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Five Undrafted Rookies That Impressed During Vegas Summer League

Dakota Schmidt looks at five undrafted rookies that shined during Las Vegas Summer League

Utah Jazz v Houston Rockets Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Terence Davis - Grizzlies/Raptors

Mere minutes after not getting selected in the 2019 NBA Draft, the former Ole Miss wing took to Twitter stating that he can’t take a two-way, due to thinking he was better than that. That move was extremely similar to what we saw last year from former TCU forward Kenrich Williams, who decided to try to get a guaranteed deal rather than settling for a two-way contract. Of course, that risk paid off for the 6’7 player as he signed with the New Orleans Pelicans on July 24th after an impressive run in Vegas Summer League.

Perhaps taking a lesson from Williams, the former Ole Miss wing decided to take that same path by starting that run in Vegas with the Denver Nuggets. Davis started that run with a big bang by putting up 22 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists on 8-13 from field, 5-7 from 3 and 1-2 from the free throw line. As evident from those numbers, the rookie truly did it all as he was fantastic from beyond the arc, made smart off-ball cuts, showed unselfishness in transition and made great chasedown blocks.

On the day following that fantastic game, The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported that the Raptors would sign Davis to a two-year deal, with a guarantee for 2019-20. At least for Summer League, it looks like the Raptors got a steal as he averaged 16.5 points, 6.5 rebounds, 6 assists and 1.5 steals on 45% from the field during his two games with the Raptors Summer League team. What’s next for the young wing? That’s yet to be seen. However, it is clear that Davis killed it in Summer League and him betting on himself has paid off.

Jordan Caroline - Lakers

During his run with the University of Nevada, Caroline stood out as a strong 6’7, 235 pound forward that stood out as one of the elite players in the Mountain West due to his ability to just do whatever he wanted inside the paint. Whether it was working in the low-post, running down the court in transition or snagging offensive rebounds, he was a true powerhouse in college.

Just a few months after playing his final game in the Mountain West, the rookie showed another side of his game during his run at Summer League with the Los Angeles Lakers. In four games in Vegas, he put up 14.6 points and 4 rebounds on 45% from the field and 47% from beyond the arc on 3.4 attempts per game. While he started to show some perimeter prowess during his final year with Nevada, this was undoubtedly the best that he shot over the course of his whole career as he was able to nail jumpers both off the dribble and catch and shoot. Opponents focusing on defending the perimeter ultimately led Caroline to use his solid first step to make some on-ball drives to the rim.

In the game against Golden State where the Lakers were able to come back from 25 points to win, Caroline was impressed on defense as he did a great job locking up the likes of Brandon Sampson and Kevin McClain during the closing moments.

Shortly after the NBA Draft, Los Angeles signed Caroline to a training camp deal that includes an Exhibit 10 exception. Considering how he played during Summer League, it wouldn’t be surprising if the Lakers or any other team awards the Nevada alum with a two-way deal.

Devontae Cacok - Lakers

Sticking with the Lakers Summer League squad, the UNC Wilmington alum shined in both the Sacramento and Las Vegas versions of the event. In Nevada, the 6’7 forward flirted with a double-double as he put up 11.8 points, 9 rebounds and 2 steals on 62% from the field in only 23 minutes per game. That solid production largely came from him working as a classic big through shining as a roll man, running in transition and crashing the offensive glass.

Despite being considered undersized for that role, he excelled by doing a great job of finishing at the rim or with floaters. In addition to that, the forward was able to use a 240 pound frame to shine on the offensive glass as he snagged 4 offensive boards per game. One trait that it seems like Cacok has improved upon since graduating is facilitating as he threw some pretty post-up feeds to a cutting Dakota Mathias late in the game against Golden State.

Due to his impressive play in Summer League, Cacok left Vegas a recipient of an exhibit 10 deal. That means the UNC Wilmington alum would be able to receive up to $50,000 if he spends time with the Lakers in training camp, gets waived and then plays two months with the South Bay Lakers. In addition to that, the Lakers could also decide to transfer that contract into a two-way between now and the end of training camp.

Chris Clemons - Rockets

Sticking with players that are currently on Exhibit 10 deals, former Campbell guard Chris Clemons made the Thomas and Mack Center/Cox Pavilion his own personal shooting range during the run in Vegas. In five games, he put up 20.2 points, 4.4 rebounds, 2 assists and 1.6 steals per game on 39% from the field and 42% from beyond the arc on a Summer League-best 11.4 attempts per game. That high three-point percentage is extremely impressive when you realize that this is the first time Clemons is playing in an organized game with the NBA three-point line.

Despite having inexperience with that long three-point line, Clemons looked like an experienced pro with the confidence in his jumper by being able to launch quick shots in either catch-and-shoot or off-the-dribble. That second tactic was definitely the most entertaining as he wasn’t afraid to just launch up shots from well beyond the three-point line. Despite the 5’9 guard struggling to score inside the paint, that consistent shooting allowed him to maintain a 57% True Shooting Percentage during Summer League.

As we mentioned at the top of this segment, Clemons currently has an Exihibit 10 deal with the Houston Rockets. That means he’s currently eligible to get signed to a two-way deal between now and training camp. While we’ll have to wait and see if that will actually happen, his exciting performance during Summer League has us excited about what he can possibly do in the G League with the RGV Vipers.

DaQuan Jeffries - Orlando Magic

In a similar vein to the aforementioned Jordan Caroline, former Tulsa wing DaQuan Jeffries has shown a lot of progression as a shooter since leaving college. That trend started during the Portsmouth Invitational where he shot 41% on 17 total three-point attempts in three games. A few months after that April event, Jeffries’ perimeter prowess progressed even more during Vegas Summer League. In 5 games, he impressed by putting up 13.3 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists and 1.4 steals per game on 42% from the field and 54% from beyond the arc on a total of 22 shot attempts. Is that an example of small sample size? Absolutely, but it’s another example that Jeffries has worked his ass off to improve as a shooter since his time at Tulsa, where he shot 37% on long range attempts during his senior season.

In addition to that perimeter progression, the 6’5 wing also showed incredible athleticism through finishing at the rim with thunderous rim-rocking dunks and doing huge chasedown blocks. The final real skill that he showed during his run in Las Vegas was facilitating as he showed a real skill for using his 6’5 frame to examine over the floor and find an open teammate to dish the ball to.

Currently, Jeffries stands as the only player on this list that hasn’t signed a training camp deal with an NBA team. That will likely change over the next few days and weeks as the performance during Las Vegas Summer League showed that Jeffries is able to combine impressive athleticism with a perimeter jumper that seems to be improving every time he steps on the court.