Stock up, stock down for Cavaliers players in Summer League

Isaiah Mobley, Cleveland Cavaliers. Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports
Isaiah Mobley, Cleveland Cavaliers. Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports /
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Cleveland Cavaliers
Emoni Bates, Eastern Michigan. Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images /

Emoni Bates – Stock: Neutral

Summer League stat line: 6 games, 29.8 minutes, 17.2 points, 6 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 0.8 steals, 0.8 blocks

The buzz around Emoni Bates is tremendous; how many players selected in the last 10 picks of the NBA Draft have ever generated this much conversation? Everyone from Cavaliers fans to the group selecting All-Summer League teams appears to be drinking the Emoni Bates Kool-Aid.

To his credit, Bates said all the right things after the NBA Draft. The former high school phenom had a rough two years in college, and NBA teams were rightfully concerned about how he would transition into being a role player. So far, so good, as Bates largely played off-ball in Summer League and filled his role well.

First, the good: Bates can absolutely shoot the basketball. He his 43.9 percent of his 7.5 three-point attempts per game, and his catch-and-shoot number felt closer to 100. His stroke is smooth, the ball looks good every time. He also ran the court, showing a good motor and finding himself open in transition to finish at the rim. He racked up a few highlight plays defensively stealing the ball or racing in from the weakside to affect a shot.

The flip side of the coin is less rosy. While Bates did have a few highlight plays on defense, he also was completely overwhelmed most of the time. He had a poor stance, he lacked the strength to contest shots inside, and he was frequently gambling for steals or rebounds that left him out of position. When he was spotting up or playing in the flow of the offense his shot was a real weapon; all too often he gave himself the green light for a heat check that rarely resulted in anything but a clank.

If you came into Summer League thinking that Bates had untapped potential and deserved a rotation spot this season, you probably saw enough to stick to your guns. If you thought Bates lacked the strength, athleticism, defense or mindset to be a useful NBA role player (that’s where I came down) you probably still think that.