Grade – A-Minus
An A-Minus may seem a little harsh on Josh when you consider his overall performances. Giddey looked lightyears ahead of his competition and distributed the ball excellently when he ran the offense. It was a professional performance from the sophomore and he looks very ready for the new season in October.
Giddey is marked down slightly due to his efficiency. Josh shot 34% from the floor in Vegas and 42.9% in Salt Lake City. His jumper has not improved a whole ton and I thought Giddey was too content to bump his way to the rim. He is clearly stronger but this does not mean he should solely rely on this way of attacking.
I would still like to see Josh mix it up off the drive and bring his floater into play more often. Giddey being unpredictable will challenge the defense and he can exploit that confusion with smart, accurate passing.
Lindy Waters III:
Grade – B-Minus
Lindy did not play many minutes in the Summer League but was generally solid in his play. Waters knocked down looks from deep and provided value as a floor-spacer off the ball.
I had expected slightly more out of Waters but Summer League can be difficult environment to thrive in for players that are not ball-dominant. For Waters, he spent most of his time coming off the bench playing next to Abdul Gaddy, Jalen Williams and Tre Mann. He did not benefit from Josh Giddey’s court vision and accurate distribution like some of his other teammates.
I am unconcerned about Waters and still think he will be a big part of what the Thunder do next season. His play style meshes nicely with Gilgeous-Alexander’s preference to hit kick-out passes to the open man. Lindy will get a lot of decent looks and his efficiency should improve even further.
Wiggins did not play all that much but he was very good in his minutes on the court. Wiggins plays with a sense of calm and you can feel the shift in style of play when he enters the game. The game settles down for the Thunder and the offense becomes less random. I know that Aaron is just one player but he does seem to have that effect on his teammates.
We saw Vit play towards the back end of last season and the initial results were encouraging to see. Krejci’s combination of playmaking and feel for the game meant that Coach Daigneault was able to use him as a lead creator off the bounce. Vit’s size means he sees odd, creative passing angles that others cannot see.
He came into Summer League with a few targets in mind. The first being proving that he can survive on defense against NBA level competition. On this front, Vit anticipated play well and moved himself into position to prevent easy looks from opening up. His positioning compensated for his lack of athletic ability which meant that Krejci was a solid player on defense.
The other question about Krejci was whether he could shoot the ball from deep at a serviceable mark. In his first season with the Thunder, Krejci only shot 32.7% from outside. Poor shooting was a common thread throughout Vit’s time in Spain and with the Czech National Team as well. His shot was just inconsistent and could not be relied upon.
Krejci shot 38.1% on 3-point attempts in Summer League which is a marked improvement. The sample size is pretty small, only 21 attempts in total, but his shot mechanics look smoother. Krejci seems to have fixed the issue with his hand positioning which dogged his career overseas.
I do not necessarily know where Vit fits on the current Thunder roster but his overall level of play has been impressive. He is running actions well and getting his teammates into the game. That is a quality that Sam Presti and Coach Daigneault tends to value.
Jeremiah Robinson Earl
Robinson-Earl won plaudits last season for his consistency and it was no different in Summer League. JRE led from the front with his rebounding and work on the defensive end of the floor. He played at the 4 in Las Vegas and I was pleasantly surprised by what I saw.
Robinson-Earl showed that he has the foot speed to keep smaller players in front of him which should pay dividends in a playoff setting. He will not exploited easily in a switch scenario and his versatility should make it easier for Coach Daigneault to adjust his coverages for individual match-ups.
His chemistry with Chet Holmgren has started to develop nicely and those are the two players who I think should start next season. Their games mesh nicely on paper and I think they can solve each other’s problems. JRE is physical and gritty in how he plays interior defense; his play style is a counter-balance to Chet’s precise, smothering approach.