Some Summer League years hold more intrigue than others, and it's safe to say following this year's NBA draft that the 2017 Las Vegas Summer League rosters are packed with must-watch players.
From this year's No. 1 overall draft selection, the Philadelphia 76ers' Markelle Fultz, to the Boston Celtics' selection at No. 3, Jayson Tatum, there are plenty of high-profile names set to take the court on this summer's schedule, which will feature a record 24 NBA teams, per NBA.com
On Friday, the action in Las Vegas will get kick off at 6:00 p.m. ET in the Cox Pavilion as the Toronto Raptors take on the New Orleans Pelicans. But there are six games in total to catch on Friday to open up the tournament.
We'll break down some of the players fans can look forward to seeing on the first day—No. 4 overall pick Josh Jackson, anyone?—but first, let's look at the full Las Vegas schedule for Friday's games.
The entire Summer League schedule can be found at NBA.com.
|NBA Las Vegas Summer League Schedule - Friday|
|Friday, July 7||Cox Pavilion||6:00 p.m.||Toronto vs. New Orleans||NBA TV|
|Friday, July 7||Cox Pavilion||8:00 p.m.||Brooklyn vs. Atlanta||NBA TV|
|Friday, July 7||Cox Pavilion||10:00 p.m.||Houston vs. Denver||NBA TV|
|Friday, July 7||Thomas & Mack Center||6:30 p.m.||Milwaukee vs. Cleveland||ESPN2|
|Friday, July 7||Thomas & Mack Center||8:30 p.m.||L.A. Clippers vs. L.A. Lakers||ESPN|
|Friday, July 7||Thomas & Mack Center||10:30 p.m.||Phoenix vs. Sacramento||ESPN2|
The marquee matchup on Friday is definitely the showdown between crosstown rivals the Los Angeles Lakers and the Los Angeles Clippers; in fact, it's the only game on Friday that will be broadcast on ESPN.com.
The full rosters for the 2017 Summer League teams can be found at NBA.com, but the highlights for the Lakers' and Clippers' matchup include No. 2 overall draft selection Lonzo Ball on the Lakers' side and first-round selection Brice Johnson for the Clippers.
The Lakers are not taking the Summer League lightly.
"My intention is to go in and win summer league," Lakers Summer League head coach Jed Buechler said, per Tyler Blint-Welsh of the Los Angeles Times.
"One of the big things that [general manager Rob Pelinka] talks about is our mentality of winning here, and I think it starts right now during the summer league. So we’re going there to win."
There's no question the Lakers have to establish some winning ways and change their culture if they want to attract big names in free agency next year. That starts with their roster of young players and what they leave on the court this month.
For his part, rookie Ball is buying in:
Another can't-miss Friday Summer League matchup is the late game between the Suns and the Kings, largely to see how Phoenix's draft selection at No. 4 overall, Jackson, is looking.
The Suns held their first practice on Tuesday. At least for the Summer League, Jackson is wearing No. 99:
Phoenix landed Jackson at No. 4 after the Boston Celtics took Tatum at No. 3, in a move that surprised some.
A Kansas Jayhawk for one season before he declared for the draft, Jackson recorded 16.3 points, 7.4 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.7 steals, and 1.1 blocks per game with the team. He earned Big 12 Freshman of the Year honors for his efforts.
The Suns haven't made the playoffs since the 2009-10 season, when they lost the Western Conference finals. Phoenix has been trying to make its star burn brighter for years, and the hope is that Jackson is part of the solution.
We'll see how he looks on Friday.