On Sunday afternoon, the NBA’s annual Summer League, after 55 games in 10 days came to a close.  Taking too much stock in summer league is a lot like handing out Oscar nominations for an eight minute audition tape.  Most of the talent there is probably a step above the NBA’s winter D-League.  Statistics alone don’t tell the whole story. (See: Jarryd Bayless, 2007).  However summer league can be analyzed as a barometer for success and failure for NBA rookies and sophomores.

Look back at the 2007 Summer League.  #1 overall pick Greg Oden arrived in Vegas with astronomical expectations.  His semi-pro debut ended in a disappointing 9 foul, 13 point performance.  In his second outing, Oden exited with ten fouls, 6 points, 4 turnovers and a single rebound.  It was a microcosm of the the three years to come.

Conversely, Kevin Durant left Orlando’s summer league averaging 24 points per game but shot at a 33% clip, grabbed only 8 rebounds and dished 2 assists.  Last season, Brandon Jennings led the league in assists and Blake Griffin earned MVP honors.

The headliner at last season’s summer league was former Warriors big man Anthony Randolph.  He hasn’t been heard from since getting drafted as a freshman out of LSU and getting sequestered to Don Nelson’s bench.  Randolph captivated Vegas in consecutive summers.  In the 2009 Summer League, Randolph led all players averaging 28 ppg, 8.5 rpg, 3 bpg and tied the summer league single game scoring record of 42 points.

However, Don Nelson has never given minutes to 7 footers in his breakneck speed 4 guard lineup.  After getting traded to New York, however, Mike D’Antoni will capitalize on Randolph’s size and athleticism alongside.

2009’s second overall pick, Hasheem Thabeet’s summer league performance was a harbinger of doom for the Memphis Grizzlies.  After clumsily averaging 8.2 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 0.8 blocks per game, in the summer league, Thabeet was eventually demoted to the D-League during the regular season.

In 2008 point guard Jerryd Bayless averaged 29.8 points per game en route to being named Vegas Summer League MVP.  However, it was a bad omen for Bayless to tally just five assists and 15 turnovers from the point guard position.  He can score in boatloads but it doesn’t matter in the NBA if you’re also one dimensional.  Those selfish habits have prevented Nate McMillan from unleasing Bayless for extended minutes.

Seemingly every year, Golden State throws out the star of Summer League.  In 2007, 21 year old first round pick and, Marco Belinelli conjured up images of an Italian Larry Bird with his picturesque jumper, averaging 23 points per game, including a 37 point shooting clinic.

Just two days after Randolph scored the aforementioned summer league record 42 points in 2009, forward Anthony Morrow lit up the Hornets summer squad for a record breaking 47 points and hit 7 of 9 shots from behind the arc.

Although, Stephen Curry is recognized as Golden State’s prized shooter, Morrow led the NBA in shooting percentage from behind the arc as a rookie in 2008.  In his first NBA start the 6’5 guard scored 37 points, the most ever scored in a game by an undrafted player in his rookie season, against the Lakers D-League team–the Los Angles Clippers.  Outdoor elements also could not stop Morrow’s King Midas shooting touch after he torched Suns in an outdoor pre-season matchup for 30 points.

With the plethora of talent on the Warriors bench, Don Nelson spread out the minutes among a bench deeper than Precious’ appetite preventing anyone from standing out.  Last season, 11 players averaged double figure scoring numbers for Golden State.  By comparison, the Lakers had five.  However, Belinelli was traded to Toronto before the ’09 season, Randolph and Azubike were jettisoned to New York in a package deal for David Lee, Corey Maggette signed with Milwaukee, Raja Bell is taking his defense to Utah and Morrow’s 13 points per 29 minutes were traded to New Jersey last week.

So who in the backcourt can fill Morrow’s scoring void?  Golden State simply reaches into their development pool and inserts 6’6 swingman Reggie Williams.  Although he wasn’t called up to the Warriors until March, Reggie Williams has accrued some impressive credentials on top of a quietly impressive collegiate resume.  Williams capped off a prolific college career which saw him transform into a Pete Maravich caliber scorer as the NCAA’s scoring leader in his junior and senior campaigns at VMI by playing a season in France.

