Hahaha. Jayhawks played in the NBA's summer session. How did they do?
Eleven Jayhawks finished the 2018-2019 seasons on NBA rosters. A handful more competed in the NBA’s Summer League session, which wrapped up a few weeks ago. It can be difficult to discern meaning from Summer League results, no matter how much your favorite prospect goes off. Did we learn anything about the Jayhawks knocking at the door of the toughest league to crack in professional sports?
Today I’m going to weigh in on five prospects right at the cusp of getting League’d up, with some semi-educated guesses about trajectory.
Svi’s NBA career thus far has been a weird deal. He was traded as a rookie—which usually is bad vibes, all around—but in this case, it wasn’t really about Svi, as the Lakers dealt desperately in order to make the playoffs. (It didn’t happen). After landing in Detroit, Svi fought off injuries and got handed a fair share of DNP-CD’s by Pistons coach Dwayne Casey. It would be hard to make the argument he has made a impression there.
Enter the Summer League.
Since Svi is 6’8’’, something I forget about all the time and maybe that’s not a good thing, the Pistons believe they have an unconventional PG prospect on their hands. While Svi averaged 4.2 APG a game and had a little bit better handle than I remember him having, I’m not sure if I see it. There will be more opportunities. Here’s hoping to some rotation action.
Prediction: First Team All-NBA, makes Fran Fraschilla cry during a Finals broadcast
Getting buckets is skinniest skill to have in the NBA right now. But Newman gets buckets. During the Kings game explosion, Newman filled it up efficiently (64% FG, got to the line, 4-6 from 3), but finished with four boards for the top heavy 33/4/1 with 3 TO’s.
Newman might get a 10-day look sometime down the line. I bet he’ll be in a training camp but it’s hard to say if he makes a roster when the season opens.
Prediction: secures a bag in Europe
Ugh, Mason’s situation. Mason got waived in the middle of Summer League, while sitting out with an injury. Mason’s second season with the Kings was a bit of a disaster. After returning from a plantar fascia injury for the 2019 season, Frank didn’t exactly turn the heat up on Joeger’s rotation, shooting 42% and 21% from three (🤢), which for a small guy is like shooting 3% or something for an average sized player. (Small guys gotta be perfect to compete in the NBA).
We all know Frank can play. But can someone with his profile lock down an NBA roster spot, especially going into his third year of service time without a guaranteed deal?
Luckily, Mason got scooped up by the Bucks, and it seems like a good opportunity for him. Behind the veterans Hill and Bledsoe, there’s space for backup PGs on nights those guys are resting or when the Bucks are pounding people.
Prediction: How do I watch Wisconsin Herd games? CHASE BUFORD IS THE COACH!
A tag like “the worst athlete at [INSERT BASKETBALL EVENT]” tends to stick around the Draft process. So, despite a 2018-2019 season where Lawson was the Jayhawks’ best and most consistent scorer and rebounder, making an NBA roster was bound to be an uphill fight against the noise. I’m not sure who he guards. An invite from the Warriors to play on their Summer League squad was a step in the right direction. He did O.K.
I’m not sure if it’s a R.C. Buford-related thing—many Jayhawks-to-Spurs transactions have that flavor—but an Exhibit 10 contract ensures that Lawson gets an even longer look in Texas. Something I don’t think people know enough about is Dedric’s capacity as a passer—the opportunity to really kick and create from the elbow with the pass evaporated when Udoka got hurt. The king of rec ball shotmaking, Tim Duncan, is now Spurs assistant, so it’s fun to think about what Lawson can do here.
Prediction: This feels like the G League
here’s a link to T-Rob’s huge Summer League dunk on Facebook which I can’t figure out how to embed
Thomas Robinson could probably help an NBA team off of the bench, but his service time works against him. His minimum scale for five years of NBA service is double what a rookie would make, without the flexibility of those cheap rookie deals. Basically, NBA teams would probably rather roll the dice with a young rim-running big and see if anything pans out.
Prediction: Gets that overseas cash