One of the first casualties of the NBA Lockout was the canceling of summer leagues in both Vegas and Orlando. The NBA announced on Tuesday that the Vegas Summer league will return to the Thomas & Mack Center and the Cox Pavilion on July 13-22. Even though the Atlanta Hawks are unsure if they will field at team at this time this is good news for a hoops junkie like myself.
Summer league basketball usually doesn't produce the most beautiful basketball ever played but it is an important part of the off season. After the draft, it gives teams first looks at their new players and it has given Hawks fans their only looks at players like Sergey Gladyr. Most importantly it signals a proper off season for a league that was rocked with labor strife this past offseason.
The league has recovered nicely and even better than I was predicting. The condensed 66-game schedule has been exhausting but nonetheless entertaining to watch. However, as we wind down the final days of the regular season I already catch myself realizing just how fast this season went by. In NBA circles we should all be ready to see things back to normal.
Here is a look at the press release announcing the 2012 Vegas Summer League:
NEW YORK, April 10, 2012 - NBA Summer League returns to action this summer July 13-22 at the Thomas & Mack Center and the COX Pavilion on the campus of the University of Nevada Las Vegas.
Launched in 2004 as the Las Vegas Summer League, the inaugural event featured six NBA teams (Boston Celtics, Cleveland Cavaliers, Denver Nuggets, Orlando Magic, Phoenix Suns and Washington Wizards) playing a 13-game slate. The NBA joined forces with the original event organizers in 2007, and the summer showcase has expanded exponentially since its inception.
During the most recent competition in 2010, 22 NBA teams, including 11 playoff teams, competed in a 58-game schedule that featured 10 of the top 14 picks in the 2010 NBA Draft. Fans that weren't able to experience the action in person were able to tune into NBA TV or log on to NBA.com and see every play, including Jeremy Lin's breakout performance for the Dallas Mavericks. Matched up against John Wall and the Washington Wizards on July 15, 2010, Lin scored 11 of his 13 points in the fourth quarter as the Mavericks mounted a furious comeback after trailing from the opening buzzer, to come within six points of victory, before falling, 88-82.
Landry Fields, Lin's current backcourt mate with the New York Knicks, arrived in Las Vegas two summers ago as an unheralded second-round pick (39th overall) in the 2010 NBA Draft. In five games, Fields averaged 15.6 points and 4.8 rebounds, then went on to earn NBA All-Rookie First Team honors, appearing in all 82 games (81 starts) for the Knicks, averaging 9.7 points and 6.4 rebounds.
Exciting games featuring the NBA's newest talent have always been a staple at NBA Summer League. Five of the last six NBA Rookie of the Year award winners have joined their teams in Las Vegas including: Chris Paul (New Orleans Hornets, 2005-06), Brandon Roy (Portland Trail Blazers, 2006-07), Kevin Durant (Oklahoma City, 2007-08), Tyreke Evans (Sacramento, 2009-10) and Blake Griffin (L.A. Clippers, 2010-11).
Other league highlights include the participation of the Chinese National team in 2007, which marked the first international team to participate in the league and the NBA Development League Select team's participation in 2009 and 2010 events.
Tickets for the 2012 NBA Summer League will go on sale June 1, at 10 a.m. PDT. Fans will be able to purchase tickets for the Strip's hottest summer event by calling 702-739-FANS, through UNLVtickets.com or by visiting any UNLV ticket outlet.
A complete schedule of games and broadcast information will be released at a later date.