Each year, NBA Summer League play is headlined by highly-touted rookies making their professional debuts, undrafted players working for an opportunity and journeymen on the brink of their first stable NBA opportunity. While the aforementioned circumstances take up most of the attention, those groups will not make up the entirety of a team's roster.
Often overlooked is the number of second-year players that head to the Summer League. As each has the advantage of having a year of experience under their belts, their surprising summer appearances allow them to better prepare for the upcoming season.
Last year, Brandon Ingram, Jaylen Brown, Buddy Hield and Taurean Prince were the seasoned players that impressed in Las Vegas, and their participation paid dividends during their sophomore seasons. Here are some 2017 NBA Draft selections to keep an eye on this summer…
Jordan Bell, Warriors
2017-18: 57 games (13 starts) - 4.6 PTS, 3.6 REB, 62.7 FG%
Bell has the distinction of being the lone rookie on the 2018 champion Golden State Warriors. He wasn't just along for the ride, either; the 23-year-old averaged over 10 minutes per game in the postseason and just under six points per game in The Finals. With the departure of JaVale McGee, Bell will have an increased role in his second season - he has an opportunity to continue to develop and allow his game to grow this summer.
OG Anunoby, Raptors
2017-18: 74 games (62 starts) - 5.9 PTS, 2.5 REB, 37.1 3P%
Only six rookies from the 2017 draft started in more games than Anunoby, who was selected 23rd last year by the Toronto Raptors. At 20, the 6-8 forward started in all 10 of Toronto's postseason games. With a new coach at the helm, Anunoby will likely have an increased role next season. This summer presents an opportunity for him to continue to develop his game while being counted on as the first option.
Bam Adebayo, Heat
2017-18: 69 games (19 starts) - 6.9 PTS, 5.5 REB, 51.2 FG%
Adebayo, the 14th pick in 2017, showed tremendous upside in his rookie season with the Miami Heat. The big man recorded seven double-doubles, including a monster 16-point, 15-rebound performance in an early January win over Toronto. With some uncertainty surrounding Hassan Whiteside's future in Miami, Adebayo's growth this summer is crucial as the Heat will likely depend on him more this coming season.
Zach Collins, Trail Blazers
2017-18: 66 games (one start) - 4.4 PTS, 3.3 REB
Collins was selected 10th in the 2017 draft and showed flashes of promise during his rookie year. The 7-footer saw an increased role in the postseason, where he appeared in all four of the Portland Trail Blazers' games and averaged 7.0 points and 3.0 rebounds in 17.5 minutes per contest. This summer, the Las Vegas native has a chance to regain confidence in his shooting, after a rookie season that saw him shoot at a 39.8 percent clip from the field and a 31.0 percent clip from deep.
Dennis Smith Jr., Mavericks
2017-18: Started all 69 games - 15.2 PTS, 5.2 AST, 3.8 REB
After a stellar rookie campaign, the 20-year-old has an opportunity to take the next step in his development. While Smith averaged 15.2 points per game, the 6-foot-3 guard shot 31.3 percent from deep. To take it a step further, Smith shot under 30 percent for the season from distances outside of five feet. With the right game repetitions, Smith can gain a rhythm with his jump shot, making him a terror alongside No. 3 overall pick Luka Doncic.
Josh Jackson, Suns
2017-18: 77 games (35 starts) - 13.1 PTS, 4.6 REB, 1.0 STL
While many rookies hit the wall after strong early performances, Jackson got better as the season progressed. The 6-foot-8 forward scored in double figures in 49 games and recorded five double-doubles. This summer, Jackson has the opportunity to expand his game by improving his jumper (Jackson shot 31.9 percent outside of five feet) and develop on-court chemistry with Phoenix Suns draft picks Deandre Ayton (No. 1), Mikal Bridges (No. 10) and Elie Okobo (No. 31). Bridges and Jackson have the potential to be a very scary duo defensively.
John Collins, Hawks
2017-18: 74 games (26 starts) - 10.5 PTS, 7.3 REB, 1.1 BLK
The Atlanta Hawks struck gold when they selected Collins 19th in last year's draft. The 20-year-old recorded 11 double-doubles and was extremely efficient; Collins shot 57.6 percent from the field and averaged 10.5 points in just over 24 minutes per game. This summer, the 6-foot-10 big will look to continue to extend his range and get accustomed to playing with the No. 5 pick in this year's draft, Trae Young. In the 2018 Utah Summer League, Collins averaged 14.0 points and 6.5 rebounds per game on 52.3 percent shooting.
Jarrett Allen, Nets
2017-18: 72 games (31 starts) - 8.2 PTS, 5.4 REB, 58.9 FG%
The young core of the Brooklyn Nets is often underrated. Head coach Kenny Atkinson has been credited with the rapid development of a number of young players, including the 20-year-old Allen. After scoring in double figures 28 times as a rookie, the centre will look to continue to polish his offensive game this summer while playing with third-year man Caris LeVert.
Frank Ntilikina, Knicks
2017-18: 78 games (nine starts) - 5.9 PPG, 3.2 AST, 2.3 REB
The New York Knicks selected Ntilikina eighth in last year's draft and are extremely excited about the guard's upside. According to Marc Berman of the New York Post, Knicks newly appointed head coach David Fizdale is imploring a bigger, stronger Ntilikina to be more aggressive. In Las Vegas, Ntilikina will assert himself and get his first opportunity to play with Knicks draft selections Kevin Knox and Mitchell Robinson.
Jonathan Isaac, Magic
2017-18: 27 games (10 starts) - 5.4 PTS, 3.7 REB, 1.1 BLK
Isaac, the sixth pick in the 2017 draft, possesses an elite skillset to match his long, 6-foot-10 frame. Injuries marred the 20-year-old's rookie season, as he appeared in just 27 games. Look for Isaac to put his elite skills on display this summer as he gets accustomed to playing with this year's No. 6 pick Mohamed Bamba and bouncy second-round pick Melvin Frazier.
Josh Hart, Lakers - Hart will have an important role next season as a shooter alongside LeBron James, Rajon Rondo and Lonzo Ball.
Malik Monk, Hornets - As the Hornets hired a new head coach in James Borrego, Monk will get a fresh start and new opportunities to maximize his potential in a new role.
Terrance Ferguson, Thunder - If OKC's 2017 first rounder can turn a corner in his development, the team will benefit greatly in the long run.
T.J. Leaf - Leaf was taken No. 16 overall last year; he has potential to be an impactful stretch big, he just needs an opportunity.
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