Basketball is back.
NBA Summer League action began on Monday night in Sacramento and Utah as eight teams took the court. There were a number of standout NBA G League alumni who suited up and had great nights on the first night of Summer League action. Here is a quick recap of the five best performances from the action on Monday, July 2.
Derrick Jones Jr., Heat
Jones Jr. played 29 games in the G League last season, starting with the Northern Arizona Suns and finishing with the Sioux Falls Skyforce. His last G League game in 2017-18 came on March 20, when he scored 21 points on 9-16 shooting while also grabbing 21 rebounds.
Jones Jr. was able to build off that strong last game in the G League by establishing himself as a force to be reckoned with in the Sacramento Summer League. He scored a game-high 24 points and did so in an efficient manner, shooting 7-14 from the field.
He also went 4-5 on three-pointers, showcasing some of the extra work he’s put in between now and the end of last season. Jones Jr. shot 33.8% from beyond the arc during the 2017-18 G League season.
Kobi Simmons, Grizzlies
All the headlines following the Grizzlies’ 103-88 win over the Atlanta Hawks on Monday night went to Jaren Jackson Jr., the fourth overall pick for Memphis, and rightfully so — he burst out of the gates with 29 points. But Memphis Hustle alum Kobi Simmons was also impressive, putting up 21 points on 8-13 shooting.
Simmons has a trusty jump shot and also showcased a nice burst when attacking the basket on Monday night. Something else NBA scouts will be keeping an eye on is Simmons’ assist to turnover ratio — against the Hawks, Simmons dished three assists compared to two turnovers. That’s in step with his assist to turnover ratio this past season in the G League — 1.55.
Derrick White, Spurs
White played 24 games in the G League this season for the Austin Spurs, steadily improving throughout the season. In six December games, he averaged 12.8 points on 40.9% shooting. In March, he played in nine games and improved his scoring totals to 26.8 points per game while improving his efficiency with a 47.8% field goal percentage. In April, he helped lead Austin to an NBA G League title.
It comes as no surprise, then, that White has gotten off to a good start at the NBA Summer League. He scored a game-high 22 points on Monday night to help the Spurs beat the Jazz 92-76. He did some of his best work in transition, where his ability to create for others and attack the basket really shines.
Tony Bradley, Jazz
On the other side of White’s scoring outburst was Tony Bradley and the Utah Jazz. Bradley did all he could to slow down White and the Spurs’ offense, blocking a game-high four shots.
Squint a little bit, and you see some elements of Jazz big leaguer Rudy Gobert’s game in Bradley. Gobert also spent time in the G League developing, like Bradley did this past season with the Salt Lake City Stars. Bradley averaged 15.4 points, 10.2 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game in the 2017-18 G League season.
Bradley was a first-round pick in the 2017 NBA Draft. With a double-double (11 points, 11 rebounds) in his first NBA Summer League game in 2018, Bradley is quickly showing that the pick and the redshirt year the Jazz invested in Bradley could pay off with a productive sophomore season.
Ike Nwamu, Heat
Nwamu earns the last spot of the night thanks to a massive, powerful dunk in transition against the Warriors.
Anyone who follows the NBA G League knows this is nothing new from Nwamu — he put on a show during the 2018 G League dunk contest with a nasty windmill dunk.