The 2009 NBA Summer League Tips Off in Las Vegas

John LorgeSenior Writer IJuly 10, 2009

Basketball fans, take that word "dead period" out of your mouth.

Yes, the championship has been handed out, and the 2009-2010 regular season is still a twinkle in our eyes, but the NBA's top youths are playing right now.

No, this ain't no And 1 Streetball demo.

The 2009 NBA Summer League in Las Vegas is ready to tip off!

That’s right, we finally get a chance to see Blake Griffin take it to Hasheem Thabeet. Or better yet, Griffin will also be squaring off against his older brother, Taylor.

If you want to see the action live (or On Demand) you can slide David Stern a cool $15 and get your fill over the next nine days.

Here's a quick preview of all the teams participating in the Las Vegas Summer League.

Chicago Bulls

Though there is no reason to have him here, it's a bit of a letdown that Derrick Rose won't be participating in the league.

Rookies James Johnson, Taj Gibson, and Josh Shipp will head the charge for the questionable Bulls roster.

Also, keep an eye out for former college stars DeMarcus Nelson, Anthony Roberson, and Julius Hodge.

Cleveland Cavaliers

The nine-man Cavs roster includes former UNC role players Danny Green and Jawad Williams.

Christian Eyenga of the Congo is the player that I am most excited about seeing. He is super long and athletic, but how will he stack up against the NBA talent?

Center David Harrison is also trying to make an impression on the Cavs to back up Shaq and Big Z.

Dallas Mavericks

There are some interesting guards on the Mavs' team, including the Frenchman Rodrigue Beaubois and potential Greek star Nick Calathes.

Calathes is trying to figure out how close he is to being NBA-ready.

Former first-round bust Luke Jackson is on the squad wih Aaron Miles, Shan Foster, and former Thunder wing Mickael Gelabale.

Power forward Ahmad Nivins will try to show Dallas that he can be the next Brandon Bass.

Denver Nuggets

After playing in the Orlando Summer League for Boston last week, where he did quite well, Coby Karl will join his father's Nuggets squad.

George Karl is slated to coach the team, and it will be a tough cut if the younger Karl can't produce.

Ty Lawson will be handling most of the point guard duties, dishing the ball to Derrick Byard and Sonny Weems on the wings.

Kareem Rush, the older brother of Brandon Rush, is also trying to make a team as well, as is troubled-but-talented post player C.J. Giles.

Detroit Pistons

A big question for Detroit is if rookie Austin Daye is man enough to bang in the NBA.  Even if he's not, his shooting stroke may be too good to leave on the bench.

Look out for the talented Euro baller, Jonas Jerebko, and Georgetown's DaJuan Summers roaming the post.

We saw Will Bynum tear up the NBA toward the end of the season, and I see him having his way with the summer leaguers.

Golden State Warriors

One of the top prospects for league MVP is Stephen Curry. He was disappointed about not being a Knick, but he will enjoy playing in Don Nelson's system.

Acie Law was a part of the Jamal Crawford trade, but there may be too many guards in Golden State.

Anthony Morrow and Anthony Randolph are two Tonys who we had success at times last year, and that experience should translate into a good Summer League.

Houston Rockets

I am excited to see quite a few Rockets hit the floor, as they have a very athletic lineup. Jermaine Taylor, James White, Hassan Adams, and Chase Budinger all get up for the throw-down.

NBADL All-Star Will Conroy will be running the point, and former Memphis post Joey Dorsey needs to show he can do something that merits playing time.

Los Angeles Clippers

The Clips have a solid lineup consisting of Mike Taylor, Eric Gordon, Blake Griffin, and DeAndre Jordon in the starting five.

Sean Banks, Dionte Christmas, and Marcelus Kemp will split time at small forward.

Los Angeles Lakers

There is not an overwhelming amount of talent on the Lakers' roster, with Adam Morrison leading the charge.

Washington State teammates Aron Baynes and Taylor Rochestie will share the court as will former Arizona foe Mustafa Shakur.

Rookie Chinemelu Elonu will be called upon to do most of the post scoring.

Memphis Grizzlies

UConn alums Jeff Adrien, Hasheem Thabeet, and Marcus Williams join another Big East star, Sam Young, to lead the charge for the Grizz.

The Big 12 is also represented with Darell Arthur, DeMarre Carroll, and Longar Longar.

