Suns Retorter: Rules for Enjoying Vegas Summer League

Long before Jon Favreau personally knew Ironman and Vince Vaughn was funny and then not funny, the pair were in a little independent film known as Swingers. This understated comedy -- about a down-on-his-luck actor and his gregarious buddy who helps him became a cult favorite -- opened the door to the world of Las Vegas for many who were too young to set foot in a casino at the time.

I was one of those wayward youths who, thanks to the multiple VHS and DVD viewings, can recite almost every line from the film. It’s also the first thing I think of every time I get the assignment to head to Sin City to cover Summer League like I did earlier this month.

Usually those quotes are throwaway jokes interjected into conversation with whatever colleague happens to be on the trip. As I prepare for this year’s sojourn, they’re something more. They represent rules that every fan either attending or watching Summer League must keep in mind.

Rule 1: Always Wait Three Days

“Yeah, two's enough not to look anxious. But I think three days is kind of money.”

In the movie the above quote referred to the number of days Favreau’s character should wait before calling a girl whose number he just got at the bar. For your viewing of Summer League, it refers to the amount of days/games you should wait before overreacting about a player’s performance.

Summer League is a work in progress and some players may have a astronomical statistical game. Keep calm though. It’s all about consistency. If they sustain it over three games there is probably something more to look at there. If you overreact too soon you’ll probably face the same fate that Favreau’s character did. You’ll be sitting on the floor of your home being completely embarrassed by the Tweet/Email (this generation’s answering machine) you just sent a friend.

Rule 2: Pay Attention to Everyone

“Look at this, okay? I want you to remember this face, here. Okay? This is the guy behind the guy behind the guy.”

When watching Summer League pay attention to everything and everyone. It is a virtual who’s who of current and future NBA influencers. There are obviously the big name first rounders who will be showing off their skills, but the next wave of surprise NBA starters and second stringers and fan favorites will be there too.

It’s not just players though. The next round of NBA head coaches and general managers will be around as well. So keep your head on a swivel because he may be the guy behind the guy behind the guy right now, but at some point he’ll become the guy as well.

Before making a judgment, implement the three day rule

Rule 3: It’s All About Growth

“Our baby's all grown up.”

Sure, Vaughn’s character was making fun of Favreau’s here, but in Vegas it’s all about growing as a player.

Watch for second-year players like Archie Goodwin and Alex Len, who are looking to show they’re ready to make the jump. Rookies like T.J. Warren, Tyler Ennis and Alec Brown are looking to prove they’re NBA ready and others are using it to take their shot at proving they belong in the association.

It may only be a week long, but you’ll be able to tell what young guys are growing up, which ones are growing and who may still need some seasoning overseas or in the D-League.

Rule 4: Don’t Over think It

“Vegas baby, Vegas!”

Just like Vaughn and Favreau’s characters were excited on their drive to Las Vegas, you should be excited for Summer League. It’s basically a convention for all things basketball. It’s the NBA with more access to players and it’s fun. Even if you’re watching at home, it gives you your first look at the rookie class. Plus it’s professional basketball in the middle of the summer. You can only watch Breaking Bad on Netflix so many times, right?

So if you want to enjoy the Summer Suns in Las Vegas Summer League, follow those four simple rules. Oh, and maybe bust out the old VHS or DVD player and watch Swingers just as a refresher course.