After an impressive Summer League performance, Nickeil Alexander-Walker was named to the 2019 NBA Summer League First Team.
Alexander-Walker earned this honor after putting on a show in Vegas averaging 24.3 points, 6.0 assists, 4.8 rebounds, and 2.8 steals per game while shooting 41% from the field. Alexander-Walker's points per game (24.3) led the Summer League among all players who appeared in more than 2 games while his assists per game (6.0) was tied for fourth among that same group of players.
Alexander-Walker's impressive performance led the Pelicans to being one of the best teams in Vegas, falling just short of reaching the championship with an overtime loss to Memphis in the semifinals.
In addition to Alexander-Walker; Memphis's Brandon Clarke (Summer League MVP), Brooklyn's Jarrett Allen, New York's Mitchell Robinson, and Miami's Kendrick Nunn were also named to the NBA Summer League First Team.
Beyond his impressive stats, Nickeil Alexander-Walker had plenty of highlight reel plays especially with his passes that clearly benefitted from his stint running the Hokies' offense when Justin Robinson was injured this past season.
All the NBA skills and potential that Nickeil Alexander-Walker showed at Virginia Tech this past season began to show in Vegas. However, while Alexander-Walker showed how prolific of a scorer he can be, the bigger thing is the fact that he showed significant improvement as a passer and offensive initiator likely due in part to the forced opportunity he received when Justin Robinson missed over half of ACC play.
Looking ahead, Nickeil Alexander-Walker seems poised to have a significant role in the rotation for New Orleans this fall even with Jrue Holliday and Lonzo Ball having the starting spots in the backcourt locked down. While this may have been expected, Alexander-Walker's ability to run the point should only help him see the floor more sooner given his versatility to play at point or shooting guard given his skill set and length.
Meanwhile, Justin Robinson had a solid Summer League overall averaging 8.8 points, 4.0 assists, 4.0 rebounds, and 1.6 steals per game while shooting 34% from the field. Robinson also signed his contract with the Washington Wizards that already includes a guarantee of $250k for this season.
Robinson appears to be in good shape to make the Wizards even if he still may have some work to do given the partial guarantee for next season. Even if Robinson does make the team, don't be surprised to see him bounce back and forth between the NBA and G League especially when the Wizards' G League team is at home given the close proximity that makes it easy for the Wizards to get Robinson extra playing time.
Elsewhere, Ahmed Hill was one of only four Brooklyn players to appear in 6 games averaging 6.8 points, 2.3 rebounds, and 0.5 assists per game while shooting 45% from the field on the way to helping the Nets reach the semifinals of the Summer League. Hill may have an uphill climb to make the team in Brooklyn but should at worst end up with a quality European team or in the G League.
Both of those routes have worked out well for other former Hokies with Malcolm Delaney climbing the ladder in Europe on his way to reaching the NBA with the Atlanta Hawks from 2016-2018 while Jarell Eddie earned his first spot on an NBA roster in December of 2015 with the Washington Wizards after almost a year and a half in the G League.
Photo Credit: Dave Knachel/Virginia Tech Athletics
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