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NBA Offseason: Summer League Fantasy Takeaways - Part II

Juan Carlos Blanco

Winner of the FSWA 2016 Newcomer of the Year Award, Juan Carlos Blanco has been playing fantasy sports for close to 20 years and covers NBA, MLB, and the NFL for Rotowire.com, including serving as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' beat writer. He has previously written for KFFL.com and remains an avid season-long and daily fantasy player in multiple sports.

Welcome to Part II of RotoWire’s NBA Summer League Takeaways.

In Part I, we took a look at Donovan Mitchell, Dennis Smith, Lonzo Ball and other rookies who made headlines in Orlando, Utah and Las Vegas.

Part II will focus on second-year players and non-rookies, most of whom will be on NBA rosters next season.


Bryn Forbes, G, San Antonio Spurs: Forbes lit up scoreboards at both the Utah and Las Vegas Summer Leagues, leading the former with 21.3 points over three games and averaging 26.0 points -- best among those who played at least three contests -- over five games in the latter. After averaging 12.6 points per game throughout his college career, Forbes saw action in 36 games with the Spurs in 2016 following an impressive training camp and preseason. However, he ended up averaging fewer than eight minutes per game. His efforts this summer, which garnered All-Summer League Second Team honors, have served notice that a year of seasoning has borne fruit. To what extent that will translate to additional opportunity for the 23-year-old remains to be seen, but his ability to play both guard positions certainly ups his chances of carving out minutes.

Vander Blue, G, LA Lakers: Fresh off of winning D-League MVP last season, Blue participated in Summer League play for the third straight year and averaged 15.0 points, 3.8 rebounds and 3.0 assists over 27.4 minutes across eight games. He shot an impressive 50.0 percent from the field and was one of the Lakers’ most consistent players, despite being overshadowed by Lonzo Ball and Kyle Kuzma. However, as has been in the case in previous years, it remains to be seen if Blue’s summer league success will translate to anything more than a training camp invite.

Jaylen Brown, F/G, Boston Celtics: Brown followed up a solid rookie campaign -- 6.6 PPG on 45.4 percent shooting, 2.8 RPG -- with averages of 17.5 points, 10.5 rebounds, 1.0 assists and 1.0 steals over two games in Utah, followed by 10.3 points, 5.3 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 1.3 blocks and 1.0 steals in three Vegas contests before being sidelined with a quadriceps injury. His play, and his one year of NBA experience, put him in the early driver’s seat to serve as the primary backup to Gordon Hayward at the three. Brown can also play the two or the four, but with Jae Crowder, Marcus Morris and Marcus Smart still on the roster -- not to mention rookie Jayson Tatum -- Brown’s path to a significant leap in minutes isn’t all that clear. Tatum will be hovering over his shoulder in the quest for small forward minutes, so Brown will need to take his play up a few notches to ensure a serviceable amount of playing time.



Wayne Selden, G, Memphis Grizzlies: The former Kansas Jayhawk was a force in Vegas, averaging 22.7 points (on 45.4 percent shooting), 3.8 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.7 steals over six games after inking a multi-year contract with the Grizzlies earlier this month. That commitment was based on Selden’s brief stint in Memphis in the latter part of the 2016-17 campaign, when he appeared in 14 games for the injury-ridden Grizzlies. Selden was a serviceable shooter over his three collegiate seasons, so he could certainly carve out minutes as a scoring option off the bench next season. Ben McLemore, who has often been the personification of inconsistency thus far in his career, currently slots ahead of Selden as the primary backup to Tyreke Evans at the two, but holdovers Troy Daniels and Andrew Harrison will also vie for minutes.

Malik Beasley, G, Denver Nuggets: Beasley enjoyed a solid freshman campaign at Florida State before being selected 19th overall by the Nuggets in 2016. He had a rather uninspiring rookie year, appearing in only 22 games, but he was slowed by foot surgery heading into the season. Beasley averaged 19.4 points, 5.4 rebounds and 1.8 assists over 30.8 minutes across five games in Las Vegas. He’s looking up at veteran Will Barton and the emerging Gary Harris on the shooting guard depth chart, so the battle for minutes will be an uphill one for the time being, unless training camp and preseason performances change the landscape.



