The Cavaliers‘ Summer League action drew to a close this weekend in Las Vegas.
It was a middling performance from the team, which went 2-3 in five games of action.
But individually, several players stood out, showcasing their talent to the front office and coaching staff.
Lottery pick Ochai Agbaji shot the ball well, RJ Nembhard displayed decent shooting and playmaking, and Luke Travers’ hair game stole the show.
Here are two takeaways from the Cavs’ Summer League play:
Before jumping in, a quick note.
There aren’t many lessons or definitives worth taking away from Summer League.
That’s because Summer League features players at vastly different stages of their career.
There are players like Paolo Banchero and Chet Holmgren, who were taken at the top of this year’s draft, who are looking for their first taste of pro ball.
Then there are guys like Josh Giddey, who was one of the league’s best young ball handlers last season.
And then, there are players looking for a shot at making a G-League roster and nothing else.
Take this as an example.
Moses Moody led Summer League in points, scoring 27.5 points, followed by Cam Thomas, who notched 27.4.
Moody also just won an NBA Championship playing with the Golden State Warriors.
Thomas was a backup for the Brooklyn Nets last season who averaged 8.5 points per game.
Point is, just because someone goes off in Summer League, does not mean that they are destined for greatness in the NBA.
With that out of the way, let’s jump in:
1. Nailed Lotto Pick
Ochai Agbaji was taken No. 14 overall for largely one reason: to put the ball in the basket.
And he largely displayed an ability to do just that, going for 15 points per game in four contests.
Ochai Agbaji has been as advertised in Summer League. pic.twitter.com/eOfihBfH3i
— Mack Perry (@DevaronPerry) July 15, 2022
And when his shot wasn’t falling, he still found a way to be productive, per Kelsey Russo of The Athletic:
“Agbaji also moved well off the ball and played with a level of unselfishness. He would cut, screen and help space the floor. He was active on the defensive end. [Summer League Head Coach Mike] Gerrity noted how Agbaji played physically and hard on the defensive end, and how he has the versatility to guard multiple positions. Agbaji recognized how other characteristics of his game can help his teammates have their space to get shots up and impact the game.”
There were times when Agbaji was hunted by opposing teams, especially when he was left alone on the perimeter.
But that’s what Agbaji should expect when he gets pro minutes.
However, Agbaji will also be surrounded by Darius Garland, Evan Mobley, and Jarrett Allen, who should occupy the lion’s share of defensive attention.
Thus, when Agbaji is left alone on the perimeter, he should have every opportunity to score.
So far, Agbaji is bringing in nice early returns for the Cavs.
2. Room for Growth
As good as Luke Travers and Isaiah Mobley played in Summer League, neither one will likely see big minutes any time soon.
For Travers, that’s the case because he’s spending another season in the Australian NBL.
For Mobley, it’s because he’s still a little raw.
Both players displayed strong skills, especially Mobley’s rebounding.
Mobley gobbled up eight boards per game, 19th most per game among all summer leaguers.
And Travers somehow managed almost as many blocks (1.2) as assists (1.8) per game.
He was a do-it-all Swiss Army Knife for the Summer League team.
Luke Travers can play. pic.twitter.com/AE9FFLW9bW
— Mack Perry (@DevaronPerry) July 8, 2022
Another year of development will do him good, and he’ll likely be back next summer to showcase his growth.
Ditto for RJ Nembhard, who finished second in points (14.8) and led the team in assists (4.2).
Mobley and Nembhard will be fun to watch in the G-League this season, forming a Garland-(Evan) Mobley lite for the Charge.