in December 2021. This Summer, he strengthened my belief that he has a future as a star in the NBA. His ability to get what he wants off the dribble is like only a select few.


Each Summer League there are guys that we either didn't know about or didn't really consider NBA prospects, that suddenly enter our realm of “players we want to know more about”. This July was no exception. Here are six prospects that were not prominent on our radar prior to Summer League 2022. We now think these players need to be monitored:

Javante McCoy – Lakers. McCoy exhibited a tight handle and ability to create his own shot. At 6’5”, 180 lbs., the rookie from Boston University is very much a two-guard with a scorer's mentality. He is 24 years-old. He signed an Exhibit 10 deal with the Lakers on July 25th.

Daeqwon Plowden – New Orleans. Plowden went un-drafted in 2022. He is from Bowling Green and is now 23 years-old. I’m not sure he has the guard skills yet to play minutes if lots of ball-handling is required but he made the Pelicans better each time he was on the floor. His muscular frame is ready made for the NBA and he can guard positions one through three for sure. He shot a ridiculous 64.7% FG in the three games he played.

Jack White – Denver. White is on a two-way contract with the Nuggets. The 24 year-old from Australia averaged 7.8 points, and 7 rebounds per game in Las Vegas. He shot 69.6% FG over five games.

Jerrick Harding – Dallas. Despite being just 6’1”, the 24 year-old from Weber State looked like a player that could play in the NBA. He shot 50% FG, 36% 3-pt., and 77% FT. He had a 3.33-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio in five games. 

Harding looked like he belonged.

Tommy Kuhse – Orlando. Kuhse, un-drafted from Saint Mary’s, made the most of his three game appearances, averaging 17.3 points per outing. He made 6 of 15 three-pointers (40%). Kuhse is 24 years-old.

Marko Simonovic – Chicago. Simonovic is no secret, but he played better than we had previously seen him play. He was largely responsible for the Bulls win on day two. Simonovic scored 27 points (10-19 FG, 0-3 3-pt. 7-8 FT), snared 13 rebounds, and swatted three shots in the Bulls exciting 100-99 overtime win against the Dallas Mavericks. Simonovic made crucial plays down the stretch, including the game winning free throw. The 22 year-old BIG man was the 44th player taken overall in the 2020 NBA Draft.

2022 Hoop Obsession All NBA Las Vegas Summer League Teams

First Team: Jeff Dowtin – Toronto, Cam Thomas – Brooklyn, Jabari Walker – Portland, Keegan Murray – Sacramento, Mfiondu Kabengele – Boston.

Second Team: Miles “Deuce” McBride – New York, Lindell Wigginton – Milwaukee, Deividas Sirvydis – New Orleans, Santi Aldama – Memphis, Tyrique Jones – New Orleans.

Third Team: Jerrick Harding – Dallas, David Duke – Brooklyn, Jordan Schakel – Washington, Jack White – Denver, Kenny Lofton Jr. – Memphis.

View changers

Basketball skills can improve. Those with the will to improve, will improve. Situations vary. The landscape of one roster can be 180 degrees from the makeup of the previous team a player was on. There 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 2020 outlook on a player can be irrelevant in 2022. Our feel for a handful of players was adjusted. Those that moved the needle in a positive way:

Jordan Schakel – Accurate shooters are always in need. Schakel is that guy. Due to his average athleticism mostly, I just never really considered him as an NBA player, even though he did appear in four games in 2021-22. The 24 year-old changed my mind this go-round in Vegas. And, I’m not saying he is ready to be in a rotation playing meaningful minutes yet, but I do now believe in the 6’6”, 200 lb. wing.

Deividas Sirvydis (pictured above)– Still just 22 years-old, I never paid him much mind in the past. He’s been in the Pistons organization the last two NBA seasons. However, this summer, playing with the Pelicans, Sirvydis looked like a confident athlete that demanded notice. He moves gracefully on the court, yet he is offensively aggressive. He shot 36% 3-pt., and 77% FT in the G-League in 2021-22. The next step for Sirvydis is to take better care of the ball and involve his teammates more often.

