After an exciting opening day in the MGM Resorts Las Vegas Summer League on Sunday, we had six games on Tuesday both at the Thomas & Mack Center and the Cox Pavilion.
The NBA Summer League is a great place to not only see the 2021 rookie class, but also the 2020 rookie class, which made a lot of noise this past season in the association. Below we’ll take a look at a few of the takeaways from Monday’s action that you might’ve missed.
Aaron Nesmith leads Celtics to blowout win
After defeating the Atlanta Hawks by two points on Sunday, the Boston Celtics were back on the court against the Denver Nuggets. The Nuggets have a couple of interesting rookies and young players including Bol Bol, who was one of the headliners coming into the game.
However, Celtics second-year guard Aaron Nesmith stole the show. The 2020 first-round pick showed off his shooting prowess, scoring a game-high 33 points on an efficient 13-of-18 shooting from the field and 7-of-9 from distance. The Celtics ended up winning the game 107-82 over the Nuggets.
The former Vandy standout also had 7 rebounds. As a rookie, Nesmith only averaged 14.5 minutes and 4.7 points per games last season. But if Nesmith’s performance on Tuesday is any indication of what he can do, then it will give the Celtics another competent perimeter shooter. Also, let me not forget to give props to Celtics’ second-year point guard Payton Pritchard, who almost messed around and got a triple-double (21 points, 12 assists, 8 rebounds).
Jalen Green outduels Cade Cunningham in battle of top 2 picks
In their first of many matchups against each other, Jalen Green (No. 2 pick) went up against Cade Cunningham (No. 1 pick) in the most anticipated game of the summer league. The two young players, who will be tied at the hip for many years to come did not disappoint in only their second summer league games.
Cunningham led the Pistons with 20 points (8-18 FG, 4-9 3pt) and added 4 rebounds, 3 steals, and 2 two steals. The former Oklahoma State star had a couple of wow moments, which included a smooth crossover against Green.
Cade Cunningham catches Jalen Green reaching, hits him with the behind the back dribble and makes the 3!! pic.twitter.com/xkEBiQDZQS— Aram Cannuscio (@AC__Hoops) August 11, 2021
But the star of the game ended up being Green, who is going to fit in well with the Rockets this upcoming season.
The 6-foot-6 guard has a knack for scoring the ball at all levels on the floor and can get his shot off with ease. Green finished with a game-high 25 points on an efficient 6-of-11 shooting from the field and 3-of-5 from behind the arc. He was also 10-of-11 from the free throw line.
Jalen Johnson showing flashes through 2 SL games
In the 2021 NBA Draft, the Atlanta Hawks took another athletic forward in Jalen Johnson, who a lot of folks had questions about after he opted out of the rest of the college bball season at Duke. While the move was puzzling at the time, Johnson is showing off his skills and athleticism that fits right in line with what the Hawks like.
Through two summer league games, Johnson has notched back-to-back doubles, which includes 18 points and 10 rebounds in the Hawks 84-83 win over the Pacers. We saw how the Hawks bought along Onyeka Okongwu last season and he eventually played some big minutes in the postseason. Johnson could be another frontcourt playmaker that could be making a ton of highlights plays next to John Collins next season.
Hawks 84, Pacers 83
Celtics 107, Nuggets 82
Bulls 92, Spurs 89
Rockets 111, Pistons 91
Kings 89, Wizards 75
Trail Blazers 86, Clippers 66