NBA Summer League Wraps up in Vegas
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24 Teams Play Series of Exhibition Games at UNLV
During the “down time” in North American sports where baseball is the only one of the big four (football basketball, baseball and hockey) going on, the NBA summer league offers fans the chance to see rookies and the like show off their talents in the off-season.
24 NBA teams traveled to Las Vegas with the hopes of making roster adjustments for the upcoming season.
“It’s [the summer league] the first opportunity for a lot of guys, particularly rookies, to get acclimated to
pro basketball,” said Chicago Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau. “They go against good competition, they get to learn the drills, so it’s sort of like a trial run for training camp.”
From July 13-22, thousands of fans flocked to the Thomas & Mack and the Cox Pavilion to cheer on their favorite NBA teams. Although the big name superstars weren’t playing, several first-round draft picks made appearances.
The Celtics’ first round pick, Jared Sullinger had a solid finish to Summer League play on Sunday by finishing with 13 points in a 92-77 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers.
Sullinger, who many experts thought would be a lottery pick in this year’s draft, fell to the later stages of the first round after a red-flagged medical report for a back problem.
“It’s just a matter of taking care of your body,” Sullinger said. “There’s a lot you’ve got to do to be rested and get ready to play, but I’m fine.”
Notable rookies like Houston’s first-rounder Jeremy Lamb, Milwaukee’s John Henson and Washington’s Bradley Beal all impressed at this year’s summer league.
Portland’s Damian Lillard and Memphis’ Josh Selby both took home Co-MVP.
Although first-round draftees impressed the Las Vegas crowds, the summer league is simply incomparable talent wise to the NBA.
Former first-round pick Adam Morrison, who was drafted No. 3 overall by the Charlotte Bobcats in 2006, was a tremendous bust in the NBA, but shined during this year’s summer league.
Morrison, who was part of the Los Angeles Clippers Summer League squad, averaged over 20 points a game during the team’s exhibition stint, including a 26-point performance in the the finale against
Morrison was popular among the crowd at Cox Pavilion as chants of “MVP” filled the auditorium whenever he stepped on the court.
As NBA players and coaches analyzed their potential talent, the fans were the biggest winners of the bunch as kids and adults alike tracked down the nearest available player with pen anxiously in hand in search of autographs.
It was an NBA fan fest right in UNLV’s backyard, but for some of the players, it was their last shot to make an NBA team.
“It’s the first step in the process,” Thibodeau said. “But it’s still a lot different from what the NBA game is all about.”