The rookies at the top of the 2022 class dominated the headlines in the NBA Summer League as Chet Holmgren and Paolo Banchero put on a limited show. However, the plot of the events in Las Vegas extends far beyond the performances of the best starters in the league. The two-week fair is also a showcase for the league’s second-year players. As the upcoming sophomores look to make the leap into their second 82-game campaign, the Summer League is a natural springboard.
So which sophomores had the most notable impact in the Summer League? Let’s highlight some of the best performing employees.
Moses Moody, Warriors
Moody could jump into the Golden State rotation in 2022-2023 after being tied to the bench for most of the Finals. He was even more impressive during the California Classic portion of the summer league, with a 34-point performance that represented a great start to the summer. Modi showed countless talents in outstanding performance. He hit a triple and managed to penalize defenses that kept him off the line, looking like Swiss Army knives (Andre Iguodala and Leandro Barbosa come to mind) from the Warriors’ past. Moody’s offensive arsenal is impressive and should thrive when surrounded by the greatest bowlers in basketball history. How Moody contributes as a defender and bouncer could determine how much playing time he gets from Steve Kerr, especially given the hole left by Gary Payton II’s departure.
Trey Murphy III, Pelican
Murphy showed some spark as a pick-up threat in limited minutes with New Orleans last season, draining 44.3% of his attempts from behind the arc. He built his sporadic success as a rookie during his time in Las Vegas. Ex-Virginia Cavalier finished third of all summer league goalscoring players as he averaged 26.5 points per game, and in a promising move, he showed an increased willingness to attack defenses on the rebound. Murphy won’t necessarily be a two-way force, although his game may be more rounded than what we saw during the junior season. Combining his three-point shooting skills with good recoil and finishing at the edge would go a long way to cementing a place in the busy spin of New Orleans.
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Quentin Grimes, Knicks
New York’s draft history over the past decade or so is shoddy (to put it simply), although the Knicks seem to have made a wise decision when they picked the Grimes in the first round in 2021. Grimes is a 3D athletic winger. With more rebounding ability than he got, he had no trouble dealing with the responsibility of additional playmaking in the Summer League. The Grimes averaged 22.6 points per game in five Summer League competitions, while spending a lot of time as a base starter. Grimes may soon become the cornerstone of rebuilding Utah in a potential Donovan Mitchell deal, but for now, Knicks fans can view it as a potential building block in the franchise’s attempt to return to importance.
Cam Thomas, nets
The LSU producer quickly became a fan favorite last season as he helped keep the net afloat amid a slew of injuries and absences. Thomas collected more than 20 points 10 times in the junior season. With a small squad, his ability to score goals in the microwave proved crucial. A similar trend continued in Las Vegas. Thomas was only behind Moody in points per game and was one of four players to average the number of two-digit free-throw attempts per game. A fair share of his buckets may have come from unlimited effective use in the Summer League, but it’s possible that there’s still plenty of optimism to cash in on his performance in Vegas. Thomas has already distinguished himself in the league as a promising goalscorer off the bench. Expect him to get a boost in running in Brooklyn this season.
Josh Geddy, Thunder
Did the Australian star light up the Summer League in its five-game summer period? not necessarily. But I will take any excuse possible to promote one of the best point guards in the league. The taste of the Giddey-Holmgren connection is very saliva. Let’s hope to see a lot more of this over the next decade.
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