Oklahoma City’s first summer league game is today at 4 p.m. and like reader Lefty said in the comments, “It’s only like five weeks until college football, and I don’t even care, because we get to watch the NBA summer league this afternoon. How messed up have I become?” I hear that. Here I am waiting for four o’clock to roll around so I can watch me some summer league basketball. Dedicated fan or over-obsessed nutjob? You tell me.
But there are things to be excited about. I’m psyched to see James Harden in action and also to see Serge Ibaka for the first time. But there’s some other interesting names on the roster, most of which have as much chance to make it to fall camp as I do, but nevertheless, it should be fun to watch some basketball again.
Russell Westbrook (PG) – Thunder
We all know he’s good. But what kind of progress has he made so far this summer? He’s been working on his jumpshot and decision making this summer so it’ll be interesting to see if he’s made any progress. He’ll be one of the elite players in the league and it’s hard to say how much playing time he’ll get. But he’s not participating in the Vegas league, so I’m guessing anywhere between 20-25 minutes a game. He’ll probably be able to get just about anywhere he wants, but the main think to look for is for more consistency on his mid-range jumper, a better ability to finish around the rim and also if he seems to have more control of the offense with the ball in his hands.
Shaun Livingston (PG) – Thunder
Livingston’s play at the end of the year was extremely encouraging for Thunder fans and extremely discouraging for Earl Watson. If Livingston continues to progress, Watson may be left on the end of the bench next to trainer Joe Sharpe. What’ll be most interesting to watch is if Livingston’s side-to-side agility has improved any and if he looks even more comfortable on his knee than he did at the end of the year.
Serge Ibaka (PF) - Thunder/Ricoh Manresa
With news coming out that Ibaka is going to be on the Thunder roster next year regardless of what happens in Orlando, this week became a lot less important for him. But he’s still the most interesting player to watch this week. Really nobody has seen much of anything from Ibaka and he’s a major unknown. We don’t know what to expect from him. Shot blocking? Rebounding? Post game? Any semblance of a jumpshot? We know he can dunk, but can he play defense? His unreal athleticism and length get me giddy and I know when he’s on the court, my eyes are only going to be on him. Keep Reading…