After the conclusion of the year’s NBA draft, the newly selected players look forward to beginning their NBA careers with their new teammates in the off-season league dubbed the NBA Summer League. This includes the California Classic, the Utah Jazz Summer League and the Las Vegas Summer League. Not only do the players selected in the draft compete in the NBA Summer League, but unsigned free agents and undrafted rookies also receive an opportunity to play for contracts and potentially make the final roster. This makes for highly competitive games as players are literally playing for their dreams in front of NBA scouts, GMs and die hard fans.
The NBA Summer League is where you see the new crop of NBA talent for the first time with their new teams. NBA all stars and legends such as Lebron James, Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry, Dwayne Wade, and Damian Lillard all started their storied careers in the NBA Summer League.
However, the year is now 2019 and fans have a new wave of players to look forward to!
The Utah Jazz Summer League and the California Classic will kick off the off-season hoops spanning from July 1st to July 3rd. The California Classic will feature the Miami Heat, Golden State Warriors, Los Angeles Lakers, and the Sacramento Kings. The California classic will be headlined by prospects such Miami’s scoring machine Tyler Herro, Golden State’s sharpshooters Jordan Poole and Jimmer Fredette (who could potentially play in place of Klay Thompson this season), and Sacramento’s big man Marvin Bagley III and the 55th pick Kyle Guy.
The Utah Jazz Summer League will take place with the Cleveland Cavaliers, Memphis Grizzlies, San Antonio Spurs, and Utah Jazz being the participants. In this six game league, we’ll see the debut of the #2 draft pick, Ja Morant who will be taking on a big responsibility with the Grizzlies with the departure of Mike Conley to the Utah Jazz. The Cleveland Cavaliers drafted talented offensive guards Darius Garland and received Kevin Porter Jr. in a trade. It’ll be interesting to see how the guard situation plays out this year in The Land since Colin Sexton had a pretty good rookie season last year.
The Spurs continue making history with two women coaches being on staff. It was only a few years ago when Becky Hammon coached the San Antonio Spurs Summer League team to a championship with Kyle Anderson winning League MVP. It’s quite possible to see the Spurs working their magic once again with their pure, systematic, and international brand of basketball.
Every year since 2004, The NBA Summer League has been hosted at UNLV’s arena, the Thomas & Mack Center, and it will be no different in 2019. This year’s games will also be hosted at Cox Pavilion and will feature the Croatian and Chinese men’s basketball teams.
One of the most exciting aspects of the Las Vegas Summer League are the exciting matchups of future NBA superstars and the storylines behind them. Probably the most anticipated match up of this year’s Summer League happens on July 5th when Zion Williamson, the #1 pick, and the New Orleans Pelicans takes on RJ Barrett, the #3 pick, and the New York Knicks. Good friends and former teammates at Duke will battle it out for the first time as pros on their respective NBA teams which will give us a glimpse into what the future has to offer. The Summer League will also see Denver Nugget’s Michael Porter Jr. as he comes off his injury plagued season and a highly motivated Bol Bol after falling to the second round in this year’s draft
Who’s your pick to take home Summer League MVP? What match up are you looking forward to the most? Comment below!