The NBA’s Summer League tournaments represent different things to different players.
For this year’s draft picks, they’re an opportunity get acquainted with the NBA style while playing for the first time in the uniforms of their new teams. For second-year pros looking to improve on their rookie seasons, it’s an opportunity to get some extra playing time or work on areas of their game that need improvement.
And for a large group of undrafted free agents or marginal veterans, the events in Salt Lake City, Sacramento and Las Vegas are a chance at catching the attention of a general manager and earning a spot at the end of somebody’s bench during the regular season.
Who made the most of their Summer League experience this year?
Here’s a look at how all three categories of former state college stars fared over the past three weeks:
Recent draft picks
The most impressive performance, by far, was turned in by Duke’s Wendell Carter Jr. In five games with the Chicago Bulls, the No. 7 overall pick in last month’s draft emerged from the shadow of fellow one-and-done Blue Devils big man Marvin Bagley III by earning a spot on the All-Vegas second team.
Carter showed his potential to be both an elite scorer and rebounder, scoring 23 points in one game and pulling down 16 rebounds in another while averaging nearly a double-double. Bagley, meanwhile, showed that he still has a few rough edges to smooth out in his first four games in a Sacramento Kings uniform before being shut down because of a hip injury after a Vegas showdown with No. 1 overall pick Deandre Ayton of Phoenix.
Of the other two Duke draftees, Grayson Allen had the most eventful summer for the Utah Jazz, thanks in part to a highly publicized — though benign — incident involving Atlanta’s Trey Young. While Allen put up decent numbers across the board, he did not shoot well, combining to go 19 of 63 (30.2 percent) from the floor and 5 of 20 (25.5 percent) from 3-point range in five games.
His former Blue Devil teammate Gary Trent Jr., a second-round pick of the Portland Trailblazers, was a little better at 9 of 22 on 3-pointers in helping his team advance all the way to the championship game in Vegas.
Among the Raleigh natives from schools outside the state, Jerome Robinson (Boston College) had the best performance in Vegas as a member of the Los Angeles Clippers and Devonte Graham (Kansas) was solid for the Charlotte Hornets before suffering a knee injury.
Former UNC star Justin Jackson had the most to gain and lose this summer after his team — the Sacramento Kings — announced that they were in the market for a small forward capable of putting up consistent scoring numbers. Jackson showed the Kings that he’s capable of filling that need by leading the Sacramento tournament at 17 points per game and scoring 20 or more points in three of his four Vegas games.
His Sacramento teammate Harry Giles also gave a promising performance in his first competitive action after sitting out all last season rehabbing a knee injury by averaging around 10 points and six rebounds in the two summer events he played.
Wake Forest’s John Collins built off a successful rookie season with the Atlanta Hawks by leading the Vegas Summer League at 24 points per game while two players that spent most of last season in the G League, Utah’s Tony Bradley (UNC) and Minnesota’s Amile Jefferson (Duke) showed that they may be ready to earn spots on their teams’ NBA rosters this season.
Undrafted free agents
Theo Pinson, who has already signed a two-way contract with the Brooklyn Nets, had a typically well-rounded performance in five games. But he also showed marked improvement in his shooting, going 11 of 26 (42.3 percent) from 3-point range.
Duke’s Trevon Duval played five games for the Houston Rockets, averaging 9.2 points and 1.6 assists in 17 minutes per game.
While that may or may not be enough to earn an invitation to a team’s training camp, his prospects are still better than those of the Wake Forest duo of Doral Moore (Washington Wizards) and Bryant Crawford (Nets). Neither saw more than minimal action for their respective team and will likely have to pursue options overseas.
Veteran free agents
Wake Forest alumnus Codi Miller-McIntyre did the most to boost his prospects. He was among the Vegas tournament leaders at 6.0 assists per game while helping the Toronto Raptors reach the quarterfinals. But he was only 14 of 41 from the floor and 2 of 11 from 3-point range, a shooting performance that could ultimately hurt his chances of hooking on with an NBA team.
Duke’s Matt Jones had a pair of double-figure scoring efforts for the Kings while Raleigh native Rodney Purvis (Orlando Magic) and NC State’s Maverick Rowan (San Antonio Spurs) each put up solid numbers in the one game each was given an opportunity to play significant minutes in Vegas.
