Sunday, July 22, 2007

Summer League, Vegas-Style

Maybe I’m a little late on this Summer League-promotion thing.

First off, Summer League came and went. The brief competition ran from July 6 to July 15.

Second, Page 2's Bill Simmons already explained the virtues of Las Vegas hosting the competition.
“When the NBA moved its annual Summer League to Vegas, on paper the combination of basketball and gambling was right in my wheelhouse."
And he did it in timely fashion, arguing the beauty of Vegas’ potential juicy relationship pairing basketball and gambling two days before news broke that the FBI was investigating an NBA referee for betting on games.

Simmons’ underlying point was a valuable one though; Summer League is relevant now that it’s in Vegas because big-time young talents come and play. Regardless of motive, they come. Guys like Greg Oden, Kevin Durant, LaMarcus Aldridge, and Randy Foye offer the competition serious credibility from a player’s perspective. That fact shouldn’t be lost on the media or the critical fan.

The draft and free agency clearly highlight the NBA’s summer offseason. But wise eyes should turn to Summer League action in order to catch a glimpse of bubbling NBA talent.

After last year’s competition, Dennis Rogers did an informative write-up honoring some of the top players. He named Foye his MVP. Other notables on his first team included Amare Stoudemire, Kevin Martin, and Brandon Roy. His notes gushing about Stoudemire’s fitness, Martin’s poise to break out, and the NBA-readiness of Foye and Roy, while not completely unpredictable, do give credence to the revealing nature of often-overlooked Summer League games.

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