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Badgers in the NBA: there are five (!) former Wisconsin players showcasing their talents in Vegas

Beyond first round pick Johnny Davis, four other Badgers will be trying to impress NBA decision makers over the next two weeks.

NBA: California Classic-Los Angeles Lakers at Miami Heat Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

Four teams got the NBA Summer League started over the weekend with the California Classic in San Francisco, a few more teams will get started on Tuesday in Salt Lake City, Utah and the rest of the league joins in on Thursday in Las Vegas. The Wisconsin Badgers will have five players representing the cardinal and white including the No. 10 pick in the 2022 NBA Draft, Johnny Davis.

For a full schedule of all of the games featuring UW players, check out our old friend Matt Belz’s post on AllBadgers. Here is a brief breakdown of each Badgers’ chance to stick in the NBA, whether in the big league or the G League.

Johnny Davis, Washington Wizards

  • Barring Davis deciding halfway through Summer League that basketball, as a sport, just isn’t for him, he will be on the Wizards’ opening night roster. The lottery pick will get his first chance to show Washington fans his skills in Vegas and will be one of the more highly touted players (by draft slot) at the whole event.

Micah Potter, New York Knicks

  • Potter had an extremely productive year in the G League last season, earning All-Rookie honors with the Sioux Falls Skyforce, averaging 17.2 points on 53.4 percent shooting, 9.9 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game in 33 starts. He also appeared in three games with the Detroit Pistons when just about everyone in the league had COVID and replacement players were called up en masse. I feel like the Knicks ALWAYS need help at every position, so if Potter plays well he could get an invite to training camp.

Vitto Brown, Los Angeles Lakers

  • Brown and the Lakers have already played a pair of games and, in the one he played, Brown scored nine points (4-of-5 from the field, 1-of-1 from deep), two rebounds, one assist and one block in 20 minutes vs. the Miami Heat on Saturday. The sweet-shooting (and singing) Brown is one of the oldest players in Summer League and this might be his last chance at sticking on an NBA roster. He provides a number of skills that teams would find valuable and will come at a cheap price...maybe someone takes a look?

Aleem Ford, Orlando Magic

  • Our own Ryan Mellenthin wrote the definitive guide to Ford joining the Magic this summer as linked to his post (we are slowly infiltrating the highest levels of Wisconsin athletics). Ford played in five games with the Magic during the 2021-22 season, following a call-up from the G League, to help the team deal with the loss of players due to COVID-19. He averaged 12.5 points, 4.2 rebounds and two assists per game with the Lakeland Magic last season.
NBA: New Orleans Pelicans at Orlando Magic Mike Watters-USA TODAY Sports

Nate Reuvers, Cleveland Cavaliers

  • Reuvers recently signed a two-year deal with top-level Italian team Pallacanestro Reggiana after helping Cibona Zagreb of Croatia to a Hrvatski Telekom Premier League title, but will still be in Vegas this summer to get his game in front of NBA decision makers. He averaged 10.7 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 1.5 blocks per game (which led the Premijer liga) last year and will be tasked with protecting the rim for the Summer Cavs as the tallest player on their team.

It would be nice to see all of these former Badgers show out this summer and earn roster spots in the NBA, but I’d wager that only Davis will find himself preparing for opening night on a roster. Potter and Ford should continue to thrive in the G League, while Reuvers and Brown will probably find their way back to Europe to continue their professional careers.