The NBA 2K3 2022 Summer League in Las Vegas ended a few weeks ago, and there were a lot of impressive performances by rookies, second year players, and players hoping to get an invite to a training camp in September.
The smart franchises in the league use summer league to build continuity among their young players and have additional practice time, almost like an offseason mini camp. The players that participate often benefit and see improved play the following season.
These are the five players poised to break out after a successful Summer League.
#5. Quentin Grimes, New York Knicks
This wasn’t Grimes’ top shooting performance from Las Vegas, but his combination of scoring and playmaking was on full display through five summer league games, and the title matchup.
Grimes projects to be a starter next season, but what team will he be starting for? You might’ve heard that the Knicks are pursuing Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell. If a trade does happen, expect Jazz general manager Danny Ainge to want Grimes.
#4. Trey Murphy III, New Orleans Pelicans
The Pelicans guard averaged 26.5 points per game on 50 percent shooting and 88 percent from the free throw line in Las Vegas.
This past season he averaged about 14 minutes per game and worked to find his role coming off the bench in Willie Green’s system. In the Pelicans’ round one playoff series against the Phoenix Suns, Murphy III had a 61 eFG% and 64 TS% in six games.
Small sample size, but given what he showed in Vegas and the renewed excitement in New Orleans, Murphy III can see an increased role. He also grew an inch and a half and is now 6 feet 9. In a league full of wing predators, that’s big time.
Trigga Trey lit up the Cox Pavilion like it was the Vegas Strip. ⭐️
— New Orleans Pelicans (@PelicansNBA) July 12, 2022
#3. Santi Aldama, Memphis Grizzlies
The 6-foot-10 power forward showed why the Grizzlies drafted him at the back end of the first round in 2021. His defensive activity was as noticeable as his offensive aggression in Las Vegas.
Santi Aldama masterclass in Vegas tonight for the @memgrizz 😤
– 31 PTS
– 9 REBS
– 3 BLKS
– 12/14 FG pic.twitter.com/eKtRQc1CD7
— NBA TV (@NBATV) July 13, 2022
He averaged 17 points and 7.8 rebounds. Aldama shot 57 percent from the field and 38 percent from three.
This Summer League was key for Aldama, as the injury to Grizzlies All-Defensive forward Jaren Jackson Jr. will open up playing time at the start of the season for Aldama. If he impresses it will be hard to keep him out of the rotation.
#2. Moses Moody, Golden State Warriors
Moody averaged 27.5 points per game and averaged 12.5 free throw attempts per game. He could find his way into the rotation next season. He was most impressive during the California Classic portion of Summer League, with a 34-point performance marking an impressive start to the summer.
He showed the ability to hit the three and make defenses pay for running him off the line. Moody is a versatile offensive player who, when Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson are on the floor, should thrive.
Moody will have to contribute on the defensive end of the floor and rebound, especially with the departure of Gary Payton II.
— NBA (@NBA) July 9, 2022
#1. Keegan Murray, Sacramento Kings
He was named MVP of the Summer League after averaging 23.3 points, seven rebounds, two assists and one steal per game while shooting 50 percent overall and 40 percent on three-pointers in four games in Las Vegas.
Keegan Murray filled up the stat sheet tonight against the Thunder 👑
▪️52.9% FG pic.twitter.com/2S7DjFFYLc
— Sacramento Kings (@SacramentoKings) July 14, 2022
The 6-foot-8, 225-pound Murray is a versatile wing player to complement a core group anchored by point guard De’Aaron Fox and 6-foot-11 power forward Domantas Sabonis.
The Kings are the Kings, but if he plays to his level, they will have a chance to compete for a play-in spot and maybe even the playoffs.