Lindell Wigginton – Forget that he is only 6’1”. Wigginton can play. He exudes confidence and gives maximum effort. In Las Vegas, his three-point shot was dropping at a 46% clip! He is still more of a two-guard than a point guard but overall he is the kind of guy you want on your team. Now 24 years old, Wigginton is in the Milwaukee Bucks system. He spent most of 2021-22 on the Bucks’ G-League squad.

Say it again. Those with the will to improve WILL improve.  

Mixed bag thoughts on others who gained an uptick in my mind: Jay Huff is more capable than I thought. The Lakers Summer team was leaps and bounds better with him than without him. …Tyrique Jones showed passing ability that I didn’t know he had. Jones dished 13 assists (with just 7 turnovers) in the 103 minutes he played. He was efficient. I thought Jones was among the top-seven BIGs that participated in Vegas. …Isaiah Joe played in three games, and he made 12 of his 20 (60%) three-point attempts! I’d previously never seen Joe look that good. …Bryce McGowans is better than I gave him credit for being prior to the draft. His athleticism and ability in transition really popped. …Marjon Beauchamp also looked much more confident than when I saw him live at the G-League Showcase in December 2021. I regret not listing him higher on my draft board. …Former Sacramento Kings player, Justin James completely transformed his body. He looked lean enough to make Pat Riley smile. James did an excellent job getting to the free throw line even if his jump shots still looked below average. He did make a third of three-point attempts in Vegas and he finished sixth in points per minute among those qualified. …Juhann Begarin of the Celtics impressed me with his explosiveness. Unfortunately, he has a LONG way to go as a decision maker, and ball-handler.

Statistical standouts (80 minutes minimum)

Rebounds per minute: Tyrique Jones – New Orleans .490, Jabari Walker – Portland .410, Jack White – Denver .409, Day`Ron Sharpe – Brooklyn .386, Mark Williams – Charlotte .381.

Assist-to-turnover ratio: Justin Jackson – Boston 11-to-1, Jeff Dowtin – Toronto 8.5-to-1, Sindarius Thornwell – Chicago 7-to-1, Zavier Simpson – Orlando 4.43-to-1, Joel Ayayi – Atlanta 4-to-1.

Points per minute: Cam Thomas (pictured above)– Brooklyn .905, Quentin Grimes – New York .751, Jonathan Kuminga – Golden St. .743, Josh Christopher – Houston .733, Keegan Murray – Sacramento .728.

Blocked shots per minute: Sacha Killeya-Jones – Lakers .1056, Neemias Queta – Sacramento .1050, James Wiseman – Golden St. .1003, Kai Jones – Charlotte .1002, Christian Koloko – Toronto .0996

Three point percentage (15 attempts min.): Isaiah Joe – Philadelphia 12-20 (60%), Keon Ellis - Sacramento 13-24 (54.2%), Matt Ryan – Boston 10-19 (52.6%), Brodric Thomas 12-23 (52.2%), Cole Swider – Lakers 19-38 (50%).

Free throw attempts per minute: Jared Harper – New Orleans .379, Cam Thomas – Brooklyn .357, Jonathan Kuminga – Golden St. .328, Josh Christopher – Houston .298, Brandon Williams – Portland .294.

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. Others were injured during play and had their Summer League come to an unexpected premature end. And, unfortunately, there are players who were “shut down” by their 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: Olivier Sarr – Phoenix .850, Moses Wright – Dallas .811, Pat Spencer – Washington .802, Malik Osborne – Cleveland .775, Daeqwon Plowden – New Orleans .754, Moses Moody – Golden St. .752, Darius Days – San Antonio .744, Matt Ryan – Boston .744, Kyle Alexander – Portland .734, Trey Murphy III – New Orleans .716, Bennedict Mathurin – Indiana .713, Tommy Kuhse – Orlando .706, Vernon Carey Jr. – Washington .697, Nick Richards - Charlotte .696, Isaiah Jackson – Indiana .691.

