Not every talented prospect can get selected in the NBA draft, so many have to stand out during the NBA Summer League tournament to turn their professional dream into reality.
This year, there were a number of undrafted players who performed well and may make an NBA roster due to their strong play. This list only features players who went undrafted this year.
Trevon Bluiett, New Orleans Pelicans
CBS Sports ranked him No. 71 overall on their big board before the 2018 NBA Draft, which was ahead of a few prospects who were selected this year. He didn’t come out of nowhere, as he averaged 19.8 points per game for Xavier last year, but he did a ton to help his stock in Las Vegas.
The 6-foot-5 guard earned a two-way contract with New Orleans after an unbelievable showing in the NBA’s Summer League. Bluiett averaged 18.3 points and 3.8 three-pointers per game while shooting 53.6 percent from beyond the arc. His player efficiency rating (27.3) ranked Top 10 among all qualified rookies.
Yuta Watanabe, Brooklyn Nets
There was a lot to like about former George Washington forward Yuta Watanabe, who was able to parlay his Summer League experience with the Brooklyn Nets into a two-way deal with the Memphis Grizzlies. He put up 14.3 points and 6.4 rebounds per 36 minutes.
And on the defensive end, he averaged 2.4 blocks and 1.2 steals per 36 minutes. It’s worth mentioning that he was blocking shots more often with Brooklyn than he did while playing for George Washington and he might be a bit undersized for that to be sustainable. Still, he played well enough to land a two-way contract.
Allonzo Trier, New York Knicks
The former Arizona star was one of the least surprising success stories from the summer. After averaging 18.1 points with 2.1 three-pointers per game in college last season, his scoring translated for New York in Summer League. Trier averaged 17.0 points per game and he was involved in 28 percent of New York’s scoring possessions, which ranked No. 12 overall among all qualified rookies in Summer League.
He was inefficient from three-point range (nailing only two of his 11 attempts), but he made up for it by scoring in other ways and grabbed 5.5 rebounds per game for the Knicks. Trier is 22 years old, so he’s one of the more experiences players in this class and that showed in Summer League.
Rawle Alkins, Toronto Raptors
Most considered Trier’s teammate Rawle Alkins, who has since signed a two-way contract with the Chicago Bulls, the biggest snub in the 2018 NBA Draft. During Summer League, Alkins averaged 9.0 points, 4.7 rebounds and 1.3 steals per game, which may not jump off the page. However, his steal percentage ranked far above average, showing the defensive intensity he could bring to a team. Adjusted for per-36, his averages were a respectable 15.2 points and 7.9 rebounds.
Another factor to take away from Alkins, despite a small sample size, is that he showed potentially improved court vision and passing. After posting an assist percentage of 14.0 percent in college, it improved to 16.4 percent in Summer League. Also, his turnover rate was 16.6 percent at Arizona but just 12.4 percent in Las Vegas.
Chris Chiozza, Washington Wizards
He was able to show off his prowess as a playmaker, averaging 7.4 assists per game and 9.7 assists per 36 minutes. His assist percentage (40.1 percent) was the second-best among all qualified rookies. According to RealGM, he was directly involved in 32.2 percent of buckets his team scored either as a scorer or passer. That ranked Top 5 among all qualified rookies in Summer League.
Marcus Derrickson, Golden State Warriors
There’s a reason why The Athletic’s Sam Vecenie ranked Derrickson at No. 67 overall on his final big board before the draft. The 6-foot-7 forward was able to average 26.3 points and 9.3 rebounds per 36 minutes while shooting an impressive 40.5 percent from three-point range. He’s lengthy, with a 7-foot-1 wingspan, and he’s able to play well while tasked with a high usage rate.
Angel Delgado, Los Angeles Clippers
Delgado put up 9.1 points and 13.7 rebounds per 36 minutes for the Los Angeles Clippers, showing exactly why he was signed to a two-way deal after the draft. Delgado ranked No. 11 among all qualified rookies in total rebound percentage (18.5). His steal percentage (4.0) ranked Top 15 among all qualified rookies as well. With that said, his high turnover rate is a bit concerning and he must improve this aspect of his game moving forward.
Deng Adel, Houston Rockets
The 6-foot-7 forward scored 14.0 points per 36 minutes while shooting an absurd 71.1 percent from three-point range. He averaged 1.3 three-pointers per game and the Rockets outscored opponents by an amazing 37.9 points per 100 possessions when he was on the court.
Theo Pinson, Brooklyn Nets
The 22-year-old averaged 16.2 points, 5.8 rebounds and 3.2 assists per 36 minutes. He shot 42.3 percent on three-pointers, too, which is surprising because he shot just 24.4 percent from NBA range in college. It wasn’t on too small a sample size, either, considering he had 5.2 attempts per game.