The Portland Trail Blazers will take on the New York Knicks for the 2022 NBA Summer League Championship in Las Vegas, Nevada on Sunday at noon, Pacific, 3:00 PM Eastern time zone. As often happens, Summer League has given NBA fans a glimpse at future stars and young players excelling mightily, looking to earn a spot in the league. It’s a modest surprise that the Blazers have made the tournament championship game without fielding... well... any of them. Portland’s leading scorer, Keon Johnson, ranks 17th on the list for the tourney. No other Portland player cracked the top 50.
Rookie Shaedon Sharpe, the 7th overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft, was supposed to provide fireworks for the Blazers. He went out in their first game, playing only 5 minutes, 33 seconds before falling to a shoulder injury. In his place, the Blazers have substituted improved defense, distribution, rebounding, and teamwork. The run has been impressive.
But this is still Summer League. Portland won’t field their Vegas lineup when the 2022-23 regular season starts in October. Only a few players from the July desert will experience Christmas in the team’s uniform.
As a prelude to asking who those players will be, we’re going to ask you to name your Summer League Superstar and Surprise Player for the Blazers this year. You can use any criteria you want. The general idea is that the superstar is the most excellent contributor, while the “surprise” is the player you didn’t expect much of coming into the tournament that you now nod appreciatively at.
We’ll cover the game on Sunday, as usual, but until then, share your Superstar and Surprise in the comments below!