NBA Summer League 2013 Bracket: Dark Horses with Favorable Draws

Ryan DavenportContributor IJuly 17, 2013

Jul 14, 2013; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers guard Dion Waiters dribbles the ball into the zone during an NBA Summer League game against the Memphis Grizzlies at Cox Pavillion. Cleveland won the game 69-58. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports
Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

The inaugural NBA Summer League playoffs are nearly upon us, and 22 teams made up of young NBA hopefuls will vie for the title in a bracket-style tournament. 

The seedings are based on each team's performance during their three Las Vegas league games, with each of the top 10 teams receiving a bye to Round 2. 

Heading into the tournament, here's a look at some of the lower seeds that will benefit from favorable draws and are poised to make deep runs through the bracket (h/t


Washington Wizards

As the No. 12 seed, the Wizards will take on the Memphis Grizzlies in the first round, and though Washington has been inconsistent during its three games, they have more than enough talent to handle the Grizzlies. 

Lead by former first-rounder Jan Vesely, who has put up 11.3 points and 6.7 boards per game, Washington has a number of intriguing draftees who are capable of orchestrating a deep run. 

This year's No. 3 overall selection Otto Porter hasn't stood out yet, but he's got all the tools to be a difference-maker in Las Vegas. 

And the player the Wizards took in the round after Porter, Glen Rice Jr., has been a revelation thus far, contributing 10 points a game despite only starting once.

After Memphis, Washington will have a real test in Round 2 in the Charlotte Bobcats, who have one of Las Vegas' best trios in Jeffrey Taylor (21.0 PPG), Cody Zeller (15.7 PPG) and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (10.7 PPG).

However, if Porter improves and Vesely continues to be a force at both ends, the Wizards have the talent to advance to at least the third round. 


New Orleans Pelicans

The Pelicans, who went 2-1 during the round-robin phase of league play, have a balanced offense led by former Duke star Austin Rivers and 27-year-old Brian Roberts. 

In addition, Kentucky product Darius Miller has been solid, but overall, New Orleans relies on generating its offense by committee, as the team boasts four players scoring in double figures. 

Perhaps the most surprising prospect on New Orleans has been former UAB standout Cameron Moore, who is third on the team in both scoring and rebounding after spending last season in Ukraine.

In Round 1, the Pelicans will take on the last-seeded Nuggets, and assuming they advance, they'd set up a matchup with the Toronto Raptors.

If the team keeps getting adequate contributions from a wide variety of players, a berth in the third round is more than attainable, but things would be a bit easier if Nerlens Noel was wearing a Pelicans jersey.  


Cleveland Cavaliers

Yes, as the No. 7 seed, the Cavaliers will have to take on the Chicago Bulls if they're able to get past the San Antonio Spurs in Round 2.

But Cleveland has the talent to get by Chicago, at least if Dion Waiters keeps performing the way he has. But there's more to this team than the 2012 No. 4 overall pick. 

Beyond Waiters, Tyler Zeller has been an absolute beast for the Cavs, dominating at both ends of the floor.

Through the team's first three games, Zeller has put up 13.7 PPG and 9.3 RPG, so stopping the Cavaliers means containing both of the team's rising stars, which will be a tall order even for a quality team like the Bulls.