SALT LAKE CITY – Here’s a quick look at the best performances from the final day of the 2022 California Classic Summer League and the first day of the Salt Lake City Summer League.
Chet Holmgren, Oklahoma City Thunder
To say Holmgren, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2022 draft, didn’t disappoint in his Summer League debut would be a gross understatement. Holmgren delivered the oohs and aahs to the crowd Tuesday from Salt Lake City, propelling the Oklahoma City Thunder to a 98-77 win over the Utah Jazz with 23 points.
Here’s a small sample of Holmgren’s game, right in the first quarter: three blocks (including one on the 7-foot-6, 250-pound jazz center Tacko Fall), three 3-point shots (including a step back on Fall) , a nifty penny to set up a lay-up and -1 from Jalen Williams and a steal.
That kind of performance continued throughout the night as he did his damage deep (4 for 6 from 3-pointers), locked in the paint and, most notably, wasn’t there by Fall or the another great Utah center was rookie Kofi Cockburn (7-foot, 290 pounds) as he grabbed seven rebounds and racked up four assists to add to his total tally. Above all, Holmgren looked confident and meshed well with OKC’s other young talents including Josh Giddey, Alekesej Pokusevski, Jaylin Williams and Jalen Williams.
“I thought he was really good offensively. What impressed me the most about him was how well he played in our style,” said Thunder’s Summer League team coach Kameron Woods. “He obviously had a great game, but what impressed me the most was that he did it within our attack. It felt like team basketball and he found success in what we do.
Keegan Murray, Sacramento Kings
Consistency has become Murray’s calling card — at least based on his last two games at the California Classic. Murray finished with 24 points on 9-for-16 shooting while scoring seven rebounds and three steals in Sacramento’s 87-75 win over the Los Angeles Lakers.
The No. 4 overall pick was tight in the fourth quarter, nailing a jumper with 4:18 left to help Sacramento go up 71-70 and regain their lead. He also had a big block with 3:05 to go before getting a big steal and dunk with 42.1 seconds remaining to help seal the win. His performance on Tuesday comes after his 26-point night in Sacramento’s Sunday win over Golden State in which he showed consistent fielding touch.
Nikola Jovic, Miami Heat
In Miami’s 90-74 fight against Golden State, the Heat’s first pick in the 2022 draft showed why he’s ranked No. 27 overall. Praised before the draft as a player capable of shooting from all three levels, Jovic showed that by shooting 9 for 16 en route to finishing with 25 points in just over 28 minutes. He also had nine rebounds and was big in the fourth quarter, going 4-for-5 overall and perfect (3-for-3) from 3-point range.
Overall, Thursday’s final for Miami at the California Classic was a good sign for Jovic as the team prepares to play NBA 2K23 Summer League in Las Vegas (July 7-17). After struggling to start offensively in Miami’s first two Summer League clashes (a combined FG of 4 for 14 and 1 for 7 from 3 points), Jovic certainly redeemed himself with his performance on Tuesday.
Ziaire Williams, Xavier Tillman, Memphis Grizzlies
Williams and Tillman, two of six players on Memphis’ roster with previous NBA experience, looked solid in the opener at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City. In all, Williams had 15 points, but the most notable was his assist and defense in the Grizzlies’ 103-99 win over the Philadelphia 76ers. Williams finished with eight assists and two steals and had a timely penny to Tillman with 1:36 remaining.
Tillman showed the kind of solid play that made him a key player in the rotation for Memphis throughout its 2022 playoff series. He had 16 points, three rebounds and four assists, displaying aggression in going to the basket or looking for cutters when he received the ball in the low post. While falling victim to a vicious, highlight-worthy block late in the game by Jalen Springer of the Sixers, Tillman stood out for his consistency and aggression.