No. 2: Bates has been a better teammate than one might’ve anticipated
Emoni Bates has been known to be a sort of player who has the “give me the ball and get out of the way” playstyle. In Eastern Michigan, he was a shot-chucker. He didn’t really try to pass a lot. He played in isolation a lot, and that was the case for a lot of the games.
This isn’t to hate on Bates, he just played a bit selfishly in college, also at Memphis to some degree; his roles did lead to some of that too, though.
However, in the Summer League, he’s looked a lot more selfless. He’s been making the extra passes, he’s been playing hard, and being vocal.
Sure, one assist in the recent game against Memphis isn’t amazing, but that’s fine. He saw when he had open looks, and if he didn’t have a look he liked, he either swung the ball or tried to get separation with a screen.
Eastern Michigan’s team wasn’t very good, either. They had a record of 8-23, and their second-leading scorer averaged 14.3 points. It’s reasonable to assume that he must’ve thought that the key to succeed was for him to get his shots up, but that was a recipe for failure, and Eastern Michigan’s record plummeted.
At the end of the victory against Memphis, the cameras went over to Sam Merrill and Bates, to get their voices on input on the game. Here’s what Bates had to say.
"“So far it’s been fun for me, being out here with my teammates, like he said. I’ve been learning every game, first game ’till now, I’ve just been learning. I ask him questions too, like, even at the facility. Just trying to learn as much as I can, they’ve been here before me, so I’m just trying to pick off what they did from last year.”"
Bates was talking about Sam Merrill in the interview, and how he wanted to learn from the 27-year-old guard. Merrill has been in the Summer League before, and has been in the league for a few years now. Because of that, Bates has been a student under Merrill, it seems, which is impressive to see Bates take that initiative.