We’re entering a bit of a sports dead zone on the calendar.
But Cavaliers fans can still find something to cheer about: Summer League.
It’s Cleveland’s (and the league’s) first real chance to see what young players it has and evaluate potential role players.
It’s also where way too early buzz starts on certain players.
In the past, we’ve seen names like the Knicks’ Kevin Knox (try saying that five times fast) go off, only to flounder during the regular season.
So far, this year’s Summer League buzz is going towards Keegan Murray of the Kings and the Thunder’s Chet Holmgren.
But rule number one of Summer League: don’t get overhyped by Summer League.
Rule Number two: don’t get overhyped by Summer League unless it supports your pre-existing notions.
With that, let’s chat about what we’ve seen so far from the baby Cavaliers this summer:
All eyes are on Cleveland’s latest lottery pick: Kansas’ Ochai Agbaji.
And in his Summer League debut against the Spurs, Agbaji did not disappoint.
He started off hot, nailing two threes and a mid-range jumper, finishing with 16 points and going 4-9 from deep.
Summer League coach Mike Gerrity was impressed:
“He’s shown what he’s capable of doing as far as running off screens and even when he would put the ball on the floor, he was making the right play. He really impressed me on the defensive end of the floor as well with how hard he competed. Overall, heck of a first game for him. We know he can shoot that ball. And honestly, one or two of those probably drop next game. Great start for him.”
Gerrity has no reason to say otherwise regarding Agbaji’s performance.
What’s equally exciting is that Agbaji’s good offensive night (a) wasn’t his best and (b) was still bolstered by great defense.
Ochai Agbaji knocks down the stepback jumper in the corner 🔥
Watch Now on @NBATV pic.twitter.com/FxRSmfJVr1
— NBA (@NBA) July 8, 2022
And in one of the more heartwarming moments, Cavs star Darius Garland pulled Agbaji aside to give him a quick chat at halftime.
That those two already building chemistry is a beautiful sight to behold.
Okay, time to get into the “overreaction” zone.
The No. 56 pick in this year’s draft showed a serious all-around game, stuffing the stat sheet with six points, five rebounds, three assists, two steals, and five blocks.
He did a little of everything for the Cavs.
The Australian wing showed flashes of potential in his just 24 minutes of game time.
And it even impressed his teammate Agbaji:
“That was my first time seeing him really, really go. And man, he can go, just like the rest of us. His IQ and vision for the game is crazy. He was making some great plays out there.”
Nonetheless, don’t expect Travers to highlight Cleveland’s roster this season.
The Cavaliers picked Travers as an overseas stash prospect, meaning he’ll spend at least one more year in Australia before coming overseas.
Luke Travers showing the NBA world a little bit of what’s to come 🔥🔥🔥
6 PTS, 5 REB, 3 AST, 5 BLK
(📸: @cavs) pic.twitter.com/YXIQlWdaSl
— ESPN Australia & NZ (@ESPNAusNZ) July 8, 2022
Stashing is a way for NBA teams to let young prospects develop without immediately bringing them to the league.
It’s quite possible Travers eventually develops into a nice role player for Cleveland.
It’s also possible that we never hear about Travers again in any meaningful context for the Cavs.
Either one is possible because of rule number one.
Don’t get overhyped by Summer League.
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