Jackson, Selden, Diallo earn NBA Summer League honors
Three former Kansas basketball players earned all-Summer League honors this week following strong showings in Las Vegas during the past couple of weeks.
Phoenix rookie Josh Jackson, the No. 4 overall pick in June's draft, landed on the first team while second-year pros Wayne Selden Jr., and Cheick Diallo both earned second-team nods.
The accolades represent a couple of key things for the players and their franchises, with the Suns receiving validation of a job well done after selecting Jackson when they did and Selden and Diallo gaining even more crucial confidence as they strive to find their way and make an impact on their respective rosters.
Selden was oh so close to being named a first-team selection and he easily could've been on the first team, which was made up of Jackson, Lonzo Ball, Dennis Smith, Caleb Swanigan and John Collins.
The former KU standout was fourth in the entire league at 22.7 points per game and helped lead the Memphis Grizzlies to the semifinals of the Summer League tournament. Not only did Selden score in bunches — with deep jumpers, dazzling dunks and repeated trips to the free throw line — but he also emerged as the go-to scorer on Memphis' young squad.
Not bad for a guy who didn’t even play a dozen games with the team last season and spent three times as much time in the D League as he did on an NBA roster.
It's likely that Selden missed out on making the first team because his rebound (3.8) and assists (3.0) totals were not as high as some would've liked to see. While those areas clearly are important parts of the game, Selden's emergence as a take-over type of player was one of the better stories of the Vegas circuit.
He looked strong, confident, crazy athletic and comfortable in any and all situations. In short, he looked a lot like the guy KU fans got glimpses of during his three years at Kansas, most notably during his 33-point outburst in a home victory over Kentucky during his junior season.
While some might perceive Selden’s second-team selection as a snub or a slight, the guess here is that Selden’s just fine with it. Ever since going undrafted in 2016, the former Jayhawk guard has taken full advantage of any and all opportunities to fill his tank with fuel for motivation.
The result was his stellar summer and a two-year contract with the Grizzlies. If this latest dose of motivation delivers the same way the previous fuel did, Selden could be poised for a breakout season when NBA action returns this fall.
As for Diallo and Jackson, both used their athleticism and high motors to become big time factors in Vegas.
Jackson, as he did during his one year at Kansas, consistently flashed his all-around game, putting up points, playing tough defense and getting on the glass game in and game out. The Detroit native averaged 17.4 points and 9.2 rebounds per game in five outings with the Suns, and routinely found his way into highlight shows with his play on both ends of the floor.
Diallo, who has opened some eyes in New Orleans with his growth and maturity as a player, not only scored 18.6 points per game in Vegas, but also averaged 9.8 rebounds per night, good for third in the league. Diallo enjoyed three 20-point outings, recorded a double-double three times and never finished with fewer than five rebounds in New Orleans’ five games.
Other former KU players who recently wrapped up play in the Vegas summer league include Perry Ellis, who averaged 11.2 points and 4.4 rebounds in five games with Minnesota; Landen Lucas, who averaged 1.5 points and 3.8 rebounds in two games with Boston; Frank Mason III, who averaged 8.5 points, 3.5 rebounds and 2.5 assists in 16.5 minutes per game with Sacramento; and Julian Wright, who tallied 3.0 points per game in four games with Utah.