The NBA’s annual Vegas Summer League would be wrapping up right about now. Young players would be finishing up a week of gambling, partying and hopefully, at least for their coach, getting better.
Summer League has always been sort of approached by most as nothing more than a perk of July, just something to sort of help bridge the gap. Nobody really pays attention to it except for the hardest of hardcore fans, general managers, scouts and coaches. And bloggers. Summer League basically is blogger paradise, because it’s something to write the crap out of for a couple of weeks in mid-July.
Except this summer, because of the you-know-what, there is no Summer League. No rookies to overhype because of a good, random game against a bunch of D-Leaguers. No second-year fringe players to latch onto and get excited about because of a quality week. And no players to completely write off because of a 2-12, five-turnover game. For shame.
And while most just write off what happens in Vegas as unimportant, any time players take the court and compete, there’s something of value there for the players, the organization and the coaches. Basketball is about development. It’s about getting better. Summer League is a vehicle for new draft picks to get a feel of pro basketball and a feel of playing with a couple of teammates. It’s a place for guys to prove themselves a bit. In reality, it’s kind of important, even if it’s generally ignored by the general basketballing public.
But I can guarantee you a good number of teams were mighty disappointed when Summer League fell through because of the lockout. There’s progress to be made, and a week in Vegas is an excellent place to start, especially for rookies. At CBSSports.com this weekend, I looked at the teams that will likely feel the sting of missing seemingly meaningless games in Vegas the most. One team definitely included: The Thunder. Keep Reading…