NBA Summer League 2023: Intriguing Insights into Day 1 Las Vegas Performances of Top Players | Latest News, Scores, Highlights, Stats, and Buzz
The NBA Summer League in 2023 kicked off in Las Vegas with a bang, showcasing the top rookies and young talent in the league. The first day of action provided some exciting moments and standout performances that caught the attention of fans and analysts alike. One player who made a significant impression was the highly-touted draft prospect, Jalen Green. Green, selected with the second overall pick by the Houston Rockets, displayed his explosive scoring ability, pouring in 25 points in his debut game. His smooth shooting stroke and ability to create his shot off the dribble were on full display, leaving fans eager to see how he develops throughout the summer league and into the regular season.
Another player who turned heads on day one was last year’s first overall pick, Cade Cunningham. While the Detroit Pistons’ rookie struggled with his shot, shooting just 5-of-17 from the field, he showcased his versatility and basketball IQ. Cunningham displayed great court vision, making precise passes and setting up his teammates for easy scoring opportunities. Despite the off night shooting-wise, it was evident that Cunningham possesses a high basketball IQ and the potential to be a standout playmaker in the league. It will be intriguing to see how he adjusts his scoring game in the upcoming summer league games and beyond.
Ethan Miller/Getty Images
The first day of Las Vegas Summer League kicked off Friday with an absolutely loaded slate that not only gave NBA lovers everywhere some competitive action, but also a glimpse of the league’s very bright future.
All of the top-four selections from this year’s draft class suited up in Sin City and took over the Thomas and Mack Center. Scoot Henderson and Amen Thompson faced off in the battle of the top rookie guards before Victor Wembanyama and Brandon Miller had the marquee matchup of the night as the top two picks from the draft.
Here’s what NBA Twitter had to say about an exciting night of summer hoops.
Victor Wembanyama Welcomed to the NBA
One of the most hyped prospects in NBA history and certainly of this generation, Wembanyama’s Summer League debut was more anticipated than a “Barbie” and “Oppenheimer” double feature.
But it probably didn’t go exactly as he and the rest of the basketball world envisioned.
The No. 1 overall pick didn’t necessarily have a bad game, but it was a much weaker outing than everyone was expecting. He finished with just nine points on 2-of-13 shooting from the field to go along with eight rebounds, three assists and five blocks.
He even had his “Welcome to the NBA” moment in the third quarter when Kai Jones dunked over him, a play that shocked the crowd at the Thomas and Mack Center as the 7-foot-5 alien looked a bit human.
With how impatient Twitter is, it took a moment to give the rookie star a hard time.
The Athletic @TheAthletic
KAI JONES ?<br><br>A reminder that Victor Wembanyama is 7-foot-5.<br><br>? <a href=”https://twitter.com/NBA?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@NBA</a> | <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/NBASummerLeague?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#NBASummerLeague</a> <a href=”https://t.co/Tv3yeJmAG8″>pic.twitter.com/Tv3yeJmAG8</a>
Chet Holmgren’s Summer League debut:<br>23 PTS, 7 REB, 4 AST, 6 BLK <br>78% from the field<br><br>Victor Wembanyama’s Summer League debut:<br>9 PTS, 8 REB, 3 AST, 5 BLK<br>15% from the field<br><br>That’s all I’m gonna say. ? <a href=”https://t.co/PTz01UJDuO”>pic.twitter.com/PTz01UJDuO</a>
Wembanyama will get another crack at it Sunday night against the Portland Trail Blazers.
Scoot Henderson Injured After Hot Start
One of the most heralded players in this year’s draft class, Henderson showed up and showed out early in his Summer League debut against the Houston Rockets.
Henderson, who was taken No. 3 overall by the Trail Blazers, came out to send a message, being uber-aggressive in the early moments of the matchup. He had 13 of his 15 points in the opening quarter and ended the game with five rebounds, six assists and a steal in 21 minutes of action.
Unfortunately, his night ended prematurely after he injured his soldier late in the third quarter and would not return. Bleacher Report’s Chris Haynes reported that he’s set to undergo an MRI but the organization is optimistic that it isn’t anything serious.
But while he was on the floor, he had NBA Twitter feeling optimistic about Portland’s future even with the imminent departure of superstar guard Damian Lillard, who has requested a trade to the Miami Heat.
While it’s still unclear whether Henderson will be able to suit up, Portland is in action again Sunday night against Wembanyama and the Spurs.
Amen Thompson Stuffing the Stat Sheet in Debut
Facing off against Henderson in a matchup of the top two guard prospects from the draft, Thompson held his own against his more touted counterpart by doing a little bit of everything in the Rockets win.
Thompson, 20, finished with 16 points to go along with four rebounds, five assists, four blocks and three steals as he did absolutely everything on both ends of the floor.
Even with Fred VanVleet set to take over as the Rockets’ starting point guard, Thompson looks like he’s not far off from being ready to take the keys and lead the Rockets into the future with their bevy of young talent.
But much like Henderson, Thompson also was plagued by an injury, leaving the game with an ankle injury late in the fourth quarter and not returning to the game.
Nonetheless, Twitter was hyping up the older Thompson twin in his debut on an NBA stage.
Game One SL Thoughts:<br><br>1. Amen Thompson looks exactly as advertised. Serious cause for excitement in Houston<br><br>2. Tari Eason continues to be an impact player who contributes to winning<br><br>3. Jabari came alive in the 3Q. That’s the version of his game I wanna see a lot of this season
If he’s healthy, Thompson will have a chance to go up against his brother Ausar and the Detroit Pistons on Sunday. night.
Markquis Nowell has “IT”
The star of the NCAA Tournament back in March, Markquis Nowell brought some of that madness magic to Sin City, balling out in his summer league debut with the Toronto Raptors in their matchup against the Chicago Bulls.
On a night, where all eyes were on the team’s lottery pick Gradey Dick, Nowell stole the show, dropping a game-high 17 points to go along with four rebounds, five assists and three steals in an electric performance.
Nowell is on a two-way deal with the Raptors but has gotten off on the right foot if he wants to earn a shot with the full roster at some point during the year.
Even as the smallest player on the court, Nowell managed to play bigger than anybody else on the floor. And it had Raptors Twitter excited for what he can potentially become.
“I expect to win. Win five games, and we come home with a trophy. Win Summer League MVP…. A successful trip would be us winning and me getting my contract bumped up (from two-way to full roster).” <br><br>- Markquis Nowell <a href=”https://t.co/45rV2dl5oE”>pic.twitter.com/45rV2dl5oE</a>
Christos Tsaltas @Tsaltas46
Markquis Nowell showed glimpses of his leadership in his Summer League debut with the Raptors. He notched 17 points, 4 rebounds, 5 assists and as the game went on he felt more free to dictate the pace. Nowell has it! <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/WetheNorth?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#WetheNorth</a> <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/NBASummerLeague?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#NBASummerLeague</a>
Nowell and Toronto play Sunday night against the Cleveland Cavaliers.