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Summer League Is Only Good For Getting Unreasonably Excited About Duncan Robinson

Illustration for article titled Summer League Is Only Good For Getting Unreasonably Excited About Duncan Robinson
Photo: Rich Pedroncelli (AP)

Have you heard about the NBA’s biggest signing of the summer? Clearly I am referring to the new two-way contract that former Michigan Wolverine Duncan Robinson has signed with the Miami Heat.

Robinson went undrafted, probably because he was something like the fifth-most important contributor on his college team as a senior. But he made his mark this month by shooting a heart-stopping 63 percent from three-point range in his Summer League showcase with the Miami Heat. Check out these bombs:


Yes, this basically competent basketball is what qualifies as “impressive” in the context of Summer League ball, but far be it from me to hate on Robinson’s success, even if it’s just relative to even scrubbier scrubs. After just five Summer League games, his signature skill—coming off screens for catch-and-shoot threes—can be classified by the Heat as “Duncan Robinson things.” Robinson is already a celebrity, if only in one Las Vegas gym.

This is a great thing, and not just because I’ve been watching Duncan Robinson drain long-distance shots since he transferred to Ann Arbor from D-III Williams College. If Summer League is good for anything besides filler content on ESPN during the dry months of summer, it’s getting unreasonably optimistic about randos like Duncan Robinson—players whose NBA careers will likely amount to a few stints as a 12th man on various middling teams.

Robinson is far from the only guy enjoying a bit of the star treatment for a few precious days before settling into the life of a two-way player. While Knicks first-rounder Kevin Knox is deservedly getting a lot of shine for his dominant Summer League play, there are many more entertainingly obscure players on whom we can place some wildly unrealistic expectations. For example, is USC’s De’Anthony Melton the perimeter guy the Rockets need to fill the gap left by Trevor Ariza?


Or is Kansas sharpshooter Svi Mykhailiuk going to be the Lakers’ version of Kyle Korver?


We can’t be proven wrong about this until at least autumn. Keita Bates-Diop will easily slot right into the Timberwolves’ lineup. Ray Spalding is a fun and exciting diamond in the rough for the Mavs. Devonte’ Graham is a savvy young point guard looking to contribute for the Hornets. Hopefully all the NBA’s old-ass veterans can keep up.

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