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Michigan State basketball: Checking in on NBA Summer League Spartans

How are the Spartans doing in the Summer League?



Michigan State basketball
© Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Now halfway through Summer League, how have former Michigan State basketball stars fared thus far? Let’s check in on how each one is doing.

We are now half way through the NBA’s Summer League, and have gotten to see each rookie is beginning to figure out their place in the big leagues. There are three former Michigan State basketball players currently showcasing their abilities, trying to fight for a spot on the official roster.

Gabe Brown is partaking in his third Summer League, now playing with Phoenix. Max Christie is in his second Summer League and, while not likely fighting for a roster spot, still proving he’s deserving of more minutes. And finally, after going undrafted, Joey Hauser was signed by the Utah Jazz and will try and carve out rookie minutes for himself. 

Let’s check in on how each former Michigan State basketball player is doing midway through the short NBA Summer League. 

Max Christie, Los Angeles Lakers

Stats: 32.2 MPG, 19.8 PPG, 45.7% FG, 55% 3-point, 5.8 RPG, 3.8 APG, 0.7 SPG

Admittedly, Max Christie is in a different situation than the other Spartans on this list. Having been drafted last season, Christie was able to cut his teeth in the big leagues and received actual minutes. Even if it was just 12.5 minutes per game, the Lakers clearly have faith in their second round pick. And he is proving them to be right so far in Summer League.

Christie is playing the best basketball of his young professional career. 

Max is now leading the team in minutes, points, and blocks per game with 32.2 minutes, 19.8 points, and 2.3 blocks per game. Additionally, he is second on the team in rebounds and assists per game with 5.8 and 3.8, respectively. Christie is firing on all cylinders in his second season, shooting a scorching 55 percent from deep. He even had a thunderous dunk directly over Golden State’s Jayce Johnson that sent the Lakers’ bench into a frenzy.

If Max can keep this level of play up, as most expect he can, expect his 12.5 minutes per game to skyrocket. It’s very likely he slides in directly behind Austin Reaves on the second unit for meaningful minutes.  

Gabe Brown, Phoenix Suns

Stats: 23.1 MPG, 8.0 PPG, 32% FG, 28% 3-point, 5.0 RPG, 0.3 APG, 1.7 SPG

Gabe Brown is doing more of the same from previous years, throwing down monster dunks and showcasing his athletic ability. The one thing that he has done before that he isn’t doing so well this season thus far is connecting from deep. Brown, normally an above average, reliable three point shooter is only connecting on 28 percent from 3-point range. You can’t look too much into Summer League, but if Gabe is to continue fighting for a roster spot, or even a two-way contract on a loaded Suns team, his 3-point shooting has to reappear. 

Joey Hauser, Utah Jazz

Stats: 18.1 MPG, 6.3 PPG, 54.5% FG, 54.5% 3-point, 4.0 RPG, 1.3 APG

Hauser is the newest Spartan to get his shot in the league, and it’s safe to say he’s performing exactly as a rookie should in Summer League. He is exactly in the middle of the pack in almost all categories for the Utah Jazz Summer League roster. Playing on a team that has potential Summer League first-team Keyonte George, it’s difficult to get recognition. But, Hauser’s elite 54.5 percent shooting from deep is forcing the discussion. Joey was a lights-out shooter for Michigan State and he seems to have not skipped a beat in his transition to the professional level. 

One interesting thing to note thus far, of the 11 field goal attempts that Hauser has taken in his three Vegas Summer League games, all 11 have been 3-pointers. If you are knocking them down over 50 percent of them, it’s hard to discourage. But, if you are looking ahead to the regular season, Hauser might need to showcase some other abilities. Summer League is a great time to prove he’s worth a roster spot/minutes and showcasing multiple abilities goes a long way.

Regardless, Hauser is absolutely shooting the cover off the ball, which is something the Jazz front office is definitely taking notice of.