The NBA Finals are behind us. The draft has come and gone. The regular-season awards have been presented. Free agency is officially underway. Up next, we have summer leagues in Orlando, Salt Lake City and Las Vegas.
Each year, the summer leagues are NBA fans’ first chance to see incoming rookies debut. The biggest names this offseason are Markelle Fultz, Lonzo Ball, Jayson Tatum and Josh Jackson.
Different teams will be at each camp, and the rosters for every participating squad can be found at the NBA’s official website or via teams’ Twitter pages:
- Orlando Pro Summer League Rosters
- Utah Jazz Summer League Rosters
- Las Vegas Summer League Rosters
Players to Watch
Fultz, the No. 1 overall pick, will make his NBA debut for the Philadelphia 76ers in Salt Lake City at 7 p.m. ET Monday against the Boston Celtics.
The 6’4″ guard with a 6’10” wingspan should have complete control over the offense in Utah, as last year’s top pick, Ben Simmons, is set to sit summer league out.
That means lots of pick-and-roll for a player who thrived in that situation in college, as explained by FiveThirtyEight’s Kyle Wagner:
“Fultz has been billed as a pick-and-roll playmaker, which is true but vague. He doesn’t sit up high and find long, surprising passing lanes like James Harden does, nor does he feint and jab on a defense until it cedes ground like Chris Paul does.
“Fultz’s game is built around his jumper and his handle. He’s a strong shooter off the dribble and a strong enough dribbler to operate in tight spaces and get to the rim, where he’s an excellent finisher. This means defenses have to crowd him wherever he is on the floor, whether it’s 25 feet from the rim or having turned the corner on a pick and roll. And if a defense sends help, he’s a willing passer to the open man, even if that means a 40-foot, cross-court pass.“
Expect plenty of Fultz-initiated sets in Utah. Summer league is a time for players to learn from their mistakes, so the Washington product should get to play through most of his.
Las Vegas is where we’ll get our first look at the dynamic playmaking of Ball, whose 31.4 assist percentage was second only to Fultz’s total (35.5) among Pac-12 players last season, per Sports Reference.
For the Los Angeles Lakers, he’ll have dynamic finishers to set up in Brandon Ingram and Ivica Zubac. All three could see serious minutes in the regular season.
The chemistry between Ball and Ingram will be especially interesting to pay attention to. Ingram played a decent amount of point guard for L.A. last season, which should help the team in the long run.
If the Lakers can deploy two rangy playmakers at the same time, they become tougher to defend against. Plus, switching on the other end is easier.
The game is trending away from positional designations, and the Lakers may be ahead of the curve.
Tatum already has Celtics fans salivating after a shooting display he put on during practice made its way to social media, via to ESPN’s Chris Forsberg:
If he can provide spacing and switchability as a big 3 or small-ball 4, he should make life easier for Isaiah Thomas, who likes to exploit seams to the basket.
It’ll be a lot harder to do that in the regular season than in the summer leagues, where Tatum is sure to operate as more than just a catch-and-shoot outlet.
His full scoring repertoire, which includes fadeaways, post moves, runners and more, should be on display in Utah.
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