NBA Summer League: Top 10 Rookies
1) Cody Zeller – 16.3 PPG, 9.3 RPG, 1.5 APG, 0.8 BPG, 52% FG, 72% FT, 32 MPG
Zeller got off to a slow start in his first game, putting up just eight points and five rebounds in 29 minutes. He was lethargic and quick to fatigue, but he looked like a different player after forgettable first outing, recording back-to-back double doubles.
Zeller flashed his impressive combination of size and agility, while exceeding expectations on the boards. He beat his man down the court more often than not and triggered a number of fast breaks with his excellent outlet passing ability. Zeller showed enough in this year’s event to suggest he could be one of the more productive rookies in this year’s class.
2) CJ McCollum – 21 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 3.4 APG, 1.0 SPG, 37% FG, 31% 3FG, 34.6 MPG
McCollum led all rookies in scoring with 21 points per game. He was often effective getting to the rim, but he must improve his shot selection, as his percentages were far weaker than his shooting stroke would suggest. There is no questioning his ability to produce second-unit scoring for the Blazers, but his 17 assists to 18 turnovers against summer-league competition is a bit concerning for an aspiring NBA point guard.
3) Reggie Bullock – 18 PPG, 4.2 RPG, 2.2 APG, 42% FG, 28% 3FG, 32 MPG
Bullock impressed many of those who saw him in Las Vegas, showing a great ability to score in a number of ways. He has range well beyond the NBA 3-point line, and is a better shooter than the 28-percent mark he posted here. With good size and athleticism, Bullock also has the capacity to develop into a good perimeter defender. Over time, he could be one of the better payers from this year’s draft.
4) Ben McLemore – 15.8 PPG, 5 RPG, 33% FG, 19% 3FG, 74% FT, 30 MPG
McLemore was the biggest boom-or-bust performer in Las Vegas. It’s fair to say that he improved over his five summer-league games, occasionally performing like a No. 1 scoring threat. He was lethal when his shots were falling; however, McLemore struggled mightily with shot selection for much of the week. While he is known for his ability to finish the break, he had a hard time initiating and pushing the ball himself.
But McLemore's 19-point third-quarter display against Atlanta was one of the more memorable individual performances of the summer. We aren’t concerned by the fact McLemore didn’t register a single assist in five games, as on several occasions, he showed the vision and willingness to make the right pass.
5) James Ennis – 12.7 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 0.9 APG, 1.4 SPG, 44% FG, 43% 3FG, 70% FT, 23.7 MPG
Ennis impressed scouts and fans throughout the summer with his energy and overall hard-nosed approach. He is a strong competitor with NBA-level athleticism. Ennis got up and down the court as quickly as anyone and pulled down some big contested rebounds in traffic. He doesn't shoot well off the dribble, but he can be a consistent outside threat with his feet set. While it might be a lot to ask for Ennis to make the Heat's roster for next season (let alone get minutes), he showed he has the skill and motor to perhaps play the role that James Jones has filled for Miami down the road.
6) Tony Snell – 11.8 PPG, 6.6 RPG, 2.2 APG, 1.2 SPG, 37% FG, 35% 3FG, 88% FT, 34.4 MPG
Snell was one of Chicago’s standouts this summer. He is the type of player with the ability to do a lot of things well. He plays within himself, and if Snell can develop the ability to routinely knock down open jumpers (he has the range, just not the consistency yet), he could become a part of the Bulls' rotation. He has the length and quickness to be a good defender and impressively turned the ball over on just four occasions in his five games.
7) Ray McCallum – 12.6 PPG, 4.2 RPG, 4 APG, 38% FG, 68% FT, 30.2 MPG
Second-round pick McCallum didn’t show much of an outside shot, but excelled when he was penetrating and finding the open man. While he was aggressive attacking the basket, he attempted just the two 3-point shots, yet shot only 38% from the field. This points to the difficulty he had finishing at the rim and his propensity to throw up wild shots in traffic. The cat-quick McCallum showed strong defensive instincts, pushing the summer league record by collecting six steals against the Warriors.
