Southwest Division NBA Summer League Stock Up: Surprise Star Tari Eason, Sleeper Kenneth Lofton Jr.
The Southwest division consists of many young players with high-upside. While potential doesn’t solidify you a spot on an NBA roster, these players showed there is more to their games than being a prospect. Look at some Southwest division players who increased their stock following Summer League.
Dallas Mavericks: Moses Wright
Moses Wright shined in his time with the Mavericks Summer League team. Wright saw limited playing time with the Mavs last year, but after Summer League, he may play his way into a role.
The 6-foot-8 forward averaged 15.5 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 1.5 assists. The Georgia Tech alum put his skills on full display, which may be enough to get the attention of Mavericks office personnel. Wright could take advantage of the Mavs roster shake-up and find himself a role with the team.
Other names worth mentioning: Jaden Hardy
Houston Rockets: Tari Eason
The Rockets took Tari Eason midway through the first round of this year’s NBA Draft. Eason was one of the best two-way players in this draft and the Summer League.
The LSU standout averaged 17.2 points, 10.4 rebounds, and 1.6 assists in five games with the Rockets. The forward outplayed the No.3 overall pick and his teammate, Jabari Smith Jr., amidst his Summer League run.
Eason could become a pivotal piece to the Rockets’ rebuild alongside players like Jalen Green and Smith Jr.
Other names worth mentioning: Jabari Smith Jr., Daishen Nix
Memphis Grizzlies: Kenneth Lofton Jr.
Kenneth Lofton Jr. was a fun story to watch play out in Summer League. The 6-foot-7 forward went undrafted before signing with the Grizzlies on a two-way contract.
The left-hander showed off his explosive offensive package night-in and night-out for Memphis. In five games in Vegas, the former Louisiana Tech Bulldog averaged 15.2 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 2.0 assists. Although many executives are concerned about his weight, the 19-year-old showed no signs of it slowing him down. Lofton Jr. was the talk of the Summer League as he impressed many stars across the league like Memphis’ own, Ja Morant.
Lofton Jr. could be a huge success story, especially if he sheds some weight before the season.
Other names worth mentioning: Ziaire Williams, Kennedy Chandler, David Roddy, Xavier Tillman Sr.
New Orleans Pelicans: Trey Murphy III
Trey Murphy III played only two games in Vegas for the Pelicans, but in those games, Murphy was electric. The 22-year-old averaged 26.5 points, 7.0 rebounds, and 1.0 assists.
The 6-foot-8 guard could find rotation minutes off the Pelicans’ bench if he plays like this heading into next season. With all the tools at his disposal, Murphy could be a name to keep an eye on next year.
Other names worth mentioning: Elijah Stewart, Dereon Seabron, John Butler
San Antonio Spurs: Blake Wesley
The Spurs’ 25th overall pick in the first round of the 2022 NBA Draft showed promise in his Summer League minutes. Wesley averaged 15.4 points, 3.4 rebounds, and 4.0 assists through five games in Las Vegas.
Wesley is one of the starting pieces to the Spurs’ rebuild. Alongside other young talents, the former Notre Dame Fighting Irish will have plenty of time to develop in San Antonio next season. The guard could be a core piece in the Spurs’ rebuild.
Other names to watch: Malaki Branham, Joshua Primo
The players on this list turned heads in Summer League and have the potential to become great players in the NBA, so the Southwest division looks to be in good hands moving forward.