Things are heating up in NBA's Summer League as action continues out in Las Vegas and some young players are beginning to separate themselves from the pack.
The Phoenix Suns had to be among those who were happy to see some of their players standing out. Marquese Chriss and Josh Jackson both put in great performances. Jackson—the No. 4 pick in the 2017 NBA draft—put up 20 points and six rebounds.
Chriss not only impressed with 26 points and seven rebounds including 16 free-throw attempts. The NBA passed along some of the highlights from his impressive performance:
Meanwhile, the rebuilding Kings got a sneak peak of what a De'Aaron Fox and Buddy Hield backcourt might look like:
Hield had an especially productive night as he scored 22 points with 6-of-9 shooting from beyond the arc. Frank Mason was also a bright spot with 24 points and six assists on 13 shots.
Some of the mid-first-round picks from the 2017 draft continued to impress in the desert as well on Monday.
John Collins—the 19th selection—once again showed out. The Atlanta Hawks forward followed his 22-point and 10-rebound performance on Sunday with another 15 points and 11 rebounds in 25 minutes against the Chicago Bulls.
No. 14 pick Bam Adebayo led the Miami Heat to a 91-87 win over the Washington Wizards behind his 16 points and seven rebounds. Adebayo wasn't considered a skilled offensive player, but he showed off a little ability to pass in transition with an alley-oop pass to Okaro White:
Another day in Vegas means another day for more statement-making performances from some more up-and-comers to make their presence felt. Here's a look at Tuesday's schedule along with some players to keep an eye on.
- San Antonio Spurs vs. Portland Trail Blazers, 4 p.m. ET on NBA TV
- Utah Jazz vs. Memphis Grizzlies, 4:30 p.m. ET on ESPNU
- Chicago Bulls vs. Washington Wizards, 6 p.m. ET on NBA TV
- Philadelphia 76ers vs. Boston Celtics, 6:30 p.m. ET on ESPN 2
- Miami Heat vs. Dallas Mavericks, 8 p.m. ET on NBA TV
- Golden State Warriors vs. Minnesota Timberwolves, 8:30 p.m. ET on ESPN 2
- Cleveland Cavaliers (3-0)
- Los Angeles Clippers (3-0)
- Toronto Raptors (3-0)
- Boston Celtics (2-0)
- Dallas Mavericks (2-0)
- Memphis Grizzlies (2-0)
- Miami Heat (2-0)
- Atlanta Hawks (2-1)
- Brooklyn Nets (2-1)
- Houston Rockets (2-1)
- Minnesota Timberwolves (1-1)
- Philadelphia 76ers (1-1)
- Portland Trail Blazers (1-1)
- San Antonio Spurs (1-1)
- Los Angeles Lakers (1-2)
- Milwaukee Bucks (1-2)
- Phoenix Suns (1-2)
- Chicago Bulls (0-2)
- Golden State Warriors (0-2)
- Utah Jazz (0-2)
- Washington Wizards (0-2)
- Denver Nuggets (0-3)
- New Orleans Pelicans (0-3)
- Sacramento Kings (0-3)
Players to Watch on Tuesday
With Markelle Fultz out with an ankle injury and the Lakers out of action on Tuesday, Jayson Tatum is the marquee rookie talent in action. The Boston Celtics forward has been giving the C's a good feeling about their decision to trade back in the draft and take the Duke forward.
Tatum came into the league with a reputation for being a versatile scorer and he's certainly living up to that. In two games in Vegas he's averaged 19 points and nine rebounds per game in two contests after averaging 18.7 points and 9.7 rebounds per game in Salt Lake City.
Max Lederman of CSN New England provided some context for Tatum's impressive summer:
Despite the great overall numbers, Tatum is coming off his least impressive game in the summer. His scoring was held in check by the Portland Trail Blazers as he missed his last six shots in an 11-point on 4-for-11 shooting.
"The back-to-back, the quick turnaround, I definitely felt it today, sluggish and tired," Tatum said of his performance, per ESPN.com. "But we got the win."
Now Tatum will get to prove himself against the team that the Celtics traded with for the pick that ultimately became the promising forward. The Sixers Summer League roster is surprisingly bare given their young talent. You won't find Ben Simmons, Dario Saric or Jahlil Okafor on the court.
With a day off on Monday to get his legs back, the Duke forward should show his ability to shake off a bad night and put up strong numbers once again.
Lauri Markkanen is another guy to keep an eye on Tuesday after a rough outing in his last game. Unlike Tatum Markkanen hasn't put up great numbers, but he's coming off a particular bad performance.
The seven-footer from Arizona was 1-of-13 from the floor as the Bulls scored just 55 points against the Atlanta Hawks.
He also looked completely lost on defense at times as John Collins took advantage of the matchup down low. He was heavily featured on his fellow rookie's highlight reel:
Markannen was positive he'd be able to bounce back, per Kurt Helin of NBC Sports:
"I can definitely improve something (with my shot), being more balanced and getting lower on my shot, but I’m not really worried about it. Those kinds of days happen, not often, but sometimes you just have them."
Markannen is right, he's going to have some bad shooting days. The key is for him to prove that he can bounce back. He's now shooting just 25 percent from the field in Vegas with the Bulls sitting at 0-2.
The pressure is on the Bulls for Markannen to become a legitimate player for them. As one of the pieces received in the Jimmy Butler trade this offseason, there won't be much patience for Markannen to show some promise.
Obviously you can't overreact too much to Summer League, but another performance like his last and the criticisms that he wasn't an explosive athlete, couldn't defend and was taken too high are only going to intensify.
If anyone needs to have a strong performance on Tuesday, it's Markannen.