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We are just a day away from the start of the 2022 NBA Las Vegas Summer League and there is still a lot happening around the league.

Not only are teams still in the midst of figuring out deals in free agency, but the drama surrounding the Brooklyn Nets, Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving will continue to dominate headlines in Las Vegas.

Team executives from every franchise in the league will be in attendance at some point over the 11-day Summer League event, which could result in more advanced trade talks taking place.

Not to mention, the event itself is going to feature some big names and potential future stars of this league. The top three picks from the 2022 NBA Draft in Paolo Banchero (Orlando Magic), Chet Holmgren (Oklahoma City Thunder) and Jabari Smith Jr. (Houston Rockets) will all be in attendance and plenty of other rookies will be looking to make a name for themselves as well.

Las Vegas Summer League is always a must-see event put on by the NBA every year and this summer, there are plenty of noteworthy headlines to keep tabs on.

The Race Begins For Rookie Of The Year


This year’s rookie class has a chance to be special right away, as the top three picks in this year’s draft all have star-like qualities to their game already.

Paolo Banchero was selected first overall by the Orlando Magic, but one could easily make an argument that Chet Holmgren and Jabari Smith Jr. are equally as talented as Banchero and the top pick in this year’s draft was determined just based on a matter of fit.

Fans will get their first look at Banchero in a Magic uniform in Game 1 of Las Vegas Summer League on Thursday, July 6 against Jabari Smith Jr. and the Houston Rockets. A battle between the first and third overall picks, an early rivalry could very well be formed between the two forwards.

As for Chet Holmgren, his Rookie of the Year has already kicked off in a big way, as Holmgren and the Oklahoma City Thunder are participating in the Salt Lake City Summer League event taking place before the start of Las Vegas Summer League.

In his debut on Tuesday night, Holmgren had 23 points on 7-9 shooting, 4-6 from three-point range, and he also finished the game with 7 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal and 6 blocks. Putting together quite the debut, Chet Holmgren is now viewed as the early favorite for Rookie of the Year.

These three in Banchero, Holmgren and Smith Jr. are the three favorites to win Rookie of the Year over the course of the 2022-23 season, but it is worth mentioning Keegan Murray from the Sacramento Kings, Jaden Ivey from the Detroit Pistons and Bennedict Mathurin from the Indiana Pacers as well.

These three went fourth overall, fifth overall and sixth overall, respectively, in the 2022 NBA Draft and each guy will see a ton of playing time over the course of their rookie seasons.

Some dark-horse contenders for Rookie of the Year include Chicago Bulls guard Dalen Terry, San Antonio Spurs guard Malaki Branham and Washington Wizards guard Johnny Davis.

Summer League is a time for development across the league, but for some of the league’s top draft picks from this year, this is their moment to make an impact and begin their journey to stardom in this league.

Best Of The Second-Round From 2022 Draft


While it is unlikely that someone from the second-round of this year’s draft will be in the running for Rookie of the Year, it is very likely that at least one of them will end up on the All-Rookie First or Second Team at the conclusion of the 2022-23 season.

In fact, over the last four seasons, at least one member of the All-Rookie teams either went undrafted or they were selected in the second-round of their draft. This just goes to show that you do not need to be the top pick in order to become a star in this league!

This year, there were some very intriguing names left on the board in the second-round of the 2022 NBA Draft starting with the 31st overall selection. Taken by the Indiana Pacers with the first pick in the second-round, Andrew Nembhard definitely has a chance to make an impact right away.

At the NBA Draft Combine, Nembhard’s playmaking abilities stood out and in Summer League, his craftiness and ability to make those around him better could really make the Indiana Pacers a sneaky good team in Las Vegas.

Jaden Hardy, who was selected 37th overall by the Dallas Mavericks, also has a chance to make an impact right away because of his pure scoring abilities. With the G League Ignite, Hardy showcased his “score-first” mentality and athleticism by being able to play in isolation anywhere on the floor.