Troy Williams, F, Houston Rockets: Having just signed a three-year extension, Williams will have some time to build on a modestly successful rookie campaign in which he averaged 6.2 points and 2.3 rebounds over 18.6 minutes in 30 games between the Grizzlies and Rockets. Williams impressed in Vegas by averaging 22.0 points on 45.3 percent shooting to go with 3.2 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 2.2 steals in five contests. The 22-year-old will try to utilize his training camp and preseason opportunities to tunnel up the small forward depth chart and potentially gain ground on veterans Luc Mbah a Moute and P.J. Tucker behind starter Trevor Ariza. However, assuming Mbah a Moute, Tucker and Ariza remain relatively healthy, Williams will be mostly an afterthought as a fantasy commodity.

Patrick McCaw, G/F, Golden State Warriors: McCaw has exceeded expectations since being selected in the second round by the Warriors in 2016, playing in 71 games last season (20 starts) and averaging more than 12 minutes per game during the postseason. The Warriors made it a point to give the UNLV product plenty of reps during the Vegas Summer League, and he responded with averages of 20.0 points, 3.2 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.0 steals over 29.4 minutes across five games, while shooting 45.6 percent from the field. While those results are certainly encouraging, Andre Iguodala’s return to Golden State leaves McCaw behind him on the depth chart entering training camp. Even so, he stands a solid chance of exceeding the 15.1 minutes per game he saw during his rookie campaign.

Cheick Diallo, F, New Orleans Pelicans: Diallo saw action in 17 games during his rookie campaign, averaging 5.1 points and 4.3 rebounds across 11.6 minutes per game. Those numbers included back-to-back double-doubles to close out the season after the Pelicans were eliminated from postseason contention. He picked up where left off in Vegas, averaging 18.6 points, 9.8 rebounds and 1.6 blocks over 30.2 minutes in five games. The 20-year-old might be in line for a nice boost in opportunity in his sophomore season, considering he could well be the primary backup at power forward to either Anthony Davis or DeMarcus Cousins.



Okaro White, F/C, Miami Heat: White will slot in behind offseason acquisition Kelly Olynyk and starter James Johnson at power forward this coming season, but he made significant strides this summer in both Orlando and Vegas. The fourth-year big man averaged 19.0 points, 8.0 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.5 blocks across 34.5 minutes in four games in Orlando before putting up 18.0 points, 8.3 rebounds, 1.7 steals and 1.0 blocks in Vegas. White improved in each subsequent college season at Florida State, so the hope is that he’ll replicate that pattern with the more NBA seasoning and opportunity he sees.

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, F, Brooklyn Nets: The Nets gave a number of their young players extended run in Vegas, and Hollis-Jefferson was one of the beneficiaries. The 2015 first-rounder saw action in five games, averaging 10.0 points, 9.4 rebounds and 1.4 assists across 24.0 minutes while shooting an encouraging 46.3 percent from the field. After an injury-marred rookie campaign, Hollis-Jefferson saw action in 78 games last season and improved in several major categories. With that in mind, this summer’s performance serves as an encouraging sign as he enters his pivotal third NBA season.

Caris LeVert, G/F, Brooklyn Nets: LeVert made some noise last season after averaging 8.2 points, 3.3 rebounds, 1.9 assists while shooting 45.0 percent from the field, including 32.1 percent from behind the arc. He followed that up with averages of 16.0 points, 5.0 rebounds and 2.0 assists in 26.0 minutes across five games in Las Vegas, shooting an impressive 47.5 percent overall and flashing some of the shooting acumen that allowed him to improve his scoring average in each of his college seasons. With the ability to play both guards spots on a team in rebuilding mode, the promising second-year guard could see a boost in the 21.7 minutes per game he logged last season.



