With NBA Summer League underway, it’s easy to recognize the faces of a slew of journeymen currently in Las Vegas ready to compete. Young players are most certainly chomping at the bit for their first chance at exposure. In addition, players with G League and international experience are anxious to hit the floor, looking forward to showing teams what they’ve learned and experienced over this past season. Many hope to prove that they’ve made leaps toward their continued quest to breaking into the NBA once and for all.
Nevertheless, regardless one of how well known or seasoned a given competitor is, plenty still need to display patience before that opportunity comes. Despite averaging 16.2 points this past season for the Grand Rapids Drive and boasting 148 big league games through three seasons to his credit, KJ McDaniels played just 7 minutes in the Blazers’ win on Saturday. Phil Pressey has also appeared in 148 NBA games. He averaged 18 points, 8 assists, and 2.1 steals as a G League All-Star for the Santa Cruz Warriors in 2016-17. He played in Euroleague this past season, however, only received 5 minutes of playing time in the Thunder’s win over the Nets. Tony Taylor showed promise as a G League rookie for the Tulsa 66ers in 2012-13 and has since established a respectable career as a tough floor general overseas. He did not appear in the Knicks’ opening game.
It’s important to note that in an effort to get a sufficient look at every prospect, some teams implement a rotation that puts a focus on different athletes each game. Still, that doesn’t make the waiting game any easier for those hungry to put their progress on display. In the meantime, maintaining a positive attitude and not getting discouraged can go a long way. Big league squads value good teammates and take a liking to those that still compete hard in practices, despite not receiving the playing time they expected right away.
Looking at the body of work from players like McDaniels, Pressey, and Taylor, it’s safe to say there’s plenty of talent out there and perhaps not as much action to go around. There are still ways to make a positive impact and leave a lasting impression, both on and off the court.