Every year, we see NBA rookies have a tough time making any kind of positive impact in the regular season as it relates to winning games. The NBA game has grown so specialized and nuanced that it barely resembles the college game anymore. So it is unreasonable to expect newly drafted players to excel in summer league.
For many of them, this is their first taste of pro basketball. Factor in very few practices during the summer, no set rotations, inexperienced coaches and the drain on their brains and bodies from months of pre-draft training, and we get a collection of talented players who don't look quite like themselves in July.
Still, it's worth checking out the rookies to see what teams saw when they drafted these young men. Here are my early observations on the lottery picks from the 2015 draft:
Timberwolves | C
2015 NBA draft:
No. 1 pick
Key summer-league stats:
12.8 PPG, 7.2 RPG, 1.8 BPG, 39.6 FG%
Towns' elite-level potential was on full display in Vegas. The big man out of Kentucky utilized a nice jump hook, showed good speed racing up and down the court and blocked some shots as a helper as the week progressed.
He is years away from being a dominant player, but reaching that status is in his wheelhouse for sure. Focusing on defense would be a good place for him to start during his rookie season, given Minnesota's need for rim protection.