As the Portland Trail Blazers confront the possibility of turning the page on the Damian Lillard era, this year’s NBA Summer League provided fans with a glimpse into the future.
Despite an injury that took out Scoot Henderson, the Blazers’ main attraction in summer league, the team’s week in Las Vegas provided plenty of entertaining moments (hello, Shaedon Sharpe dunks) and chances to evaluate where Portland’s rostered players stand developmentally.
Overall, the team impressed in Las Vegas, posting a 3-2 record and falling just short of making the four-team playoff tournament. After Henderson’s injury in the team’s first game, summer league signees Michael Devoe and Duop Reath bolstered the rostered players’ production, propelling the team to three straight wins before Portland emptied its bench in a loss against the Miami Heat.
It’s always dangerous to draw conclusions from summer league, but it can be useful to observe how young players perform in larger roles and respond to the pace and strength of professional basketball. Here are three takeaways fans can draw from the Blazers’ five games in Las Vegas.