A Lookback On All Summer League MVP

A Lookback On All Summer League MVP

Summer League MVP’s — Where are they now?

If you believe the hype, Lonzo Ball will be the next superstar of the NBA.

At the recent 2017 NBA Summer League tournament held in Las Vegas, Ball was a lock for MVP honours, averaging 16.3 points, 7.7 rebounds, 9.3 assists, 2.5 steals, and a block per game across six eye-popping contests.

The second overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft led the event in double-doubles and triple-doubles recorded, and when you compare Ball’s numbers to some of the star point guards of the NBA, it makes for interesting reading.

At their respective Summer League campaigns, Chris Paul averaged 11.8 points, 5.5 rebounds and 5.2 assists. Steph Curry’s stat line was 17.4 points, 4.4 rebounds and 4.2 assists. Russell Westbrook 16.5 points, 2.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists, and finally Derrick Rose — 9.5 points, 4.0 rebounds and 5.5 assists .

So what lies ahead for the prodigiously talented Lonzo Ball?

History would suggest that a great performance in the Summer League shouldn’t dramatically alter his path? After all, he is a highly touted first-round pick who possesses a body of work much more impressive than a few good games against average opposition in the desert.

Top picks like Ball will probably go on to be stars of the league regardless, and many have set the courts alight in Las Vegas, but not everyone who sizzles at Summer League is set for a long and successful career at the highest level.

Here’s a look back at some of the Summer League MVP’s of years gone by –


Where are they now:

Lookback at mvp summer league MVP

2008 MVP — Jerryd Bayless

Selected 11th overall by the Indiana Pacers in the 2008 NBA Draft before being traded to the Portland Trailblazers, Bayless earned the Most Valuable Player award at the 2008 Summer League after leading all scorers with a blistering 29.8 points per game.

Since then, he has bounced from team-to-team purely as a handy backup guard (2.9 assists per game) or spot up shooter (37 three point field goal percent), producing helpful stats for a guy who has never spent more than two seasons in the same uniform.

Bayless, who was arguably at his best during a two-year stint with Toronto between 2010 and 2012, tossed up career high numbers for the Raptors in points per game (11.4) and field goal percentage (43 percent), yet failed to deliver on the hype that followed him out of Summer League into the NBA.

Sadly, the man once known as ‘Pay Up’ is destined to go down as an NBA journeyman who produced a solid, yet unspectacular career since that breakout week in Vegas many years ago.

Where are they now — His 2016–17 season was cruelled by a wrist injury resulting in season ending surgery after only three games with his seventh NBA team, the Philadelphia 76ers.


2009 MVP — Blake Griffin

Look back at all Summer League MVP

Selected 1st overall by the Los Angeles Clippers in the 2009 NBA Draft, Griffin is a bona fide star of the NBA and is arguably in the midst of his basketball prime.

Griffin won the 2009 Summer League MVP award after putting up 19.2 points per game and 10.8 rebounds per game in a series of performances that had Clippers fans salivating in anticipation of the power forwards NBA debut. Unfortunately, Griffin missed his entire rookie season due to a stress fracture in his left knee.

However, since lacing up the Nikes for his first season in the NBA in 2010–11, the Oklahoma native has averaged of 21.5 points, 9.4 rebounds and 4.1 assists across seven seasons in the league. Griffin has helped the Clippers make six straight NBA Playoff appearances, whilst also being named an NBA All-Star five times.

To this day, he still remains one of only two players to have won both the Summer League MVP and NBA Rookie of the Year awards.

Where are they now — Fresh off signing a five year contract extension with the Clippers that will see him remain in LA until 2022, Griffin will enter the 2017–18 season with added responsibility and heightened expectations following veteran point guard Chris Paul’s decision to join Western Conference rivals Houston.


2010 MVP — John Wall

Lookback Summer League MVP

Selected 1st overall by the Washington Wizards in the 2010 NBA Draft, Wall led all players in points (23.5) and assists (7.8 ) at the 2010 Summer League. He also ripped in 4.0 rebounds per game and pinched 2.5 steals per game on his way to claiming the MVP trophy.

