Are you dying for some basketball action? Don't worry. The NBA Summer League in Las Vegas is here Friday. UNLV will again be the hosts to young players who will show off their abilities during 10 days of basketball. Twenty-one teams are participating, and the league runs from July 11 (Friday) to July 20.
Every game will be webcast for free, live on NBA.com. Schedules, scores, and rosters can be found here.
We'll be able to get our first taste of top 10 draftees O.J. Mayo, Kevin Love, Danilo Gallinari, and D.J. Augustin, in addition to watching some of last year's favorites, like 2007 Summer League MVP Nate Robinson. There's nothing like witnessing a guy go from dominating a summer league to throwing a towel at Zach Randolph.
By no means is this a judge of the season to come (last year, the Hornets went 0-5 while the Knicks were undefeated), but it's certainly a great way to get to know the talent that might emerge next season.
We already got a small taste of summer action, as six teams (Chicago, Miami, New Jersey, Orlando, Indiana, Sea...Oklahoma City) have started competition in Orlando's summer league.
There, we were treated to a 28-point performance by Michael Beasley and a surprise appearance by Rookie of the Year Kevin Durant (though it was slightly eerie to watch his team don those generic Oklahoma City threads without a team name).
By the way, if you want to catch the Orlando action and watch Durant, Beasley, and Derrick Rose, the games are all aired on the web right here.
Quick side note: If you've been watching the Orlando games, don't you love the commentators, Dante and Galante? They have very little professionalism, but they are hilarious. They nicknamed Tyrus Thomas the "Soul Eater" and tried to name Oklahoma City's team, finally settling on the Thundercats. This is the sort of entertainment David Stern needs to provide to shed his uptight image. Thank you, Orlando Magic.
What can we expect at this year's summer league in Vegas?
Many say that Memphis' O.J. Mayo is the most "NBA-ready" talent in this year's draft. If so, he's poised to make a lot of noise in Las Vegas. Memphis' newest star will probably be the most watched player in the summer league, unless of course Greg Oden makes a surprise appearance for Portland like Durant did for the Thundercats.
Mayo will be playing alongside former Kansas star Darrell Arthur, once a projected lottery pick who slipped to the cellar of the first round and got traded three times on draft night. Will he use that draft slight as motivation to show teams what they passed up?
New York faithful were pretty vicious in booing Italy's Danilo Gallinari when the Knicks picked him in this year's draft. Let's see if he can start the process of winning their hearts. It shouldn't be that hard, right? New York has its share of Italians. I'm guessing they'll come around.
The player I'm most excited to watch? Houston's Maarty Leunen. He went something like 80th in the draft, so who cares, right? But look at how his first name is spelled. Maarty. I wrote it like that twice; it's not a typo. Tell me you're not intrigued.
Watch your team's young hopefuls in action starting July 11 at NBA.com.