Is the NBA Summer League Predictive of Performance for NBA Rookies?

Brent A. Evans, Georgia College & State University
Joshua D. Pitts, Kennesaw State University
Chris Clark, Georgia College & State University


Using data from 2006 to 2019, we show that performance in the NBA Summer League can be used to predict regular season performance for NBA rookies. This result is indicated by general performance (win shares) and also by individual performance measures; for example, players who score more points than anticipated in the Summer League are also more proficient scorers as NBA rookies. Our findings suggest that NBA executives and coaches should use performance in the Summer League to inform personnel decisions. This study is the first of its nature and will hopefully encourage others to investigate the NBA Summer League.