Throughout the day, you see fans come and go for certain games and you get to watch staff members of these organizations checking their watches to see how long they have been at the Thomas & Mack Center. By the time the afternoon games roll around, there is an aura of restlessness in the crowd that only seems to go away when a player is sighted chatting with friends, or an eye-catching play is made on the court.
That made it mush easier to understand the fan’s frustration when Doug McDermott didn’t suit up for the Chicago Bulls in their game against the Sacramento Kings. Ben McLemore distracted us for a bit with some dunks during warmups that I wish I had gotten on film. The sight of seven-foot, five-inch Sim Bhullar was also majestic, like seeing Mount Rushmore or crossing the Golden Gate Bridge.
However, once the sight of McBuckets in his sandals and socks was witnessed by the fans, you could hear the moans and groans as the Bulls didn’t sport the most interesting Summer League team. Luckily, Andrew Wiggins strolled right past our section and was recognized by a rowdy fan who asked him if he was going to be playing in Cleveland or Minnesota. That led to everyone in the first 10 rows raising their cellphones just to grab a quick photo of the number one overall pick.
As for the game itself, the Kings roster was essentially their entire NBA-squad without DeMarcus Cousins and Rudy Gay. There were a pair of Oklahoma City Thunder scouts sitting behind me who kept referring to the Bulls roster as “D-League Light,” while they were talking glowingly about some of the guys on the Kings. This makes sense as to why Sacramento is heavily shopping guys like McLemore as it seems that his value is high.
It was this insight that put me in awe of the NBA Summer League. Sure you can watch an NBA game with rowdy crowds and more meaning to them, but how often can you sit with the guys who help make the decisions and bring a certain realism to the players you follow on a daily basis. Next year I hope to visit the Orlando Summer League to hear what guys think of the players on the Boston Celtics roster, but until then, let’s see who left before the end of next year.