These dudes don’t even need Summer League…
Tyrese Maxey and Immanuel Quickley, a pair of second-year NBA players who both played their college basketball at Kentucky, are dominating the early stages of the 2021 Summer League action in Las Vegas. Through two games for Maxey and three games for Quickley, the one-time Wildcats have wasted no time showcasing that they’re already too good to still be playing at this level.
Maxey, who is entering his second NBA season with the Philadelphia 76ers, is the Summer League’s leading scorer with 26.0 points per game. The 20-year old combo guard scored 24 points on Aug. 9 against in a 95-73 win over the Dallas Mavericks and then exploded for 31 points in an overtime win on Thursday night against the Atlanta Hawks. Overall, Maxey has shot 50 percent from the floor and 90.0 percent from the free-throw line while averaging 5.5 rebounds and 4.5 assists per outing.
Quickley is putting up similar numbers. He’s not quite the Summer League’s leading scorer as Maxey is, but he’s right up there. The 22-year old sharpshooter is averaging 24.0 points per game through three contests, fourth-most by all Summer League players. Quickley isn’t shooting the ball as well as he did during his rookie season with the New York Knicks, but he’s showing off his game in other ways–Quickley is fourth among all Summer League players in assists per game with 7.7! He’s also a perfect 19-19 from the charity stripe.
Summer League is always an event that fans should take with a grain of salt. Highly-drafted rookies can look terrible and then win Rookie of the Year by the time it’s all said and done. Second-round picks will look fantastic before never seeing an NBA floor. In my personal opinion, what Summer League is best for is to determine which players are too good to be there–the ones who are clearly a step ahead of the competition. Maxey and Quickley both fit that bill through the first few days.
Which is exactly what is expected of Maxey and Quickley as second-year pros who proved as rookies that they belong in the league. It would almost be more noteworthy if neither of these two were playing at such an impressive level. It’s what they should be doing against this level of opposition., but it’s still exciting to see, nonetheless.
The 76ers and Knicks alike will both expect quite a bit more from Maxey and Quickley, respectively, heading into their second NBA season. If Philly does indeed move on from starting point guard and All-Star Ben Simmons as has long been rumored, Maxey could find himself in a bigger role heading into 2021-22. As for the Knicks, the roster didn’t get much better from last season, when the team exceeded expectations in the regular season but underwhelmed in the postseason. Quickley will likely be expected to take on a larger role, as well, to help lift the Knicks’ playoff ceiling.
Other ‘Cats in Summer League
The two newest rookies to come from Kentucky are Isaiah Jackson and B.J. Boston, with both of them playing solid basketball through the first few outings.
Jackson, the No. 22 overall pick from the 2021 NBA Draft, is averaging 7.7 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 2.0 blocks per game over three contests thus far for the Indiana Pacers. His shooting hasn’t been all that efficient, but he’s still doing what he did best at Kentucky: block shots. Boston is putting up more points than Jackson (9.0 per game), but only shooting 31.8 percent to do so for the Los Angeles Clippers. On the plus side, he is shooting over 36 percent from distance through his two Summer League outings while grabbing 4.5 rebounds per game.