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NBA Summer League disappointments: Ziaire Williams, Killian Hayes among those who struggled in Vegas

These players underwhelmed in Vegas and could be headed out of the league soon.

2021 Las Vegas Summer League - Memphis Grizzlies v Sacramento Kings
Ziaire Williams of the Memphis Grizzlies handles the ball against the Sacramento Kings during the 2021 Las Vegas Summer League on August 13, 2021 at the Cox Pavilion in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Photo by Bart Young/NBAE via Getty Images

The Sacramento Kings defeated the Boston Celtics in the title game to conclude the 2021 Summer League in Las Vegas. Plenty of young players impressed in the showcase, but there were a handful who had disappointing performances and will need to significantly improve their game. Here are the most underwhelming players from the 2021 Summer League.

Ziaire Williams, Memphis Grizzlies

On the surface, Williams’ 12.5 points and 5.3 rebounds per game is solid. There’s nothing wrong with those numbers, especially for a prospect who came into the league with significant offensive question marks.

However, there’s nothing to get excited about when you look at the percentages. The forward was wildly inefficient with a 38.0/20.0/53.3 split. Add in the fact that Memphis took Williams with the No. 10 pick after trading to move up from No. 17 and you’ve got a lot of worried fans. It’s only Summer League, but this is not the start Williams or the Grizzlies wanted.

Killian Hayes, Detroit Pistons

When the Pistons took Cade Cunningham No. 1 overall, there were immediate questions about his fit with Hayes and who would be the primary ball handler. Summer League was the first chance for the duo to work together and it was not pretty for Hayes.

The second-year guard averaged 4.7 assists per game compared to 3.3 turnovers. He only managed 6.3 points per game in three contests and shot 18.2 percent from behind the arc in limited attempts. Cunningham didn’t fare any better, averaging 2.3 assists to 4.0 turnovers per game. However, Hayes will need to improve his playmaking skills if this backcourt is going to work.

Joel Ayayi, Los Angeles Lakers

Ayayi didn’t have insane expectations in Summer League given his undrafted status, but the draft backstory makes his performance questionable. Ayayi reportedly told teams in the second round to pass on him so he could sign specifically with the Lakers.

The Gonzaga product averaged 4.8 points, 3.0 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game in five contests. He shot a whopping 12.5 percent from three-point range. For someone who wanted to go to a specific team, there’s no way to classify that performance as anything but disappointing.

Keon Johnson, Los Angeles Clippers

Johnson was another player who slipped in the 2021 NBA draft, ultimately going to the Clippers with the No. 21 pick. The Tennessee guard was projected to be a lottery pick and at one point was looking like a top-five selection.

In Vegas, Johnson averaged 8.6 points per game with a 28.8/20.0/57.1 shooting split in five games. That’s simply not good enough for a player capable of putting up big numbers. Again, this is still Summer League and there’s a long development curve ahead. Johnson can still become an excellent player with the Clippers. Unfortunately, he hasn’t gotten off to a great start.