Summer League Success Means Next to Nothing

Today is the fourth day of the Orlando summer league for the NBA.  Plenty of guys had really impressive showings in their first few ” NBA games.”  Kelly Olynyk shown very well in his first few game for the Boston Celtics, averaging  just under 20 points a game to go along more than seven rebounds and three assists.  The Sixers, Michael Carter-Williams has also played well at time, scoring 26 points to go with seven rebounds and eight assists in his first game.  Victor Oladipo has put up nice numbers for the Orlando Magic as well, averaging more than 17 points, five rebounds, four assists and three steals in hie first three games.

Plenty of summer league veterans also played very well in the first couple of days.  Terrence Jones dropped in 24 points, to go along with 12 rebounds for the Rockets in their opening day win.  Andre Drummond of the Pistons grabbed 16 rebounds while blocking six shots and scoring 12 points in their July 7th victory over the New Jersey Nets.  Alec Burks  had a nice early showing for the Jazz before leaving  in the second quarter of game one with an injury.  Reggie Jackson was lights out scoring 35 points, including 23 in the fourth quarter in the Oklahoma City Thunder victory over the Detroit Pistons on Tuesday.

What does a successful summer mean for your favorite team’s latest draft pick, perspective starter or new acquisition? Absolutely nothing!

Just have to look at last year’s summer leagues to prove that point.  The top ten scorers from last summer had vastly different experiences in the NBA last season.  Damian Lillard dominated in Las Vegas and carried it through the 2012-2013 season.  Lillard was Co-MVP of the summer league and then the NBA Rookie of the Year.

As for his Co-MVP Josh Selby, he wasn’t as successful.  Selby played in 10 games for the Memphis grizzlies and averaged two points a game, before being traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers and subsequently released.  Selby wasn’t the only summer star who didn’t succeed in the NBA last year.  Jeremy Lamb averaged 20 points a game to go with more than four rebounds in Vegas but barely saw the floor for the Oklahoma City Thunder, during the regular season.  Lamb only played in 23 games and averaged a little more than three points per game, but at least he played in the NBA.

Adam Morrison scored 20 points a game on 55% shooting to go with five boards a game in the summer and didn’t even make a roster.

Other summer league stalwarts that did have success in the regular season include Kawhi Leonard, Klay Thompson and Jimmy Butler.  All played big rolls on playoff teams.

Don’t get too excited when the newest player plays awesome or terrible in Las Vegas or Orlando.  Teams have different coaches and different styles of play.  A players success in the NBA doesn’t have a whole lot to do with how they played in the summer.

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