September 19, 2021, 5:04 pm
Happy September, HoopBallers, and welcome back to our offseason International Spotlight feature where, in part two of our Summer League recap, we will be taking a look at the international rookies that participated in the tournament.
Many fantasy leagues have started conducting their keeper/dynasty drafts while standard leagues and the regular fantasy season is just a few weeks away so my hope is that this article can operate as a good guide of what should be expected of this year’s international class. This was a deep and talented class and I expect a lot of the rookies to develop into rotation pieces and even All-Stars in the near future.
You can check my report from last week on some of the sophomores and summer league veterans here.
Juhann Bégarin, Boston Celtics, SG
6.2 points, 3.4 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 0.6 steals, 1.0 block and 0.6 triples on 40 percent from the field and 21 percent from the 3-point line in five games and 24.2 minutes per contest
A big, strong and versatile guard with above average athleticism, Begarin had a nice showing in Summer League and he looks like someone that could find a place in the league soon. He will stay in Europe for now but the Celtics are already very high on him.
Fantasy barometer: N/A
Jonathan Kuminga, Golden State Warriors, F
17.3 points, 6.3 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.5 steals, 1.3 triples and 0.8 blocks on 37 percent from the field and 28 percent from the 3-point line in four games and 27.6 minutes per contest
I emphasized before the draft on how sky was the limit for Kuminga if he were to land in a structured environment with the right coaches and player development personnel and Summer League proved just that. The young forward flashed two-way potential with steals and dunks and should be a threat in the open floor from the beginning while he showed no shortage of energy, making hustle plays all over. Shooting is definitely a work in progress and Kuminga should be eased into playing time slowly so you should lower your expectations for his rookie season.
Fantasy barometer: Kuminga should be a top target in dynasty formats as he has all the tools to develop into a dynamic two-way swingman but growing pains are evident and you should play the long-term game with him.
Alperen Şengün, Houston Rockets, PF/C
14.5 points, 10.8 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 1.3 steals, 3.0 blocks and 0.8 triples on 43 percent from the field and 38 percent from the 3-point line in four games and 25.0 minutes per contest
The Turkish big was clearly one of the biggest winners of Summer League, making plenty of fans wonder why he slipped to No. 16 at this year’s draft. Even though he looked a tad undersized at times, Sengun was way better than advertised defensively and displayed a full offensive repertoire, making his shots from deep and showcasing a physical post game with the ability to take his man off the dribble. What was even more spectacular was his passing out of the post while his ability to slow down defenders and absorb contact was impressive as he was thought to be a below average defender. Obviously the main question is whether his Summer League play will carry on into the regular season but the early signs were impressive and the kid looks like he belongs.
Fantasy barometer: Şengün has a fantasy friendly game and it’s likely that the Rockets give him plenty of minutes immediately so there is chance that he becomes relevant, even in standard leagues; on the dynasty front he should also be a top selection as he projects as a modern big with plenty of room for improvement.
Usman Garuba, Houston Rockets, F
4.0 points, 8.0 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 2.0 steals and 0.7 steals on 33 percent from the field in three games and 18.0 minutes per contest
Garuba played in just three games as he was negotiating his buyout from Real Madrid but NBA fans were lucky to watch him play in the Olympics as well where his defensive versatility was impressive. As I pointed out earlier, the Rockets found a true gem towards the end of the first round as Garuba looks like a great fit with a young Rockets squad that is loaded with offensive talent. He possesses above average physicality and high energy, traits that will be very useful at the NBA level, while he is too raw on the offensive end of the ball.
Fantasy barometer: Defense will translate to minutes for Garuba but his shot is a work in progress and he should be treated as a defensive specialist at the moment.
Joel Ayayi, Los Angeles Lakers, G
4.8 points, 3.0 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 0.4 steals and 0.4 blocks on 44 percent from the field and 13 percent from the 3-point line in five games and 21.2 minutes per contest
The French guard is a versatile but complementary piece, usually comfortable as a spot shooter and a cutter so Summer League action did him no favors as the Lakers put the ball in his hands and asked him to make plays. Ayayi struggled to manufacture for himself and his teammates and he will be entering the season on a two-way deal where he will try to develop his offensive repertoire even more since he is a fine on-ball defender already.
