By Madisen Carter
Three weeks ago numerous NBA rookies got the chance to showcase their skills one last time before officially heading off to their new basketball teams during the 2021 NBA Summer League. There were many standouts in the short ten days of games, including fourth overall 2021 NBA Draft pick Scottie Barnes and Summer League Champion Neemias Queta. Barnes, Queta and five more rookies that played in the Summer League trained with Unlimited Potential Basketball’s Coach Packie Turner in Santa Barbara to prepare for Summer League as well as in Las Vegas during the Summer League. Here’s how the talented players did:
Neemias Queta and the Sacramento Kings won the NBA Summer League Championship with a perfect record of 5-0. Queta played in all five games with the Kings averaging 5 points per game, as well as 4.6 rebounds and 1 block per game. Queta showed off his skills on the offensive side of the ball shooting 50% from the field as well as the defensive side of the ball having three steals during the tournament. He had a total of 25 points, 23 rebounds and 5 blocks in the Summer League.
Queta signed a two-way contract with the Sacramento Kings and will spend part of his upcoming season in Stockton with the Kings’ G-League team.
“I mean he just continually wants to learn. He’s a hard worker, but he’s been tremendous, you know, for us asking him to protect the paint, rebound, block shots and be the anchor on the defensive end,” Stockton Kings Head Coach, Bobby Jackson, said about Queta in a Sacramento Kings YouTube video. “And that’s what I’m going to ask him to do this year in the G-League.”
Scottie Barnes had a memorable Summer League debut with the Toronto Raptors against the New York Knicks with 18 points, 10 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 steals. The Raptors finished 4-1 overall in the Summer League. Barnes played in four games, averaging 15.5 points, 6.8 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game.
Barnes' best game was against the Charlotte Hornets on August 14th when he shot 56% from the field, sinking in 23 points. He also had four assists and two blocks on the night helping the Raptors secure their 80-79 win. He finished the Summer League with a total of 62 points, 27 rebounds and 13 assists.
“I feel great. Just came out here, wanted to have fun, play hard, be intense on defense. I just wanted to play the game the right way. So we got the win, that’s all that really matters.” Scottie Barnes said in an interview with the Raptors Republic after his Summer League debut.
Greg Brown III had a successful Summer League experience with the Portland Trail Blazers. The power forward averaged 9 points per game along with 5.4 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game. Brown put on a show for Trail Blazers’ fans showing off his athleticism with multiple dunks including a between the legs dunk against the Houston Rockets.
In the five games Brown played, he had a total of 45 points, 27 rebounds and 7 blocks.
“This Summer League I just want to learn and get better, help my team win. That’s it. We have a lot of vets on our team and I know I always say that, but I really appreciate the vets for coming on the team and doing this because they didn’t really have to do this. They really helped me this Summer League, even the practices and especially the games with how to be a better player, how to fit in my role, how to go about myself on and off the court, so I really do appreciate them for that.” said Brown in an interview after game three of Summer League.
Kessler Edwards and the Brooklyn Nets finished the Summer League with a 3-2 record. Edwards had a notable four games he played in averaging 7 points per game along with 3.5 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game. Edwards most memorable game was in a double overtime 84-81 win over the Washington Wizards when he had 14 points and 9 rebounds.
Edwards finished the Summer League with a total of 28 points, 14 rebounds and 5 blocks. On August 16th, Edwards signed a two-way contract with the Brooklyn Nets.
Balša Koprivica and the Detroit Pistons had a record of 3-2 in the Summer League. Koprivica played in two games averaging 1.5 points and 3.5 rebounds. He had a total of three points and seven rebounds.
On August 23rd, Koprivica signed a three-year contract with KK Partizan in Belgrade, Serbia where he was born.
Ethan Thompson had a noteworthy five games with the Chicago Bulls. The shooting guard averaged 8.6 points per game, as well as 3.2 rebounds and 1.4 assists. On August 9th, Thompson put up 11 points with three 3-pointers. He finished the Summer League with a total of 43 points, 16 rebounds and 7 assists.
On September 8th, Thompson signed with the Bulls on a training camp deal.
MJ Walker and the New York Knicks finished the Summer League with a record of 4-2. Walker played in three games averaging 4.7 points and 2.7 rebounds per game. A memorable game Walker had was on August 14th against the Cleveland Cavaliers. He had nine points, five rebounds and two steals. He had a total of 14 points, 8 rebounds and 2 steals during the Summer League.
On August 20th, Walker signed a contract with the Knicks on a training camp deal.