After a lockout-induced one-year hiatus, the NBA’s Summer League will return to Las Vegas this July 13-22 at the Thomas & Mack Center and the COX Pavilion on the campus of UNLV. From the official release:
“Launched in 2004 as the Las Vegas Summer League, the inaugural event featured six NBA teams (Boston Celtics, Cleveland Cavaliers, Denver Nuggets, Orlando Magic, Phoenix Suns and Washington Wizards) playing a 13-game slate. The NBA joined forces with the original event organizers in 2007, and the summer showcase has expanded exponentially since its inception.
“During the most recent competition in 2010, 22 NBA teams, including 11 playoff teams, competed in a 58-game schedule that featured 10 of the topm14 picks in the 2010 NBA Draft. Fans that weren’t able to experience the action in person were able to tune into NBA TV or log on to NBA.com and see every play, including Jeremy Lin’s breakout performance for the Dallas Mavericks. Matched up against John Wall and the Washington Wizards on July 15, 2010, Lin scored 11 of his 13 points in the fourth quarter as the Mavericks mounted a furious comeback after trailing from the opening buzzer, to come within six points of victory, before falling, 88-82. …
“Exciting games featuring the NBA’s newest talent have always been a staple at NBA Summer League. Five of the last six NBA Rookie of the Year award winners have joined their teams in Las Vegas including: Chris Paul (New Orleans Hornets, 2005-06), Brandon Roy (Portland Trail Blazers, 2006-07), Kevin Durant (Oklahoma City, 2007-08), Tyreke Evans (Sacramento, 2009-10) and Blake Griffin (L.A. Clippers, 2010-11).”
Summer League is loved by bloggers for the casual atmosphere and increased access to players and front office personnel. It’s also loathed by many traveling beat writers, who aren’t all that interested in racking up the extra Marriott points after the long grind of the season just to cover some practice games for players who, for the most part, won’t be making an immediate impact in the league any time soon.