Fantasy barometer: Projects as a better basketball contributor rather than a fantasy asset.
Santi Aldama, Memphis Grizzlies, F
6.3 points, 6.8 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 0.5 blocks and 0.5 triples on 19 percent from the field and 10 percent from the 3-point line in four games and 21.6 minutes per contest
The numbers were not impressive and the shooting was abysmal for the Spaniard, a surprise first-round pick by the Grizzlies, but there is way more to see other than the numbers. Aldama was in Spain when he got drafted and he was reportedly dealing with jet-lag while learning a brand new system, hence all the missed shots. He rebounded well, something that will be tested at the NBA level, and looked comfortable manufacturing shots (even though he didn’t make them) altogether with some crafty passing and creative finishing inside and out, leaving much promise as the days went by. Speed and lack of strength will hurt him but these are areas that he should be able to improve in the upcoming years.
Fantasy barometer: The dark horse of this class, Aldama is a gifted offensive player and could have a role for a Grizzlies squad that struggled scoring the ball in the last couple years. Definitely worth a dynasty pick if you are looking to take a swing for the fences but keep in mind that he has struggled with injuries in the past and his body might not be able to handle the pressure in the NBA.
Yves Pons, Memphis Grizzlies, F
1.8 points, 1.8 rebounds, 0.5 assists, 0.8 steals, 0.3 triples and 1.0 block on 48 percent from the field and 43 percent from the 3-point line in three games and 21.0 minutes per contest in Salt Lake City
7.0 points, 2.7 rebounds, 0.7 assists, 1.0 triple and 1.3 blocks on 43 percent from the field and 50 percent from the 3-point line in four games and 17.2 minutes per contest in Las Vegas
After a slew of highlights and a solid performance during the Salt Lake City Summer League the Grizzlies quickly signed the athletic forward to a two-way deal. His defense was tremendous and he could develop into a lockdown versatile forward but his offensive game is a work in progress.
Fantasy barometer: It’s certain that you will hear his name as his game brings noise and at some point he could be a fantasy contributor if the minutes are there.
Sandro Mamukelashvili, Milwaukee Bucks, F
11.2 points, 8.6 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 1.4 steals, 0.6 triples and 0.6 blocks on 42 percent from the field and 25 percent from the 3-point line in five games and 26.5 minutes per contest
We knew Mamukelashvili could score but the lefty forward was fantastic on the glass, consistently crashing it on both ends of the floor while finding his teammates with flashy passes, and making a strong impression overall in Summer League. The Bucks can definitely use more depth in their rotation and Sandro is an experienced kid that could find a role, even though Coach Bud usually doesn’t play his rookies a lot but defense will probably determine how fast he earns minutes.
Fantasy barometer: Mamukelashvili is another skilled forward that could have an impact on the fantasy floor but until he gets the minutes he remains an afterthought in fantasy leagues.
Georgios Kalaitzakis, Milwaukee Bucks, G
9.0 points, 1.0 rebounds, 7.0 assists and 2.0 steals on 43 percent from the field in one game and 17.6 minutes
Kalaitzakis managed to play in just one game as he suffered a minor leg/knee injury but the early signs were positive and he had an impact on both ends of the floor. The Bucks look invested into developing him and he should spend most of his time in the G League.
Fantasy barometer: N/A
Rokas Jokubaitis, New York Knicks, G
6.3 points, 1.3 rebounds, 0.7 assists, 1.3 steals and 1.0 triple on 70 percent from the field and 60 from the 3-point line in three games and 9.7 minutes per contest
Jokubaitis was granted permission from EuroLeague powerhouse Barcelona B.C. to play in Summer League and he showed his quickness and flashy passing skills in limited minutes. He returns to Spain where he will have a chance to grow his game playing for one of the best teams in Europe.
