If three out of four Warriors championships didn’t plunge you into an abyss of NBA nihilism, the DeMarcus Cousins signing last week probably was enough to drop to your knees and denounce God.
I love basketball, but I don’t much care for the NBA. This is, of course, coming from a man who was cursed into life as a Kings fan, so maybe I would feel differently if I were born in Boston or Chicago or Los Angeles (but then again, if I were from Boston I’d probably walk directly into oncoming traffic so there would be one less Patriots fan).
However, there is an oasis of basketball that still hasn’t been monopolized by one team: the NBA Summer League. Sure, none of the best players are playing, and teams don’t really break 100 ever, but I swear, it’s okay.
The best part about summer league is getting a glimpse of the rookies and second-year rookies (shout out Ben Simmons).
Here are some of the notables from Las Vegas:
Kevin Knox has been killing dudes left and fucking right. He’s still only 18, and he still looks more athletic and manly than everyone else on the court.
Knox was picked by the Knicks with the ninth pick out of Kentucky, where he probably could have been a higher-profile player if he wasn’t surrounded by great teammates.
I wouldn’t expect much out of the Knicks in 2018-19, but anything is possible in the Eastern Conference now, so this young core of Knox and Porzingis could snag them some wins.
Trae Young absolutely sucked in his first couple of games (3-for-24 from three), but give him credit for getting back out there, because shooters shoot.
Right now, his biggest weakness is that he doesn’t have the size to get space and also that his hair looks like when you drop a lollipop on the carpet and it gets all gross.
However, I think he’s too skilled to end up like Jimmer Fredette or someone who can only shoot.
Harry Giles could have easily been the first overall pick in 2017 had it not been for a pair of knee injuries. Instead, the Kings scooped him up at 20th overall and put him on the shelf and let him rehab until this summer.
Right now, it’s looking like he’s the real deal and quite a few teams are going to regret passing up on the mecha-athletic big man from Duke. Giles is a stalwart on defense, has a silky jumper, and has arms so long that he can’t even clap like a normal human being.
Kings-Suns was billed as the big matchup between DeAndre Ayton and Marvin Bagley, but Giles ended up looking more impressive than either of them.
Wendell Carter, Jr.
Wendell Carter was a consensus high-IQ, high-motor guy that was basically a foolproof pick in the draft, and yet he still fell to the Bulls at seven because teams kinda suck at scouting.
Carter sonned the Cavs, casually racking up five blocks and adding insult to the Cleveland injury because he was taken one pick ahead of where the Cavs were selecting.
Also, buy low on those Ryan Fitzpatrick comparisons because Carter got into Harvard, but instead decided to go to Duke (probably because they paid him more). Keep an eye on him as a darkhorse rookie of the year (if he can hold off Ben Simmons).
Biggest weakness: how the fuck are they supposed to fit Gilgeous-Alexander on the back of a jersey? Come on bro, you’re gonna have to pick one… which parent do you like more?
For real though, the Kentucky guard is looking strong. His jumper looks better than it did in college, and he definitely knows what’s going on on the court at all times.
Also, he’s got a very strong nickname as “The Hyphen.”