Central Division NBA Summer League Stock Up: Rookies Mathurin & Agbaji Impress
The 2K23 Summer League was nothing short of excellent basketball, with multiple players eyeing a roster spot in this league. Let’s look at some players who stood out in the Central Division.
Chicago Bulls: Dalen Terry
The 18th overall pick in this year’s draft showed promise in Summer League. Dalen Terry’s Summer League would end early due to a hamstring injury, but the forward flashed playmaking ability that the Bulls could desperately use.
Terry easily found his way to the rim and shot 57.6% FG in his limited time. The 6-foot-7 forward could find minutes this upcoming season, and his playmaking could be highlighted next to scorers like Zach LaVine and Demar DeRozan.
Other names worth mentioning: Marko Simonovic
Cleveland Cavaliers: Ochai Agbaji
Ochai Agbaji adds another piece to the Cavaliers’ young core. The former Kansas Jayhawk averaged 15.0 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 2.3 assists in four games in Vegas.
Agbaji will need some time to develop before making a significant contribution, but with the Cavs in an advanced rebuild, the guard has time.
Other names worth mentioning: R.J. Nembhard Jr., Isaiah Mobley
Detroit Pistons: Isaiah Livers
Isaiah Livers delivered good minutes in his time in the Summer League for the Pistons. The forward is coming off of a limited rookie season. In only 19 games with the Pistons last year, the second-round pick from 2021 averaged 6.4 points, 3.0 rebounds, and 1.1 assists.
In Summer League, the 23-year-old showed he had more to offer. Averaging 14.0 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 1.0 assists in two games. While his time was limited, the Big-10 product gave himself a chance at a more significant role amid a Detroit rebuild.
Other names worth mentioning: Jaden Ivey
Indiana Pacers: Bennedict Mathurin
The sixth overall pick in this year’s draft was nothing short of exciting to watch. Bennedict Mathurin averaged 19.3 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 1.3 assists in only 22.4 minutes per game. The lottery pick only played three games in Vegas before being shut down due to left big toe soreness.
In the short stint of games, the Arizona Wildcat alum showed off confidence in his game. Mathurin found his stroke early, shooting 48.8% from FG and 38.5% from three. His confidence could bode well at the next level.
Starting a rebuild in Indiana, the duo of Mathurin and Tyrese Haliburton could be a force in years to come.
Other names worth mentioning: Andrew Nembhard, Aaron Nesmith
Milwaukee Bucks: Sandro Mamukelashvili
Sandro Mamukelashvili looked dominant all Summer League. Whether the big man was dunking on someone or fighting for rebounds, he often looked like the best player on the court. The 6-foot-9 hybrid center averaged 17.0 points, 8.8 rebounds, and 2.4 assists in five games.
The Georgian-American played most of last year on the Milwaukee Bucks G-League affiliate, the Wisconsin Herd. Following this year’s Summer League performance, it would be hard to believe Mamukelashvili doesn’t get a guaranteed spot. With Brook Lopez getting older and dealing with injuries, the former Seton Hall Pirate would be an excellent asset on the bench.
Other names worth mentioning: MarJon Beauchamp, Lindell Wigginton
With a few rebuilding teams eyeing bright futures and other teams eyeing an NBA title, the Central Division is fascinating to watch.