After being eviscerated by the Indiana Pacers in their last Summer League game, the Oklahoma City Thunder cap off their stay in Vegas with an impressive 116-91 win over the San Antonio Spurs.
Summer League results really don’t matter, as the primary focus of this week's stay is about player development and identifying which bubble NBA players are worthy enough for a roster spot in both the NBA and G League teams.
Nonetheless, it’s still an impressive sign to see the Thunder bounce back so well after the last game’s abysmal performance.
The Thunder have struggled offensively this Summer League, which is understandable considering the amount of talent out — such as sixth overall pick Josh Giddey.
But today’s game was the team’s best offensive performance by far. Five players finished with 10+ points; OKC only had three such performances in their last two games total.
For many reasons, Jeremiah Robinson-Earl has been the Thunder’s most impressive rookie in Summer League.
Now a rebuilding team’s best Summer League rookie being a second-round pick sounds bad in a vacuum, but Robinson-Earl has looked like a guy who has a high floor as a competent role player who does a little bit of everything.
His Summer League performance should open the door for a potential starting training camp battle as he should fight for the starting 4/5 spot. In today’s game, Robinson-Earl finished with 15 points, eight rebounds, and four assists.
The other drafted player who played all five Summer League games also finished his week with an impressive performance. Aaron Wiggins finished with 10 points, five assists, and four rebounds.
Theo Maledon has looked like a guy who has taken the next step in his player development. Maledon finished with 11 points and seven assists. Maledon has shot the ball poorly, but it is still a good sign that he has remained aggressive and not get scared off due to the misses.
In terms of playmaking, the second-year guard has looked great, averaging over six assists a game.
Maledon’s 2021 Summer League reminds me a bit of Reggie Jackson’s 2013 Summer League, where it’s pretty clear that he is too talented to play games and looks like he has taken the next step to be a perfect backup point guard.
Rob Edwards was the player of the day as he finished with 23 points, which included shooting 4-of-8 from three. Edwards has taken full advantage of the opportunity given to him with Giddey and Tre Mann missing time.
Today was his best Summer League game, but he has shown the ability to score the ball and get hot.
It’s hard to fathom Edwards is getting a two-way spot on this team, but perhaps this week has opened the eyes of other teams that could take a flier on the streaky scorer.
Just like in the regular season, Josh Hall saved his best Summer League performance for last. Hall finished with 17 points. It seems like the Thunder are really high on the 20-year-old, and this performance should give them more reason to be.
Those were all the big performances in today’s game. But other guys have good games as well.
Emmitt Williams scored 14 points; Jaylen Hoard finished with six points and four rebounds; Charlie Brown Jr. had nine points and six rebounds.
Overall, considering the circumstances the Thunder experienced with their top two draft picks a missing significant time, I think this Summer League was an overall success. It sucks that Giddey only managed to play five total minutes before injuring his ankle. Still, JRE, Wiggins, and Maledon all showed out and gave Thunder fans hope and excitement for the type of players they could eventually develop into.