Thanks for the amazing amount of time you put into the Summer League Manifesto. The effort alone deserves a ton of credit, regardless of whether you foolishly thought D’Angelo Russell was ever going to be a Top 25 from the Last Three Drafts.

Kuzma

With regard to Kuzma, not only was he #4 on the all-Rookie NBA first team, if you only look at the 2017–2018 regular season, Kuzma was the best offensive rookie of the year based on his production, the fact that he was the Lakers’ top scoring option for most of the year, and because he had the best offensive games of the year against quality opponents.

#1: Are you the #1 option on your team?

This is where I had to eliminate Simmons and Tatum, in spite of their efficiency. Simmons gets the edge because he is a cornerstone of the team, but he shares the #1 option with an All-Star center and is surrounded by three very good 3-point shooters. Tatum has Al Horford drawing centers out outside the paint, and Kyrie Irving on offense to penetrate and feed him for open 3’s. (I’m probably guilty of recency bias, but he looked terrible against the Lakers and basically disappeared against the Warriors. His best game against an elite team came in a win over Houston where he scored 19 points.)

#2: Can you put your team on your back and pull off a win in the most pressurized situations?

To me, this is the ultimate test of future greatness. (Is it any surprise that I view the greatest moment in the history of basketball as being Game 6 of the NBA Finals in 1980, when Kareem Abdul Jabbar was sidelined with a bad ankle? Rookie Magic Johnson revolutionized basketball by being the first point-center in history and went on to a 42–15–7 performance that won the championship.)

Rookie play in Summer League is about as predictive as fortune cookies

My whole issue with rating rookies after Summer League is how significant the drop off in play can be once they play against NBA level defense.

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Ad agency creative director, writer & designer at https://guttmanshapiro.com. Former pro tennis player and peak performance coach for professional athletes.

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