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 Saturdays action that you might’ve missed.
Scottie Barnes explodes offensively
One of the biggest concerns surrounding the Florida State rookie was his lack of offense. Barnes was seen as a talented defender who could provide energy plays offensively, but would be unlikely to develop into a scoring threat. That might not be the case.
Scottie hoopin'— Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) August 15, 2021
21 Pts | 5 Reb | 3 Ast pic.twitter.com/GcCDKTpMk1
Barnes finished with 23 points on great efficiency. If he can continue to fill out his offensive game, the Raptors will eventually have a two-way force. There were questions when Toronto took Barnes over Jalen Suggs at No. 4, but Barnes is silencing some doubters with his play early.
Jalen Johnson and Chris Duarte keep producing
Johnson is averaging 19.0 points and 9.5 rebounds per game in four contests while shooting 57.4 percent from the floor and 41.7 percent from deep. The forward faced a lot of questions after leaving Duke early last year, but has flashed his potential immediately. The Atlanta Hawks are loaded with young wing players and Johnson is part of that group. This selection continues to look like a steal for Atlanta.
Duarte, a sweet shooter from Oregon, went higher in the draft than expected when the Indiana Pacers snagged him at No. 13. There were questions about his potential and what he brought to the table outside of great shooting.
In Summer League, Duarte is averaging 18.3 points, 3.8 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game. His three-point shooting has remained solid at 48.3 percent, but he’s doing enough outside of knocking down triples to add value. The Pacers have playoff aspirations and Duarte will be a big part of their plans. His potential might not be great, but he could be a consistent producer from the jump.
Obi Toppin is forcing his way into New York’s rotation
Toppin has been the highlight of Summer League, averaging 23.0 points and 8.2 rebounds in five games. The efficiency has been less than desirable, but Toppin is forcing his way into New York’s suddenly crowded rotation.
Quentin Grimes and Miles McBride are sure to receive playing time, as both have done well in Summer League. Toppin is set for the biggest increase in minutes. After playing just 11.0 minutes per game last season, he looks destined for a bigger role. Julius Randle, Kemba Walker and Evan Fournier are the primary offensive options but look for Toppin to push RJ Barrett for a spot in the starting lineup.