Battle of lottery picks to highlight Summer League
Posted Jun 30 2009 5:34PM
Blake Griffin is ready to get to down to business. The top pick in June's Draft has a busy few months ahead, starting with the NBA Summer League later in July in Las Vegas. Griffin will headline the Clippers’ entry, as 21 NBA teams head to the desert to put their rookies to the test and continue the search for those who can contribute next season.
“I’m going be to be working out as hard as I can,” Griffin said. “You know, Summer League, I'll be there, and I'm also going to the USA trials at the end of July in Vegas.”
Griffin won’t be the only one putting in extra time. Drafts and free agency collide each summer, as players from both ends of the spectrum look to make their mark before the start of a new season. There’s no time to mess around. Summer League is not only the first opportunity to watch the prizes of the Draft compete under NBA conditions, it also gives many free-agent hopefuls a second and third chance to stick. In many cases, the 10 days of Summer League action are an open audition.
In addition to Griffin, nearly the entire Top 10 of the Draft will be in Vegas. Memphis (Hasheem Thabeet), Oklahoma City (James Harden), Minnesota (Jonny Flynn), Golden State (Stephen Curry), New York (Jordan Hill), Toronto (DeMar DeRozan) and Milwaukee (Brandon Jennings) are fielding Summer League teams. The one notable missing name there: Ricky Rubio, the Spanish sensation, whose name is not on the Timberwolves' Summer League roster.
The 21 teams will be joined by an NBA Development League select squad. The entire 55-game Summer League schedule, running from July 10-19, will be played at the Thomas & Mack Center and the COX Pavilion on the campus of UNLV.
Though teams have yet to finalize rosters, here are 10 potential games to watch when the action tips off just a few blocks from the Strip:
Oklahoma City vs. Memphis (COX Pavilion): The second and third picks, Thabeet and Harden, square off.
L.A. Lakers vs. L.A. Clippers (Thomas & Mack): Top pick Griffin gets his first crack of many to come against the crosstown champs.
If you have a question or comment for Art Garcia, send him an email.