10 top players to watch in 2022 Summer League

James Wiseman
Jun 20, 2022; San Francisco, CA, USA; Golden State Warriors center James Wiseman (33) walks on the street during the Warriors championship parade in downtown San Francisco. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Summer league kicks off on July 7th in Las Vegas, and it’s the perfect appetizer for those jonesing for their basketball fix. I have ten NBA Summer League players to watch, so you know which prospects are worth keeping an eye on.

NBA Summer League players to watch 2022

The NBA has as much young talent as it’s ever had. It doesn’t matter if you’re drafting first overall or in the 2nd round – there are players worth watching throughout the entire league. There’s also no shortage of prospects worth watching from last year’s draft, as well as young talent coming into the NBA from all over the world.

The NBA Summer League is an incredible event for getting an early look into your team’s best prospects.

Paolo Banchero

After years of drafting defense-first players, the Orlando Magic finally landed an offensive dynamo. Banchero’s scoring ability is off the charts. His offensive game resembles that of DeMar DeRozan or Pascal Siakam. He uses a wide array of spin moves, jab steps, pump fakes, and turnarounds to create space or explode towards the basket. His three-pointer could use a little work, but shooting nearly 34% on just over three attempts game shows promise.

At 6’10” and 250lbs, Banchero shouldn’t have a problem getting to his spot at the NBA level. His offensive game is exciting as they come; beyond the sick mid-range game, he also grabs alley-oops from high in the sky and attacks the rim with tenacity while driving toward the basket. However, his defense leaves a lot to be desired, to say the least. Banchero often dies on screens and gets lost on defense.

That’s not why we watch summer league though, we’ll be watching to see Banchero’s beautiful and dominating offense.

Keegan Murray

Keegan Murray and the following entry will forever be linked. It appears the Sacramento Kings drafted for fit over the best player available. This makes Murray a surefire NBA Summer League player to watch.

On the basketball side of things, Murray does project as the perfect player to play off of De’Aaron Fox. At 6’8″, Murray could play at the three or four, and he shot nearly 40% from three, which will help space the floor for Fox and Domantas Sabonis.


He’s a great cutter as well, similar to Mikal Bridges.

The Kings are hoping Murray reaches his defensive ceiling as a guy that can hang with the top wings in the league. If Murray works out, Sacramento will have a team that finally makes a bit of sense on paper. If he doesn’t, people will wonder if the Kings just gave one of the best players in the draft to Detroit.

Jaden Ivey

Jaden Ivey is the type of player the NBA Summer League is made for, the explosive shooting guard only plays with the pedal to the floor. All gas, no brakes is the best way to sum up Ivey’s game. The Detroit Pistons must’ve been ecstatic when the Kings selected Murray instead; Jaden Ivey’s style pairs perfectly with Cade Cunningham.

Cunningham plays slow and in control, dissecting the defense. Ivey forces the mismatch with his breakneck pace and athleticism. Allowing Ivey to play off-ball should enable Detroit to find favorable matchups consistently. Ivey’s three could use a little work, and he gets a little too eager on defense, but you never have to worry about a lack of effort from the exciting prospect out of Purdue.

Kennedy Chandler

Kennedy Chandler was one of my favorite players in the draft, and I was surprised to see him fall to the 2nd round. Chandler is undersized, standing at only 6ft, but he is thrilling to watch as he violently pressures the rim. He reminds me of two of my favorite players; his new teammate, Ja Morant, and, dare I say, Allen Iverson (that’s sacrilege, I know).

Chandler finishes with a wide variety of moves under the basket and is an incredible passer. He’s excellent at finding the trailing big man, and there’s not a pass he can’t make. Everything about Chandler’s game is flashy; whether he’s soaring for a dunk or making a behind-the-back pass, no player made more jaw-dropping plays.

He’s also a dogged defender. Kennedy Chandler’s 6’5″ wingspan allows him to play well above his size on the defensive end. The Memphis Grizzlies must’ve been surprised to see the dynamic point guard fall to them in the 2nd round. While I’m happy Chandler went to a team that will do a good job developing him, I selfishly wish he fell to a team where there would be more playing time. Regardless, he should be one of the best players in the 2022 Summer League.

Chet Holmgren

The Oklahoma City Thunder may have landed the player with the highest upside in the entire 2022 NBA Draft. Chet Holmgren is an exciting prospect because we have no idea what his ceiling could be, there’s never been anyone like him. His ability to block shots is second to none, he has a consistent three-point shot, and can hold his own as a ball handler.

He’s also unbelievably skinny for his height, weighing only 195 pounds while standing 7 feet tall. Many worry about his strength and ability to hold up in the post. He also spent much of his college career in foul trouble, compounding worries as a viable post defender.

Beyond Holmgren, the Thunder have a whole plethora of players to watch. Ousmane Dieng, Josh Giddey, Jalen Williams, and Jaylin Williams are all slated to appear in this year’s summer league, and all have significant upside.

Shaedon Sharpe

Possibly the best athlete of all the NBA Summer League players to watch, Shaedon Sharpe plays well above the rim. Unfortunately, Sharpe is all projection, as he never played in college.

Nevertheless, he’s the type of player the Portland Trail Blazers should have drafted to play next to Damian Lillard years ago cause of his high defensive upside. It will likely take a while for Sharpe to adjust to the NBA, but we’ll get a glimpse of where he is as a prospect in this year’s Summer League.

Ochai Agbaji

The Cleveland Cavaliers have young and talented guards, young and talented forwards, and if Ochai Agbaji pans out, they’ll have a young and talented wing.

Agbaji shot 40% from three on over six attempts a game, that’s ridiculous. If the shot remains deadly at the pro level, his combination of shooting and defense could make him the steal of the draft. He’s your prototypical 3 & D wing and the type of player every team claims they want; I’m not sure how he managed to drop all the way to the 14th pick.

Dalen Terry

He doesn’t offer much as a scoring threat, but the Chicago Bulls are the perfect landing spot for Dalen Terry. On offense, he’s a 6’7″ point guard with great passing and anticipation. On defense, he can guard one through four.

He projects a lot like Ben Simmons, right down to the trepidation as a scoring threat. Lucky for him, Chicago has a ton of scoring threats, so he’ll be able to excel in the areas he already excels in

Saddiq Bey

The Detroit Pistons have more NBA Summer League players to watch than almost any other team. Along with Cade Cunningham and Jaden Ivey, Saddiq Bey will also be crashing the party.

Bey shot 45% from three on nearly six attempts per game; that’s astonishing. The Pistons are rolling out a stacked roster for Summer League come July 7th.

James Wiseman

If James Wiseman suits up, he is the 2022 Summer League player to watch. The Golden State Warriors remain optimistic he can be an impact player in the NBA, but after sitting out all of the 2021-22 season, we have no idea how the high-upside big man has progressed.

However, if he lives up to the potential, it’ll ensure the Warriors remain a title threat for years to come.

Honourable mentions

Obviously, there are endless NBA Summer League players to watch. I mentioned ten players, and that list didn’t even include exciting prospects like Jabari Smith, Bennedict Mathurin, TyTy Washington, Johnny Davis, or Dyson Daniels. The 2022 NBA Summer League is stacked with talent and will be must-watch TV for any die-hard NBA fan.

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