We’re still months away from the start of the Syracuse Orange men’s basketball season, but between Boeheim’s Army and NBA Summer League we’ve had (relatively) much to talk about in the month of August.
For those who might not have been paying attention, Summer League wrapped up earlier in the week when the Sacramento Kings beat the Boston Celtics to take the crown. It’s all for naught, really, and we mostly just care about how former Syracuse players finished. There were four former SU guys competing in the event, as well as a pair of Syracuse-adjacent players.
With that said, let’s take a look at how erstwhile Orange (and Orange-related) stars finished in summer league.
Elijah Hughes spent his first year in the NBA with the Utah Jazz. He played sparingly in year one, appearing in just 18 games, and will attempt to crack the rotation in year two.
Through four summer league games, Hughes averaged 14 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 1.8 assists per game. He also displayed his clutch gene, nailing a late three to send the game into overtime against the Mavericks.
Hughes has used the offseason to work on his defense, specifically, his footwork, communication and gaining a better understanding of fitting into the Jazz’s defensive scheme. A talented scorer, Hughes is guaranteed $1.5 million this upcoming season, but a shift of focus on the defensive end could be the key to his staying power in the league.
“...I’m ready to showcase what I can do on defense. I’m a Syracuse guy, so I know that there’s a stigma on guys that, coming out, they’re not good defenders, so I just want to erase that stigma,” Hughes told the Salt Lake Tribune.
Brissett seemingly came out of nowhere for the Indiana Pacers last season. After spending most of his season in the G League, Brissett was called up and made the most of his opportunity, parlaying his success into a two-year contract and a starting role.
He picked up right where he left off, playing in two games during the Las Vegas Summer League, tallying 35 points, 13 rebounds, 6 assists, 1 steal and 1 block.
Brissett only appeared in two games to avoid injury as it’s obvious he’ll be included in the Pacers’ plans going forward.
The former Syracuse forward played sparingly for the Los Angeles Lakers, appearing in three games and scoring 10 points, grabbing five rebounds along with two blocks and two steals. He played just seven minutes per game for the Lakers.
Fresh off of a Boeheim’s Army/TBT appearance, Richardson played for the Sacramento Kings. He appeared in two contests, scoring four points and grabbing five rebounds but by and large struggled to shoot the ball.
It’s safe to say that Chief Keifer Sykes is an honorary Syracuse alum after his heroics in TBT. He averaged 8.0 points, 1.8 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.0 steal per game for the Indiana Pacers.
Also worth mention: Syracuse native Nate Knight averaged 13.0 points and 5.6 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game for the Minnesota Timberwolves after signing a two-way contract this summer.