Don’t be disgruntled if your player had a poor outing in the recently concluded NBA Summer League. It would only make sense because these teams are fielding new players and mixing them with guys who rode the bench the past few seasons. Patience is the key word right now. It will only be a matter of time before these players break through and have steady basketball careers. It’s time to take a look at some players who had slow starts during Summer League games but were still members of NBA squads last season.
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Trey Burke in 2013
Burke was part of the Dallas Mavericks team that made the 2022 Playoffs. Only a few will remember his Summer League performance after being drafted by the Utah Jazz. Burke just had an outstanding college career as a Michigan Wolverine at that time, and was expected to come out and put on a show. The problem was he couldn’t find a rhythm in terms of making plays and making shots. He only made one three-pointer in 19 attempts proving to us that adjusting to the NBA pace is not easy at all.
Ben McLemore in 2013
McLemore gave fans high expectations. Everyone started documenting every move he made since being drafted by the Sacramento Kings. One thing that stood out was his trigger-happy attitude even when his shots were not falling. McLemore had 78 field goal attempts in 150 minutes of playing time and had no plans of involving his teammates, evidenced by his zero assists. The NBA is all about the long-range shot these days and that is why McLemore’s skill is still in high-demand. He played for the Portland Trail Blazers last season because the team probably needed his shooting mentality.
Lauri Markkanen in 2017
Dubbed as one of the best shooting big men in the draft, Markkanen went on to make just six out of 25 attempts from three-point territory. It was a major concern back then for the seventh pick who was grabbed ahead of players like Bam Adebayo and Donovan Mitchell. Fast forward to a few years and you’ll see a thriving Markkanen making his mark with the rejuvenated Cleveland Cavaliers.
Buddy Hield in 2016 and 2017
In 2016, Hield entered the league after being drafted by the New Orleans Pelicans. He immediately averaged around 17 points per game but did it while shooting below 33 percent from the field. It was pretty scary to see this natural scorer struggle from the field. The following year, with one year of experience in the NBA, Hield was expected to dominate Summer League playing for Sacramento. All he did was replicate his poor shooting performance from the previous year. Today, Hield is an asset in the NBA and is currently in trade talks.
RJ Barrett in 2019
Barrett is a star right now for the New York Knicks. He will shine brighter as the years go by, which is why people are quick to forget about his poor start. Fans could see that he was playing in a rushed, hectic manner in the first few games. Forcing plays would lead to turnovers and a lot of missed shots. There was even a two-game stretch where he missed 26 times on 33 attempts, but everyone knew back then that Barrett could shoot his way out of a slump.
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Main Image Credit: via YouTube