Former Spartans Wrap Up Summer League Play

With the NBA Summer League officially over, there was much to talk about as three former Michigan State players showcased their talents in hopes of either garnering an NBA deal, or proving why they were worth a draft pick. Though much of the attention in this year’s summer league was on Ben Simmons, and rightfully so, these former Spartans still did their part to prove their ability.

Denzel Valentine- Chicago Bulls

Though he was the No. 14 overall pick in this year’s draft, it did not feel like Valentine had heavy expectations upon him. Maybe it was all the talk of this knee injuries, or that he was not athletic enough. With all that being said, the former AP Player of the year in college basketball had a fine summer league performance. Valentine averaged 11.6 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 2.7 assists, again showing how versatile he is. He never scored more than 20 points and only had one double-double, but wanting anything more than that might be asking too much of ‘Zel. He showed what he is capable of in the NBA, and that is why he will always have a job in the league. He may also hit a few game-winners along the way.

Bryn Forbes- San Antonio Spurs

The sharpshooter from East Lansing, though going undrafted, solidified a deal with the Spurs after strong showings in both the Utah and Las Vegas summer league games. By averaging 11.6 points and 3.4 rebounds per game, while shooting 40.6 percent from beyond the arc, Forbes showed why he will be a perfect fit in coach Gregg Popovich’s plug-and-play offense. Forbes knows his role and does it well, and that is why he will always have a job in the league.

Matt Costello- Atlanta Hawks

As for the former Spartan big man, his future was much more cloudy. Costello went undrafted, and though he was given a deal with the Atlanta Hawks, it was only guaranteed for summer league and training camp. The Hawks brain-trust obviously saw something in his 5.7 points and 5.0 rebounds because he was given a two-year, non-guaranteed deal with the team. Costello’s playing time with the team was scattered during summer league play, as he only averaged 18.3 minutes per game. Within that time, however, Costello showed the same hustle that made him a key player at Michigan State. That same effort should  at least get him playing time in the D-League, which is where his professional career will likely begin. If he shows something in a clogged Hawks’ frontcourt, then he could potentially make the roster. Until then, he will have to put forth the same production that took him from a freshman nobody, to an all big-ten player.