The NBA postseason is over but it is now the “post-postseason” better known as the Summer League.
Summer basketball comes right when most fans are recovering from how their favorite team ended the season and the NBA Finals. Just when you start to miss basketball, summer league starts, providing the fix basketball fans need until the new season.
The summer league also gives fans a glimpse of the new players they may see in the upcoming season. They have the opportunity to see the drafted as well as undrafted players.
There are only a few openings available for each of the 30 teams’ 15-man rosters, so the summer league is where the players showcase themselves in hopes of filling a slot.
Some of the NBA draft picks are showcasing why they were selected in the top of the draft.
From Jayson Tatum to De’Aaron Fox to Josh Jackson and Lonzo Ball, these guys have come to show they just may know a little bit about what they are doing on the court.
The Los Angeles Lakers and Sacramento Kings wasted absolutely no time causing controversy between their two top draft picks, Ball and Fox. They had the opportunity to go against one another July 10, but the Lakers pulled the plug and the much anticipated professional matchup between the two was delayed.
The Lakers decided to sit their star young point guard, Ball, because of an alleged groin injury, which opened the door for Sacramento to pick up their first win during the 2017 Summer League schedule. Of course, that is not what happened. Los Angeles jumped all over the Kings early and led by as many as 28 points. The Kings made a late run but unfortunately still fell short by a final score of 95-92.
It will be awesome to see those two special players go at each other when the NBA regular season starts. With Ball’s dad doing a lot of talking about how great his son is and stating that he is the best and will be rookie of the year, the pressure is definitely on Ball to deliver. Fox will surely be a light for the Kings and the fans in Sacramento should be excited about their prized top five pick.
Marquese Chriss for the Houston Rockets and Josh Jackson for the Phoenix Suns also are showcasing their skills in the summer league games. Both guys impressed in the Suns 99-94 loss to the Rockets. The Suns fell to Houston, finishing the opening round 1-2 but there may still be some positives. Coming into Las Vegas as co-favorites alongside the Lakers, the Suns e stumbled from the start. With the 1-2 record, they are relegated to probably one of the lower seeds when the quarterfinals begin July 12.
Can Jackson continue with his great play? He was trouble on both ends of the court and finished his day with a line of 20 points and six rebounds. That is exactly what we expect when the NBA regular season starts.
Not all good is happening in the 2017 summer league. The Philadelphia 76ers number one pick suffered an injury before the regular season even started.
That may seem like déjà vu but it is not. The good news is Markelle Fultz’s left ankle sprain shouldn’t keep him out of action for too long. The number one overall pick sent out a tweet shortly after suffering his injury, saying he was ok. What does that mean for the 76ers? It seems to happen far too often for them and I am sure their fans are tired of trusting the process because at some point you should see the return in action.
When the regular season starts Oct. 20, the top picks matchup we all will be anxious to see are, of course, Ball of the Lakers against Fox of the Kings. Which point guard will make the bigger impact for their team?
The matchup between Jackson of the Suns and Tatum of the Boston Celtics will be another one to mark on your calendars. The summer league has teased us but what we’re waiting for is the regular season to watch these guys play with real purpose against the best players in the world.
Shaquita Newton is a sports blogger. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.