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Dion Waiters

A Summer League Primer

July 10, 2013
by Joe Gabriele Beat Writer

On Tuesday, the Wine and Gold announced their 2013 Vegas Summer League roster and on Wednesday night, that roster will be practicing for a fortnight stay in Sin City.

The Cavaliers are one of just two franchises (along with Washington) to have participated in the Vegas invitational since its inception in 2004. And from the Department of Useless Statistics, Cleveland has gone 18-23 since traveling out West. (The most successful all-time team in Vegas is Golden State, which has gone 23-13 over the years.)

This year, Summer League is going with a tournament format, with the Championship game to be played on Monday, July 22. Between now and then, here are some quick tips about the Cavaliers’ schedule, roster, and some random stuff that might go down in the desert …

  • The games will be split between Cox Pavilion and the Thomas & Mack Center, site of the 2007 All-Star Game. Unfortunately for fans in the “Shark Tank,” their local star – No. 1 overall pick and former UNLV star Anthony Bennett – will not suit up for the Cavaliers while he continues to nurse his left shoulder in preparation for Training Camp. Bennett, however, will still make the trip back to Nevada with the team.
  • Bennett won’t be playing for the Cavs, but fans will still get a look at some other highly-regarded rookies, including Washington’s Otto Porter, Charlotte’s Cody Zeller and Sacramento’s Ben McLemore.
  • Twenty-one NBA teams – plus the D-League Select team will be participating in this year’s tourney. Vegas Summer League began with six teams.
  • The Cavaliers start out on Friday at 5:00 p.m. (8:00 p.m. EST) against the Lakers, face off against Memphis on Sunday at 5:00 p.m. and the Pelicans on Monday at 3:00 p.m. On July 17, the tournament begins.
  • Summer League comes with its own set of rules, too. There are four 10-minute periods, an eight-minute halftime and two-minute overtime period. (The second overtime is sudden death.) Teams reach the bonus after just two team fouls, but players don’t foul out until after their 10th personal.
  • Tyler Zeller and Dion Waiters will be exchanging Wine and Gold for Red, White and Blue during their prolonged stay in Vegas. On July 21, the U.S. National Team’s mini-camp tips off. They’ll train daily until their inter-squad game breaks Camp on July 25. All-Star guard Kyrie Irving will join his mates, making Cleveland the only organization with three representatives at Camp. (They would have had four players from the last two Drafts in Vegas, but Tristan Thompson is, of course, Canadian.)
  • The first thing you might notice about some of Cleveland’s Summer League invitees is their size – namely Justin Harper (6-10), Josh Heytvelt (6-11) and Kenny Kadji (6-10).
  • Here’s a quick look at some of the players the Cavs will go to battle with over the next two weeks. (We’ll get more in-depth with most of them during that time. Anthony Bennett, as previously mentioned, is out with a shoulder injury and Cleveland’s second first-rounder (No. 19 overall) – Sergey Karasev – will spend the summer playing in Russia. Carrick Felix, taken No. 33 overall, will be the only 2013 draftee in uniform.
  • Matthew Dellavedova – The native Australian is a 6-3 guard who followed the footsteps of fellow Aussie Paddy Mills at St. Mary’s College of California, where he left as the school’s all-time leader in scoring, assists, games played, free throw percentage and three-point shots. He was also an Academic All-American in 2012-13.
  • Carrick Felix – The Cavs sole second-rounder is a pretty smart cookie himself, earning a Master’s Degree in Communications from Arizona State. Measuring at over 6-6, the elongated swingman who did three years of school will get a chance to show off his defensive skill-set in Vegas.
  • Justin Harper – The former Richmond standout was originally selected by the Cavaliers (No. 32 overall) in 2011, but was traded to the Magic before Draft night was over. The forward’s pro career has mostly been spent with the Idaho Stampede and in France with SIG Strasbourg.
  • Josh Heytvelt – Another big man, Heytvelt was a standout at Gonzaga before going undrafted in 2009. Since then, he’s played in Turkey, Italy and Croatia.
  • Cory Higgins – The son of former NBA player and president of basketball operations for the Bobcats – Rod Higgins – the 6-5 guard is tied as the University of Colorado’s all-time leading scorer. He went undrafted in 2011 and has played well in separate stints with the Erie Bayhawks.
  • Kevin Jones – The former Big East Player of the Year played in 32 games with the Cavaliers last year after going undrafted in 2012. The soft-spoken, undersized big man will be auditioning once again, as he was late last year, when he notched double-figures in two of his last three games
  • Kenny Kadji – Was the man in the middle during the U. of Miami’s best season ever last year. At 6-10 can play center but has the skills to put it on the floor or shoot over small opponents. Born in Cameroon, he’s already 25 years old.
  • Chris Quinn – Former Domer point guard played in seven games with Cavs at the end of last season and has suited up with four teams over six-year NBA career.
  • Jermaine Taylor – The high-scoring two-guard was drafted by the Wizards in the second round of the 2009 Draft, but quickly traded to Houston. After a D-League stint as a rookie, Taylor’s been with the Kings, Timberwolves and Lakers. And in just the last year, he’s played in three different countries – Spain, Israel and China.
  • Dion Waiters – The No. 4 overall pick a year ago is coming off an All-Rookie First Team campaign and he’ll join Kyrie Irving and Tyler Zeller at U.S. National mini-camp. Waiters played well last year in Vegas before suffering a knee injury in an odd collision with the Suns’ Markieff Morris.
  • Tyler Zeller – Last year’s No. 17 pick out of North Carolina was possibly the Cavs most impressive guy last year in Vegas. It’ll be interesting to see what offseason improvements Cleveland’s big man has made. Along with Waiters, he’ll play the start of the Summer League schedule before joining the U.S. National team’s mini-camp.


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