David Thorpe of ESPN ranks the rookies and their summer league performances in the NBA Insider article below. Celtics rook Luke Harangody ranked 4th among all and obviously impressed more than just the Celtics camp. Look who is #2 though. The player I still think the Celtics should of drafted instead of Avery Bradley, Damion James. I know it’s only the summer league, but I got a feeling about this guy. He may not become an NBA superstar, but he’s a player who could of came in and helped out right away. It also would of been nice to see him running the floor with Rajon Rondo for years to come. I guess we will just have to wait and see what Bradley can do before we really start comparing the the picks. I hope I’m wrong.
1. John Wall, Wizards Summer-league stats: 23.5 ppg, 7.8 apg, 4 rpg
Wall struggled as a shooter and was caught looking to score more often than I expected, but he was still nothing short of spectacular most of the week. He’s just faster than everyone on the floor and is excited to share the ball (most of the time).
He’s also totally OK with the idea of being a star and loves putting on a show. Don’t read that the wrong way — he’s all about winning, he’s a selfless player and he’s a huge favorite to win rookie of the year.
2. Damion James, Nets Summer-league stats: 18.8 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 1 apg
James started off just OK in Orlando and then took off from there. His great energy combined with a solid outside stroke and lots of confidence makes him a scoring machine who just keeps coming at his opponent. It’s fair to expect rotation minutes for him at the start of the season.
3. DeMarcus Cousins, Kings
Summer-league stats: 14.5 ppg, 9.8 rpg, 1.2 bpg
In a league that values franchise centers so much, it’s still hard to accept how Cousins fell to the fifth pick. We all know about his faults, but his hands, reach and feel will make him a dominant rebounder immediately, and his touch as a finisher is impressive. On top of that, his passing — both out of the low block and in starting the fast break — is what has me most excited about him.
4. Luke Harangody, Celtics Summer-league stats: 16.6 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 1.6 apg
He doesn’t pass the eye test as far as NBA players are concerned, but he passes everything else. He shot the ball well, rebounded like a beast and played just about as well as any rookie could hope to. I’m not sure he’ll play in the NBA at all this season, but he certainly showed that he has a future.
5. Derrick Caracter, Lakers Summer-league stats: 15.4 ppg, 8.6 rpg, 1.4 bpg
Here was my checklist when watching DC this week: Did he rebound ferociously? Did he compete hard on defense? Could he finish shots around the rim? Did his body look ready? Check, check, check and check. The Lakers have to be thrilled they found an NBA player so late in the draft. Now they have to keep him moving in the right direction.
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