summer league

NBA Las Vegas Summer League schedule announced

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In the same way if you are a baseball fan you owe it to yourself to one year make it out to Spring Training, if you are an NBA fan you owe it to yourself to make it out to NBA Summer League one year.

It’s NBA rookies and guys hoping to make it onto the back end of an NBA roster (or get a good contract in Europe) balling in a setting where you can get Jack Nicholson quality seats at an affordable price. This is where you can see and fall in love with the 10th player down the bench, giving you reason to say the coach needs to play them more come January. You are on top of the action, and while it’s not the level of basketball you see in the playoffs it is entertaining. You get to see guys up close and really get a feel for them.

And it’s casual and laid back.

After a year hiatus — thanks again lockout! — the NBA Summer League is back in Las Vegas this summer, starting July 13 (the day after Team USA breaks camp in Vegas to head east). It takes place at the adjacent Cox Pavilion and Thomas & Mack Center. Tickets are on sale now.

Anthony Davis and the New Orleans Hornets (you can bank on that pick) will start play Sunday night and a majority of NBA teams will be represented there. Here is the full schedule. And when Summer League gets here be sure to check back with PBT as we will be on scene and giving you all the reports and a lot of interviews from there.

Friday July 13
COX Pavilion
1 PM – Atlanta vs. Washington
3 PM – Houston vs. Toronto
5 PM – Golden State vs. LA Lakers
7 PM – Sacramento vs. Charlotte

Saturday July 14
COX Pavilion
1 PM – Memphis vs. New York
3 PM – Golden State vs. Denver
5 PM – LA Lakers vs. Sacramento
7 PM – Houston vs. Washington

Sunday July 15
COX Pavilion
1 PM – New York vs. Phoenix
3 PM – Denver vs. Dallas
5 PM – San Antonio vs. Atlanta
7 PM – Washington vs. NBA D-League

Thomas & Mack
3:30 PM – Toronto vs. Miami
5:30 PM – Cleveland vs. Charlotte
7:30 PM – New Orleans vs. Portland

Monday July 16
COX Pavilion
1 PM – Atlanta vs. Boston
3 PM – Dallas vs. Toronto
5 PM – Cleveland vs. NBA D-League
7 PM – LA Clippers vs. Minnesota

Thomas & Mack
3:30 PM – Houston vs. Sacramento
5:30 PM – LA Lakers vs. Miami
7:30 PM – Milwaukee vs. New Orleans

Tuesday July 17
COX Pavilion
1 PM – Denver vs. New York
3 PM – Washington vs. Memphis
5 PM – Portland vs. Houston
7 PM – Chicago vs. Boston

Thomas & Mack
3:30 PM – San Antonio vs. LA Lakers
5:30 PM – Cleveland vs. Phoenix
7:30 PM – Minnesota vs. Charlotte

Wednesday July 18
COX Pavilion
1 PM – Milwaukee vs. Washington
3 PM – Chicago vs. Houston
5 PM – Atlanta vs. Dallas
7 PM – San Antonio vs. LA Clippers

Thomas & Mack
3:30 PM – Sacramento vs. Toronto
5:30 PM – New Orleans vs. Phoenix
7:30 PM – Golden State vs. Miami

Thursday July 19
COX Pavilion
1 PM – New York vs. Toronto
3 PM – Portland vs. Atlanta
5 PM – Cleveland vs. Minnesota
7 PM – NBA D-League vs. Milwaukee

Thomas & Mack
3:30 PM – Boston vs. Sacramento
5:30 PM – LA Clippers vs. LA Lakers
7:30 PM – Charlotte vs. Denver

Friday July 20
COX Pavilion
1 PM – New York vs. Cleveland
3 PM – Denver vs. Portland
5 PM – Miami vs. San Antonio
7 PM – NBA D-League vs. Phoenix

Thomas & Mack
3:30 PM – Memphis vs. Charlotte
5:30 PM – Chicago vs. Golden State
7:30 PM – Dallas vs. New Orleans

Saturday July 21
COX Pavilion
1 PM – Portland vs. Miami
3 PM – Dallas vs. San Antonio
5 PM – NBA D-League vs. Minnesota
7 PM – Memphis vs. Phoenix

Thomas & Mack
3:30 PM – Golden State vs. New Orleans
5:30 PM – Chicago vs. LA Clippers
7:30 PM – Milwaukee vs. Boston

Sunday July 22
COX Pavilion
1 PM – Chicago vs. Milwaukee
3 PM – Boston vs. LA Clippers
5 PM – Memphis vs. Minnesota