8) Lucas Nogueira – 6.4 PPG, 6 RPG, 2.4 BPG, 1.2 SPG, 63% FG, 29% FT, 21.8 MPG
Nogueira is a very intriguing prospect and is already a massive presence defensively. His offensive game is still very raw, but he did dunk anything thrown near the rim, translating into a 63-percent showing from the floor. He obviously needs to get stronger, but at present, his wingspan and timing make him extremely dangerous defensively. The 2.4 blocks per game didn't tell the whole story, as he changed/altered/dissuaded even more shots. Had he played the second half against Sacramento, he likely would’ve broken the summer-league record for blocked shots, having picked up five in the first half alone. In one incredible play, Nogueira started the set near the rim, but challenged (and nearly blocked) a seemingly open corner 3-pointer. Merely getting as close as he did was impressive and it got the attention of team officials courtside.
9) Archie Goodwin – 13.1 PPG, 3.3 RPG, 0.9 APG, 50% FG, 57% 3FG, 67% FT, 24.6 MPG
Goodwin had a strong showing in this year’s event and finished as one of the event's most solid rookies. He displayed his speed and his ability to get to the basket with his dribble. Goodwin played with confidence and exercised good shot selection. He was rolling in the first half of the SL championship game, finishing with a team-high 18 points.
10) Dennis Schroeder – 10.8 PPG, 1.8 RPG, 5.6 APG, 1.6 SPG, 34% FG, 29% 3FG, 87% FT, 31.6 MPG
The German Schroder showed a game beyond his years in his five games. He was effective setting up teammates and played the pick and roll nicely all week. Although small, Schroder is quick with the ball in his hands and found Nogueira with some nice looks. He is a willing defender and played strong on-ball defense all week. At present, he isn’t much of a shooter and his mid-to-long-range shooting will need to improve at the next level.
This list seems to based not just on summer league performance, but on college success and pre-draft hype.
How does Ben McLemore, who was pretty miserable all Summer League, with the exception of a couple hot shooting quarters, get top 5? His shot selection was abysmal? Archie Goodwin should be higher than McLemore.
And Dennis Schroder should be higher. Other than Cody Zeller, he may have been the most impressive rookie in the Vegas Summer League. Averaging 5.6 apg despite the inability of his teams bigs to convert easy opportunities at the rim and the mediocre play of the wings not named John Jenkins on the team is impressive. He may not have scored a ton, but he showed NBA -ready court vision and ball handling ability, as well as flashes of tremendous on ball defense. He clearly outplayed CJ McCollum when the two were matched up together.
Typo by me: There shouldn't be a question mark after the complaint about McLemore's shot selection. It WAS abysmal, even though he did shoot well in a few stretches.
I agree with B-ball fan. Zeller is no1 rightfully so with his great summerleague performances,however, Cj and B-Mac are head scratches. I don;t think CJ should be as high as no2. I watched his sumer league games and just did not think his play warranted it. He did shoot in high volume, and would have gotten the go a head, but as a PG, if you are netting more turnovers and assists and shooting 37% from the field, you just cannot be named no2 in summer league, no matter how good of a shooter we know he is.
B-,Mac is a bit of a odd pick this high too. I know you are trying to take out the positives, but the fact is he shoot 33% FG, 19% 3FG from the fields. Even though he too got the go-ahead to shoot the ball in volume, this is just a disaster. I watched that massive 3rd term outburst and he looked un-stoppable. However, one quarter and a few explosive fast break buckets is just not enough to dismiss such dismal shooting and play.
And I think Jack Cooley would have made the top 10 with his consisting play and rebounding.
This list just included players from the Vegas Summer League, it seems. That is probably why Kelly Olynyk and Victor Oladipo are not on the list.
I was surprised Zeller did as well as he did and McLemore picked his game up well