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Five things to watch in the 2023 NBA Summer League

All eyes will be on No. 1 overall pick Victor Wembanyama in the 2023 NBA Summer League, who could make his debut on Friday, July 7.

The NBA Summer League is a great chance for some of the NBA Draft's top picks to put their talents on display ahead of the actual season. 

2023 top pick Victor Wembanyama will only feature in a handful of the San Antonio Spurs games this summer, though, as he prepares for his NBA rookie season.

In addition to when 'Wemby' will take the court in Vegas, we dove into some other storylines to follow in the 2023 Summer League.

Is Victor Wembanyama playing in the 2023 Summer League?

The one player that everyone is eager to watch out on the court is no doubt Wembanyama. And luckily, it’s been confirmed that he will indeed participate in this season’s summer league.

However, it’s been noted by Wembanyama himself that he’ll probably only be suiting up for a couple of games, and he also won’t have a huge role for the team. His minutes are also somewhat up in the air.

'Wemby' won't travel to Sacramento for the Spurs' fist two games in the California Classic Summer League, but will be present in Las Vegas and will likely feature in some of his team's four games, one of which comes against No. 2 overall pick Brandon Miller and the Charlotte Hornets on Friday, July 7. 

Notable rookie matchups

In what has been basically tradition at this point, the top two draft picks are set to face one another in this season’s summer league.

We touched on Wembanyama’s status above, so we are unsure how much he'll be on the court with Miller when San Antonio and Charlotte meet in Vegas. 

We will get to see the next two draft picks compete, though, as Scoot Henderson and Amen Thompson are set to face off when the Trail Blazers and Rockets play eachother. The third and fourth overall draft picks respectively, these two athletic freaks will battle it out on Friday, July 7th at 6pm ET.

Amen and his brother Ausar, who was the fifth overall pick to the Detroit Pistons, are set to face off on Sunday, July 9, when the Rockets and Pistons take the court.

Chet Holmgren makes his return

One player who will be making his debut comes from the 2022 NBA Draft class rather than 2023. That would be Chet Holmgren of the OKC Thunder.

The number two overall selection in last year’s draft missed the whole season due to a Lisfranc injury in his right foot that required surgery. The 7'1” unicorn has worked hard to get back into playing condition and it’ll be interesting to see if he can return to the form he once put on display.

In college at Gonzaga, Holmgren was a consensus second-team All-American and he also earned the WCC Defensive Player of the Year award. He’ll now join a Thunder squad that appears to have one of the brightest futures in all the NBA.

How will Emoni Bates perform for the Cavaliers?

A big storyline heading into the 2023 NBA Draft centered around forward Emoni Bates. Coming out of high school, Bates was regarded as one of the best prospects in years en route to earning the title of number one recruit in the nation.

After a freshman season filled with struggles at Memphis, Bates transferred back home to Eastern Michigan, where he was arrested last September.

He proceeded to score 19.2 points per game for the Eagles last season as he was able to let his talent shine. Bates eventually was drafted in the second round of this year’s draft by the Cleveland Cavaliers, and it’ll be fascinating to see if he can play at a high-level against NBA competition.

March Madness standouts hoping to make NBA rosters

We also highlighted in our introduction how this is a chance for players who are on the fringe of making the team to showcase what they can do.

It seems like every year, there are multiple players who performed outstanding in the March Madness tournament but don’t have the typical size/skillset for the NBA game.

2023 was no different, as you’ll find some of those standout players with that exact opportunity in this summer league below:

Markquis Nowell (Kansas State) - Toronto Raptors

Adama Sanogo (UConn) - Chicago Bulls

Drew Timme (Gonzaga) - Milwaukee Bucks

Jalen Pickett (Penn State) - Denver Nuggets

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