In his NBA debut season as a Wizard, Wall was named Rookie Game MVP during the 2011 All-Star Weekend, and finished second in Rookie of the Year voting behind unanimous selection Blake Griffin.

Wall also helped lead Washington back to the playoffs for the first time in five years in the 2013–14 season, going down to Indiana in the Eastern Conference semi-finals.

A four time All-Star and one of the most exciting and explosive players in the league, Wall is one of the few Summer League stars to enhance their reputation once entering the NBA.

Where are they now — Wall is coming off a career year where he set per game benchmarks of 23.1 points, 10.7 assists, 2.0 steals and delivered an effective field goal percentage of 48 percent. And Washington has reportedly offered him a four-year, $170 million extension that would begin in 2019.


2012 MVP — Damian Lillard

Lookback at Summer League MVP

Selected with the 6th pick in the 2012 NBA Draft by the Portland Trail Blazers, Lillard averaged an eye-popping 26.5 points, 5.6 assists and 4.0 rebounds at the 2012 Summer League on his way to sharing MVP honors with Josh Selby of Memphis.

Lillard ranked second in points, sixth in assists and shot close to 44 percent from the field, all while leading the Blazers to a 4–1 record at the annual Las Vegas event.

The number six pick impressed throughout the tournament with his impressive mix of outside shooting and delicate touch around the rim, surprising those who thought his ‘small school’ skills wouldn’t translate to success against the bigger bodies and better defensive schemes of NBA teams.

Like Blake Griffin before him, Lillard also went on to win the NBA’s Rookie of the Year award.

Since then, ‘Dame’ has played in four straight Playoff series with the Trail Blazers, made two All-Star appearances, and set franchise-scoring records for most points in a single game (59), and most games with 30 or more points in a season (27).

Where are they now — Lillard is now entering his sixth year in the league, and together with fellow guard C.J. McCollum, makes up one of the most dangerous and destructive backcourts in the NBA.


2013 MVP — Jonas Valanciunas

Selected with the 5th pick in the 2011 NBA Draft by the Toronto Raptors, Jonas Valanciunas returned to his native country for a year of development immediately after the draft, before making his debut for the Raptors at the start of the 2012–13 season.

He returned to Las Vegas for the 2013 Summer League after his rookie NBA season, looking notably stronger and more athletic, and went about dominating rival big men on the way to the MVP trophy. Valanciunas averaged 19 points and 10 rebounds across four games.

The big Lithuanian kept it rolling into the 2013–14 season, jumping from 8.9 points per game to 11.3 points per game, and from 6.0 rebounds per game to 8.8 rebounds per game. Toronto made the playoffs that year, where Valanciunas became the second Raptor ever to record a double-double in his playoff debut — the first being Tracy McGrady.

Things haven’t been as rosy for J-Val in the seasons since, with key statistical per game categories of minutes, points, blocks and field goal percent all taking a hit during his 2016–17 campaign.

Although his career has plateaued a little over the past few seasons, Valunciunas is still relatively young and raw for a center. But, if the former first round pick wants to remain a Raptor for much longer, a spike in production is needed quickly.

Where are they now — After reportedly being shopped around prior to the 2017 NBA Draft, Valunciunas remains in Toronto on a four-year $64 million deal.


2014 MVP — Glen Rice Junior

Summer League MVP lookback

Selected with the 35th pick in the 2013 NBA Draft by the Philadelphia 76ers, Glen Rice Jnr earned his stripes in the 2012 NBA D-League with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, where he first emerged as a potential NBA talent.

Rice Jr. helped the Vipers to three consecutive D-League playoff series sweeps on the way the 2013 NBA D-League championship, before becoming the fourth ever player to be plucked from the NBA’s second tier competition to join an NBA team.

