These 22 players scored the most points in NBA Summer League history

Glen Rice Jr. was an NBA Summer League legend, leading the league in scoring and being named MVP, but quickly flamed out of the NBA

The NBA Summer League is stocked with the NBA’s most-recent draft picks, young players already on NBA rosters looking to develop their game, players from the G League, and a variety of players looking to catch onto a team and fulfill their NBA dream.

With that level of talent, the natural assumption is that the best players from the NBA Summer League would translate into the NBA’s season’s most-buzz worthy prospects — ones you can put your money on to make an impact.

You would think that, but you’d be wrong. Looking at the players that have led the Summer League in scoring the last few years and the ones that have scored the most points, you’ll find recognizable names, but none that have translated to NBA superstardom, much less an NBA All-Star. Take a look at these players that make up the list of the highest scoring games in NBA Summer League player history:

The most points in NBA summer league game
Pts Player Team Opponent Date
47 Anthony Morrow GSW NOH 07/16/09
42 Anthony Randolph GSW CHI 07/14/09
42 Von Wafer DEN NY 07/15/07
42 Marcus Banks PHX CLE 07/9/07
40 Furkan Korkmaz PHL BOS 07/06/18
38 Keith Bogans ORL WAS 07/17/04
37 Ike Diogu GSW PHX 07/15/05
37 Marco Belinelli GSW NO 07/07/07
37 Donovan Mitchell UTA MEM 07/11/17
36 Nick Young WAS CLE 07/14/09
36 Jerryd Bayless POR PHX 07/19/08
36 Glen Rice Jr. WSH SAS 07/19/14
35 Brandon Roy POR PHX 07/12/06
35 Josh Selby MEM WSH 07/17/12
35 Reggie Jackson OKC DET 07/09/13
35 Jonathon Simmons  SAS PHL 07/05/16
35 Dylan Ennis GSW LAC 07/14/17
35 Bryn Forbes SAS PHL 07/09/17

For the most part, these players went on to make a name for themselves in the league, albeit as role players not all-stars. The exceptions being Brandon Roy, who was an NBA All-Star and a rising star when his career was cut short by injuries and most-likely Donovan  Mitchell if he can stay healthy. The prevailing reason that the superstars of the NBA aren’t at the top of these lists are that the top draft picks and second year players don’t play the entire game as they’ve already locked up a roster spot, so there’s no incentive for them to go all out or prove anything.

In fact, leading the off-season league in scoring isn’t necessarily a good thing. Outside of Damian Lillard perhaps it’s even a curse in terms of predicting super stardom in the next level.

NBA summer league Leading Scorers by Year
Player PPG Team Year
Donovan Mitchell 28.0 ppg UTA 2017
Kyle Anderson 23.7 ppg SAS 2016
Seth Curry 24.3 ppg NOP 2015
Glen Rice Jr. 25.0 ppg WSH 2014
Dwight Buycks 23.0 ppg OKC 2013
Damian Lillard 26.5 ppg POR 2012
John Wall 23.5 ppg WSH 2010
Anthony Randolph 26.8 ppg GSW 2009
Jerryd Bayless 29.9 ppg POR 2008
Marcus Banks 42.0 ppg PHX 2007
Randy Foye 24.8 ppg MIN 2006
J.R. Smith 20.6 ppg NO 2005

Summer League Legend to Basketball Journeyman

Glen Rice Jr. is a great example of the Summer League promise broken by the NBA reality. By all measures, the NBA All-Star’s son was an NBA Summer League legend; he led the league in scoring in 2014 and was also named the Summer League MVP, but his career quickly flamed out of the NBA. It’s a lesson that though you may have succeeded in middle school, a superstar in high school, a great player in college, got drafted in the NBA lottery, and dominated the NBA’s Summer League, the Hall of Fame isn’t a guarantee at any point.

No offense to the obviously extremely-talented players like Korkmaz, Dwight Buycks, and Anthony Randolph (whom often-starred for Golden State’s Summer League team while Steph Curry struggled) but we liken the NBA Summer League to being very similar as leading the NCAA’s in scoring for a little D1 college. Just because you can average 29 points for a small college doesn’t mean you’re one of the best college players.

That’s to say that not all playing fields are equal and not all points are equal. Again, that’s not a knock on these exceptional basketball players, it’s just the NBA is a much different animal in terms of talent, shooting, athleticism, size, speed and basketball IQ. Usually if you don’t have at least three of the those in spades, you’re not going to make it.

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