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20 December 2015 Stony Brook Seawolves forward Jameel Warney (20) with the layup during the NCAA Basketball game between Stony Brook Seawolves and Hofstra Pride held at Island Federal Credit Union Arena on the campus of Stony Brook University. (Photo by Alan Schaefer/Icon Sportswire)

Undrafted Summer League standouts

Photo by Alan Schaefer/Icon Sportswire

The Summer League shouldn’t be used as proof that a player is good or bad. Far too many times, guys looked tremendous in some summer fun, then it turned out that they couldn’t play a lick in the NBA (Hello, Adam Morrison, Summer League icon).

A similar thing can be said for young guys playing poorly, as it shouldn’t be used as evidence that some 20-year-old kid is going to be a bust during his NBA career.

The reality is that the Summer League, in all its forms, is merely a device used by the NBA to get scouting done on players, for fans to get acclimated to some college talent they previously never heard of, and for everyone to get an idea — but ONLY an idea — of what skills each player brings to the table, as well as those they don’t.

Still, sometimes there are guys who play so well in the summer that it is hard to ignore.

Again, it doesn’t mean they are going to be Hall of Fame players or anything, but certain guys showcase enough next-level skills, even if it is only in one area of the game, that it becomes clearer that they are going to be NBA players.

We are talking mostly about the undrafted talent trotting about the Summer League hardwoods. Most of those guys don’t end up playing in the NBA. Well, not right off the bat at least.

Let’s take a gander at a few undrafted rookies (so, no Jonathon Simmons, who is 26 and is playing in the Summer League because?) who has impressed so far.

(Note: This was written on the morning of July 12. Stats can be changing/fluid depending on time of publish)

Jameel Warney – Dallas Mavericks via Stony Brook

Disclosure: I am a Jameel Warney truther. He’s the best. I will try to remain somewhat objective, however.

In two Summer League outings, Warney is averaging 10 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 2 blocks per game. Those numbers become even more impressive when one realizes he has only played 18 minutes per game. That’s a lot of production in not a lot of time on the floor.

On Monday, Warney saw 21 minutes, which still isn’t a ton of time, and scored 14 points on seven field goal attempts. He also managed to get 8 rebounds and 3 steals.

While Warney is older for a rookie — he played four years of college ball {audible gasp} — he’s a 6’8″ power forward that is a more bruiser type than a stretch-four. There isn’t a huge calling for those these days. Despite that, he proved in college he can rebound, defend well and doesn’t need offense to run through him to get buckets. Now he’s doing more of the same in the Summer League.

It will be strange if he doesn’t find a home on an NBA roster this season.

Bryn Forbes – San Antonio Spurs via Michigan State

If you are looking for an all-around guard who can do many things, I can tell you Bryn Forbes isn’t that. But what he does have is a very particular set of skills. Skills he has have acquired over a very long collegiate career. Skills that make him  a nightmare for people who hate the spreading of the floor on offense. If you let my daughter go now that’ll be the end of it.

OK. Poorly paraphrased lines from Taken to the side, Forbes is a shooter. That is his specialty. He is fine in other areas of his game, but nothing that would even remotely help him get into the NBA. But his efficient ability to get the ball inside and through the bucket, well, that’s a different thing.

While the entire Spurs Summer League team is as fun to watch as anything happening on TV right now (Simmons, Kyle Anderson, etc.), Forbes is starting to make a legitimate push to force himself on an NBA roster.

Through five games, the guard is averaging 13 points per game, hasn’t missed a shot from the free throw line, is making 45 percent of his shots from the field, and is hitting 44 percent of his attempts from beyond the arc.

Let’s repeat that last part once more: Forbes is making 44 percent of his three-point shots. Mind you, he has taken 19 of those since the Summer League started.

Plus, he had one awful game, in which he shot 1-6 from three, so those numbers would be even more absurd if it weren’t for that one poor showing.

Remove that one bad game, and Bryn Forbes is 10 for 19 from three. That’s pretty good. I think. Then again, I’m not a math expert.

Chasson Randle – New York Knicks via ČEZ Nymburk (via Stanford)

I’m not sure if I’m breaking my own rule or not, but Randle is a year removed from playing college basketball but has never played in the NBA.

In fact, after playing in the Summer League last season for the Golden State Warriors, the point guard headed to the Czech Republic NBL where he averaged 12 points per game last season. Oh, and his NBL team won the championship.

Anyway, pretending he meets my own qualifiers, Randle has been a BEAST during the Summer League (Orlando version).

In three games in which the Knicks gave him nearly 30 minutes per outing, he averaged 18.3 points, 5 assists, 4.3 rebounds and 3 steals per game. He also shot 48 percent from the floor and — wait for it — 55 percent from beyond the arc.

Listen, when Randle was in college he was considered one of the best guards in the nation, but the fact his game never transcended the screen or the hardwood did his NBA prospects poorly. He isn’t incredibly flashy or so gifted athletically that a team had to give him a shot. What he is, though, is productive, consistent, and has a year of play in the a good league (the NBL) under his belt.


These guys will — or should — be on an NBA roster sooner rather than later.

Undrafted Summer League standouts

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