With 21 NBA teams participating, the 2009 NBA Summer League in Las Vegas now hosts over two-thirds of the leagues franchises. Assuming there are no draft-night trades that would affect the selection order Thursday, each of the first 10 players chosen in the 2009 NBA Draft will make their pro debuts in Vegas, including No. 1 pick Blake Griffin.
In other words, there is arguably more reason than ever for basketball fans to pay close attention to the summer league, held this year July 10-19. The NBA just released the leagues 55-game schedule today. New Orleans will tip off its five-game slate on Sunday, July 12, facing San Antonio at 1 p.m. Pacific time in Las Vegas (3 p.m. Central time in New Orleans).
Hornets forward Julian Wright has committed to playing in summer league for the third consecutive year. He will be joined by New Orleans 2009 first-round draft pick, as well as an assortment of free agents.
HORNETS 2009 NBA SUMMER LEAGUE SCHEDULE
Sunday, July 12, vs. San Antonio, 1 p.m. (3 p.m. Central)
Tuesday, July 14, vs. L.A. Clippers, 7:30 p.m. (9:30 p.m. Central)
Thursday, July 16, vs. Golden State, 5 p.m. (7 p.m. Central)
Saturday, July 18, vs. Minnesota, 3:30 p.m. (5:30 p.m. Central)
Sunday, July 19, vs. Denver, 5:30 p.m. (7:30 p.m. Central)
A few other notes related to summer league:
The Hornets July 14 contest against the Clippers will likely be No. 1 draft choice Blake Griffins second game in Las Vegas. On July 13, the Clippers face their Staples Center co-tenants, the Lakers.
Games for NBA Summer League are played at two adjacent arenas in Las Vegas Cox Pavilion and the Thomas & Mack Center. Cox Pavilion is essentially the main venue among the two. There will be 39 games played at Cox Pavilion and 16 at Thomas & Mack. Only two of the Hornets games are scheduled for Cox Pavilion the games vs. San Antonio and Golden State. In the past, NBA TV has only broadcast games from Cox Pavilion, but not Thomas & Mack.
Last year the Hornets had one Vegas game televised nationally by NBA TV. In 2007, they had none. NBA.com also provided webcasts of every NBA Summer League game last year.
I am expecting to be in Las Vegas for the Hornets final three summer league games. We are also planning to have extensive coverage before and during the teams trip to Nevada, including interviews, game recaps and Twitter updates on @hornetsdotcom. Check the Big Easy Buzz blog in the upcoming weeks for more information as it becomes available, including the official announcement of New Orleans summer roster.