2013 NBA Summer League: 11 Sleepers Guaranteed to Turn Heads Next Season

Jonathan WassermanNBA Lead WriterJuly 18, 2013

2013 NBA Summer League: 11 Sleepers Guaranteed to Turn Heads Next Season

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    The majority of summer league standouts are those experiencing this event for the second time or third time.

    With at least a year under their belts, these guys should share a raised comfort level and confidence as NBA players.

    The following are summer league sleepers guaranteed to turn heads as new regular members of their respective rotations.

Orlando Johnson, Indiana Pacers

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    Indiana just barely let Orlando Johnson get his feet wet as a rookie. But based on his summer league performance and Indiana's roster, Johnson looks primed for a breakout sophomore year.

    He averaged 14.6 points through five games this July, though he hasn't shot it as well as he would've liked. In college, Johnson shot at least 39 percent from downtown in three out of his four years. He nailed 38 percent of his three-point attempts as an NBA rookie. Johnson has a good-looking stroke that Indiana could really use in its backcourt.

    Physically, Johnson is built like a football player. And unlike Lance Stephenson, who relies mostly on athleticism and activity, Johnson is a refined, fundamentally sound offensive player.

    With only Stephenson and Gerald Green higher on the depth chart, Johnson should get his chance to spark the Pacers' second unit.

Moe Harkless, Orlando Magic

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    Moe Harkless looks ready to play a significant role in Orlando's offense. He got some valuable rookie experience during the second half of last season and looked sharp through four summer league games in July.

    He's such a smooth athlete for a 6'8'' wing. Harkless is fluid in his overall delivery—he's made some beautiful plays in Orlando by gracefully spinning off defenders and finishing in rhythm at the rim.

    Harkless' jumper needs a good tweaking, as his mechanics tend to shake. But the rest of his game is coming along nicely.

    Assuming coach Jacques Vaughn gives Harkless the opportunity to grow on the job and make some mistakes, he'll climb faster up the ladder to his NBA ceiling.

Evan Fournier, Denver Nuggets

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    With the departure of Andre Iguodala, the Nuggets will be counting on Evan Fournier to help replace some of his offensive production.

    Fournier showed signs last season that carried over to summer league this July. He's got excellent size for a wing who can handle the ball and cleverly get to his spots on the floor.

    He can also shoot it from deep or in the mid-range and has proven to be a crafty finisher around traffic at the rim.

    Defense and shooting consistency will be his challenges moving forward, but Fournier has a deceptively effective offensive game. Denver will need it while Danilo Gallinari recovers from an ACL injury.

Arnett Moultrie, Philadelphia 76ers

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    Philadelphia might not have a choice but to give Arnett Moultrie a substantial role in this year's rotation. They might as well—the Sixers will be playing for the top pick in the draft as opposed to a place in the NBA playoffs.

    With Nerlens Noel injured, Spencer Hawes and Lavoy Allen are the only true big men left to play inside. Philadelphia will need Moultrie's size and athleticism, which should allow him to log minutes at both the 4 and 5 positions.

    I personally thought Moultrie went a little too late in the 2013 draft when he slipped to the back of the first round. He's an above-the-rim, mobile big man who can run the floor and pick up easy baskets. Moultrie is showing signs of a spot-up jumper, which he's knocked down off pick-and-pops and drive-and-kicks in Orlando.

    There's just no reason not to unleash Moultrie and let him make his mistakes during a lost NBA season.

Jeffery Taylor, Charlotte Bobcats

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    Jeffery Taylor looks NBA-ready through three games this summer, in which he's averaged 21 points on 38.5 percent from downtown.

    He already had the physical tools—at 6'8'', he's got a strong frame much like Wilson Chandler of the Denver Nuggets. Taylor shows consistently sound footwork and smooth overall athleticism.

    Even without the skill, Taylor can play or defend three positions on the floor.

    But now the rest of his game is developing, most noticeably his jumper, which he's knocking down with comfort and consistency.

    He's a disciplined offensive player and defensive asset that Charlotte needs in its lineup. After watching him this summer, it would be hard to imagine the coaching staff taking it slow with Taylor moving forward.

Kent Bazemore, Golden State Warriors

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    Kent Bazemore is an energy guy. You even feel it when he's cheering from the bench. But with Jarrett Jack bolting for Cleveland, Bazemore might actually get a chance to channel some of that energy and convert it into production.

    He's averaging 15 points through three games this summer. Bazemore has good size and athleticism for a 2-guard with the ability to attack and get to the rim.

    His jumper still lacks consistency, but Bazemore's activity level as a defender and slasher should be worth a lower-end spot in the rotation.

     

     

Cory Joseph, San Antonio Spurs

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    Cory Joseph earned the trust of coach Gregg Popovich, who gave him legitimate minutes in the playoffs as the team's primary backup point guard.

    Now in year No. 3, Joseph could play a bigger role off the bench.

    Joseph plays stellar on-ball defense and remains disciplined enough as a playmaker not to put himself before the offense. He knocks down open shots and sets up teammates when the opportunity presents itself.

    San Antonio should be back contending at the top of the Western conference, and Joseph should play a part in that.

    He averaged 13 points and five assists through three summer league games in Vegas.

John Henson, Milwaukee Bucks

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    John Henson made the most of every opportunity he was given as a rookie, and one could only hope that he'll get more of them as a sophomore.

    He does all the things you want a young big man to do; specifically, he cleans the glass and protects the rim. Offensively, he's a reliable finishing target and has shown some touch in the mid-range.

    Henson is a bright kid with incredible physical measurements, two strengths that can't be taught. But with his offensive game developing in front of our eyes, it will be tough to keep him off the floor.

    The Bucks need a post presence offensively, and Henson has the talent and feel to give them one.

John Jenkins, Atlanta Hawks

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    With Devin Harris moving to Dallas, John Jenkins has a shot to be Atlanta's opening-day starter.

    He averaged almost 18 points a game this summer despite shooting it poorly. And if you know John Jenkins, you know that shooting is his strength.

    This is a good sign for Jenkins, who needs to find more ways to score other than just spotting up from three.

    There's no doubt he's a refined perimeter scorer. Jenkins has a lightning-quick release along with the balance and fundamentals to put it on the floor and pull up if necessary.

    With Lou Williams projected to come off the bench, Jenkins could see a huge boost in minutes if he's able to consistently connect from deep.

     

Jae Crowder, Dallas Mavericks

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    Jae Crowder should be in line for regular minutes in 2013-14. He's been extremely aggressive this summer, looking for his shot on nearly ever offensive possession.

    He gets himself easy buckets thanks to his mobility, motor, athleticism and strength. Crowder's shooting consistency will likely determine just how successful he'll be, but he's getting makeable looks on a routine basis.

    Shawn Marion and Dirk Nowitzki are the only 3s and 4s currently on this roster. Crowder is going to get his minutes no matter what.

    Based on what I've seen this summer, Crowder looks confident and anxious to run with an expanded role in the rotation.

Tyshawn Taylor, Brooklyn Nets

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    Tyshawn Taylor doesn't have an office or desk waiting for him. He'll have to earn his position in this rotation, especially after the Nets just signed Shaun Livingston.

    But Taylor has looked good in July, averaging nearly 17 points and 3.5 assists through four summer league games. He's been aggressive attacking the rim and effective scoring in the mid-range. 

    You can argue whether he's a point, shooting or combo guard, but at the end of the day, he's just a playmaker. 

    I'm not sure Jason Terry packs the same punch as he used to. And with Livington's injury history, I'd bet on Taylor making an impact at some point this year.