The NBA 2K23 Summer League is in full swing and Paolo Banchero excelled with the Orlando Magic in two games, so they want to shut him down to prevent injuring the #1 draft pick. Fan favorite Tacko Fall looked good last night with a double-double for the Utah Jazz while Quentin Grimes scored 24 points for the New York Knicks in three-straight games, and Cam Thomas from the Brooklyn Nets is dominating NBA Summer League once again.
The Summer League is hosted in Las Vegas where teams get a chance to catch a first glimpse of their rookies to see if their draft-day gambles panned out. Fans also have an opportunity to watch incoming rookies perform on a big stage for the first time. Chet Holmgren – the #2 draft pick – has impressed everyone so far in limited action with the up-and-coming Oklahoma City Thunder.
Banchero has played just two games, but the Magic like what they saw, especially when he outplayed #3 pick Jabari Smith from the Houston Rockets. Banchero averaged 13.5 points, 6.0 assists, and 5.0 rebounds per game in Vegas while sniping at 50% from downtown. The Magic don’t want to expose Banchero to unnecessary injuries, much like what happened to Zion Williamson – the #1 pick from the 2019 NBA Draft – a couple of years ago during his stint in Summer League when he tweaked his knee.
Jazz’s Tacko tornado, NBA’s Matty Ice
Tacko Fall – all 7-foot-6 of him – came off the bench to lift the Utah Jazz to a one-point victory over the Dallas Mavericks. Fall scored 15 points and hauled down 12 points with three blocked shots. Hopefully, he’ll latch on with a team where he gets playing time next season because the fans go crazy whenever the Tacko Tornado steps onto the court.
Matt Ryan shares a name with the NFL quarterback otherwise known as Matty Ice. The NBA’s Ryan dazzled for the Boston Celtics in the NBA Summer League, coming off the bench to score 24 points while connecting on six treys against the Milwaukee Bucks. He also knocked down a game-winning 3-pointer to lift the Celtics to a victory.
Ryan attended Iona Prep outside New York City and bounced around different college programs, including Notre Dame, Vanderbilt, and Chattanooga. He went undrafted but never gave up on his dream of playing pro ball, even if that meant spending time in the gig economy world.
“It’s been a crazy 11 months,” said Ryan. “I was home for a year-and-a-half driving Door Dash a year ago. To be here, to be part of the Boston Celtics roster, it’s special.”
That’s right — Ryan had to make ends meet delivering takeout via DoorDash in Westchester County. Hopefully, he played well enough in Las Vegas to earn a permanent roster spot with the Celtics.
Gotham duo: Thomas and Grimes
Cam Thomas from the Brooklyn Nets is a former Summer League co-MVP who continues to crush it in Las Vegas. He looked impressive in his two games, including a sizzling 31 points against the Milwaukee Bucks. So far this summer, Thomas averaged 28.5 points in 30 minutes per game while shooting 40% from the field. He’s once again a favorite to win the MVP in Las Vegas.
You’re not having deja vu. Quentin Grimes scored 24 points in all three games with the New York Knicks. He has 72 points already while shooting 46.2% from the field and 33% from 3-point range. As a rookie with the Knicks, Grimes averaged only 6.0 ppg in 17 minutes per game while he struggled to crack Tom Thibodeau’s rotation.
The Knicks wanted to find more playing time for Grimes in Las Vegas, where he’s become their top playmaker and the fourth-highest scorer in Summer League. With numerous general managers, front office execs, scouts, and head coaches in attendance in Vegas, the Knicks are also showcasing Grimes as potential trade bait. The Knicks want Donovan Mitchell in a trade, and Grimes would fit well in a trade package to the Utah Jazz.