In 2009, Williams was drafted by the D-League’s Sioux Falls Skyforce averaging 26.7 ppg and 5.7 rebounds before signing with Golden State in March.  Playing for Golden State’s summer league roster in Las Vegas last week, Williams averaged 22 ppg and scored 34 points opposite Washington’s John Wall. With the two Anthony’s, Morrow and Randolph eliminated from the rotation, the red hot swingman will return as Golden State’s potent third option behind Monta Ellis and Stephen Curry.

Using past summer league performances as the criteria, which rookies and breakout performers from the 2010 Summer Leagues in Vegas and Orlando delivered good omens to their franchises for the regular season?

John Wall led Playing six games in as many days,  DeMarcus Cousins was a dominant post player offensively and led all summer league players in rebounds.  It was a mixed bag for Cousins unfortunately.  His lack of conditioning may have been a factor in his 6.5 rpg, 8 ppg and 4 for 27 shooting from the field in the Kings final two games.  From his week, I imagine he’ll hit the rookie wall in mid-January.

Summer League MVP John Wall, didn’t disappoint averaging a league high 24 points, 8 assists per.and settled down from commiting 16 turnovers in his first two contests to five in the final two.  Like Cousins, however Wall shot below 38% from the field.

In the upcoming season, I’d be shocked if John Wall’s to Javale McGee didn’t become the most prolific alley oop duo since Tyson Chandler and Chris Paul.  Any lob near the hoop inevitable resullted in McGee’s hands flushing it through the hoop.   In a performance reminiscent of Anthony Randolph’s last summer, 7 footer, McGee ran the floor like a guard and displayed dunk contest athleticism by averaging 20 ppg and 9.3 rpg in four games.  Along with Andray Blatche who finally realized a modicum of his potential late in the season, Washington will have a pair of floor running bigs alongside Wall in transition.

6’11 Andray Blatche, the penultimate high school player ever drafted averaged a 20/10 double double in the 2009 Summer League from Orlando.   After the Wizards unloaded Antawn Jamison, Caron Butler and Brendan Haywood, Blatche finally unearthed the potential that’s been forecasted for years by averaging 21 ppg after the trade deadline.  Don’t be shocked when the Wizards lock up a 4 seed in the East next April with Blatche a frontcourt of Blatche and McGee as well as Wall and Arenas in the backcourt.

Evan Turner struggled mightily in Summer League. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in recent years it’s that the 1st and 2nd overall picks are never both All-Star caliber athletes.  Their is always one winner and a loser in the eternal 1 v. 2 debate.  Look at every draft since 1990.  Not once have a pair of perennial All-Stars been selected first and second overall.

From what’s been observed so far, Washington’s John Wall is the future All-Star while Evan Turner is suddenly a major questionmark.  There was no facet of the game in which he was effective.  Turner averaged only 9.4 ppg, 5.6 rpg and 2.8 assists per game in five games and went 2 of 12 from from the field in a pair of games.  Against subpar talent, there weren’t many showcases of Turner imposing his will on an opponent.  His summer league sample depicts a player who won’t be a difference maker and suggests the Brandon Roy comparisons were premature.

New Jersey’s Terrance Williams was the best point forward in summer league.  Although he  averaged just 18 ppg, his numbers actually dipped after he played just two minutes in the Las Vegas Summer League finale.  In four starts Williams averaged 23 ppg, 6 apg and 4 rpg in 35 minutes.  Williams

When you glance past his mediocre season averages as a rookie, Williams’ summer was an extension of his numbers in March and April.  After averaging 4 ppg in 15 minutes a night in February, Williams became a regular 14ppg/5apg/7rpg contributor in March and in April closed out the season averaging 14/6/7 in twice as many minutes.

So to recap, John Wall and the Wizards emerged as winners, Terrence Williams gave Nets fans hope for the next season and Reggie Williams proved the regular season was no fluke.  Of course, this could all be a moot point if Derrick Favors proves to be more than just a ferocious dunker and wins Rookie of the Year and if Terrance Williams reverts back to his February form.  But gaging their performances over the last few weeks I doubt it.