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10 Second-Year Players to Watch in the NBA Summer League

Las Vegas NBA Summer League takes place July 7-17, showcasing the association’s rising stars. Typically, former draft picks play in the tournament during their rookie and second season.

This year, several notable second-year players will participate. Some will look to find their footing, while others will expand on fantastic rookie seasons. Here are 10 second-year players to keep track of.

Joshua Primo #11 of the San Antonio Spurs looks on during the third quarter against the Miami Heat
Joshua Primo - Megan Briggs/Getty Images/AFP

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1. Primo – Spurs

Joshua Primo was one of the 2021 draft’s most interesting stories. San Antonio Spurs reached Primo with the 12th pick. So far, the pick has not worked out well.

Primo averaged 5.8 points and 19.3 minutes as a role player last season. As a prospect, his best attribute was 3-point shooting. At Alabama, the former 4-star recruit shot 38.1% from deep. Primo struggled from “3” in his rookie year, shooting 30.7%.

The Spurs hope to see signs of improvement in the Summer League. Primo is only 19 with good shooting potential as a 6-foot-6 wing. San Antonio will need guard help after trading Dajounte Murray.

2. Christopher – Rockets

The Houston Rockets have one of the NBA’s youngest rosters. Shooting guard Josh Christopher is one of two Houston 2021 first-round picks playing in the Summer League. In his rookie year, Christopher was a role player at 18 minutes per game. Could his role elevate with improved play?

The former Sun Devil appeared in 74 games, averaging 7.9 points while shooting 44.8%. Christopher has the ability to create shots off the dribble and can knock down contested looks. Going forward, the 6-foot-4 guard could become an instant offense off the bench.

Christopher has the opportunity to show growth in the Summer League. Houston will look for consistency out of the second-year SG.

3. Wiggins – City Thunder

On a loaded OKC Summer League roster, Aaron Wiggins could be fighting for a spot. In the 2021 draft, Wiggins was selected with the 55th pick. He earned a role, averaging 8.3 points while shooting 46.3% in 24.2 minutes per game. Wiggins shined in several starts. Against Portland, the 6-foot-6 wing dropped 28 points, shooting 11-19 from the field.

The Oklahoma City Thunder are overflowing with young talent, meaning Wiggins must earn a roster spot. His poor 3-point shooting is a major concern. Not many wings are effective while shooting 30.4% from deep. The Summer League is an opportunity to show growth. Even if Wiggins gets cut, a team will immediately snag the young wing.

4. Thomas – Nets

The Brooklyn Nets are in the midst of an offseason filled with drama. Bruce Brown joined the Nuggets, Kevin Durant requested a trade, and rumors swirl around Kyrie Irving. Several young players will have elevated roles next season. Second-year guard Cam Thomas is a name to watch.

Last season, Thomas played in 67 games averaging over 17 minutes per game. When given substantial playing time, the 6-foot-4 guard flourished. He finished with 10 20-point games. Thomas erupted for 30 points against the Jazz, shooting 11-19 from the field.

Thomas has always been a high-level scorer. He has the chance to dominate in the Summer League.

5. Mann – City Thunder

OKC’s Summer League roster is littered with first-round talent, creating a competitive environment. Tre Mann will attempt to make waves with his scoring repertoire.

In his rookie season, the former Gator averaged 10.4 points in 60 games. Mann was inefficient, shooting 39.3% and 36% on 3-pointers. The 6-foot-3 guard has flashed immense potential with two 30-point games. Against the Celtics, Mann posted 35 points while shooting 7-12 from “3.”

Mann must be consistent in the Summer League for an increased role.

6. Kuminga – Warriors

While the Warriors come off an NBA title, the future is still bright. It’s easy to forget Golden State used two lottery picks in the 2021 draft. Jonathan Kuminga was selected 7th and played in 70 games during his rookie season. His role increased as the season progressed; he played in 16 playoff games with three starts.

The 6-foot-8 forward finished the 2021-22 season with 20 games of 15 or more points. In addition, Kuminga had five games with 20 or more points, 26 points is his career-high. At times, the Congo native showed elite defensive potential. Jonathan Kuminga can earn an increased role with impressive Summer League play.

Golden State Warriors lost Gary Payton II, Juan Toscano-Anderson, Nemanja Bjelica, and Otto Porter Jr. early in free agency. This opens up a lot of minutes. Players like Kuminga, Moses Moody, and James Wiseman will try to seize the opportunity.

    • Jonathan Kuminga Profile
    • Gary Payton II Profile
    • Juan Toscano-Anderson Profile
    • Nemanja Bjelica Profile
    • Otto Porter Jr. Profile
    • Moses Moody Profile
    • James Wiseman Profile

7. Williams – Grizzlies

Memphis has a young roster on the rise. Ziaire Williams has massive potential as a former top 10 pick. In his rookie season, the 6-foot-8 small forward played in 62 games with 31 starts. Williams became an important role player, averaging 8.1 points per game.

Coming out of college, Williams had great scoring potential with exceptional defense. The former 5-star recruit showed his defensive intensity, fitting nicely in Memphis’ chaotic defense. The Memphis Grizzlies consistently used Williams as a spot-up shooter.

His game can expand past a “3-and-D” player. The Summer League will be a good opportunity for Williams to create his own shot.

    • Ziaire Williams Profile

8. Duarte – Pacers

In the 2021 draft, 24-year-old Chris Duarte was among the oldest prospects. Indiana Pacers used the 13th pick on Duarte, hoping he would be a win-now player. The Dominican wing did not disappoint in his rookie season.

Duarte finished averaging 13.1 points & 4.1 rebounds while shooting 43.2% and 36.9% on 3-pointers. In his debut, the 6-foot-6 shooting guard dropped 27 points, going 9-15 from the field.

In Duarte’s first nine games, he averaged 16.9 points. Clearly, he was ready for the big stage.

Rookie of the Year talks stalled due to injuries. Duarte missed the final 12 games with a toe injury. The Summer League will be his first game back.

9. Giddey – City Thunder

Josh Giddey is a headliner on OKC’s intriguing roster. The Oklahoma City Thunder have a tall, lengthy rotation. At 6-foot-8, Giddey is a large guard. However, he excels there with excellent playmaking and handling. In his rookie season, the Australian guard became the youngest player in NBA history to record back-to-back triple-doubles.

As a prospect, Giddey was advertised as a generational passer and all-around player. He put that on display, averaging 12.5 points, 7.8 rebounds, and 6.4 assists. His ability to score has always been a concern. Last season, Giddey shot 26.3% on 3-pointers, 27.6% in catch and shoot situations, and 34.4% on pull-up shots.

In the Summer League, the Thunder hope to see an improved Giddey.

10. Cunningham – Pistons

Without a doubt, Cade Cunningham was one of the NBA’s best 2021-22 rookies. After a rough start, Cunningham was fantastic to end the season. In his final 10 games, the 6-foot-6 point guard averaged 19.9 points and 6.9 assists while shooting 47.3%. For next season, Cunningham must be more efficient. His 3-point shooting was disappointing at 31.4% from beyond the arc.

Detroit Pistons’ decision to play Cunningham in the Summer League is surprising. Following a successful rookie season, players rarely play in the tournament. For instance, Scottie Barnes and Evan Mobley will not play in Vegas. The Pistons are all in on showing off their young core.

Cade Cunningham Profile

Knowing key players for the Summer League leads to an easier betting process. A BetUS Sportsbook, and Summer League lines are offered. Place your bets before it’s too late!

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