KU’s Jalen Wilson enjoys productive NBA summer league experience with Brooklyn Nets

Former Kansas men’s basketball forward Jalen Wilson’s Brooklyn Nets will have to settle for a top four finish in the NBA 2K24 Summer League contested the past two weeks in Las Vegas.

Wilson and teammate Armoni Brooks scored 22 points apiece in the Nets’ 102-99 loss to Cleveland in a summer league semifinal game on Sunday. Wilson, a 6-foot-8 native of Denton, Texas selected by the Nets with the No. 51 overall pick in the 2023 NBA Draft, hit 4 of 13 shots. He was 2-of-6 from three-point range and 12-of-14 from the line. He pulled down 11 rebounds and dished four assists in 36 minutes.

Wilson was productive throughout summer league.

He averaged 17.6 points, 7.8 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game in five games. Wilson hit 43.6% of his shots overall and was 45.8% from three and 78.4% from the line.

“With Jalen, you can see the high IQ. You can see how he plays. He’s got a great feel for the game,” Nets general manager Sean Marks told the New York Post. “I think the team enjoys playing with a guy like Jalen.

“His shot … he’s working on his consistency. If he can continue to knock that down like he has, you’re looking at an NBA player. So that’s exciting for us. Obviously the pedigree he comes from, he’s been coached well, coached hard and championship pedigree. That’s exciting for us,” Marks added.

According to Brian Lewis of the New York Post, “Mikal Bridges, Cam Johnson and Spencer Dinwiddie are likely to get the lion’s share of the shots, and if and when the 6-8, 225-pound Wilson plays (during his rookie season), his job will consist of setting screens, defending and, most of all, hitting catch-and-shoot 3-pointers.”

The Nets’ Cam Johnson told the Post that Wilson “has been shooting the ball really well.”

Wilson’s summer league shooting may have come as a pleasant surprise. The Big 12 player of the year and first-team All-American hit 33.7% of his threes last season at KU.

“I’ve just been working on it all summer,” Wilson told the New York Post. “Since I got out of school, through the entire draft process, I just wanted to be the best shooter I could be, just show my confidence and be able to take the shots when they come to me, not have to force anything. Just creating those game situations in my workouts and practice so when they do come in the game, it’s all in rhythm.”

“When he shoots with confidence, I have confidence it’s going to go in,” Nets summer league coach Trevor Hendry said. ‘Whenever he hesitates or has a little doubt in his mind, that’s when he gets in trouble. When he shoots it with confidence, I have the utmost positivity that it’s going in. His ability to get into paint and kick out is big. He drew three or four guys on his drives. Jalen’s ability to do both — he can rebound, he can push it and on the offensive end — the decisions he’s made were great.”

Ochai Agbaji’s team loses in semifinals

Former KU guard Ochai Agbaji’s Utah Jazz team fell to the Houston Rockets, 115-101, in the other semifinal Sunday. Agbaji did not play, coach’s decision. He’s had back stiffness that kept him out of three of Utah’s five games in Vegas.

Agbaji, a second-year pro, averaged 17.5 points and 8.0 boards in two summer games in Vegas.

Marcus Garrett to stick with Knicks?

Former KU guard Marcus Garrett was given a long look in summer league action by the New York Knicks. Garrett, who averaged 20.7 minutes in five games in Las Vegas, averaged 5.0 points a game on 33.3% shooting. He averaged 4.4 rebounds and 3.8 assists and 1.6 steals per contest.

Justin Backer of empiresports.media.com lists Garrett as a possible candidate to land a two-way deal with the Knicks.

“Marcus Garrett has experienced NBA action in limited doses, having appeared in 12 games for the Miami Heat during the 2021-22 season. Known for his defensive prowess, the former Kansas guard was able to display these skills over five games with the Summer League Knicks, averaging 1.6 steals per game in just 20.0 minutes of action per night,” wrote Backer. “Despite being a raw player offensively, Garrett’s performance on the defensive end likely impressed the Knicks, placing him in a good position to earn a G-League contract.”

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