When the 2020 NBA Summer League was shutdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, it created doubts and concerns about whether the Summer League would resume in 2021. Houston Rockets fans remained especially hopeful that the league would resume, as the Rockets have a slew of younger players that stood to benefit from additional repetitions and game action.
Several of these players included Khyri Thomas and Kenyon Martin Jr., who flashed tremendous potential during the 2020-21 season, which was ultimately a lost year for the franchise altogether. The 20-year-old Martin finished the season with averages of 9.3 points and 5.4 rebounds, while shooting 50.9% from the field and 36.5% from 3-point range.
Not bad averages for someone who was viewed as a project, due to his decision to not attend college. Speaking of college, the Rockets recently wrapped up their 2021 NBA Draft, selecting the G-League Ignite's Jalen Green, Alperen Sengun of Turkey, Usman Garuba of Spain, and Josh Christopher of Arizona State.
3 reasons why the Houston Rockets' early Summer League success shouldn't be overlooked
The early showings of the Houston Rockets' Summer League team have been wildly positive, as the Rockets have yet to face defeat. In addition, the Rockets have already faced top-overall pick Cade Cunningham and the Detroit Pistons, as well as number-three pick Evan Mobley and the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Many within the national media have stated that too much is being made about the Summer League, due to the drop-off in competition and the exhibition-style nature of meaningless games. But while that's understandable, the Rockets' early success should actually not be overlooked, for several reasons.