I would be the first one to tell you Mr. Semaj Christon should have gone back to school for his junior season. He was a projected first round pick before this past college basketball season began and unfortunately for him, he slid all the way down to almost going undrafted – being taken 55th by the Miami Heat. On a good note though, he was traded from the Heat to the Charlotte Hornets, and then from the Hornets to the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Thunder was probably the best team he could have ended up on because of their leadership in the locker room, from Durant to Westbrook, and the well-run organization they are.
I watched all of the games the former Xavier Musketeers point guard played in during his time at the Orlando Summer League, which wrapped up about two weeks ago. Christon played well for a second round pick, mostly because he is, in many experts’ minds, a first round talent that should have stayed another year in school and worked on his jump shot and ball control. He finished with averages of 12 points, 3.5 assists, and about 2.5 rebounds per game. He played in four of the five games for the Thunder, and also did well according to my eye test.
His two best games in the summer league came against the Miami Heat and the Philadelphia 76ers. He scored 12 points and dished out five assists against the Sixers, and ended the summer league with a bang -- dropping 17 points and kicking out five assists in the Thunder's final game against the Heat. Plus, his defense in both games was very aggressive. So much so that he picked up a couple steals through both of them.
He finished well, made some pretty passes, and played some quick defense. But some things that concerned me were his long-range shooting, ball handling, and ball protection. He hit a few far jumpers, but he missed more of them then he made. His handle looked to be a little loose and high at times and he made careless turnovers in an attempt to do too much. If Semaj wants to not only make the Thunder's opening night roster as well as an NBA team, he needs to limit his turnovers, improve his shooting, and keep the ball on a string when dribbling. He had close to a 1:1 turnover-assist ratio in the summer league, which is a red flag for any point guard.
That being said, all of the things that are negatives about Semaj can be improved by putting a lot of time in his shot and handle, and realizing when to make the right decisions when passing the ball. Christon has all the tools in a point guard otherwise. He is tall, athletic, and quick, finishes real well, and has tremendous upside. I would not bet against Semaj at all. If there is a kid who will do whatever it takes to make an NBA roster, it is him hands down.
Semaj Christon may find his way on the Thunder's roster at the start of next season, maybe even getting some playing time off the bench. Like most second round picks though, he will probably float between the D-League and an NBA roster – hopefully the Thunder's – throughout his rookie season. Christon’s future in the NBA, at least for the time being, looks a lot better than fellow Big East Conference summer league players like Jakarr Sampson and Fuquan Edwin. Only time will tell where Mr. Christon will be playing come the start of the NBA regular season.