Technically, Las Vegas Summer League ended on Monday night. But considering how meaningless the tournament portion usually is, and considering I only saw the first five days in person, I think it’s fair to be pretty definitive about who looked good. It’s always risky to put that much stock into LVSL performances, since it’s the ultimate eye test environment, but you can usually tell pretty quickly which players have real NBA skills. While we can assume Zion Williamson would have been among this group if we saw more of him, here were some other standouts in the dessert.
Brandon Clarke, Memphis
Due to the NBA’s bizarre scheduling, players like Clarke, who were traded during the draft, were not able to officially sign with their NBA teams until the day after Summer League started. Clarke only missed one Grizzlies game, but other players, like Jarrett Culver, have been forced out of the entire event due to how the NBA lays this all out. It’s something that will hopefully be changed sooner rather than later.
Thankfully, once Clarke got on the floor, he looked every bit like the top-five talent he is, showing off his tremendous touch and activity around the rim. His elite two point field goal percentage hasn’t translated yet — he saw a number of his layups rim out — but his athleticism, burst, and instincts have. He already looks like the steal that many draftniks predicted when he fell to No. 21 overall. The overall MVP of both Summer League as a whole and the title game itself, Clarke posted some absurdly gaudy Per 36s of 24.1 points, 16.2 boards, 3.3 assists, and three blocks while shooting 55 percent from three, by far the best numbers of any first rounder to see extended time this year.