This question has been raised by a lot of people recently, especially following Lonzo Ball’s dominant Summer League performance, and disappointing rookie campaign. Though he did not live up to expectations, he still managed to snag a spot on the All-Rookie Second Team. Lonzo Ball is not the only rookie to have a successful summer league, and then make an All-Rookie Team. In fact it is more common than you would think.
In fact 7 of the 9 players that were named to one of the All-Rookie Teams (not including Ben Simmons) were also included on the Kia Rookie Ladder following the Summer League (Full List Here http://www.nba.com/article/2017/07/18/kia-rookie-ladder-ball-kuzma-represent-lakers-top-list). These include: Donvan Mitchell, Kyle Kuzman, Jayson Tatum (First Team), and Dennis Smith Jr. Lonzo Ball, John Collins, and Josh Jackson (Second Team). Perhaps the three best transitions from the Summer League to the regular season came from three of the members of the All-Rookie First Team.
The most impressive transition came from the Runner-Up in Rookie of the Year voting: Donavan Mitchell. Mitchell averaged a solid 15.3 points a game in the Vegas Summer League, and improved on that during the regular season, averaging an impressive 20.5 points per game. Another impressive transition came from late first round pick Kyle Kuzma. Kuzma averaged 21.9 points and 6.4 rebounds per game on 51.4 percent shooting at the Vegas Summer League. Though these stats dropped off a little, he still managed 16.1 points and 6.3 rebounds per game on 45 percent shooting during the regular season. Jayson Tatum also made the transition well. Though Tatum only played three games in the Vegas Summer League, he managed 17.7 points and 8 rebounds on 42.2 percent shooting. Tatum’s points and rebounds dropped to 13.9 and 5 playing on a stacked Celtics squad, but his field goal percentage jumped up to 47.5.
Though Summer League success doesn’t always transfer to success in the regular season, it does more often than not. So if you’re worried about getting your hopes up about your favorite player having a good Summer League, don’t. Because chances are, his game will transfer to the league smoothly, and this last draft class has the proof to back it up.