NBA Summer League has seen a lot of players play well this season, but who are some of the best surprises?
1.) LiAngelo Ball (Charlotte Hornets): The already very famous middle Ball brother has never gotten the same NBA attention as LaMelo or Lonzo, but he has shown that he can play in four games with the Charlotte Hornets. He's only played 16.3 minutes per game but is still putting up 10.5 points (second on the team) and 1.5 steals per game while also shooting over 41% from the three-point range. Maybe, he's finally earned the respect of the basketball world, and could get a chance to make a 15-man roster.
2.) Chris Duarte (Indiana Pacers): At 24 years old, Duarte is an unusually old first-round lottery pick. The former Oregon star fell in the laps of the Pacers at the number 13 overall pick, and if he had been a few years younger, he'd have been a top-seven pick (one would assume). That being said, he has been on a tear to start his NBA career, and everyone knew he could get points offensively, but his defense has been outstanding. He is averaging 18.3 points, 4.0 rebounds, 3.8 assists, 2.5 steals and 1.8 blocks per game.
3.) Obi Toppin (New York Knicks): Toppin came to the Big Apple as a player with high expectations. He was the National College Player of The Year and the eighth overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. However, the Knicks had a season that not many expected (fourth seed and 41-31), so there was not a lot of time for learning. Therefore, he did not get a lot of opportunities and only played 11.0 minutes per game. His stats of 4.1 points, 2.2 rebounds and 0.5 assists per game were underwhelming. In Summer League, he is averaging 23.0 points, 8.2 rebounds, 1.0 steals and 1.0 blocks per game.
4.) Cam Thomas (Brooklyn Nets): As if the Brooklyn Nets didn't need more talent. Thomas was the 27th overall pick in the NBA Draft to a team that already has Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant, James Harden and Blake Griffin. He's been incredible in his first taste of NBA action averaging 23.3 points per game and has a buzzer-beating game-winning shot.