Fantasy barometer: N/A
Josh Giddey, Oklahoma City Thunder, G
Rookie guard Josh Giddey suffered an ankle injury just minutes into his first game in Las Vegas and was forced to miss the rest of tournament leaving Thunder fans wondering what his game will look like at the NBA level. The No. 6 overall pick registered just two points but his lone field goal occurred with an impressive two-handed slam after blowing past his opponent in half court. His size advantage was obvious and the expectation is that he will be fully ready for the training camp.
Fantasy barometer: The lack of exposure means that Giddey will likely fall in dynasty drafts, something that could present an opportunity for fantasy managers; as far as redraft leagues go, based on the fact that Oklahoma City will likely protect their investment it’s hard to envision the Aussie having an impact in standard leagues but he should be on your watch list as he is someone that could potentially stuff the stat sheet.
Franz Wagner, Orlando Magic, G/F
8.0 points, 3.8 rebounds, 1.0 assist, 1.3 steals and 0.5 triples on 45 percent from the field and 15 percent from the 3-point line in four games and 21.5 minutes per contest
Jalen Suggs was the MVP of the Magic in Summer League, overshadowing Wagner and his teammates who pretty much watched the charismatic guard dominate. Wagner seemed to struggle with the pace of the game and his shooting was underwhelming, but on the defensive end the versatile forward displayed proficient footwork and his length allowed him to contest shots on the perimeter while also remaining active in passing lanes. He lacks the speed to blow past opponents but, again, he is a smart kid who cuts to the rim and can score effectively without making much noise.
Fantasy barometer: Orlando will not ask Wagner to be the leading scorer but the team can count on him as a two-way starter who plays valuable minutes and can help improve the team’s overall defense; it’s hard not to like the kid but he projects as a better basketball player than a fantasy asset at this point, though the minutes will be there and he, too, should be on your watch list.
Filip Petrušev, Philadephia Sixers, PF/C
4.3 points, 2.8 rebounds, 0.8 assists, 0.5 steals and 2.0 blocks on 37 percent from the field in four games and 17.0 minutes per contest
The former West Coast Conference Player of the Year, Petrusev was known for his ability to space the floor and knock down perimeter shots but he showed up eager to prove that he can also defend, successfully showing that he’s a better defender than expected, as evidenced by his 0.5 steals and 2.0 blocks in four games. The Sixers had no room for him in the active roster and he will stay overseas for the upcoming season even though he was eager to join this season. He signed a one year deal with Euroleague Champions Efes Pilsen and he should join the Sixers next year.
Fantasy barometer: Petrusev has a totally fantasy friendly game and he should be on your radar as a long term prospect that could have a career at the NBA level so it’s not out of question to draft him in dynasty leagues even though he isn’t expected to be a part of the Sixers this year.
Charles Bassey, Philadephia Sixers, C
The Sixers traded their way into a second-round pick that ended up being promising big man Charles Bassey but the young star was was reportedly instructed by his agent to stay off the court to avoid any injuries and unfortunately, the NBA Summer League came and went without the Sixers getting a single glimpse of Bassey in action outside of practice. He will reportedly sign a one-year, non-guaranteed tender with the Sixers soon as the two sides have been at odds over contract terms since the NBA Draft and it’s likely that he spends most of his time in the G League.
Fantasy barometer: N/A
Neemias Queta, Sacramento Kings, C
5.0 points, 4.6 rebounds, 0.8 assists, 1.4 steals and 1.0 block on 50 percent from the field in five games and 19.7 minutes per contest
Queta is already 22 years old but he is a developmental prospect and the Kings will try to mold him into a defensive-minded big. He showed glimpses of his potential in Summer League protecting the rim and setting good screens for his teammates but his fitness needs a ton of work and he must hit the weight room hard in order to be able to go against the elite talent in the NBA.
Fantasy barometer: It’s too early to tell if he can find his role in the NBA so he doesn’t warrant consideration in dynasty leagues and will be spending most of his time in the G League in his rookie season.
Thank you for reading this week’s article and look out for more content in the upcoming weeks. Stay up to date on all the breaking news and rumors posted on our website and on our Twitter account @HoopBallFantasy.