Undrafted NBA Prospects Making Their Case in Summer League
NBA Summer League is an opportunity for undrafted prospects to show teams what they missed.
Five have made intriguing cases for themselves with strong play in Orlando, Utah and/or Las Vegas. They'll be looking to earn training-camp invites and two-way contracts if they haven't already.
They've each showcased special strengths or combos—something teams can specifically seek out, whether it's scoring or a mix of shooting and defense.
Luke Kornet (New York Knicks, C)
The New York Knicks clearly had eyes on Luke Kornet, having taken him to dinner in June and quickly signed him to a two-way contract after the draft.
He didn't waste much time in summer league showing coaches and fans what he offers. The 7'1", 250-pound Kornet drilled four three-pointers in his debut against the Dallas Mavericks. He'd go on to make three more—and block four shots—against the Oklahoma City Thunder and finish with another pair of triples and three rejections against the Miami Heat.
His game and projected role are cut-and-dried. The Knicks brought him in for his potential to stretch the floor and protect the rim.
There isn't anything flashy about Kornet's skills or athletic ability, but assuming he continues to shoot and challenge shots in Westchester, he will get his chance to do the same backing up Kristaps Porzingis and Willy Hernangomez in Manhattan.
Derrick Walton Jr. (Orlando Magic, PG)
Derrick Walton Jr. continues to build a case he initially started making this past spring.
After averaging 21.4 points and 8.2 assists over Michigan's final five games, he showed he belonged at the NBA combine during five-on-fives and had it going in the Orlando Summer League, where he shot 46.9 percent and 50.0 percent from three.
Walton isn't big or athletic, but he's always played under control and has enough shiftiness off the dribble to compensate for limited burst. During his four games in Orlando, he showcased a tight handle, impressive passing instincts and the ability to make tough jumpers.
This past year at Michigan, he made 98 threes at a 42.2 percent clip, shot 87.6 percent from the line and averaged 4.9 assists to just 1.7 turnovers.
Decision-making and shooting will give him a chance to crack an NBA rotation, whether it's with the Orlando Magic, who have one of the weaker point guard depth charts in the league, or another team searching for backcourt depth and shot-making.
London Perrantes (Miami Heat, PG/SG)
London Perrantes' eye-test results have been more promising than the numbers.
The positives have outweighed the negatives, which include poor shooting through six games. But he hit a combined 143 threes over his final two years at Virginia and shot at least 80 percent from the line in each.
He's strengthening his case in Orlando and Las Vegas with flashes of point guard play, having totaled 29 assists to date. Lacking 2-guard size and athleticism, Perrantes will improve his chances of making an NBA roster by showing he can facilitate for teammates.
Toughness is another big selling point for the 22-year-old with four seasons of high-level college experience. In his first game in Vegas, he knocked off the San Antonio Spurs with a game-winning pull-up in the final five seconds.
Perrantes has made it easier to buy his shot-making, passing and fearlessness, despite his obvious physical limitations.
Jamel Artis (New York Knicks, SF)
Jamel Artis was a bright spot for a New York Knicks summer league team missing lottery pick Frank Ntilikina.
At 24 years old and without great athleticism, Artis was a long shot to be drafted, despite averaging 18.2 points, 3.3 assists and 2.3 three-point makes during his senior year at Pittsburgh. His jumper was on in Orlando, where he shot 48.6 percent and made 8-of-19 three-point attempts through five games.
Artis looked confident shooting off the catch or dribble from any spot he'd get a look.
The Knicks already handed out one two-way contract to Kornet, but they still have another to use. Artis' mix of size, shot-making and playmaking ability should help him earn consideration.
Charles Cooke (Minnesota Timberwolves, SG)
Charles Cooke introduced himself against the Denver Nuggets on July 9 with 15 points in under 20 minutes.
An efficient scorer and shooter at Dayton, he showed off both shot-creating and shot-making skills during his first big summer league opportunity. Cooke hit a pair of threes and looked smooth getting into his jumper.
Coming in, he attended the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament and the first annual Pro Basketball Combine at IMG, and he agreed to a deal with the Minnesota Timberwolves immediately following the draft.
Even after signing the 37-year-old Jamal Crawford, Minnesota could still use more depth on the wing behind Jimmy Butler and Andrew Wiggins. The Wolves should have their eyes on Cooke for his bench-scoring potential.