LAS VEGAS -- You know how they what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas? Well, while covering the NBA Summer League over the past 10 days, your's truly realized that what happens in Vegas doesn't necessarily stay in Vegas by choice -- the city just allows for too many fun stories that a lot of them don't quite make it home.
Sin City hosted 24 teams this past week -- each of which played five games apiece -- in what can only be described as Basketball Heaven. Sixty basketball games happened over the course of 10 days, and although some of them ran together (I swear the Atlanta Hawks played 27 games), it was overall a really enjoyable experience ... especially for a basketball junkie such as myself.
Quite a few of the most memorable moments have already been written about in this very StoryStream (David Harrison doing his best to make an NBA comeback, Josh Selby shooting the lights out, Adam Morrison rerouting himself to a resurgence and John Henson being better than anticipated, amongst others), but that wasn't all that happened this week in lovely Las Vegas.
Those that chose to stick out the entire Vegas experience truly were treated to the best of times, the worst of times and -- unfortunately -- even a bit of the blurst of times. Some of the more memorable moments have been brought up below:
- Adam Morrison has been, at best, an afterthought in NBA circles ever since he flamed out with the Charlotte Bobcats after originally being selected with the third overall pick in the 2006 draft. That all changed in Vegas, though, as the long-haired wing player returned to prominence by averaging 20 points in five games with the Los Angeles Clippers' Summer League squad. More impressive than the numbers, though, was the "MVP! MVP!" chants Morrison received on Summer League's final Sunday afternoon. (For the record, he was snubbed.)
- There's a reason that Michael Kidd-Gilchrist was made the second overall pick in this year's draft and, not surprisingly, he showed exactly why that was when he made his Summer League debut: In just 22 minutes, MKG filled the box score with 18 points, eight rebounds, five assists, four steals and even a 3-pointer in a big win to help his Charlotte Bobcats begin their Summer exhibition schedule undefeated. Unfortunately he was one-and-done in Vegas, though, as he sat out the remainder of the Bobcats' schedule with a sore knee.
- It wasn't only Kidd-Gilchrist's injury that caused problems for Summer League fans, though: Top-pick Anthony Davis was scratched from the New Orleans Hornets' lineup to take a spot on Team USA; Kyrie Irving, last year's top pick, broke his hand while practicing prior to his first game; Portland Trail Blazers guard Nolan Smith was taken to the hospital after an unfortunate incident; Kenneth Faried ended up looking like he'd been in a wrestling match with Abdullah the Butcher after an inadvertent elbow from rookie teammate Quincy Miller and Memphis Grizzlies' summer leaguer Xavi Rey suffered a gruesome dislocated shoulder on Saturday night ... and those are just the injuries yours truly vividly remembers having an impact.
- The prevailing thought was that with Kyrie, Kidd-Gilchrist and Davis out, others would step up and shine in their place. Those others didn't come from the obvious members of this year's rookie class, though, as lottery picks Austin Rivers, Thomas Robinson and Dion Waiters were all quite underwhelming. There were some rookies that looked better than expected, though, including Damian Lillard (he did this!), Evan Fournier and Terrence Jones.
- When boarding an Allegiant Airlines flight 10 days ago, never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that Byron Mullens would be relevant enough to write about in a Summer League recap. He was solid for the Charlotte Bobcats this past season, sure. During a game this past week he hit three of his five three-point attempts en route to 33 points, eight rebounds and a win -- and that wasn't even the game that Byron did what only a guy formerly known as B.J. can do in Vegas.
- Aside from Mullens putting on a show, there were lesser names able to make an impact: The New York Knicks had a terrible team, but Chris Copeland made it on to SportsCenter (and then proceeded to try to replicate that honor for the next three games to no avail); Tomas Satoransky will likely be stashed in Europe next season, but the Washington Wizards' draft pick surprised some people by showing more athleticism than expected; little guard Josh Akognon scoring 25 points against the Los Angeles Lakers as well as the play of Izzet Turkyilmaz and Luke Sikma -- neither of which I knew existed prior to Summer League's start.
There's still quite a bit left to file from lovely Las Vegas as the week progresses, but the above should serve as a nice quick recap for those that didn't follow all 10 glorious days of basketball.