Summer League 2012: Overrated Players Destined for the D-League Next Season

Stephen Babb@@StephenBabbFeatured ColumnistJuly 23, 2012

Summer League 2012: Overrated Players Destined for the D-League Next Season

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    The Minnesota Timberwolves' Derrick Williams may have only made 35 percent of his field goal attempts during five games of Las Vegas Summer League play, but that doesn't mean he'll have to worry too much about having the opportunity to prove himself in his second year at the NBA level.

    Something about being taken with the second-overall draft pick tends to give guys plenty of chances.

    Not everyone participating in Summer League play will be so lucky, though.

    In fact, even some of the best performers will struggle to claim regular playing time. Some may even have trouble finding a job.

    For many, time in the Development League is the best chance they have to advance their young careers. Here are five guys who may have to stick it out with a D-League affiliate before having the opportunity to breakout in with an NBA team.

Josh Selby- G, Memphis Grizzlies

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    The Memphis Grizzlies Josh Selby may have deservedly joined Damian Lillard as co-MVP of the Las Vegas Summer League, but hold off on awarding him any Sixth Man of the Year honors just yet.

    The 6'2" combo-guard was absolutely electric this summer, as attested to by the 24.2 points he averaged through five games. His 56 percent shooting from the field doesn't look half-bad either, so there's no question he's made a strong case for himself.

    More importantly, the Grizzlies need an offensive spark after letting sixth man O.J. Mayo leave for the Dallas Mavericks.

    So how could Selby possibly be overrated?

    For now, he's the kind of guy who excels when given a lot of opportunities in the chaotic, streetball world of Summer League hoops. He likes to take risks, and his talent is offset by questionable decision-making.

    That's hardly atypical for a 21-year-old who's had limited playing time at the NBA level.

    Could Selby be the answer to Memphis needs? Sure, maybe.

    Just don't be surprised if he still needs to spend some time developing the game IQ to match his considerable talent.

Adam Morrison–SF

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    Yes, long lost Adam Morrison racked up 28 points in his final Summer League game, but it's still not clear that he's any closer to making a serious comeback to the NBA.

    Morrison was never able to duplicate his collegiate scoring prowess at the NBA level. 

    Apparently, Gonzaga's opposition wasn't quite as stiff as the guys he's had to face at the pro level. That disconnect has made a tumultuous career including stints with the Charlotte Bobcats, Los Angeles Lakers and most recently a stint overseas.

    Morrison's problems are straight forward, but they haven't been easy to fix thus far.

    He struggles to create his own offense, and he's all but useless on the defensive end. Combined with an inconsistent shot, Morrison hasn't lived up to the promise that tempted the Bobcats into taking him with the third overall draft pick in 2006.

    Chances are that won't change right away.

Josh Akognon–PG

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    Josh Akognon gave the Sacramento Kings' Summer League team yet another pint-sized point guard to get excited about.

    The 5'11" 26-year-old averaged over 19 points through three contests, but it won't be easy for him to find a spot without further proving himself. He doesn't have the kind of size that's preferred at the professional level, and he's spent his entire post-college career overseas.

    He also doesn't pass the ball, and that's a problem for a little guy in the NBA.

    Yes, Akognon began to make a name for himself this summer. It will take a lot more than three solid games to get a team to bite, though.

Cory Joseph–PG, San Antonio Spurs

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    There's no doubt Cory Joseph has talent.

    After rarely having the opportunity to show it in his rookie year with the San Antonio Spurs, he took full advantage of his Summer League opportunity, averaging 17 points, 5.2 assists and 4.4 rebounds. He looked plenty worthy of the first-round selection that brought him to San Antonio.

    The bigger problem for Joseph is simply cracking an already-deep guard rotation.

    Tony Parker will continue to get the lion's share of minutes at the point, and Patty Mills is likely to take whatever is left.

    Joseph's 6'3" frame and solid defensive ability could certainly make him part of the discussion, but it's not as if there's an extra playing time at the 2 in the event he rebrands himself a combo guard.

    Manu Ginobili, Danny Green and Gary Neal will continue to split time at shooting guard, so the 20-year-old Joseph may find himself once again frequenting the D-League unless the Spurs are hit with the injury bug.

Jae Crowder–F, Dallas Mavericks

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    Marqutte product Jae Crowder took his Summer League opportunity as a chance to vindicate the Dallas Mavericks for using a second-round pick on him.

    The hardworking forward certainly has the kind of approach that earns playing time in the NBA, but at the moment he's a power forward in a small forward's body. And, he's not yet much of a scorer.

    In the best case scenario, Crowder could carve out a niche for himself as the next Kenneth Faried. Chances are he'll need a bit more work before making that happen at the professional level, though. He averaged 16.6 points in five Summer League games, but shot a hair under 42 percent in the process.

    His rebounding and defensive prowess will offset that a bit, but probably not enough for head coach Rick Carlisle to invest much playing time in him right away.