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Las Vegas Summer League Day 1: Point Guard Duel, Big Man's Debut Headline The Slate Of Games

Today marks the beginning of the true basketball addict's event: the Las Vegas Summer League. Over the next ten days, 22 teams composed of their own young players and several other random ones will play five games each out in the sweltering heat. It's basketball at it's purest, which is coincidentally why NBA addicts love it. 

Today's Day 1 slate features eight games, and we'll be updating you on them here in this stream. Here's the full schedule:

Dallas Mavericks vs. Denver Nuggets: 4 p.m. EDT

Houston Rockets vs. Phoenix Suns: 6 p.m. EDT

Detroit Pistons vs. Los Angeles Lakers: 8 p.m. EDT

Golden State Warriors vs. New Orleans Hornets: 10 p.m. EDT

Ridiculous Upside has a great preview of all the action here, but I figured I'd throw in my two cents on a few players to watch:

1.  Greg Monroe

With Warriors big man Ekpe Udoh sidelined with a wrist injury, Monroe becomes the highest draft pick in the 2010 draft to play tonight. Tonight is the first time we'll be able to answer some of the key questions with Monroe. Namely:

 

  • Is he athletic enough to guard players on this level?
  • How will he fare on a team that won't run the Princeton offense?
  • Does he have a jump shot?
  • Can he prove he's not merely a system player?
Summer League isn't kind to big men, so don't be surprised if he does struggle. He's probably going to go up against Lakers draft pick Derrick Caracter a lot, which should be an interesting one to watch. Monroe can get the best of him, but it's no guarantee.

2.  Jordan Hill and Patrick Patterson

Those two big men headline a Rockets Summer League roster that also includes Chase Budinger. The only question, though, is how both will play together. Does Patterson play mostly on the perimeter, or will both play more inside? Either way, we should get a pretty good look at Patterson's multi-faceted game.

3.  Ty Lawson vs. Rodrigue Beaubois

For my money, the two point guards that impressed me the most in Vegas last summer, besides Minnesota's Jonny Flynn, were Ty Lawson and Rodrigue Beaubois. Both of them were able to turn the momentum they gained in Las Vegas into some quality play during the season for two very good teams. This afternoon, they'll match up in a slightly different setting as the undisputed leaders of the Summer League squad. If you love point guard play, you will love this duel.