NBA Summer League is in full swing out in Las Vegas, and the action continued on Monday night with another six games. The night was supposed to feature a showdown between the top two picks, Paolo Banchero and Chet Holmgren, but the Orlando Magic decided to shut down Banchero ahead of the matchup with the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Still, there was a lot going on in Vegas. Here’s a look at what you need to know from the day in Summer League.
No. 1 overall Paolo Banchero put on a show in his first two Summer League games, averaging 20 points, six assists and five rebounds. That was apparently all the Magic needed to see, as they made the decision to shut Banchero down on Monday. He will not play in the remainder of their games in Vegas.
“I want to give these other guys an opportunity to play, to kind of be able to show what they’re capable of doing,” Magic coach Jamahl Mosley said. “That’s the point of summer league, you know, give them a chance … an opportunity for these other guys to see what they’re capable of doing. And we’ve seen what Paolo was capable of doing.”
While it’s a bit disappointing we won’t get to see any more of Banchero, especially ahead of his matchup with Holmgren, the Magic’s decision is understandable. In addition to giving other players a chance, their decision will also ensure Banchero doesn’t suffer an injury in a meaningless game.
Ohio State forward EJ Liddell slid all the way to the middle of the second round in the NBA Draft last month, but he still has a chance to make the league with the New Orleans Pelicans. Unfortunately, that task got a bit harder on Monday when he suffered a knee injury in a Summer League game against the Atlanta Hawks.
Liddell, who had returned to the game after a scary fall in the first quarter, went down awkwardly while trying to post up his defender. His foot slipped as he tried to plant, and his knee buckled as he fell. Liddell left the game for good and is expected to undergo an MRI to determine the extent of the damage.
After suffering an injury to his right knee during the first quarter (and then returning after being checked out by team doctors), former Buckeye and current New Orleans Pelicans rookie EJ Liddell suffered another knee injury during the third quarter. pic.twitter.com/DIESBfvMwR
“It’s tough,” Pelicans coach Jarron Collins said. “We mentioned it the other day with Dyson (Daniels). Injuries are part of the game. You don’t want to see anyone get injured out there. We’ll have more information for you guys tomorrow.”
Dyson Daniels, the Pelicans’ lottery pick at No. 8 overall, sprained his ankle earlier in Summer League. The Pelicans will hope that Liddell’s injury ends up being minor as well.
During the Boston Celtics’ run to the Finals, you may have heard about forward Matt Ryan. The little-used reserve only played in one regular season game and did not see the court in the playoffs, but just being a part of the team was thrilling for him considering just a year ago he had been working in a cemetery and driving for Door Dash.
“I haven’t heard a story like that, like mine,” Ryan said during the playoffs. “It blows my mind. I can’t even believe this is my story, but it is.”
Ryan is now in Vegas with the Celtics’ Summer League team hoping to earn a spot on the roster again for next season. Auditions don’t get much better than the one he had on Monday night. Ryan made 6 of his 11 attempts from 3-point range en route to a team-high 23 points, and also knocked down an outrageous game winner to lift the Celtics over the Milwaukee Bucks.
MATT RYAN FOR THE WIN pic.twitter.com/0rJgdwh3iY
Unfortunately, Ryan injured his ankle in the process, so he wasn’t able to fully celebrate. He said after the game that he just tweaked it, though, so he should be good for the team’s next game.