Nobody is going to confuse an NBA Summer League championship in Las Vegas for the trophy that the San Antonio Spurs currently have in their possession, but don't tell that to the rookies and young prospects who are fighting for every possession in hopes of earning a roster spot.
It is tournament time in Sin City, and with that in mind, here is a look at the essential information needed to keep up with the latest from the summer league.
Las Vegas Summer League Info
Watch: NBA TV (games shown live have asterisks in table)
Stream: NBA Summer League Live (subscription required)
Where: Thomas & Mack Center and Cox Pavilion, UNLV campus; Las Vegas, Nevada
Standings: Full Summer League standings can be found on NBA.com.
|2014 NBA Las Vegas Summer League Schedule|
|Date||Matchup (*denotes live on NBA TV)||Time (PT)||Location|
|Wed., July 16||Phoenix Suns vs. Minnesota Timberwolves* (Game 37)||1 p.m.||COX|
|Wed., July 16||Dallas Mavericks vs. Charlotte Hornets (Game 38)||1:30 p.m.||Thomas & Mack|
|Wed., July 16||Golden State Warriors vs. Atlanta Hawks* (Game 39)||3 p.m.||COX|
|Wed., July 16||San Antonio Spurs vs. Milwaukee Bucks (Game 40)||3:30 p.m.||Thomas & Mack|
|Wed., July 16||Miami Heat vs. Los Angeles Clippers* (Game 41)||5 p.m.||COX|
|Wed., July 16||Houston Rockets vs. Toronto Raptors (Game 42)||5:30 p.m.||Thomas & Mack|
|Wed., July 16||NBA D-League vs. Denver Nuggets* (Game 43)||7 p.m.||COX|
|Wed., July 16||Philadelphia 76ers vs. Los Angeles Lakers (Game 44)||7:30 p.m.||Thomas & Mack|
Players to Watch
Gary Harris, Denver Nuggets
Gary Harris was seen by many as a lottery pick heading into the NBA draft, but he slipped to No. 19, where the Denver Nuggets picked him up as part of a trade with the Chicago Bulls.
He is playing as if there is something of a chip on his shoulder in Las Vegas. Through his first two games, he was posting nightly averages of 21 points, 5.5 rebounds and two steals behind 35.7 percent shooting from beyond the three-point line. He has also been automatic from the free-throw stripe (93.8 percent).
Harris exploded against the Toronto Raptors for 33 points behind 10-of-17 shooting from the field and five made three-pointers. In the process, he certainly impressed Kevin Pelton of ESPN:
If Harris can develop into a reliable deep-ball shooter and solid perimeter defender, he will see serious minutes in Denver’s rotation right away. Nothing we have seen in the early going in Las Vegas suggests otherwise.
Julius Randle, Los Angeles Lakers
In an offseason filled with swings and misses, the Los Angeles Lakers are certainly counting on Julius Randle to contribute right away.
However, there are clearly some areas that he needs to work on going forward in Las Vegas. Through his first two games, he averaged 12 points, three rebounds and 3.5 turnovers a night behind 45 percent shooting from the field. The potential is obviously there, but he hasn't looked entirely comfortable yet.
In fact, Randle didn't register a single offensive board during that time, and the turnovers and field-goal percentage are some red flags in terms of playing near the paint.
This being summer league, Randle may be working on some offensive moves that are still raw, but the physically dominant player we saw in Kentucky has only made brief cameos in Las Vegas. Kobe Bryant would certainly prefer that player to be a frequent visitor to the Los Angeles area once the regular season tips off.
Shabazz Napier, Miami Heat
Shabazz Napier was thrown into somewhat of a tough situation with the Miami Heat because many thought he was just drafted to keep LeBron James there. That clearly backfired.
Mario Chalmers likely would have left via free agency if James returned, but he came back once the King went to Cleveland. That means Napier is staring up at a depth chart that includes Norris Cole and Chalmers.
He doesn't seem to be fazed by the competition if his comments are any indication, via Shandel Richardson of the Sun-Sentinel: "I'm happy we've got some teammates, we've got some good players. I'm looking forward to playing with those guys."
He may be ready to play with those guys, but his summer league has been up and down production-wise.
The low point came on July 5 when he turned the ball over eight times and shot 3-of-15 from the field against the Boston Celtics. In fact, he has five or more turnovers in four separate games and is still getting accustomed to NBA-level defense.
He did perform well against the Houston Rockets on July 12 with 11 points, five assists and two steals behind 4-of-5 shooting and 2-of-2 from beyond the three-point line. At this point, the Heat would like to see more impressive games like this to build the young guard's confidence.
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