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Blazers win Summer League final behind Jabari Walker’s double-double

Walker was arguably the most impactful player at Summer League

2022 NBA Summer League - Portland Trailblazers v New York Knicks Photo by Bart Young/NBAE via Getty Images

Just a few days after signing a three-year, $4.76 million deal, Jabari Walker already has his first championship ring as the Portland Trail Blazers defeated the New York Knicks in the Summer League final.

Walker capped his standout performance with a monster stat line off the bench: 14 points (4/8 shooting), 11 rebounds, 3 steals and 2 blocks, all in 27 minutes of game time. He was efficient, productive and energizing — just as he was in his previous four games — and had Blazers fans swooning over the late second round pick.

Trendon Watford ended up winning Summer League MVP, but it could have just as easily gone to the Portland’s 6th man. The LSU product averaged 13.6 points, 7.8 rebounds and 2.0 assists, while Jabari, respectively, had 12.4/9.0/1.4. Walker also did his damage in less time on the court, 22 minutes per game to Watford’s 29, and shot 62% from the field to Watford’s 42%. (I think it’s clear who was better.)

Walker has done more than enough to claim a spot on Portland’s 15-man NBA roster. He will enter training camp looking to earn minutes at the 4 spot backing up Jerami Grant. His competition will be the aforementioned Watford, who is quite good despite being unproven at the NBA level, Greg Brown III, former 5-star recruit who is still a raw athlete, and Drew Eubanks, who is more a 5 than a 4.

Elsewhere in the Summer League, McKinley Wright was a bright spot for the Phoenix Suns, averaging around 8 points, 6 assists and 5 rebounds per game; Tyler Bey was productive when active for the 76ers and will be looking for a 2-way deal; George King also won a ring, although he didn’t play much for the Blazers; and D’Shawn Schwartz and Jeriah Horne were mostly happy to be there, testing their place on the fringes of the NBA.