One of my favorite parts of the NBA calendar is the Summer League in Las Vegas. And not because it’s in Las Vegas (my in-laws live there, which sucks the fun right out of that city).
No, it’s getting a chance to see young players up close, see guys playing with jobs (domestic and overseas) on the line, it’s the less formal atmosphere of the entire thing, plus the fact you get to see Scott Skiles in cargo shorts.
Still, by the second week things can feel a bit stale. Especially for those of you watching at home on NBA TV. So it looks like they are going to break out a new format to add some energy to Summer League this year, reports Ric Bucher of CSNBayArea.com (via Sulia).
NBA Summer League in Las Vegas is adopting an NCAA-tournament elimination style format that will crown a definitive champion. Every team will be guaranteed a minimum of five games, per usual, but only three will have a scheduled opponent. The teams with the top three-game results will be then given a one-game bye and the remaining teams will square off, the winners advancing to play the top-seeded teams. After all that, the top eight teams will then pair off, the winners advancing to play in the semifinals; the semifinal winners will then play one game for the Summer League championship. Teams reaching the finals will play a total of eight games. If teams choose to use the summer strictly for player development, they’ll certainly have that chance; but teams looking to test prospective future head coaches or see how players respond to the pressure of elimination running their system will get that. It also will provide some compelling basketball for broadcast at a time of the year when hoops TV is a little barren.
That sounds worth a shot to me. Put something on the line the second week and see how guys respond. Not every team is going to go for this, but if it can add a little energy to the second week in Las Vegas and give us something else to talk about besides the oppressive heat and blackjack losses, all the better.
Dwyane Wade has earned his status as an elder statesman, the E.F. Hutton kind of veteran who speaks and everybody listens.
Rookie Justise Winslow is listening.
Winslow (who should have gone higher in this draft) is a perfect fit for the Heat and he’s going to be part of their rotation off the bench from the start of the season (along with Josh McRoberts and Amare Stoudemire). Wade has already fully stepped into the mentor role with Winslow working with him on post moves, reports Jason Lieser at the Palm Beach Post.
“As his career develops, hopefully he’s able to do multiple things on the floor, but right now there’s gonna be certain things (Erik Spoelstra) wants him to do, and some of those things I’m good at,” Wade said. “I’m just passing down knowledge to someone who I think could be good at things that I have strengths at. It’s gonna take a while, but if he figures it out at 21, he’s ahead of the curve. I figured it out at like 27.
“All of us are where we’re at because someone before us helped us. They helped by letting us sit there and watch film with them or having conversations with them. If he’s a student of it and he really wants to know, I’m a pretty decent teacher in certain areas.”
This is what you want out of a veteran leader and some of the young teams out there have done an excellent job adding this kind of mentor — Kevin Garnett in Minnesota may be the best example. Someone who can pass on his wisdom and show the team’s young players how to be a professional and win in the NBA.
It’s a little different for Winslow, he and the Heat are more in a win-now mode, but he should be able to contribute to that.
Bill Bridges, a star as a Kansas Jayhawk who went on to have a 12-year NBA career that included being part of the 1975 Golden State Warriors championship team, has passed away, according to the University of Kansas.
Bridges was an undersized power forward at 6’6″ but he was a beast on the boards who averaged 11.9 rebounds a game for his career and more than 13 a game for six straight years at the peak of his career. That 11.9 per game average is still 27th all-time in NBA history.
A New Mexico native, Bridges was a three-time All-Star (all as a member of the Hawks), two-time All-NBA Defensive team, and was part of the 1975 Warriors title team. Besides the Hawks (St. Louis and Atlanta) and Warriors, Bridges played for the Sixers and Lakers.
Our thoughts are with his family and friends.