Northwest Division NBA Summer League Stock Up: Holmgren Shines, Jabari Walker Surprises
Highlighted by the No.2 overall pick in this year’s draft, look at some names in the Northwest Division who stood out following Summer League. Some players on this list may find themselves as early-season contributors.
Denver Nuggets: Jack White
Jack White was among many Nugget players fighting for a roster spot in Denver. The Australian managed to show enough in Summer League to earn a two-way contract.
The former Duke player averaged 7.8 points, 7.0 rebounds, and 1.0 assists in five games with the ball club. The numbers may not pop out, but White’s play on the floor certainly did. Nuggets’ coaches praised White for his knowledge of the game and ability to rebound.
Playing his role perfectly may be why he earns minutes for the Nuggets at some point during the year.
Other names worth mentioning: Christian Braun, Peyton Watson, Collin Gillespie
Minnesota Timberwolves: AJ Lawson
AJ Lawson spent his Summer League with the Dallas Mavericks. Before the Mavericks had a chance to sign Lawson to their roster, the Timberwolves signed him to a two-way contract.
Through five games, the former Gamecock averaged 15.6 points, 6.0 rebounds, and 1.4 assists in Vegas. The SEC product showed off his game on both ends of the floor. Lawson found ways to score on the offensive end. He played with the same intensity as in college on the defensive end.
The hybrid guard has proven he has what it takes to compete at the next level, and the Timberwolves will give him that opportunity.
Other names worth mentioning: Josh Minott
Oklahoma City Thunder: Chet Holmgren
The unicorn himself finds his way on this list. Chet Holmgren certainly looked the part in his play during Summer League. The 7-footer showed versatility on both ends of the floor. From blocking shots to mid-range fadeaways, Holmgren did it all.
The ex-Gonzaga Bulldog averaged 14.0 points, 8.4 rebounds, and 2.8 assists through five games in Summer League. The No.2 overall pick also added 2.0 steals and 2.8 blocks per game.
Holmgren still has skeptics across the league due to his body. However, his play shows no signs of it having any impact.
Other names worth mentioning: Josh Giddey, Jalen Williams
Portland Trail Blazers: Jabari Walker
Jabari Walker has been the story of Summer League. The 57th overall pick nearly went undrafted. Walker carried that chip on his shoulder into Summer League.
In five games with the Blazers, the former Colorado Boulder averaged 12.4 points, 9.0 rebounds, and 1.4 assists. Along with leading the Blazers to a Summer League Championship, Walker’s play led him into a three-year deal with the Blazers.
Walker could earn minutes out of the gate for Portland, and rightfully so.
Other names worth mentioning: Trendon Watford
Utah Jazz: Johnny Juzang
Johnny Juzang got a slow start in Summer League following a car accident that sidelined the UCLA standout for a few games. The 6-foot-7 guard managed to come back in time for the Las Vegas Summer League, where he flashed his potential.
The 21-year-old averaged 8.6 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 0.8 assists in five games. Managing to draw interest from Danny Ainge and the rest of the Jazz front office, he signed a two-year deal with the team.
Juzang could be the next developmental player to find success, but he’ll have to earn it.
Other names worth mentioning: Tacko Fall, Kofi Cockburn
A talented division filled with young players could mean the Northwest may be atop the league one day. Keep an eye on the above names moving forward because you never know where the next success story may come from.