Pelicans open summer league July 11 vs. D-League

by Jim Eichenhofer

New Orleans Pelicans point guard Pierre Jackson will see some familiar faces in the opposing uniforms when he opens NBA Summer League play on Friday, July 11. The Pelicans are scheduled to begin game competition in Las Vegas against a group of D-League All-Stars; Jackson spent part of the 2013-14 season in that circuit and dominated, averaging 29.1 points and 6.2 assists. Tip-off of the July 11 game between New Orleans and the D-League squad will be at 9:30 p.m. Central (7:30 in Nevada).

The NBA released the Las Vegas summer league schedule Thursday morning. The circuit will run from July 11-21 and consists of a total of 24 teams. For the second straight year, each team will play three “pool play” games, then will be seeded for a single-elimination tournament. The championship game will take place on the evening of July 21.

Although the Pelicans do not currently own a 2014 draft pick, Jackson will be joined on the New Orleans roster by center Jeff Withey. Both were selected in 2013’s second round of the NBA draft. Jackson and Withey played on the Pelicans’ summer league squad last July as well, but both were forced to miss practices due to the technicalities of trades. Jackson was officially chosen by Philadelphia; Withey was a Portland draft pick. Pelicans forward Luke Babbitt has also been confirmed to play in Las Vegas.

Here’s a closer look at the New Orleans pool play schedule in Las Vegas:

Friday, July 11, vs. D-League, 9:30 p.m. Central

On Feb. 4 while playing for the Idaho Stampede, Jackson broke the D-League all-time single-game scoring record by pouring in 58 points vs. the Texas Legends. The 5-foot-10, 180-pound guard actually struggled during three appearances at 2013 summer league for the Pelicans, but was hampered by injury and illness. He averaged 3.7 points and 2.0 assists and shot just 28.6 percent from the field, but demonstrated that those numbers were a fluke during the winter months.

Sunday, July 13, vs. L.A. Lakers, 3:30 p.m. Central

The Pelicans will play in the Thomas & Mack Center for all three of their pool play games, including this weekend afternoon matchup. Barring a trade by the Lakers, the game will feature the No. 7 overall draft pick. That’s the earliest the Lakers have selected in the first round of the draft since 1982.

Monday, July 14, vs. San Antonio, 5:30 p.m. Central

New Orleans wraps up pool play by facing the summer league squad representing the two-time reigning Western Conference champions. The Spurs currently own the 30th and final pick of the first round of June 26’s draft.

After the conclusion of games on July 15, the 24 summer league teams will be seeded based on record and a tiebreaking system. From July 16-18, the tournament field will be narrowed down to eight teams, with quarterfinal, semifinal and championship rounds taking place July 19-21.