NBA Summer League 2013: Breaking Down Vegas League's Most Exciting Teams
The 2013 Las Vegas Summer League tips off on Friday, boasting 21 NBA teams and one D-League select team.
The summer league has traditionally been a place for rookies to experience their first action on the hardwood. It has also been a place for youngsters to work on their game to be more prepared for the next NBA season.
Several Vegas Summer League teams feature explosive talent. From defensive specialists to high-octane scorers, here's a look at the league's most exciting teams this year.
Portland Trail Blazers
Not only will Rookie of the Year Damian Lillard play in the 2013 Las Vegas Summer League, the Trail Blazers also boast rookies C.J. McCollum and Allen Crabbe and explosive second-year center Meyers Leonard.
Lillard averaged 19.0 points, 6.5 assists and 3.1 rebounds while shooting 37 percent from beyond the arc last season. McCollum—a combo guard—was considered one of the best scorers in the draft. Crabbe can light it up from downtown. And Leonard possesses the monster frame to do big things in the NBA if the 21-year-old ever figures it out.
Make no mistake about it, Portland's summer league team is plenty explosive. Look for the Trail Blazers to light it up.
Armed with rookies Shabazz Muhammad and Gorgui Dieng and looking to do big things this season, the Timberwolves should be a fun team to watch in Vegas.
The Timberwolves are hoping for big things from Muhammad and Dieng, both first-round draft picks this year. Muhammad is an explosive slasher who needs to work on his jump shot. Dieng is a rebounder and rim-protector who has shown signs of expanding his offensive game. These two players alone should be worth watching.
New York Knicks
The Knicks have some exciting prospects in Tim Hardaway Jr. and C.J. Leslie on the team this year, as well as guard Iman Shumpert and 2012 D-League Rookie of the Year Tony Mitchell.
Hardaway is a solid athlete who can knock it down from the perimeter and create his own shot. He's also a good passer.
Leslie may end up being a steal for the Knicks. He went undrafted this year, but was largely expected to be selected. He's an explosive athlete who can be incredibly disruptive on defense.
Shumpert is already known as one of the best on-the-ball defenders in the league, and he shot 40 percent from beyond the arc last season. Mitchell averaged 21.9 points, 6.4 rebounds and 1.4 steals last season with the Fort Wayne Mad Ants.
Which team are you most excited to watch?
Jae Crowder may never be a starter in the NBA, but his non-stop motor and defensive skills make him a valuable bench player for the Mavericks. He's been known to inject some life into a ballgame and he figures to do the same in the Las Vegas Summer League this year.
The Mavericks also boast two talented rookies in Shane Larkin and Ricky Ledo.
I'm a big believer in Larkin, who seems to have everything but NBA size. His outside shooting, explosiveness to the rim, vision and passing skills will be welcomed with open arms by Dallas.
Ledo was considered one of the nation's top high school point guards in 2011-12, but was declared academically ineligible last season at Providence. He has the size to be a combo guard in the pros, and his explosiveness and scoring ability may have made him a lottery pick if it weren't for off-the-court issues. It will be Dallas' job to straighten the dynamic guard out.
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