Latest posts by Sam Amico (see all)
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The NBA summer league in Las Vegas tips off Friday and it is clearly the most visible of the summer runs.
Here are five things on which to keep an eye:
1. Lonzo and the Lakers
All eyes will be on Lonzo Ball, the most hyped lottery pick since … Sebastian Telfair? OK, bad example.
But there is no doubt Ball, his loquacious father LaVar Ball, Lakers team president Magic Johnson and the Lakers are back in the Showtime business.
That said, LA will be worth watching for more than just Ball. Athletic second-year swingman Brandon Ingram should be one of the true studs of the summer, with the likes of rookie hopefuls Kyle Kuzma, Thomas Bryant, Josh Hart and P.J. Dozier hoping to make an immediate impression.
Along with that group, the Lakers will be keeping a close watch over returning guard David Nwaba and center Ivan Zubac, as well as minor league sensation Vander Blue.
2. Donovan and the Jazz
Don’t know Donovan Mitchell? Well, you now should. No one has made the summer highlight reels like the former Louisville guard and No. 13 overall draft pick.
Mitchell spent the early portions of summer league with the Utah Jazz looking like a top-five pick — and even outplaying third overall selection Jayson Tatum against the Boston Celtics.
The Jazz need someone to cheer for after Gordon Hayward bolted for Boston. Mitchell plays with the fire of a guy who has something to prove.
Read: Mitchell and Utah should be the perfect match.
3. The Cleveland Cavaliers
This is an organization that is screaming for some youthful production off the bench (not to mention a general manager, but that’s a story for another day).
Key Felder is a 5-foot-9 point guard entering his second season. Edy Tavares is a 7-3 center. They’re almost two feet apart in height, but they truly are the two biggest reasons for hope on the Cavs’ summer roster.
The team is also said to be keeping a particularly close eye on undrafted rookie guards Andrew White (Syracuse) and the shifty Sam Cassell Jr. (Iona), the son of the former NBA guard. Also, former second-round pick Sir’Dominic Pointer, most recently of Israel, is back for another shot.
4. The Sacramento Kings
This is like a college All-Star team over the previous two seasons, filled with big names and impressive games.
Second-year guard Buddy Heild is here, and he showed flashes of scoring brilliance after arriving in the DeMarcus Cousins trade with the New Orleans Pelicans. Others from thew 2016 class include Malachi Richardson, Georgios Papagiannis and Skal Labissiere.
Of course, it is the 2017 class that is drawing the most interest — from De’Aaron Fox to Justin Jackson to Harry Giles to even second-round selection Frank Mason III.
Bottom line: These Kings are gonna be tons of fun.
5. Fultz and the Sixers?
Why the question mark? Well, because we’re not quite certain how much No. 1 overall draft pick Markelle Fultz will play after already giving it a go in the Utah league (where he averaged 20 points a game).
But even if Fultz sits the majority of the time, the Philadelphia 76ers’ summer roster is still littered with some intriguing names — including 2016 first-round draft picks Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot and Furkan Korkmaz.
Other Sixers names you may know: Melo Trimble, James Blackmon Jr., Aaron Harrison and second-round pick Jonah Bolden.