Western Conference Summer League Stock Up: Rookies Keegan Murray & Tari Eason Shine
The 2K23 Summer League has come and gone. The fight for an NBA roster spot brings out the best in young players, so let’s look at the top five from the Western Conference.
1. Sacramento Kings, Keegan Murray
The fourth overall pick from this year’s draft finds himself atop the list. Keegan Murray entered Summer League looking to prove that he should have been selected first overall. In his time in Vegas, Murray didn’t disappoint.
The former Iowa Hawkeye averaged 23.3 points, 7.3 rebounds, and 2.0 assists while shooting 50% from the court and 40% from behind the arc. It took only four games in Las Vegas for the Big Ten product to prove he was the best player on the court. The 21-year-old was named the 2K23 NBA Summer League MVP and found himself on the All-Summer League First Team.
Murray looks to be the next young superstar in the NBA and a cornerstone for the Kings.
2. Houston Rockets, Tari Eason
Tari Eason may not be the Houston Rocket that many would’ve expected to land on this list ahead of Summer League, but he earned it. The 17th overall pick was the star of the show for the Rockets during their time in Las Vegas.
The LSU standout averaged 17.2 points, 10.4 rebounds, and 1.6 assists on 44.7% FG/33.3% 3PT shooting splits through five games. The SEC alum showed his talent on both ends of the floor and was awarded by being named to the All-Summer League First Team.
The forward could carve himself a significant role as a rookie for the Rockets amidst a rebuild. Eason lands at number two.
3. Golden State Warriors, Jonathan Kuminga
Jonathan Kuminga rounds out the top three following his Summer League performance. The former G-League Ignite star showed flashes of why the Warriors selected him in the lottery of the 2021 NBA Draft.
In four games for the Dubs, the 19-year-old averaged 19.3 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 3.0 assists. The forward shot 40.6% from FG range but struggled behind the three-point line, only shooting 20%. However, if there were a problem to have as an NBA player on the Warriors, three-point shooting would be ideal. With the likes of all-time great shooters Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson in the locker room, Kuminga’s three-point shooting percentage should be an afterthought.
The Congolese player could find himself in the Warriors’ regular season rotation following his performance.
4. Memphis Grizzlies, Santi Aldama
Santi Aldama comes in at number four. The big man showed off in Summer League and made his name known.
Through four games for the Grizzlies, Aldama averaged 16.8 points, 7.8 rebounds, and 1.3 assists, shooting over 50% from the field (57.1% FG, 38.5% 3PT). Coming from a small school like the Loyola Greyhounds, the 21-year-old is used to flying under the radar. Nonetheless, the Spanish basketball player’s Summer League performance landed him on the All-Summer League Second Team.
The second-year player could find himself some minutes in Taylor Jenkins’ system in Memphis.
5. Golden State Warriors, Moses Moody
Moses Moody rounds out the top five. Moody managed to average the most points in Vegas, but in only two games.
The ex-Arkansas Razorback averaged 27.6 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 2.0 assists while shooting 43.8% from the court and 33.3% from three. The SEC product displayed his offensive versatility in Vegas, and his aggressiveness on the court could find himself minutes next season with the Warriors.
Moody could have landed higher on the list, but with only two games of play due to injury, a top-five ranking seems fair.
Honorable Mentions: Josh Christopher, Trey Murphy III, Kenneth Lofton Jr., Jabari Walker, Trendon Watford, Jabari Smith Jr.
The Western Conference is in good hands regarding young talent, and who knows, one of these names may be the next face of the league.