The Vegas Summer League is stocked with talent at Thomas & Mack Center and Cox Pavilion, with the NBA’s newest stars looking to prove themselves before the rigors of training camp.
The event always has several standout performances and this year is no exception. Here’s the top five individual efforts through six days:
5. Jaxson Hayes, Center, New Orleans Pelicans
While Hayes isn’t the headliner of the Pelicans’ rookie class (that honor belongs to No. 1 overall pick Zion Williamson), he’s certainly proven his worth so far.
The No. 10 overall pick had a stellar third game against the Chicago Bulls on July 8 with 28 points on 10 of 15 shooting, four rebounds and three blocks. The big man’s defensive effort was also evident as he finished a team-high plus-25 in just 20 minutes on the floor.
He and Williamson have the potential to become a scary frontcourt combination in the future.
4. Bruce Brown, Guard, Detroit Pistons
Brown, a 2018 second-round pick, did a little bit of everything in his team’s 96-81 win against the Philadelphia 76ers on July 10.
He scored. He rebounded. He passed. And he showed how far his game has come after he averaged 19.6 minutes per game as a rookie.
Brown finished with 11 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists to become just the second player in Vegas Summer League history to record a triple double. The only other player to do so, Pelicans guard Lonzo Ball, did so twice in 2017.
That kind of all-around effort is rare, and may be a sign of things to come for the Miami product.
3. Lonnie Walker IV, Guard, San Antonio Spurs
Walker (and his incredible hair) could rightfully argue he deserves to be higher on this list.
The 2018 first-round pick was incredible July 8 against the Toronto Raptors, scoring 32 points and grabbing six rebounds in a 93-90 win. He shot 10 of 23 from the field and 3-for-6 from 3-point range, and impressed the Spurs enough that they didn’t play him in their final preliminary game July 10.
Despite being shut down, Walker is tied for the Vegas Summer League lead in scoring with 30 points per game.
2. Gary Trent Jr., Guard, Portland Trail Blazers
Trent Jr. didn’t get to show much during his rookie season in Portland.
July 7 against the Houston Rockets, he showed everyone what he could do.
Trent Jr., a 2018 second-round pick, had 31 points, six rebounds and five assists in a 97-87 win. He was remarkably efficient, needing just 12 shots to reach his point total thanks to a 6-of-7 mark from 3.
He made a pretty good case that he should receive a raise on the 7.4 minutes he averaged per game last season.
1. Anfernee Simons, Guard, Trail Blazers
If this list is any indication the Trail Blazers, who reached the Western Conference Finals last season, have plenty of reason to be optimistic about the future.
Simons, the No. 24 pick in 2018, made his case for a larger role July 9 against the Utah Jazz where he was practically unstoppable despite his team losing 97-93. He scored 35 points (still a Vegas Summer League high this year) while going 13-of-18 from the floor and 6-of-7 from 3.
He threw in six rebounds, two assists and two steals in the performance of the event (so far).