Here are the cumulative stats for all state players that participated in the Vegas Summer League tourney, which runs through Tuesday:
John Collins, Wake Forest (Hawks): 2 games, 24.0 ppg, 20-42 FG, 5-10 3PT, 3-9 FT, 8.5 rpg
Justin Jackson, UNC (Kings): 4 G, 19.0 ppg, 28-67 FG, 8-28 3PT, 12-14 FT, 3.8 rpg, 1.0 spg
Grayson Allen, Duke (Jazz): 2 G, 16.5 ppg, 13-34 FG, 3-12 3PT, 4-4 FT, 6.5 rpg, 4.0 apg, 1.5 spg
Tony Bradley, UNC (Jazz): 2 G, 16.0 ppg, 13-15 FG, 6-6 FT, 3.5 rpg
Marvin Bagley III, Duke (Kings): 1 G, 15.0 ppg, 5-13 FG, 0-2 3PT, 5-7 FT, 7.0 rpg, 2.0 apg
Wendell Carter Jr., Duke (Bulls): 5 G, 14.6 ppg, 27-49 FG, 3-7 3PT, 16-23 FT, 9.4 rpg, 2.6 bpg
Jerome Robinson, Raleigh/BC (Clippers): 3 G, 13.7 ppg, 16-36 FG, 7-19 3PT, 2-2 FT, 2.7 rpg, 1.7 apg
Frank Jackson, Duke (Pelicans): 1 G, 13.0 ppg, 4-7 FG, 0-1 3PT, 5-5 FT, 6.0 rpg, 1.0 apg
Dennis Smith Jr., NC State (Mavs): 2 G, 12.0 ppg, 9-24 FG, 2-13 3PT, 4-4, 2.0 rpg, 6.0 apg
Gary Trent Jr., Duke (Trailblazers): 6 G, 11.4 ppg, 28-79 FG, 9-28 3PT, 15-15 FT, 3.3 rpg, 1.4 apg
Theo Pinson, UNC (Nets) 5 G, 11.2 ppg, 18-40 FG, 11-26 3PT, 8-8 FT, 4.0 rpg, 2.2 apg
Maverick Rowan, NC State (Spurs): 1 G, 11.0 ppg, 4-11 FT, 2-4 3PT, 1-1 FT, 2.0 rpg, 1.0 apg
Harry Giles, Duke (Kings): 4 G, 10.8 ppg, 20-48 FG, 0-2 3PT, 3-6 FT, 7.0 rpg, 1.7 spg. 1.5 apg
Devonte Graham, Raleigh/Kansas (Hornets): 3 G, 10.0 ppg, 11-30 FG, 0-12 3PT, 8-8 FT, 2.7 rpg, 6.0 apg
Trevon Duval, Duke (Rockets): 5 G, 9.2 ppg, 13-36 FG, 8-13 3PT, 12-19 FT, 1.8 rpg, 1.6 apg
Amile Jefferson, Duke (T-wolves): 5 G, 8.6 ppg, 19-42 FG, 5-12 FT, 12.6 rpg, 1.4 bpg
J.P. Tokoto, UNC (Warriors): 5 G, 7.0 ppg, 13-29 FG, 2-9 3PT, 1-2 FT, 4.6 rpg, 2.6 spg
Matt Jones, Duke (Kings): 4 G, 7.0 ppg, 10-28 FG, 3-13 3PT, 5-10 FT, 1.8 rpg
Eric Griffin, Campbell (Pistons): 4 G, 6.3 ppg, 9-13 FG, 1-2 3PT, 6-9 FG, 3.8 rpg
Kennedy Meeks, UNC (Nuggets): 5 G, 5.6 ppg, 12-33, 0-1 3PT, FG, 4-5 FT, 5.6 rpg
Codi Miller-McIntyre, Wake (Raptors): 5 G, 5.5 ppg, 14-41 FG, 2-11 3PT, 3-4 FT, 4.0 rpg, 6.0 apg
Gabe DeVoe, Shelby/Clemson (Hornets): 4 G, 5.0 ppg, 7-20 FG, 5-11 3PT, 1-1 FT, 1.0 rpg
Rodney Purvis, Raleigh/UConn (Magic): 5 G, 5.0 ppg, 7-32 FG, 4-16 3PT, 7-9 FT, 2.4 rpg
Isaiah Hicks, UNC (Knicks): 2 G, 4.0 ppg, 4-6 FG, 0-1 3PT, 0-2 FT, 2.0 rpg, 1.5 bpg
Terry Henderson, NC State (Hornets): 4 G, 1.8 ppg, 2-9 FG, 1-5 3PT, 2-2 FT, 1.3 rpg
Bryant Crawford, Wake (Nets): 4 G, 1.3 ppg, 2-12 FG, 1-6 3PT, 1.8 rpg
Doral Moore, Wake (Wizards): 5 G, 0.8 ppg, 2-2 FG, 0.8 rpg, 1.0 bpg
Here are the final stats for all state players that participated in Sacramento and Salt Lake City:
Justin Jackson, UNC (Kings): 3 G, 17.0 ppg, 18-34 FG, 7-19 3PT, 8-9 FT, 3.7 rpg
Tony Bradley, UNC (Jazz): 3 games, 14.7 ppg, 18-35 FG, 8-17 FT, 12.3 rpg, 2.0 bpg
John Collins, Wake Forest (Hawks): 2 G, 14.0 ppg, 11-21 FG, 1-6 3PT, 5-9 FT, 6.5 rpg, 1.5 apg
Grayson Allen, Duke (Jazz): 2 G, 10.5 ppg, 6-29 FG, 2-8 3PT, 6-10 FT, 7.0 rpg, 7.5 apg, 2.0 spg
Harry Giles, Duke (Kings): 3 G, 9.3 ppg, 13-27 FG, 1-5 3PT, 1.2 FT, 6.0 rpg, 1.7 spg
Marvin Bagley III, Duke (Kings): 3 G, 8.7 ppg, 9-29 FG, 1-8 3PT, 7-11 FT, 5.3 rpg, 1.7 bpg
J.P. Tokoto, UNC (Warriors): 2 G, 3.5 ppg, 3-14 FG, 1-3 3PT, 6.5 rpg, 2.0 apg
Allerik Freeman, NC State (Kings): 2 G, 2.0 ppg, 2-6 FG, 1.0 rpg
Maverick Rowan, NC State (Jazz): 3 G, 1.0 ppg, 1-3 FG, 1-3 FT