Davison, Ellis show promise in NBA Summer League

Shackelford struggles to crack rotation
2/9/22 MBB Alabama vs Ole MIss Alabama guard JD Davison (3) Photo by Robert Sutton
Alabama basketball

By WVUA 23 Digital Reporter Mason Smith

Crimson Tide fans have watched JD Davison, Keon Ellis and Jaden Shackelford compete for NBA opportunities in the Las Vegas Summer League.

Each player has faced his own challenges since leaving the University of Alabama, and after a few games against prospective NBA talent, fans and teams have a better idea of how each player will perform.

Davison had the highest ceiling of all three when he was drafted 53rd overall to the Boston Celtics, but he’s underperformed in the team’s first three games.

In his most recent game, however, teams saw the potential of the Calhoun High School graduate. Against the Memphis Grizzlies, Davison erupted for 28 points, 10 assists, five rebounds and three steals.

His most impressive stat? Shooting, where he knocked down nine of 14 shots from the field and four of six 3-pointers, including making all six of his free throws.

His overall shooting number has room for improvement, but he’s already shown promise with his passing and athleticism. If his shooting continues to improve, he will be an exciting NBA player to watch.

Ellis has performed the best of the three all summer, averaging 14.7 points on 46.4% shooting in two games for the Sacramento Kings, including shooting 57% from 3-point range on seven attempts.

He’s also matched up well defensively, a trait that follows him from his All-Defensive performance last season at Alabama. He initially raised some red flags when he came up a lot shorter than most expected at the NBA combine, but those concerns seem to have faded away.

It’s a small sample size, but Ellis is showing he at least deserves a shot, and with Sacramento looking to improve around its star players, the opportunity is there.

Meanwhile, Shackelford was signed to a training camp deal with the Oklahoma City Thunder that included a spot on the summer league roster. He played for two minutes in two games in Salt Lake City, and hasn’t played since.

Granted, there’s a lot of young talent on Oklahoma’s summer roster, including No. 2 draft pick Chet Holmgren and last year’s first-round pick Josh Giddey. That said, it is hard to evaluate Shackelford against the competition if he doesn’t get any minutes.

Shackelford and Davison have an opportunity to compete for the Summer League Championship should the standings fall in favor of their respective teams.

Shackelford and the Thunder play against the Golden State Warriors at 6 p.m. on ESPN. Ellis and the Kings follow it up against the Phoenix Suns tonight at 7 p.m. on NBATV. After Friday, the teams have one more game falling on Saturday or Sunday.

Categories: Sports