NBA Summer League 2013: Players Who Will Continue Success During Regular Season
The 2013 NBA Summer League has taken the basketball community by storm, as some of the top young players in the world have shined both in Orlando and Las Vegas. While some players are fighting for roster spots, others are looking to prove their worth as future NBA stars.
The question is, which standout Summer League performers will continue to experience success during the regular season?
Certain players are rookies experiencing their first taste of professional basketball, facing the learning curve but still managing to display their upside. Others have played in the NBA already but need to prove that they can handle the everyday grind of the next level.
Certain players are already en route to that level of success.
Jeremy Lamb, Oklahoma City Thunder
Position: Shooting Guard
Height, Weight: 6'5", 180 pounds
2012-13 Season Averages
11.21 PER, 6.4 MPG, 3.1 PPG
Over the past two seasons, the Oklahoma City Thunder have seen James Harden and Kevin Martin each depart with minimal compensation. If there is one consolation to prevent a frantic reaction in Oklahoma City, however, it's off-guard Jeremy Lamb.
For the Thunder's sake, they better hope Lamb turning heads at the Orlando Summer League was not a coincidence.
Lamb displayed a marvelous chemistry with OKC backup point guard Reggie Jackson, who will continue his transition into one of the better reserves into the NBA. As for the UCONN guard, he's under more pressure to produce right now.
Going for 18.8 points per game is an encouraging way to start.
There is reason to be troubled by Lamb's play, as he shot 39.1 percent from the floor and 27.3 percent from distance. With that being said, should he receive significant playing time—and it's hard to imagine OKC finding another option—defenses are unlikely to focus on him.
Barring unforeseen circumstances, Lamb will play fourth fiddle to Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and Serge Ibaka. If he can't produce in that situation, the future doesn't look as bright for the Thunder.
Terrence Jones, Houston Rockets
Position: Power Forward
Height, Weight: 6'9", 252 pounds
2012-13 Season Averages
17.11 PER, 14.5 MPG, 5.5 PPG, 3.4 RPG, 1.0 BPG
Arguably the best big man at the 2013 Orlando Summer League was Houston Rockets second-year forward Terrence Jones. Not only was the former Kentucky star a force offensively, but he also stepped up on the glass and displayed the versatility that made him a national champion.
Expect that success to continue during the 2013-14 regular season.
Jones finished Orlando Summer League action with averages of 15.8 points, 7.0 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.2 blocks on 36.4 percent shooting from three-point range. This is on par with what Jones could put up during his prime at the next level.
The fact that Dwight Howard requires a hybrid, floor-spacing power forward for optimal success makes Jones the perfect candidate to step in and shine.
Jones isn't the type of player who will hit 150 three-pointers and turn into the next Ryan Anderson. What he is, however, is a big, physical player that can handle the ball, shoot the three with consistency and post his man up.
With Omer Asik lacking any form of offensive skills, Jones will progressively become Kevin McHale's go-to power forward.
Kelly Olynyk, Boston Celtics
Height, Weight: 7'0", 238 pounds
2012-13 Season Averages
If it isn't Terrence Jones, then the best big man in Summer League play thus far has been Boston Celtics rookie Kelly Olynyk. Long perceived as the latest energy player to emerge from the college ranks, Olynyk proved that he's the real deal.
Whether he was shooting jumpers, working out of the post or running in transition, Olynyk did it all on offense.
He finished with averages of 18.0 points, 7.8 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.8 steals on 57.8 percent shooting from the floor. While the three-ball wasn't falling with consistency, he flashed range and routinely knocked down mid-range jumpers.
The hype for Olynyk becoming a stretch-4 certainly has some weight.
The Celtics have a frontcourt that could become something special in future seasons with Jeff Green, Jared Sullinger and Olynyk. Each is capable of working out of the post, with Green and Olynyk possessing the ability to flash out to the perimeter.
Whether or not they will pull a complete rebuilding process is unclear, but with Rajon Rondo running the show, Boston should feel comfortable playing Olynyk early in the 2013-14 regular season.
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