Selected 2nd overall, the 6-9 forward out of Texas had all the pressure in the world on him. The youngster was still a big question mark, but he'd earned the hearts of many NBA scouts over the recent months. Playing in the 2009 Summer League was just a stepping stone for him.
But when people began looking at his stats, they were almost ready to call him a bust. In fact, many did.
Somehow, he was labeled quite harshly in his Summer League debut. They said he couldn't rebound, they said he couldn't consistently hit shots, they said he was "disappointing."
The games that he sat out they won, and the games in which he played, they lost. During one game, he only grabbed one rebound in 36 minutes and was also 7 for 21 from the field. In short, he didn't look too hot that summer. People noticed, and they got pretty worried. The guy with a lot of promise was suddenly the guy who couldn't rebound.
A surprising number of folks just gave up on the kid. But where is he now?
Well, he's a former MVP, a champion, and is widely regarded as the second-best player in basketball. He's Kevin Durant.
And if there's one thing Durant has shown us now, it's that we should never pay too much attention to the Summer League. In 2009, they criticized Durant harshly for his performance. Eventually, all the critics and the doubters were proved wrong. So as you watch your favorite rookie star this summer, try not to get too emotional either way. Because most times, it takes time.
This 2009 article about Durant? While it's not the only one out there, this article shows that we should never jump the gun on young guys: