Underrated Summer League Breakout Players

By Jack Drapkin

What an exciting Summer League it has been. It seems like each year the event has more and more attention on it and with the explosion of Lonzo Ball, this year was no exception. With all the buzz on the high-profile rookies, I wanted to take a look at some of the players who may be sliding under the radar.

Cheik Diallo has been balling for the New Orleans Pelicans this summer along with their other roster player Quinn Cook. Both players and especially Diallo look much improved and ready for regular rotation minutes. Diallo has added a great deal of skill to a game that almost relied exclusively on his motor two seasons ago at Kansas. Diallo has had tremendous confidence in his mid-range jump shot and has shown a great feel for the pick and roll/pop game.

Eric Moreland is a name some NBA fans may be familiar with. After spending a couple seasons in the D-league with the Kings, Moreland emerged this summer and earned himself a contract with the Detroit Pistons. His shot blocking ability and quick feet should enable him to see minutes behind Andre Drummond on an improving Pistons roster.

All of the talk this summer around the Philadelphia 76ers has been surrounded on the #1 pick Markelle Fultz. For good reason, Fultz was tremendous in the summer league until his ankle injury. This has allowed the Australian Jonah Bolden to fly under the radar. Bolden has been outstanding on the defensive end of the court with his ability to block shots and create turnovers. If he can become a more consistent rebounder, his defensive presence could become very valuable off the bench for the 76ers.

Jabari Bird and Abdel Nader have showcased great shot-making ability throughout the summer league. Especially with the trade of Avery Bradley, there are some minutes available for one of these two players to make a contribution off the bench for the Celtics this season.

What are some of the players you saw over the summer who stood out to you?