Take it easy on Chet Holmgren’s Summer League performance

Everyone needs to calm down.

Everyone needs to calm down.
Image: Getty Images

Here’s a story about how boatloads of fans and members of the media annually exaggerate off-season performances as if they were indicators of what basketball players will and won’t be for the duration of their career. We’ve reached that moment now as the No. 2 overall pick in last month’s draft had a good game against a guy who averaged 2 points in 37 career NBA games.

Chet Holmgren, one of the most intriguing prospects basketball has ever seen, played well in his NBA Summer League debut Tuesday night in Salt Lake City with 23 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists and six blocks. . According ESPN and their researchHolmgren became the first player in Summer League history to record at least five blocks and hit four 3-pointers.

A really good basketball player had a good performance in an exhibition game against other players that he was drafted higher than, and people are acting like he did against Dennis Rodman or Draymond Green instead of [checks notes] possibly the worst perimeter defender in basketball history – Tacko Fall.

For those who didn’t know who Holmgren was until his one season at Gonzaga, or until they started paying attention to draft analysts, I’m here to let you know that he’s been really good at basketball ever since. a moment now, and it will continue to be. The kid is a bucket, and he has been a bucket, which is why it was so surprising to see people act like he was getting buckets was out of the norm. The same thing happened – on a less intense level – to the Miami Heat rookie Nikola Jović, a 19-year-old Serbian prospect, after losing 25 points and 9 rebounds, yet teams and knowledgeable fans have been drooling over him for years.

There are all sorts of variables that come into play during the Summer League, from coaches and teammates to injuries and minute restrictions – it’s a gamble. There’s a reason most games are played in Las Vegas. Some guys do well and some don’t. But a player’s output is never a guaranteed indication of what he will or won’t be despite all the chatter going on right now about how well someone plays while wearing a glorified training shirt. .

Sean Beckwithmy colleague from Deadspin, would like me to remind people that he is a die-hard Portland Trail Blazers fan and that in 2008, Jerryd Bayless averaged 29.8 points in four games for the Blazers en route to being named Summer Lefever MVP. It was the peak of Bayless’ NBA career. Guys like Randy Foye, Josh Selby and Glen Rice Jr. were also Summer League MVP, but also household names like John Wall, Damian Lillard and Blake Griffin. Sometimes that trophy means you’re destined for a max contract and shoe deals, sometimes it means you might not be heard from again, and sometimes that means you’re going to be a really good actor for a decade. Nobody knows, but what we do know is that every summer people act like a good game in Las Vegas means you’re gonna be on the cover of NBA2K one day. Unfortunately, because of this, too many people overlook the importance of these Games and the career-changing opportunities it provides each year.

“I think so, I would be the guy that people can look at and say, ‘He was in his third year in the NBA, he probably shouldn’t have played S’.summer Lleague, but he went and did it. And that was the best thing for him. And now look where he is. That’s what Miami Heat guard Max Strus said ESPN in recent history on the importance of the Summer League and how it helped him become a starter for a team that made it to the Eastern Conference ffinals after the 26-year-old was not drafted in 2019.

Take Memphis Grizzlies goaltender Demond Bane, for example, who is one of the centerpieces of one of the most exciting young teams in the league. After being ranked 30th overall in the 2020 Draft outside of TCU, Bane was not considered one of the best young players for years to come, especially after Sports Illustrated named him to their honorable mention list after the 2021 Summer League. Fast forward a few years later and Bane will be offered a huge contract, in the same way that Strus cemented his place in that league. The future is impossible to predict. So everyone must put down their crystal ball and enjoy summer basketball. Plus, watching the unpredictable unfold is what makes basketball so amazing. It’s like Kevin Garnett told us, “everything is possible!”

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