It’s Summer League season in the NBA at this time of the year. The top players who just got picked in the 2022 Draft are aching to show their wares to ensure quality playing time for them when the regular season unfolds in October.
Players who were chosen among the top ten in the first round of the Draft often get most of the attention.
But look out for those “sleepers” who might be picked late in the first round or in the second round but some of them might just be in our top 10 “impact” list of newcomers.
Let’s pick out the best freshmen from the recent Draft who we believe will make an immediate impact on the teams that picked them for the 2022-23 NBA season.
SMITH, BANCHERO, AND IVEY TOUTED AS NBA READY ROOKIES
Consensus top pick Jabari Smith Jr may not have been picked as No.1, but his stock remains solid after he was taken in at No.3 three by the Houston Rockets.
The Rockets might not still reach the playoffs next season. But expect Smith to help Houston win a couple more games compared to last season as he teams up with Jalen Green and Alperen Sengun to become the future cornerstones of the franchise.
Paolo Banchero, who denied Smith from being the best of their class after the Orlando Magic took him as the top overall pick, comes at No.2 in this list due to his package of scoring and defense with his length.
The Detroit Pistons may have their cornerstone in Cade Cunningham, but the arrival of their top pick Jaden Ivey fulfills a need for a solid backcourt.
Ivey’s impressive jab step and playmaking would complement Cunningham’s strengths as the Pistons resume their rebuild to become a playoff team again.
HOLMGREN, MURRAY, AND WILLIAMS GOT NEXT
The Oklahoma City Thunder, like the Pistons, also need another piece to backstop rising star Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.
Chet Holmgren did stick to projections as the Thunder’s No.2 pick, and fourth in this “impact” list.
The seven-footer did not disappoint this early, as Holmgren put up 23 points along with seven rebounds, four assists, and a Summer League record of making five blocks and four three-pointers to help OKC beat the Utah Jazz, 98-77, on Tuesday night in Salt Lake City.
Keegan Murray comes next at No.5, and the 6-foot-8 forward also shone with 26 points and eight rebounds on 10-of-14 shooting to help the Sacramento Kings defeat the Golden State Warriors, 86-68, in the California Classic summer league tournament on Saturday night.
Mark Williams is a mid-first-round pick who’s No.6 on the list. The 7-foot-2 Duke center brings excitement to Hornets fans, as he teams up with LaMelo Ball, Gordon Hayward, Terry Rozier, and Miles Bridges in a solid core that can just steer the franchise to the playoffs.
DANIELS, DUREN READY TO SHINE
The New Orleans Pelicans may have found something special when they took in Dyson Daniels at No.8.
The 6-foot-8 forward, who averaged 12 points, 7.1 rebounds, 5.1 assists, and two steals per game for the G League Ignite last year, will be a valuable key player off the bench as Zion Williamson makes his return from injury.
Jalen Duren became the No.13 pick overall by the Charlotte Hornets before he was traded to the Pistons to form a young triumvirate with Cunningham and Ivey.
Duren averaged 12 points, 8/1 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game in his lone season at Memphis to help the Tigers reach the NCAA tournament in 2014 and into the round of 32.
SHARPE, DAVIS ROUND OUT TOP 10
Canadian forward/guard Shaedon Sharpe landed as the No.7 overall pick and ninth in the ‘impact” list, and the 19 year-old is more than capable of making a statement as a pro.
The 19-year-old five-star recruit will have his chance to shine with the Portland Trail Blazers, as he tries to complement franchise player Damian Lillard and help the team contend to at least a return in the playoffs.
Johnny Davis is the 10th overall pick by the Washington Wizards, and it is timely that he also rounds out our top 10 “impact list for rookies.
The 6-foot-4 guard may be a stretch to say that he can be a replacement if top scorer Bradley Beal decides to go elsewhere soon. But the upside is there for the La Crosse, Wisconsin, native to contribute right away in his rookie NBA season.