Free agency always dominates the first few days of July, but summer leagues in Utah, Orlando and Las Vegas offer some respite from talk of money and contracts.
The Utah Summer League is already over and it gave us a glimpse of No. 1 overall pick Ben Simmons and his amazing passing and athleticism. The Orlando Summer League concludes today with the championship round, while the Las Vegas Summer League -- the biggest of them all -- kicks off today with six games on the slate.
Summer League is all about giving us a preview of incoming rookies, and all eyes were on Simmons. The top pick of the draft struggled with his shot, like many predicted. He only connected on four of his 17 field goal attempts in the two games he played, yet his performance wasn't a disappointment, as his passing was as special as advertised.
Over in the Orlando Summer League, Clippers rookie Brice Johnson is showing that he's NBA-ready. The big man is averaging 18 points and seven rebounds while shooting 61 percent from the field. Second round picks Diamond Stone and David Michineau are also doing a solid job, excelling in the rebounds and assists categories, respectively. Doc Rivers might have found some depth.
Despite the solid performance from the rookies, Los Angeles has struggled as a team. The Orlando White squad, featuring mostly Summer League veterans, will face the Pistons, led by sophomore Stanley Johnson in the championship game after going undefeated.
As one league ends, the other starts. The Las Vegas Summer League will have 23 NBA teams represented as well as a D-League select squad. It will feature the top talent in the draft in an 11-day tournament that will crown a champion on July 11.
The event will start with a a bang, as top 10 picks Brandon Ingram, Kris Dunn, Buddy Hield and Thon Maker will all be in action on Friday. It's time to make a first impression and this class seems ready to shine.
Summer League schedule (All times ET)
Orlando Summer League
Game 3: Magic White vs. Pistons, 12 p.m.
Game 4: Magic Blue vs. Pacers, 2 p.m.
Game 5: Clippers vs. Knicks, 4 p.m.
Las Vegas Summer League
Thomas & Mack Center
Game 1: NBA D-League vs. Grizzlies 6:30 p.m.
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Warriors go from Death Lineup to Megadeth Lineup
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