Top five performances from former Big Ten players in 2022 NBA Summer League
The beauty of the NBA Summer League comes from the intensity and passion all the players bring fighting for a position on an NBA roster.
Summer league rosters consist of stars at the collegiate level and others who have played in several NBA contests.
This year’s showcase in Las Vegas included several Big Ten players, featuring players from this year’s draft and years prior.
With the brightest stars from the Big Ten battling it out on the hardwood, here’s a look at the players who performed the best.
No. 1 Keegan Murray, F, SAC
Keegan Murray enjoyed a breakout season at Iowa, averaging 23.5 points per game, and he was selected fourth by the Sacramento Kings.
Murray became the first Hawkeye to get drafted in the first round since Ricky Davis, and he’s the highest pick in school history.
His talent was on full display at the 2022 Big Ten Tournament, where he led his team to a conference championship and entered Summer League, with many excited to see him take the court.
He continued his elite play during the summer league en route to capturing the 2022 NBA Summer League MVP.
Murray was the most consistent of the lottery picks, averaging 23.3 points, 7.3 rebounds, two assists and 1.3 steals per game. He did this at a highly efficient rate shooting 50 percent from the field and 40 percent from the three.
If Murray can continue to ball in the basket at this level, the Kings have a future cornerstone of their roster.
No. 2 Dalano Banton, G, TOR
After being selected in the second round a season ago, Dalano Banton entered the summer after appearing in 64 contests for the Toronto Raptors.
This past campaign, Banton averaged 3.2 points, 1.9 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game playing around 11 minutes.
The former Nebraska Cornhusker came into his second summer league looking to earn more minutes and develop his game.
The 6-foot-7 point guard appeared in four games this summer, averaging 16.3 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game.
Banton displayed a lot of improvements in transition and beyond the arc with a 46.2 three-point percentage.
However, he struggled to facilitate the offense tallying 19 turnovers compared to 17 assists, and if he wants to get minutes as a point guard, he will have to work on his decision-making.
No. 3 Jaden Ivey, G, DET
The 2022 NBA Draft saw two Big Ten players selected in succession, with the Detroit Pistons taking Jaden Ivey one pick after Murray.
The Pistons have been compiling young talent for the past few years, and Ivey looks to form a dynamic duo with the 2021 first overall pick Cade Cunningham.
Many scouts compared the former Purdue Boilermaker to NBA star Ja Morant for his elite athleticism and playmaking abilities.
Ivey started the Pistons summer league off with a bang throwing an alley-oop pass to fellow first-round pick Jalen Duren, and he ended the night with 20 points, six rebounds and six assists.
In their next game, he got off to a scorching start recording 11 points in five minutes until he suffered an ankle injury that sidelined him for the rest of Summer League.
The Pistons finished with a 3-2 record, and if Ivey stayed healthy, they could have easily captured a Summer league title.
No. 4 Malaki Branham, G, SAN
Every year there is one player whose draft stock soars tremendously late in the college season or after the NBA Draft Combine, and this year it was Malaki Branham.
On Jan. 2, Branham and the Ohio State Buckeyes took on Nebraska, and this contest served as his statement game.
Coming into the matchup averaging 6.3 points, the 6-foot-5 guard dropped 35 points in an 87-79 overtime victory, and his 35 points set the Ohio State record for points by a freshman in a Big Ten game.
After the win, Branham went on a scoring tear, raising his season average to 13.7 points, and he took home the Big Ten Freshman of the Year award.
The freshman standout heard his name called as he was taken by the San Antonio Spurs 20th overall, marking the first Buckeye selected in the first round since 2015.
Branham struggled in his first few games of the summer, but he bounced back, ending the summer with a bang leading the Spurs with 23 points in their lone victory in Vegas.
No. 5 Bryce McGowens, G, CHA
Seeing Bryce McGowens on this list might come as a surprise over players such as Johnny Davis and Caleb Houstan, but he balled out during the tournament.
McGowens came to Nebraska as the highest-rated recruit and lived up to the expectations placed on him by many.
In 31 contests, the 6-foot-7 guard averaged 16.7 points, 5.2 rebounds and 1.4 assists while shooting 40.3 percent from the field.
The Charlotte Hornets took McGowens 40th overall and played well in the summer league leading the Hornets with 14.6 points per game.
He has all the talent to be a great player next to Hornets superstar LaMelo Ball, but he needs to work on his three-point shooting. If McGowens can take the next step as a shooter, the sky's the limit for him on the offensive end.
Austin Groft is a senior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email email@example.com.
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Sophomore / Broadcast Journalism