Notes: Unfortunately, we were in the house at Cox Pavilion when E.J. Liddell went down (twice). The second time resulted in a torn ACL. The rookie from Ohio St. was limited to just 37 minutes of play for the tournament. ...The public address announcing at Summer League really leaves a lot to be desired. The lack of basic knowledge led one of the P.A. guys to declare that Neemias Queta was the starting point guard for the Sacramento Kings. That is just one example. However, we heard mistakes, mispronunciations, and lack of understanding NBA rules at virtually every game. The NBA could really improve that aspect of Summer League with announcers that have pro experience.

The Sacramento Kings angle

The big story for Sacramento was how well Keegan Murray played. We covered that above. Below we will touch on only the POSITIVES for Sacramento.

Murray was named MVP of the Las Vegas Summer League

Beyond Murray, Neemias Queta, and Keon Ellis, were consistently good. Ellis was our favorite guard defender in NCAA basketball in 2021-22. He continued his disruptive defensive ways in Las Vegas. He is a guy that could have a bad game on offense yet still impact the outcome because he is such a factor on defense. He possesses quick hands, and cat quick reflexes that lead to deflections. Offensively, Ellis shot the ball extremely well from deep (54% 3-pt. FG). He had a 1.9-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio in four Las Vegas games.

Queta attempted two three-point shots and made them both, something that would be a welcome addition to his game. He continued to block shots on one end and show different ways to contort his long arms to score at the other end.

Jeriah Horne displayed enough talent to be, at minimum, in the NBA G League. The 24 year-old simply knows how to play. He can make threes. He scores in the mid-post. He shares it without excessive turnovers. He has a 6’7”, 220 lb. frame that should hold up well amidst the grind. I was very pleasantly surprised at his play.

Matt Coleman didn’t get much playing time (less than 50 minutes) but he was good when he was on the floor. I continue to admire his enthusiasm for the game. I believe that his energy radiates through his team.

Jared Rhoden also played well. He came in billed as an inconsistent deep shooter but he made (7 of 18) 38.9% of his three balls in Vegas. His physical style of play was on full display. At 6’6”, 210 lbs., Rhoden is another player I think has an NBA future at some point. He is just 22 years-old.

Rhoden played well in Vegas.

Finally, Sean McDermott was as advertised. A known commodity at age 25, McDermott shoots the three-ball with ease. He made 6 of 14 (42.9%) while showing the kind of shot selection that coaches love to see.  

I thought the Kings coaching staff was impressive. Changing up defenses to interrupt the opponent’s flow is a core part of a good defensive philosophy. I saw that from Jordi Fernandez and his assistants. I also saw some urgency with purpose that was welcome.

The Vegas experience

Hot. Hot. Hot. One day during the stay, Las Vegas hit 113 degrees. It was 100 at midnight that day. Fortunately, finding some comfort is easy with all the well air-conditioned hotels, and casinos.

Summer League games run from noon until 9 pm daily over the course of eleven days. When the hoop obsession is filled, Las Vegas offers an overwhelming number of choices for entertainment and dining.  
Topping the list as our favorite meal this time around was Lardo at the Cosmopolitan. Located in Block 16, a mini food court on the second floor of the resort hotel, Lardo is a counter-style space that cooks up burgers and specialty sandwiches. The restaurant originated in Portland, OR. The double-burger with dirty fries was truly as good as it gets. Likewise, the Wicked Spoon buffet at Cosmo (second floor, Chelsea Tower) offers a lunch feast that is guaranteed to satisfy.

The view from a balcony at Cosmopolitan

If you are into people watching, Las Vegas is the undisputed best place in America to do so. During Summer League, there is no telling who you might run into. From NBA front-office types to NBA players past and present, there is a great chance to have a brush with greatness anytime you leave your hotel room.  

The Cosmopolitan remains our preferred place to stay. Most of the rooms offer a balcony (which is a rarity in Vegas). The restuarant choices are plentiful and there are some reasonably priced options, something you cannot say about many of the higher-end hotels in Las Vegas. The Cosmo is centrally located on The Strip and it is always clean to my OCD satisfaction. We are already looking forward to the next trip.