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Blazers' Trendon Watford Wins MVP for 2022 Las Vegas NBA Summer League Championship

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVJuly 17, 2022

AP Photo/John Locher

Portland Trail Blazers forward Trendon Watford took home the MVP award from Sunday's 85-77 NBA Summer League championship game victory over the New York Knicks.

Watford dropped 19 points, seven rebounds, two assists, three steals and one block in the win. He shot 7-of-15 from the field and 3-of-6 from beyond the arc.

NBA @NBA

"What ring size you want?" - Trendon Watford<br><br>The <a href="https://twitter.com/trailblazers?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@trailblazers</a> are the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NBA2K23SummerLeague?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#NBA2K23SummerLeague</a> Champs! <a href="https://t.co/kPeCPxiGU6">pic.twitter.com/kPeCPxiGU6</a>

Brandon Williams dished out a game-high five assists for Portland, and he formed a potent combo with Watford.

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Brandon Williams finds Trendon Watford slipping to the basket for the dunk 💪<br><br>Live Now on ESPN <a href="https://t.co/gPvt9zwJJo">pic.twitter.com/gPvt9zwJJo</a>

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How did Brandon Williams make this pass?!<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NBA2K23SummerLeague?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#NBA2K23SummerLeague</a> Championship Game Live Now on ESPN <a href="https://t.co/3kt9n9dM9d">pic.twitter.com/3kt9n9dM9d</a>

Thanks to his 22 points, Williams assembled an MVP-worthy resume himself. Jabari Walker earned a double-double (14 points and 11 rebounds) as well.

Still, Watford was the unanimous choice in the eyes of voters.

The 21-year-old first signed a two-way contract with the Blazers after going undrafted in 2021. He made his NBA debut on Nov. 14 and eventually played his way into a four-year, $5.8 million contract.

Over 48 appearances, Watford averaged 7.6 points and 4.1 rebounds in 18.1 minutes on the floor. He was a big beneficiary of Portland waving the white flag as the 2021-22 season drew to a close.

Acquiring Jerami Grant from the Detroit Pistons and re-signing Damian Lillard to a two-year, $121.8 million extension showed the Blazers aren't yet ready for a full teardown. General manager Joe Cronin will do his best to build a championship roster around Lillard for the foreseeable future.

Grant aside, Portland hasn't done much to strengthen the squad with outside reinforcements, though. Adding Gary Payton II certainly helps but doesn't catapult the Blazers to the top of the Western Conference.

Developing younger players such as Watford, Williams, Walker and Shaedon Sharpe will be a necessity for head coach Chauncey Billups in order for Portland to significantly raise its ceiling.

Watford did his part in Las Vegas to show he should continue to be a regular role player in the frontcourt.

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