Isaiah Whitehead, G, Brooklyn Nets: The second-round pick saw action in 73 games as a rookie and provided solid averages of 13.2 points, 4.6 rebounds and 3.0 assists over five contests in Las Vegas. With the offseason acquisition of D’Angelo Russell, Whitehead should open the season firmly entrenched as Russell’s primary backup and enjoy a defined role in the backcourt rotation.

Spencer Dinwiddie, G, Brooklyn Nets: Dinwiddie turned in averages of 11.6 points, 3.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.8 steals across 24.2 minutes in five Las Vegas games after a 2016-17 campaign in which he set a number of personal bests. Dinwiddie’s improvement as a three-point shooter was dramatic last season, as he upped his success rate to 37.6 percent. He also eclipsed 40.0 percent from long distance in two of his three college campaigns at Colorado, so he could certainly make a case for some solid minutes on a young team that will be looking for all the scoring it can get.

Yogi Ferrell, G, Dallas Mavericks: A forgettable scoreless effort weighed down Ferrell’s scoring average in Vegas, but he still emerged with a solid 13.3 points, 3.3 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 2.2 steals per game across 27.8 minutes in six games. The Mavericks picked up Ferrell’s $1.3 million option in late-June after he turned in a surprisingly solid rookie campaign (10.0 points, 3.7 assists and 2.4 rebounds across 26.0 minutes in 46 games), and he should be a key part of the backcourt rotation, though the presence of first-round selection Dennis Smith, Jr. will lower Ferrell’s ceiling considerably.

Skal Labissiere, F, Sacramento Kings: The second-year big man saw a notable boost in playing time following the trade of DeMarcus Cousins at the All-Star break and responded with averages of 10.8 points and 6.0 rebounds after the trade. A legitimate seven-footer, there are high hopes for Labissiere at power forward this coming season. He’ll likely open the season as the primary backup to veteran Zach Randolph, but the latter notably performed better off the bench last season in Memphis behind the younger JaMychal Green, and the scenario could potentially repeat itself in Sacramento. Labissiere’s Vegas numbers weren’t particularly special, however, as he turned in a modest 10.0 points, 5.0 rebounds, 1.5 blocks and 1.0 steals across 26.0 minutes per game. Therefore, training camp and preseason will go a long way in gauging just how far Labissiere has come over the past several months.



Georgios Papagiannis, C, Sacramento Kings: Like Labissiere, Papagiannis also saw his minutes increase upon Cousins’ departure last season. The Greek seven-footer finished with 5.6 points and 4.0 rebounds in 16.1 minutes over 22 games, but only slightly improved on those numbers in six Vegas tilts (5.7 points, 7.3 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 1.0 blocks over 22.7 minutes) before succumbing to an injury. The opportunity for a boost in playing time is certainly there in Sacramento if the 2016 lottery pick can prove worthy of it, but his summer play confirms he still has work to do to break through his current ceiling.

Dragan Bender, F, Phoenix Suns: After being tabbed with the fourth overall pick in 2016, the 18-year-old didn’t see much action due to an ankle injury, averaging only 13.3 minutes across 43 games. Now fully healthy, the Suns gave him substantial run in Vegas (31.4 minutes per contest) and he averaged 14.2 points, 6.0 rebounds and 2.4 assists over five games. However, his sub-40 percent shooting (39.4 percent) was a concern, especially considering he only managed a 35.4 percent success rate from the floor as a rookie. Bender will be competing with Josh Jackson and fellow 2016 first-rounder Marquese Chriss for minutes at the four, and that pair appears to be further along at the moment.

Marquese Chriss, F/C, Phoenix Suns: Chriss played in all 82 games of his rookie campaign and averaged 9.2 points and 4.2 rebounds across 21.3 minutes. His numbers in Vegas – 14.4 points, 6.0 rebounds, 1.0 assists and 1.0 blocks across 25.8 minutes in five games -- were solid on the surface, but he shot less than 35 percent from the floor, an absurdly low number for a big man. If the second-year forward doesn’t demonstrate improvement, Josh Jackson -- who averaged 17.4 points, 9.2 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 1.2 steals and 1.0 blocks over five Vegas games -- could conceivably vault into the top power forward spot to open the season, though he’s a more natural fit at the three.