The Mavericks could really use some more scoring weapons next to Luka Doncic given Jalen Brunson’s departure for the New York Knicks, which is why the next two weeks are extremely important for Hardy as he gets ready to begin his rookie season.

Three other second-round picks to make a note of are Kennedy Chandler (Memphis Grizzlies), E.J. Liddell (New Orleans Pelicans) and Isaiah Mobley (Cleveland Cavaliers).

Chandler is an athletic and very poised point guard that will very likely fill some of the minutes left behind by De’Anthony Melton, who was recently traded to the Philadelphia 76ers, for the Memphis Grizzlies.

Liddell falling to the second-round was a shock to many and for the New Orleans Pelicans, this is very reminiscent of them getting Herbert Jones in the second-round of the 2021 NBA Draft. Having the ability to be a “small-ball” center that can stretch the floor and knock down multiple three-pointers, E.J. Liddell is the perfect type of player to put together some big games in Summer League.

As for Mobley, he will look to prove that he is more than just Evan Mobley’s older brother. Evan Mobley stole the show in Summer League last year and while he is not the defensive speichim his brother is, Isaiah Mobley’s footwork and low-post scoring abilities are definitely intriguing.

There are quite a few international players that were selected in the second-round of this year’s draft that will be looking to prove their worth in Las Vegas as well.

Second-Year Breakout Performers?


As much as Summer League is about new faces coming into the league, we always see a ton of second-year talents take a massive leap in their development out in Las Vegas.

Last year, Tyrese Maxey, Desmond Bane, Tre Jones, Obi Toppin, Jordan Nwora and Max Strus really made names for themselves and solidified their spots in their team’s rotations during the 2021-22 season.

This summer, there are quite a few talented players heading into their second season in the league that could be primed to take over Las Vegas.

Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody from the Golden State Warriors are two former lottery picks that will have a lot of attention cast on them as they look to lock up their spots in the Warriors’ rotations.

The Brooklyn Nets have a lot to figure out between now and the start of the regular season in regards to Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, but they have some talented youth they are excited about. Cam Thomas, David Duke Jr. and Kessler Edwards are all coming off their rookie season and looking to prove themselves in Summer League.

The Los Angeles Clippers have a championship contender on their hands if Kawhi Leonard and Paul George can stay healthy. Continuing to add depth to their roster will be key moving forward, which is why Brandon Boston Jr. and Jason Preston each have big chances to prove their worth over the next two weeks.

Other notable names heading into their second season in the NBA out in Summer League are Sharife Cooper (Atlanta Hawks), Sam Hauser (Boston Celtics), Kai Jones (Charlotte Hornets), Josh Christopher (Houston Rockets), Ziaire Williams (Memphis Grizzlies), Trey Murphy III (New Orleans Pelicans) and Miles McBride (New York Knicks).

Development is key in the NBA and some of the names mentioned above could be well on their way to some breakout performances this summer.

Potential Undrafted Standouts


Much like the second-round prospects that participate in Summer League every year, those that go undrafted have something to prove and they play with a “chip on their shoulder” each and every game.

A lot of the undrafted talents that are participating in Summer League are vying for two-way contracts for the 2022-23 season and there are quite a few undrafted players that fans will get to know early on during the 11-day event.

Collin Gillespie (Denver Nuggets), Cole Swider (Los Angeles Lakers), Keon Ellis (Sacramento Kings), Kenneth Lofton Jr. (Memphis Grizzlies), Dominick Barlow (San Antonio Spurs) and Ron Harper Jr. (Toronto Raptors) have already agreed to two-way contracts with their respective teams, but they are all likely breakout candidates many may not know.

All six of these guys have a chance to be amongst their roster’s best scoring talents in Summer League and Cole Swider has already been putting together some good performances for the Los Angeles Lakers in the California Classic Summer League event hosted by the Golden State Warriors.

Two other undrafted players to watch for in Las Vegas are Michael Foster Jr. with the Philadelphia 76ers and Trevion Williams with the Boston Celtics.

So many opportunities will present themselves in the 2022 NBA Las Vegas Summer League. The question though is who will seize these opportunities and begin their path to stardom?