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Top 10 individual performances from the 2021 NBA Summer League

Cam Thomas had the best individual performance in the 2021 NBA Summer League
Cam Thomas had the best individual performance in the 2021 NBA Summer League
Charles Eluemuno

The 2021 NBA Summer League has come to an end after ten days of fascinating basketball. The Sacramento Kings completed their unbeaten run in the competition by defeating the Boston Celtics in the finals.

In the build-up to the finals, multiple rookies and a few experienced NBA role players showed out. There were several exceptional performances, many of which spurred their teams to victories.

Every franchise has big decisions to make in terms of incorporating their draft picks into the team. While many have shown that they can be starters, others will still have to fight for a bigger role.

That said, let's look at the top ten individual performances from the 2021 NBA Summer League.


#10 Davion Mitchell vs Charlotte Hornets

Davion Mitchell during the 2021 NBA Draft
Davion Mitchell during the 2021 NBA Draft

Davion Mitchell and the Sacramento Kings opened their 2021 NBA Summer League campaign on August 9, with a game against the Charlotte Hornets. It was a showdown between two out of the top 15 picks in the 2021 draft class.

The Sacramento Kings selected Mitchell as the 9th overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft while James Bouknight of the Charlotte Hornets was the 11th pick. While many had high expectations for both guards, Bouknight was completely shut down.

Although Mitchell registered only ten points and nine assists, he was a terror on defense. His defense made all the difference in the matchup as he held one of the Hornets' best players to only eleven points. After the Kings won the championship, he was named co-MVP of the event.


#9 Cam Thomas vs Washington Wizards

Cam Thomas was by far the best offensive player in the 2021 NBA Summer League. The Brooklyn Nets went neck-and-neck with the Washington Wizards in an intense matchup that ended after double overtime.

In the 84-81 victory, Cam made an exceptional three-pointer off one foot in a brilliant execution of an isolation play. He finished the game with 31 points, three rebounds, two steals, and an assist.


#8 Jordan Nwora vs LA Clippers

Jordan Nwora #13 of the Milwaukee Bucks
Jordan Nwora #13 of the Milwaukee Bucks

Jordan Nwora returned from an impressive Olympic display for Team Nigeria and suited up for the 2021 NBA champions once again. He was responsible for leading the Bucks to their first win in the 2021 NBA Summer League.

Nwora's performance was inspirational as he picked himself up despite a slow start. If it wasn't for the 22-year-old, the Bucks would have joined the Charlotte Hornets as the only teams to lose all their matchups in the competition.

It was a complete takeover in the second quarter, as Nwora made three consecutive 3-pointers in two minutes to end the period with 15 points. The sophomore has shown his effectiveness from range and might be called upon more frequently during the 2021-22 season.


#7 Tre Jones vs Charlotte Hornets

Tre Jones #3 of the San Antonio Spurs
Tre Jones #3 of the San Antonio Spurs

Tre Jones led the San Antonio Spurs to their first victory in the 2021 NBA Summer League after they lost their first two games. A narrow victory against the Charlotte Hornets was decided by a last-second driving layup from Jones.

The Spurs won the game 106-105, predominantly due to Jones' 34-point display. The 2020 second-round pick was one assist and two rebounds shy of a triple-double.

It was a poor display from the second-year guard in the area of turnovers as he finished the game with seven. However, his efficiency on offense helped the Spurs stay in the game to clinch their first and only victory.

#6 Armoni Brooks vs Portland Trail Blazers

John Wall #1 of the Houston Rockets and Armoni Brooks #7
John Wall #1 of the Houston Rockets and Armoni Brooks #7

Armoni Brooks was undrafted in the 2019 NBA draft but ended up with the Houston Rockets after being bounced around the league. With his two-way contract, he appeared in 20 games and averaged 11.2 points each night.

Brooks gave the Rockets something to think about with his 30-point game against the Portland Trail Blazers on the final day of action. He knocked down nine 3's in 17 attempts.

It was a dramatic end to the game as the Rockets went on a 12-0 run despite trailing for the better part of the game. Brooks' clutch three-pointer was the final blow to give the Rockets separation, resulting in a 95-92 win. Coupled with his 30 points, the restricted free agent grabbed six rebounds and made three assists.


