The NBA Summer League is a structured off-season tournament organized for the franchises to field different rosters and compete.
The players, sometimes undrafted rookies or unsigned free agents, on these rosters are looking to make a name for themselves and prove that they belong on an NBA roster.
Of the 16 MVPs handed out at Summer League since 2006, seven recipients were players drafted outside the lottery that same year or the previous one. The trend has grown stronger in recent years with six of the last eight MVPs being picked outside the Lottery in the Draft with Lonzo Ball (2017) and Davion Mitchell (co-MVP in 2021) as the exceptions.
MORE: Who holds the NBA Summer League single-game scoring record?
Blake Griffin and John Wall, back in 2009 and 2010 respectively, are the only No. 1 picks to ever be crowned MVPs in the Summer League.
Here's a look at all the Summer League MVP winners since 2006:
|Year||Player||NBA Team||Draft pick||Nationality|
|2021||Davion Mitchell||Sacramento Kings||2021 Rd. 1 Pick 9||USA|
|2021||Cameron Thomas||Brooklyn Nets||2021 Rd. 1 Pick 27||USA|
|2019||Brandon Clarke||Memphis Grizzlies||2019 Rd. 1 Pick 21||Canada|
|2018||Josh Hart||Los Angeles Lakers||2017 Rd. 1 Pick 30||USA|
|2017||Lonzo Ball||Los Angeles Lakers||2017 Rd. 1 Pick 2||USA|
|2016||Tyus Jones||Minnesota Timberwolves||2015 Rnd 1 Pick 24||USA|
|2015||Kyle Anderson||San Antonio Spurs||2014 Rnd 1 Pick 30||USA|
|2014||Glen Rice Jr.||Washington Wizards||2013 Rnd 2 Pick 5||USA|
|2013||Jonas Valanciunas||Toronto Raptors||2011 Rnd 1 Pick 5||Lithuania|
|2012||Damian Lillard||Portland Trail Blazers||2012 Rnd 1 Pick 6||USA|
|2012||Josh Selby||Memphis Grizzlies||2011 Rnd 2 Pick 19||USA|
|2010||John Wall||Washington Wizards||2010 Rnd 1 Pick 1||USA|
|2009||Blake Griffin||LA Clippers||2009 Rnd 1 Pick 1||USA|
|2008||Jerryd Bayless||Portland Trail Blazers||2008 Rnd 1 Pick 11||USA|
|2007||Nate Robinson||New York Knicks||2005 Rnd 1 Pick 21||USA|
|2006||Randy Foye||Minnesota Timberwolves||2006 Rnd 1 Pick 7||USA|
In 2012, co-MVPs were handed out to Damian Lillard and Josh Selby, for the first time in NBA Summer League history.
It happened for the second time in Summer League history in 2021, when Davion Mitchell and Cameron Thomas were named co-MVPs.
As many as five teams - Memphis Grizzlies, Los Angeles Lakers, Minnesota Timberwolves, Washington Wizards, Portland Trail Blazers - have had the Summer League MVP on their roster twice.
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