Eastern Conference Summer League Stock Up: Knicks Quentin Grimes Among the Top 5
The 2K23 NBA Summer League has come to an end. Talent was displayed league-wide, but a few names, in particular, stuck out. Take a look at the top five performers in the Eastern Conference.
1. Brooklyn Nets, Cam Thomas
Cam Thomas starts the list off following his unreal Summer League showing. The explosive guard averaged 27.4 points, 1.6 rebounds, and 4.2 assists through five games in Las Vegas. Shooting an efficient 44.4% from FG, the former LSU standout made a case for himself to earn rotation minutes off of the Nets’ bench. Although the SEC product struggled behind the arc, shooting 27.3% from three, Thomas has all the tools in his jumper to turn that around.
The Nets’ second-year man looks to make a leap next season, and his outing in Summer League is a step in the right direction.
2. New York Knicks, Quentin Grimes
Quentin Grimes is another name that had a great Summer League. Following his lackluster rookie season, the former Houston Cougar showed out in Summer League.
In five games, the 22-year-old averaged 22.6 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 4.0 assists while shooting 41.4% FG and 30.9% from the three-point line.
Barring any potential trade, Grimes is in the perfect position to earn key minutes off of the bench for the Knicks. After the trade of Alec Burks, the Knicks need a scoring option off the bench. If Summer League counts for anything, Grimes proved he can play that role well.
Grimes comes in at number two.
3. Milwaukee Bucks, Sandro Mamukelashvili
Coming in at number three, a name not many knew heading into Summer League, Sandro Mamukelashvili. The big man spent most of his rookie year on the Bucks’ G-League affiliate, but following his outing in the Summer League, that may not be the case for year two.
The 2021 second-round pick averaged 17.0 points, 8.8 rebounds, and 2.4 assists through five games in Las Vegas. The ex-Seton Hall Pirate also showed off his range, shooting 47.6% from three and 45% from FG overall. The center was rewarded with his play on the court by being named to the 2022 All-Summer League First Team.
Mamukelashvili has the chance to land a guaranteed roster spot for the Bucks.
4. Orlando Magic, Paolo Banchero
It took only two games for the number one overall pick to be shut down to prevent risking injury. Paolo Banchero turned heads with his time in Vegas.
The former Duke Blue Devil averaged 20.0 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 6.0 assists in his two games with the Magic. While shooting 40.7% from the floor and 50% from three, the 19-year-old showed that he could score at any spot on the court. The 2021 five-star recruit showed his versatility as a big man and why he was the number one overall selection.
The American-Italian looks to be the real deal and one of the league’s next generational talents.
Despite playing in only two games, Banchero finds himself in the top five.
5. Indiana Pacers, Bennedict Mathurin
Bennedict Mathurin finally finds himself in the top five after being selected sixth overall by the Indiana Pacers. The Arizona Wildcat product displayed his potential in Las Vegas.
Mathurin’s Summer League experience was cut short due to left big toe soreness, but not before the lottery pick left his mark. In three games with Indiana, he averaged 19.3 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 1.3 assists on 48.8% FG shooting and 38.5% from three-point land.
At only 20 years old, Mathurin has the confidence of a 20-year NBA veteran. Confidence will take young players a long way, and so will talent. Luckily the young guard has plenty of both.
Honorable Mentions: David Duke Jr., Lindell Wigginton, Juhann Begarin, Marko Simonovic, JD Davison
The development of young talent is what the NBA Summer League is about, and based on this top-five list, there is no shortage.