NBA Summer League 2017: Saturday’s Winners and Losers From Las Vegas

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The Las Vegas 2017 NBA Summer League is underway, and while seems teams have played two games already, others opened up the action on Saturday. There were not only some close games but also a few excellent performances. But, for every great performance, there’s a player or two who didn’t live up to the early hype. With that said, let’s take a look at the winners and losers from Saturday’s Summer League action in Las Vegas.

Winners

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Lonzo Ball, G, Los Angeles Lakers

After the internet nearly exploded about Ball after his first Summer League game featured him hitting just 2-of-15 shots and 1-of-11 from deep, it was like the world was watching a new player on Saturday. Ball was facing off with No. 3 pick in the draft Jayson Tatum and didn’t disappoint, notching a triple-double with 11 points, 11 assists and 11 rebounds. While he shot just 1-of-5 from 3-point range, which is obviously still a concern, a guy bouncing back like this is certainly a winner on the day.

Kyle Kuzma, G, Los Angeles Lakers

Let’s keep it with the Lakers here, for a player who the team selected with the No. 27 pick, which was acquired from the Brooklyn Nets. The former Utah standout who averaged 16.4 points and 9.3 rebounds per game last season was superb on Saturday for the Lakers. He tallied 31 points on 12-of-26 shooting (46.2 percent) while going 5-of-10 from downtown. It wasn’t just that either, as Kuzma grabbed nine boards to show that he was putting in work on both ends of the floor.

Jayson Tatum, G, Boston Celtics

Tatum is right up there as the biggest winner of the night, without question. His Celtics not only won the game against the Lakers, but he was superb. In 33 minutes, Tatum tallied 27 points on 9-of-19 shooting (47.4 percent) with 11 rebounds. He also made all eight of his free throw attempts and his lone 3-pointer. He’s proving to not only be worth spending the No. 3 pick in the draft on, but showing that he could also contribute immediately for the Celtics in 2017-18.

Semi Ojeleye, F, Boston Celtics

The Celtics are just a bit thin at power forward currently, so if Ojeleye proves capable of producing early in his career it’d be huge for Boston. In Saturday’s game against the Lakers, he scored 19 points on 6-of-13 shooting (46.2 percent), but possibly the most impressive part was the fact that he went 5-of-9 (55.6 percent) from downtown. Ojeleye grabbed only three boards, so that needs to improve, but his work on the offensive end was strong.

Bam Adebayo, C, Miami Heat

The Heat may have found a replacement for former backup center Willie Reed, and someone who can give Hassan Whiteside a break when needed. Adebayo showed his ability to dominate while playing smart basketball on Saturday, as he scored 18 points on 6-of-12 shooting, while also grabbing 10 rebounds and turning the ball over just once. His 6-of-6 day from the free throw line was also a great sign, as not many big men can be reliable from the stripe.

Losers

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Donovan Mitchell, G, Utah Jazz

On the surface, a 19-point, four-steal game is pretty strong. Unfortunately, when you jack up 26 shots and hit only eight of them (30.8 percent) it makes the point total not so great. Mitchell also went 3-of-12 from 3-point range (25 percent) and had three turnovers as well. The Jazz are hoping that Mitchell can provide a scoring punch early in his career, which seems likely, but his 26 shots on Saturday were nearly three-times as many as any other player on the team.

Markelle Fultz, G, Philadelphia 76ers

To clarify, Fultz landing on this last has nothing to do with his injury. Before going down with what appeared to be an ankle injury, Fultz had hit just 3-of-12 shots (25 percent) from the field and was 0-of-3 from deep. To go along with that, he had more turnovers (two) than assists (one). It was simply an off night shooting for Fultz.

Edy Tavares, C, Cleveland Cavaliers

After Tavares was traded from the Toronto Raptors to the Cavaliers, he saw action in just one game late in the season against his old team. In that game, though, he showed glimpses of being a solid player, tallying 10 rebounds with six points and an impressive six blocks. On Saturday in the team’s Summer League game against the Houston Rockets, Tavares played 21 minutes but seemed hardly involved. He made 2-of-4 shots from the field, which was fine, but he also had just two rebounds and two blocks to go along with his four fouls and two turnovers.

Zach Collins, C, Portland Trail Blazers

The Trail Blazers traded with the Sacramento Kings for the Collins, who was the No. 10 in the 2017 NBA draft. He’s a player expected to have big upside after averaging just 10 points and 5.9 rebounds per game in college, but it didn’t show on Saturday. Collins was a woeful 3-of-13 (23.1 percent) from the field, with six turnovers. He somewhat salvaged his day with seven rebounds and four blocks, but it certainly wasn’t enough to overlook the poor shooting and struggles to avoid giving the ball away.

Kris Dunn, G, Chicago Bulls

When the Bulls traded away All-Star Jimmy Butler, they were surely hoping that Dunn would turn into the player he was projected to be when selected with the No. 5 pick in the 2016 NBA draft. He still may be, but his career with the Bulls is off to a rocky start. In their first Summer League game, Dunn scored 11 points on 3-of-12 shooting (25 percent) with six fouls and two turnovers in 30 minutes.