Now that the 2013 NBA draft is out of the way and many of the top free agents have unofficially found their new homes, the focus has shifted to the summer league and how each team’s top prospects will fare.
All of the following matchups feature marquee names and the true NBA fans won’t miss a second of this year’s summer league.
No. 1: Philadelphia 76ers vs. Oklahoma City Thunder
Wednesday, July 10 at 1 p.m. ET
Philadelphia may not have No. 6 overall pick Nerlens Noel available this summer as he continues to recover from a knee injury, per Kyle Tucker of The Louisville Courier, but the team still has Syracuse star Michael Carter-Williams and Oregon’s Arsalan Kazemi.
With several other young players vying for a spot on the 76ers roster, the battle against Oklahoma City won’t be easy.
The Thunder boast a talented summer league roster with first-round pick Pittsburgh center Steven Adams, but it will be how the talented big man reacts to playing with talented prospects like Jeremy Lamb, Perry Jones III and Reggie Jackson that reveals how well he’ll play in the NBA.
This will be the best game of the 2013 NBA Summer League.
No. 2: Boston Celtics vs. Indiana Pacers
Tuesday, July 9 at 11 a.m. ET
While the Indiana Pacers (full roster) have a great team and are a serious championship contender, this matchup will be all about the Boston Celtics (full roster) and how bright the future looks after trading away Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, per NBA.com.
Boston is looking to find the next stars, and with 2013 selections Kelly Olynyk and Colton Iverson joining 2012 first-round pick Fab Melo, the Celtics’ future could be much brighter than anticipated.
The Pacers bring first-round pick Solomon Hill, who is looking to prove his worth with the top selections in the draft. Add in Indiana’s NBA players Miles Plumlee, Orlando Johnson and Ben Hansbrough and there is little doubt that this game will be a battle.
No. 3: Sacramento Kings vs. Dallas Mavericks
Saturday, July 13 at 6 p.m. ET
The focus for the Kings will be on one player: Ben McLemore. The former Kansas star is one of the most talented players in the 2013 draft class, but whether he will live up to the hype is the main focus for Sacramento this summer.
With a strong core of veteran players on the NBA roster, how Larkin handles this summer league will determine how much time he sees in the big league this season.
All rosters via Hoopsworld unless otherwise noted.