Relax, Wizards fans. Corey Kispert isn’t supposed to be good at NBA Summer League
The prized rookie of the Washington Wizards hasn’t looked all that promising thus far. Corey Kispert has struggled mightily in his first taste of NBA action at the Las Vegas Summer League.
Through two games, Kispert has put up averages of 8.5 points on a putrid 30.4% shooting clip from the field. What’s worse is that his most translatable skill, his three-point stroke, has all but abandoned him, making just three of his 13 attempts from distance.
Wizards fans must chill on Corey Kispert’s cold start
However, Wizards fans should be the first to remember that summer league play should be taken with a grain of salt. After all, former second-round pick Glen Rice Jr. was named NBA Summer League MVP back in 2014.
The All-Summer League first team that season consisted of superstar names such as Tony Snell, Doug McDermott, Donatas Motiejunas, and the Wizards’ own former lottery pick Otto Porter.
Rice won the award after averaging 25 points on an efficient 46% shooting clip to go along with 7.8 rebounds, and 2.5 steals per game. During the actual NBA season, he proceeded to play all of five games for Washington before being waived. That’s a pretty low bar Corey Kispert will probably clear.
— Washington Wizards (@WashWizards) July 21, 2014
Some players, like Rice Jr., are built to excel in an exhibition setting such as summer league. Others, like Corey Kispert, are better suited for the NBA.
One of the knocks on Kispert has been his inability to create offense by himself. He’s played on a stacked roster with scoring threats throughout his entire NCAA career at Gonzaga, alongside the likes of Jalen Suggs, Drew Timme, and current Wizards teammate Rui Hachimura.
But it’s that same ability to thrive alongside high-level talent that makes him a potentially valuable contributor on any NBA roster. He’s a career 40.8% three-point shooter at the college level with a four-year sample size on a high volume of attempts.
For the sake of comparison, Wizards sharpshooter last season Garrison Mathews shot worse than Kispert at the college level despite playing against a much weaker slate of opponents at Lipscomb. Mathews was able to find his footing in the league with his long-range jumper falling to the tune of 38.9% on three attempts per game.
There’s no reason to believe Kispert won’t be able to do the same after getting his feet wet. Corey Kispert’s outside shot will undoubtedly show up when the games start to matter, and two summer league games aren’t enough to disprove that. He’s got great size at 6’7″ with a bulky frame. And while he’s not the most graceful with the ball in his hands, his off-ball movement is stellar and will be on full display when he gets surrounded with better talent.
Once he finally starts getting action in lineups with Bradley Beal and Spencer Dinwiddie, two dynamic offensive weapons, then Kispert can be at his best. All he needs to do is spot up and serve as the release valve as his star guards penetrate on offense. As long as he keeps putting in the reps with his sweet stroke, we’ll be seeing more Corey Kispert splashes real soon.