Vegas Day 2 notebook: Davis makes visit
By: Jim Eichenhofer, Pelicans.com, @Jim_Eichenhofer
News and observations from the desert, as the New Orleans Pelicans prepare for game play later this week at the 2013 NBA Summer League:
• When New Orleans summer league players entered the practice gym at Cox Pavilion on Tuesday morning, a familiar face was already there working up a sweat. Pelicans second-year player Anthony Davis arrived well before the summer team’s 9 a.m. practice, in order to get in a workout of his own. In the final few minutes before having to cede the floor, Davis honed his low-post moves and fired mid-range jumpers.
• The team’s summer league roster is expected to be cut to 12 players prior to Friday’s opening game vs. the New York Knicks, meaning the next three days of practices are make-or-break for some camp invitees.
• The brand-new format for the 22-team Las Vegas summer league appears to be a hit with Pelicans players, who say that it provides additional motivation and clarity to the event. There’s also the carrot that if you’re a summer league player trying to best showcase your skills to GMs and coaches, it’s possible to play as many as eight games under the 2013 setup. In the past, teams played exactly five times, but there is a scenario this year where following three pool-play games, a team could be required to win five more games to earn the championship.
• In a reaction to the dominance of big men such as Wilt Chamberlain, the NCAA outlawed dunking from 1967 to 1976. The no-dunks rule was also instituted at one end of the practice court Monday night out of pure necessity. Pelicans players were advised by coaches not to attempt slams on one of the baskets, because something was structurally wrong with the rim. The force of any aggressive dunk was jarring the rim out of its natural aligned position, causing someone to have to jump up and pop it back into place. A couple Pelicans slipped up and dunked anyway, but the coaching staff had to cut them some slack: Most have been throwing down slams since high school or earlier.
• There have been wildfires in the Las Vegas area recently, which was very evident during the team’s bus ride back to the hotel after Monday’s practice. At night in Las Vegas, the plumes of smoke are visible from many vantage points in the city.