#5 Desmond Bane vs Brooklyn Nets

Desmond Bane #22 of the Memphis Grizzlies
Desmond Bane #22 of the Memphis Grizzlies

The 2019 NBA Summer League champions started their 2021 campaign on an incredibly high note by defeating the Brooklyn Nets 91-84. Desmond Bane deserved most of the praise for the victory as he led the Memphis Grizzlies with 32 points.

It was the perfect start to the campaign as the guard was fired up. He kept up the intensity and productivity from the Salt Lake City Summer League.

It was a shooting fest for Bane as he converted on 10 of his 19 attempts, six of which came from 3-point range. He rounded up the game with two rebounds, four assists and two steals to kick off his 2021 NBA Summer League campaign.


#4 Immanuel Quickley vs Indiana Pacers

Immanuel Quickley #5 of the New York Knicks
Immanuel Quickley #5 of the New York Knicks

Immanuel Quickley single-handedly decimated the Indiana Pacers in the New York Knicks' second game of the competition. Coming off a devastating loss against the Toronto Raptors, Quickley was determined to turn things around, and that's what he did.

The Pacers were at the receiving end of an incredible individual performance as Quickley posted 32 points, eight assists, two rebounds and two steals. His jaw-dropping display came as no surprise as the youngster had decent minutes in the NBA and is under the tutelage of one of the most explosive guards in league history - Derrick Rose.

It was an all-around sensational display that left the Pacers shell-shocked. It was the first of many intriguing performances by Quickley in the 2021 NBA Summer League. The 22-year-old will undoubtedly have more minutes to prove himself in the NBA during the upcoming season.

#3 Obi Toppin vs the Detroit Pistons

Obi Toppin #1 of the New York Knicks
Obi Toppin #1 of the New York Knicks

The New York Knicks fell to the No. 1 pick of the 2021 NBA Draft, Cade Cunningham, and the Detroit Pistons in their fourth game of the event. Regardless, Obi Toppin was outstanding for the Knicks as he tried to inspire a comeback during the game.

Cunningham led the charge against the Knicks but was not as effective as Toppin when it came to scoring. He flirted with a double-double as he also registered nine rebounds in the game.

The 2020 NBA Draft No. 8 overall pick put his NBA experience to good use as he dominated the game. Toppin also posted decent numbers on defense, registering three steals and two blocks, and also had zero turnovers in the game.


#2 Paul Reed vs Minnesota Timberwolves

Doc Rivers of the Philadelphia 76ers celebrates with Seth Curry #31, Danny Green #14 and Paul Reed #44
Doc Rivers of the Philadelphia 76ers celebrates with Seth Curry #31, Danny Green #14 and Paul Reed #44

Paul Reed exploded against the Minnesota Timberwolves in the Philadelphia 76ers' final preliminary game of the competition. He registered an astounding 27 points, 20 rebounds, four assists, four steals, and four blocks in 11 of 17 shooting night.

It was the single most impressive performance from a player on a losing team throughout the 2021 NBA Summer League. The 76ers lost the game 96-99 in overtime, but it was not for a lack of trying from Reed.

The 22-year-old was an unstoppable force in the game as he knocked down 75% of his 3-point shots, was perfect from the charity stripe, and did a decent job protecting the basket. Regardless, the Timberwolves found a way to snatch the win late in the game, resulting in the Sixers recording their second NBA Summer League loss.

The Philadelphia 76ers used Reed in 26 games during the 2020-21 NBA regular season, while he featured in 15 games for the G League's Delaware Blue Coats. His efforts in the G League earned him the MVP and Rookie of the Year award while also being selected for the G League All-Defensive First Team.


#1 Cam Thomas vs San Antonio Spurs

Cam Thomas during the 2021 NBA Draft
Cam Thomas during the 2021 NBA Draft

Cam Thomas has been an absolute sensation in the 2021 NBA Summer League, showing that he is a perfect fit with the Brooklyn Nets. After losing their first summer league game, the Nets, led by Thomas, caught fire.

They went on a three-game win streak to end their preliminary round. In the game against the Spurs, Thomas achieved an NBA Summer League feat that dates back to 2018 with his 36 points.

The guard out of LSU converted 11 of 25 shots from the field and was perfect from the free-throw line, knocking down all eleven attempts. He also recorded two rebounds, two steals and an assist.

Selected as the 27th overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft, Thomas was named co-MVP of the event. He also led the competition in scoring, finishing with 27 points per game while shooting 42.3% from the field.

Edited by Anantaajith Ra

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