Monty Williams is back coaching with Team USA, ready to get back on NBA sidelines

LAS VEGAS, NV - JULY 18:  Draymond Green #14 of the 2016 USA Basketball Men's National Team drives against assistant coach Monty Williams of the 2016 USA Basketball Men's National Team during a practice session at the Mendenhall Center on July 18, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
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Watching Monty Williams back on the court at the USA basketball camp/practices in Las Vegas, you could see he was at home. He’s easily the best 44-year-old defender on the planet — he went toe-to-toe with Kevin Durant, Jimmy Butler, and the rest, was physical, and made them work for buckets. Then he’d instruct. He’s just a natural.

Back in February, Williams’ wife was killed in an auto accident. It devastated the devout family man, in ways it’s hard for us to understand who have never experienced it. He walked away from coaching the rest of the NBA season with the Thunder, and nobody questioned it for a second.

Now, after getting his feet wet with Team USA (where he is an assistant to Mike Krzyzewski), he told Darnell Mayberry of the Oklahoman he is ready to get back on the sidelines.

“I wouldn’t even think that if I didn’t know, one, my wife would want me to; my kids talk about it all the time. And there have been some things that have happened in my life lately that have allowed me to get that back. I’m so juiced up and ready to get back into it again.”

He is one of the better respected assistant coaches in the league, and a guy who will get another shot at a top spot someday. Soon. Can’t wait to see him back on the sidelines.

Ben Simmons says he plans to work on shooting, handles, getting stronger before camp

Philadelphia 76ers' Ben Simmons cheers from the bunch during the first half of the team's NBA summer league basketball game against the Brooklyn Nets, Thursday, July 14, 2016, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Associated Press
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The leap from college — even high-level college programs — to the NBA can be hard to describe. Now everybody is bigger, longer, and far more athletic — the guy at the end of the bench barely getting any burn was one of the best players on his college team.

Players get their first taste of that at Summer League. The Sixers’ No. 1 pick Ben Simmons looked pretty good when he got that taste, but you can see the development that needs to go on as well.

He’s spending the time between now and the start of training camp working on his shooting and getting stronger, among other things, he told Jessica Camerato of CSNPhilly.com.

“I think just getting in the gym and making sure I’m getting reps up, shooting-wise, dribbling,” Simmons said earlier this week after an appearance at Sixers Camp in Wayne, Pennsylvania. “The weight room as well, making sure I get my strength back and my weight up.”

All good things. Handles and shooting in particular — he’s about to start seeing much better defenders nightly. It’s going to take time, and we’ll see how far he can go, but Simmons unquestionably brings a lot of skill and potential to the table. That he’s putting in the work is a good sign — that was one of the concerns about him heading into the draft.

New GM Bryan Colangelo is going to benefit from Sam Hinkie’s process. So long as he doesn’t screw it up.

Report: Warriors sign JaVale McGee to make-good training camp contract

JaVale McGee
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JaVale McGee is getting another shot in the NBA.

He played just 34 games off the bench for Dallas last season. He played 23 games the season before that due to injury.

But the Golden State Warriors are thin up front — Zaza Pachulia will get the bulk of the minutes at the five (when the Warriors use a traditional center), and there is the often-injured Anderson Varejao behind him. The Warriors could use another big. So they are giving McGee a look, reports Marc Stein of ESPN.

This is a low-risk move by the Warriors, and it’s worth the gamble. Vintage McGee, for all his Shaqtin’ a Fool flaws, is far more athletic and a better rim protector than any of the guys the Warriors now have at the five. If it doesn’t work out — and the odds are it will not — they cut him, if it does they pay him a minimum deal.

I hope he makes it, just because the league is more fun when McGee is in it.

Russell Westbrook laughs off question about Kevin Durant

LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 21:  Russell Westbrook #0 of the Oklahoma City Thunder and Kevin Durant #35 discuss play during the first half against the Los Angeles ClipperLos Angeles Kingsat Staples Center on December 21, 2015 in Los Angeles, California.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and condition of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
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At some point, Russell Westbrook will sit down with members of the media and discuss Kevin Durant leaving the Thunder, how he felt about the move, and how it impacted him both personally and professionally.

But not right now. He remains silent.

This Vine making its way around, where Westbrook laughs — probably at the question, although read into that whatever you want — when asked about Durant sums up where we are.

https://platform.vine.co/static/scripts/embed.js

In the full Facebook clip, Westbrook walks away, too. It’s his right. He can talk about it on his schedule.