Last Shall Be First: 60th Pick Best Summer League Player

Cory Jefferson was the last player taken in the NBA Draft, but he has been better than the 59 taken in front of him so far with 0.91 net contributions per minute in early Summer League action.

The average Summer League player has 0.5 net contributions and has scored 25 points with 11 missed shots. Doug McDermott has missed the average 11 shots, but put in 41 points to join Jefferson, point guard Russ Smith, and others on the quickstart Summer League All-Star team listed below:

Contributions are tallied by adding points, rebounds, assists, steals, and blocked shots, and by subtracting missed shots before dividing by minutes played to get the following ratings. Normally you would also subtract missed free throws and turnovers, but those statistics are not readily available in Summer League play. A total of 302 players who had played at least 18 minutes so far were rated. Of the players drafted this year, the following are the best two at each position, with notes below the table.

Draft Quick All-Star Draftees Team Pos Rating Pts Reb Ast Stl Blk Miss Min
10 Elfrid Payton ORL PG 0.82 46 26 35 7 3 11 129
47 Russ Smith NOP PG 0.75 26 13 13 5 1 17 55
19 Gary Harris DEN SG 0.65 42 11 3 4 1 18 66
42 Nick Johnson HOU SG 0.64 106 37 31 6 5 49 211
14 TJ Warren PHX SF 0.87 26 5 - 1 1 6 31
11 Doug McDermott CHI SF 0.72 41 6 5 - 1 11 58
60 Cory Jefferson BKN PF 0.91 56 34 1 7 8 9 107
21 Mitch McGary OKC PF 0.71 59 23 5 3 7 24 104
35 Jarnell Stokes MEM C 0.69 61 47 5 4 2 27 133
43 Walter Tavares ATL C 0.69 15 7 - - 1 3 29

Center - Nerlens Noel (0.89, Kentucky/PHI) has actually been BY FAR the best center if you consider him a rookie after missing last season. However, Stokes (Tennessee/MEM) and Tavares (Spain/ATL) have started very strong. Cameron Bairstow (0.43, New Mexico/CHI) has been just below average, and Alec Brown (0.17, Green Bay/PHX) had a terrible start.

Point Guard - Payton (LA-Lafayette/ORL) and Russ Smith (Louisville/NOP) have been by far the hottest, with the five point guards led by Marcus Smart (0.55, Oklahoma State/BOS) all right around average (at between 0.55 and 0.41) and only Xavier Thames (0.27 San Diego State/BKN) struggling.

Shooting Guard - Jordan Adams (0.64, UCLA/MEM) is basically tied with Harris (Michigan State/DEN) and Nick Johnson (Arizona/HOU). Markel Brown (0.57, Oklahoma State/BKN) and Jordan McRae (0.52, Tennessee/PHI) are the only two other shooting guards above average. The other eight shooting guards have struggled early including top pick Andrew Wiggins (Kansas, CLE) and No. 5 pick Dante Exum (Australia/UTA).

Small Forward - TJ Warren (NC State/PHX) had an even better start than McDermott (Creighton/CHI), and No. 2 pick Jabari Parker (0.61, Duke/MIL) is just slightly behind them. KJ McDaniels (0.61, Clemson/PHI) has also started strong, with all other small forwards from this draft right around the 0.50 average. However, it was McDermott's 31-point outburst Sunday that has the Bulls believing they have their outside solution to join their inside solution in free agent Pau Gasol added to an already dominant defense.

Power Forward - Despite being picked 60th, Jefferson (Baylor/BKN) has the top mark of any draftee on the strength of 56 points and 34 rebounds in just 107 minutes. The Thunder may be even more excited about Mitch McGary's start (0.71, Michigan/OKC) after he missed almost the whole college season with an injury.

The complete rankings of all 302 Summer League players to have played at least 18 minutes so far will be listed in a separate post.


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