Rice Jr. didn’t enjoy the greatest rookie season, but returned for a second try at Summer League in 2014 and lead all scorers with per game totals of 25.0 points and 7.8 rebounds, as well as showcasing some solid defensive chops with 2.5 steals per game on his way to MVP honors.

After a bunch of impressive performances, it’s no wonder Wizards fans were salivating at the prospect of getting their second-round steal on the hardwood with the already emerging backcourt of John Wall and Bradley Beal.

Unfortunately for Washington, Glen Rice Jr. couldn’t reach the same lofty heights in the NBA, playing only 16 games across two seasons before being waived in 2015. He posted career averages of 2.7 points, 1.5 rebounds and 0.6 assists.

Where are they now — After another brief stint in the D-League with Rio Grande Valley in 2015, Rice was shot in the leg at an Atlanta restaurant and later charged with reckless conduct and possession of marijuana. In 2016, Rice was arrested for battery.


2015 MVP — Kyle Anderson

Lookback at MVP Summer League

Selected with the 30th pick in the 2014 NBA Draft by the San Antonio Spurs, Anderson took home the 2015 Summer League MVP trophy after dropping 21 points and 6 rebounds in a tick over 27 minutes per contest.

Those performances had Spurs fans bullish over the prospect of adding another rough diamond to their crop, as Anderson forced his way into Greg Popovich’s rotation during the 2015–16 season on the back of his strong showing in Vegas.

Anderson’s first year in the NBA didn’t amount to much. He played 78 games, which is a positive, but only managed 4.5 points per game, albeit on very limited minutes for a Spurs team still handing the majority of game time to their veteran core.

Built in a similar mold to former Spur Boris Diaw, it was thought Anderson may see more minutes with the Frenchman’s departure to Utah last season. Sadly, Anderson’s experienced decreases across all major statistical categories in 2016–17.

Often slow and sluggish, Anderson forgoes slashing drives to the hoop in favor of subtle touch, but has unfortunately lacked the creativity needed at the NBA level to be a consistent threat. Anderson has shown flashes of his underrated brilliance, but more often than not has left Spurs fans pining for more in his first few seasons in Texas.

Where are they now — At only 23, the jury is still out on Anderson. He could be a solid role player for a team that relies on contributions from many, but he would need to take a quantum leap to become a consistent and reliable threat for the Spurs.


2016 MVP — Tyus Jones

Selected with the 24th pick in the 2015 NBA Draft by the Cleveland Cavaliers (then traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves), Tyus Jones was named the Most Valuable Player of the 2016 NBA Summer League.

Jones helped lead a young Timberwolves outfit to the final of the event on the back of four consecutive wins during the tournament, after a slow start saw them drop their first three games in Las Vegas.

In seven contests, Jones averaged 19.4 points on 45.7 percent shooting, 4.0 rebounds, 6.3 assists, and 1.3 steals. Even with these gaudy numbers, Jones remained stuck behind established point guard Ricky Rubio, as well as the new boy on the block and 2016 first round pick Kris Dunn at Minnesota.

The acquisition of Dunn especially hurt Jones’ production, with a dip in playing time (minus 2.6 minutes per game) during the 2016–17 season leading to minor declines in points (minus 0.7) and assists (minus 0.3). On the bright side for Jones though, we saw an upswing in his shooting percentages, with both field goal percent (41.0) and three point field goal percent (36.0) moving towards acceptable NBA levels.

Where are they now — It’s been a big Summer for Jones and the Timberwolves. Minnesota dealt guards Dunn and Zach Lavine to get Jimmy Butler. Ricky Rubio was also shipped out to the Utah Jazz, but before they threw Jones the keys to the one of the most exciting teams in the NBA, the T-Wolves scooped up free agent veteran Jeff Teague, who will most likely run the offence in 2017–18.

Older Post
Jordan vs Lebron GOAT Arguments are Trash! and here's why.
Newer Post
Zion Williamson Is A Confusing Ball Of Awesome