Rounding out the very talented roster is Daniel Ewing, who's of no relation to Patrick Ewing.

Milwaukee Bucks

A few of these Bucks should be starters this year, including Joe Alexander, Brandon Jennings, Luc Mbah a Moute, and Jodie Meeks.

Sharpshooter Salim Stoudamire has surfaced, and he has his gun cocked.

Minnesota Timberwolves

Unfortunately, Ricky Rubio will not be joining us this summer, but Jonny Flynn won't be too sad about that.

A guy to root for on the T-Wolves is former North Dakota State gunner Ben Woodside; he lacks size, but he was one of college basketball's most prolific scorers for the past few seasons.

Gerald Henderson will be joining the squad on loan, sharing time with Wayne Ellington and Paul Harris.

This summer will be an important one for Corey Brewer, who, at this point in his career, has failed to produce in the NBA.

NBA D-League

The D-League has a team of players in the league. Don't expect much, though.

New Orleans Hornets

The stars for New Orleans Hornets will be Julian Wright, Darren Collison, and Marcus Thornton as they score from all over the floor.

Harvard has a player in the mix with Brian Cusworth as do the Creighton Blue Jays with Anthony Tolliver.

New York Knicks

I am looking forward to seeing a back court of Joe Crawford and Toney Douglas for the Knicks, but they will need to play with two balls in order to be happy.

This will be the first time Knicks fans see Jordan Hill in action, and he should do well against the younger post players.

The Knicks have some sneaky athletes on the roster such as Alex Acker and Patrick Ewing.

Oklahoma City Thunder

The story of the league is Shaun Livingston and his quest back to the NBA after a devastating knee injury with the Clippers.

After playing great in Orlando, Russell Westbrook and rookie James Harden look to keep the good times rollin'.

The Thunder also have a good position battle with two very athletic, but young centers in B.J. Mullens and Serge Ibaka.

Second-year players Kyle Weaver and D.J. White are also looking to continue their successful summer after playing well in Orlando.

Phoenix Suns

The Suns are more like the Phoenix Brothers, with Robin Lopez and Taylor Griffin roaming the front court.

I am excited to see former McDonald's All-American Micah Downs in an NBA setting, away from the suppressing offense at Gonzaga.

Earl Clark will display his ability to go inside and out.

The Suns have some good experienced players with Alando Tucker and Goran Dragic.

Two more guys to watch are Lee Cummard, a sharp shooter from BYU, and former 'Zona Wildcat Chris Rodgers.

Portland Trail Blazers

The reigning NBA Summer League MVP Jerryd Bayless returns to Las Vegas, and I expect another impressive performance this summer.

Rookies Dante Cunningham and Jeff Pendergraph will show why they were steals of the draft while Patrick Mills sits out with an injury.

The Blazers have some Pacific Northwest players on the roster with former Washington wing Bobby Jones and Portland namesake Pooh Jeter.

Sacramento Kings

The Summer League should be a perfect setting for Tyreke Evans to put on a show, and we will see if Omri Casspi lives up to expectations.

Former Washington teammates Spencer Hawes and Jon Brockman reunite down low.

Second-year forwards Jason Thompson and Donte Greene make the Kings one of the most feared rosters in the league.

San Antonio Spurs

Don't be surprised if Malik Hairston tears up the Summer League, he has NBA-style game and is hungry to get a shot.

Rookies DeJuan Blair, Jack McClinton, and Nando De Colo are also looking to impress after being snubbed first-round picks.

The "veteran" of the Spurs team is George Hill, who was a spot starter for San Antonio.

Toronto Raptors

A broad mix of players make up the Raptors roster as usual.

From rookie DeMar DeRozan to Croatian Roki Ukic, it's a fun bunch.

Patrick O'Bryant and Paul Davis are trying to solidify themselves as backup post players in the NBA.

High-flyer Brent Petway will open some eyes, and somehow Smush Parker found his way on the roster.

Can't forget Quincy Douby, either.

Washington Wizards

After trading the fifth pick in the draft, this roster is not as exciting as it could have been, but there are a few names to follow.

Nick Young, Dominic McGuire, and JaVale McGee all saw serious time for the Wiz last year.

Javaris Crittenton is still trying to figure out where he fits in the NBA, other than the bench.

I do like Josh Heytvelt and Alex Rouoff, but they need to dedicate themselves to the game.

Point guard Tyrese Rice can really score, but there are questions about his size.


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