Summer League is fun, and this year will be even more interesting after Sacramento Kings drafted four rookies after some surprising trades on draft night. While Summer League should never be taken too seriously, here's a few things I want to see when games start tomorrow.
1. Just who is Georgios Papagiannis?
This will be the first time most of us have gotten to see Georgios Papagiannis actually play basketball, aside from a few YouTube clips here and there. This will be a good opportunity to see how he does in a fast-paced, NBA like environment. Vlade Divac and co. obviously saw a lot of potential in this guy to take him so much higher than he was projected, and it'd be nice if we left Summer League feeling a little bit of the same excitement instead of continuing to be puzzled.
2. How will Willie do with more responsibility?
Under George Karl, Willie was a designated rim runner and defensive player, but we've heard from new coach Dave Joerger that he is going to put the ball in Willie's hands more and ask him to create. That's a much different role for Willie than we saw last year and I'm very interested to see how Willie handles that. Willie improved quite a bit as the season went on, and towards the end of last season he was showing a lot more offensive versatility. I want to see that continue and summer league is the perfect time to be trying out new things.
3. Is Skal Labissiere ready to play?
Skal dropping to 28 was one of the bigger falls of draft night, and much of it was attributed to how raw he looked at Kentucky despite being one of the top recruits in the country. I'm interested to see how he looks in this setting, and if the Kings use him differently than Cal used him at Kentucky, perhaps allowing him more freedom on the perimeter.
4. Can Isaiah Cousins run an NBA style offense?
Right now Isaiah Cousins is our backup Point Guard and that worries me a bit. He only played PG for one year at Oklahoma. Now he will be tasked with learning the position at the highest level. He's got good size for a PG and can shoot the ball well, but we'll see how his leadership and playmaking abilities are in this setting.
5. Can Malachi Richardson play under control?
One of the biggest knocks on Malachi Richardson is that he plays erratic and inefficiently. At times he could look like one of the best players on the court, while at others he looks like one of the worst. I particularly didn't like the fact that he shot just 37% from the field in college despite possessing a solid outside shot. He'll need to learn how to choose his spots better and play less selfishly at the NBA level.
6. What might the Kings look like under Dave Joerger?
It's very rare that an NBA head coach opts to coach the Summer League team, so this might be our first glimpse at how Dave Joerger wants the Kings to play. Obviously it won't be exactly the same thanks to team composition and opponent strength, but I do think Joerger will want to instill some tenets for his young guys that will be on the main squad as well.
I'm excited to watch some Kings basketball again. First game is tonight at 7 p.m. and the action should air on ESPN2 or NBA TV.