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NBA Summer League: Who Stood Out

July is probably most sports fans worst enemy. There’s no football or basketball, and the average fan isn’t too concerned with July baseball since there are 162 games.

But, for 10 days, the NBA hosts the Summer League, which the teams are made up of drafted rookies, second and third year guys and undrafted free agents.

After a slow start, the Minnesota Timberwolves won four consecutive games to advance to the Summer League Championship game against the Chicago Bulls.

The T’Wolves were led by Tyus Jones, Summer League MVP, while the Bulls were led by Bobby Portis and Denzel Valentine.

The Championship Game was back and forth, and, in the final seconds, the Wolves hit a three to take a lead. Chicago inbounded the ball and it founds its way back into the hands of Valentine, who knocked down the game tying three.

In overtime, Valentine once again had the ball in his hands in the final seconds. This time the game was tied. Valentine drove to the free throw line, jump stopped and pivoted before throwing up an unbelievable shot. Game over.

Bulls win the Summer League.

But Jones and Valentine weren’t the only guys to stand out this Summer, there were a few others.

Jordan McRae: McRae wound up on the All-NBA Summer League 2016 First Team after averaging 30 minutes a game for the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Cavs guard averaged 24 points a game and five boards. McRae was drafted out of the University of Tennessee in the Second Round of the 2014 NBA Draft by the Spurs but has played mostly overseas throughout the beginning of his career. If the Cavs don’t resign JR Smith, watch out for McRae to get more minutes at shooting guard behind Iman Shumpert.

Jamal Murray: Murray averaged just under 20 points per game in the Summer League, scoring 29 points on two separate occasions. The Nuggets drafted him in hopes of obtaining a consistent three-point shooter. But over the five games, he knocked down threes at 28 percent clip. But, the guard out of Kentucky did average five boards and 2.5 assists per game.

Tyler Ulis: Another guard out of Kentucky, Ulis was a First-Team All-American and won SEC Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year. He did this as a 5’10 point guard that many GMs and execs thought was too small. Ulis averaged 14.5 points and slightly over six assists per a game. He even hit an overtime buzzer-beating three to defeat Murray and the Nuggets.

Thon Maker: Many people around the basketball world don’t believe Maker is really 19 years of age. But, regardless of his age, Maker had a solid Summer League Performance. The 7’1 center averaged 14 points a game and just under 10 rebounds. Maker should be able to get easy buckets off missed shots throughout his career. Once he fills out his frame with more muscle, Maker will be a force to be reckoned with.

Ben Simmons: Would this list even be correct if it didn’t have Simmons included, probably not. The number one pick in the 2016 NBA Draft has already made some incredible plays. The former LSU power forward averaged 11 points, 8 rebounds and almost 6 assists per game during the Summer League. Simmons is an amazing passer for a big guy and that could be seen through his six games with the 76ers. He had a knack for finding the open guy wherever he may be. Simmons also possesses the ability to bring the ball up the floor, which really spreads the floor.

Brandon Ingram and Jaylen Brown: The second and third picks of this year’s draft also showed why they were highly sought after. Ingram averaged 12 points and four boards per game. While, Brown averaged 16 points and six rebounds per game. Ingram went off for 22 points in a loss to Utah in the Lakers final Summer League game, but showed he has the potential to be the next great Laker. Brown scored his Summer League high of 25 points in a loss to Cleveland, but he brought down nine rebounds. He should be able to provide for the Celtics this year and down the road.