An Andrew Wiggins sighting was great, but my NBA Summer League 2014 experience was one that I will never forget, and felt it must be shared with those who don’t make it out to Las Vegas once a year.
Unfortunately the Boston Celtics were finished with the Summer League in Orlando and weren’t in town, but for any NBA fan, this is definitely something to attend before you have too much responsibility to do so. For a full day pass the cost of $28 is a steal to sit among scouts, professionals, and fans to watch some of the league’s youngest talents look to make their mark in the Association.
So where to begin on my journey at the Thomas & Mack Center on a hot, dry Vegas day?
First I have to recognize Sam Kirsch, a Seattle SuperSonics lifer who drove me to the games and also snapped the above photo of Andrew Wiggins. We arrived just in time for the first game, the Charlotte Hornets against the New York Knicks where the crowd had pockets or orange and blue for the Knicks faithful and cheap Hornets/Bobcats fans.
Tim Hardaway Jr., Cleanthony Early, and Shane Larkin stole the show for New York, while Derek Fisher looked on in a disgusting polo shirt, khaki short combination. He looks a bit uncomfortable as a head coach, but it could be he lost a ton at the craps table the night before so no judgement being passed on my end just yet.
A guy that impressed me was Noah Vonleh, who the Celtics ended up passing on like most teams in the higher-part of the draft. While he didn’t put up gaudy numbers, he was bigger in person and moved extremely well on both ends of the court. Cody Zeller may have to watch his starting spot this upcoming season. P.J. Hairston showed promise on offense, but he picked up a technical foul in a Summer League game, proving he may be as insane as some GMs worried.
After I was done promoting myself to as many Hornets and Knicks personnel that I could find, the Atlanta Hawks took on the Houston Rockets. NBA old-timers were also beginning to be spotted at this time. Rick Fox, Chris Mullin, Mitch Richmond, and others were in attendance and looked about as old as you would think, not making it any less exciting to see such legends. We also heard that Gary Payton was there, but weer unable to find his beautiful, bald head.
The point guard battle between Isaiah Canaan for the Rockets and Dennis Schroder was the highlight of that contest that came down to the wire. All of the guys on these rosters looked like they were truly playing for a spot on the roster and made it infinitely more entertaining. The Hawks seems to have a lot of pieces that they don’t know what to do with and Danny Ainge should be giving them a call to see if they want to unload any light contracts for some veteran help.
Come back tomorrow for Part II of my NBA Summer League Experience!