Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big story line. Because there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
What was once a six-team tournament, hardly drawing attention during the NBA’s dead period, has transformed into a 24-team spectacle with the league taking over July without playing a meaningful game.
The Las Vegas Summer League has become a sensation, as evidenced by the advanced sellout for the Lakers-Celtics matchup at the Thomas & Mack Center on July 8. In a city with many activities on a Saturday night, the arena was filled to watch mostly a bunch of teenagers play essentially an exhibition game.
The Las Vegas Summer League has become a place where NBA executives consummate deals, where superstars such as LeBron James stop by to watch the young guys, where free agents audition for jobs, and where the league celebrates in a relaxed atmosphere.
Danny Ainge once gave an impromptu press conference between the Cox Pavillion and the Thomas & Mack center at UNLV. That once quiet space between gyms was full of vendors this year, catering to an ever-growing crowd of NBA fans.
Las Vegas Summer League may be the single biggest piece of evidence of skyrocketing NBA interest. I’d say about 25% of the players involved will actually make an NBA roster and a small percentage of those guys will actually make an impact right away. Fans aren’t seeing great basketball. But the chance to say “I was there when this superstar player FIRST wore his NBA gear” is very enticing for people.
These folks willingly travel to Las Vegas during 115 degree heatwaves. The NBA has grabbed hold of another month that would normally see casual interest wane a bit. Only now, at the end of July, has everyone started to prepare for their hibernation.
I’ve been to a few Vegas Summer Leagues and this year’s was the biggest spectacle of them all. I wouldn’t be surprised if there is a ripple effect in Orlando or Utah. No fans are allowed in Orlando but it’s played at the Amway Center so the games can easily shift to the main court. If more fans show up in Utah, or Orlando shifts to selling tickets, they’ll be able to thank the folks in Vegas for showing how fun going to summer league games can be.
Page 2: There is no offseason for Isaiah Thomas
Isaiah is obsessed with getting better. Save your Kyrie trade talks… I like this guy right here in Boston.
Related links: CSNNE: Isaiah Thomas diligently studying film at midnight on Friday
Jaylen Brown executes the best “Drive-by dunk challenge” yet
The reaction from that guy was great… the meek “….hey” is perfect.
Related links: CSNNE: Jaylen Brown tweets his Drive-By Dunk Challenge | MassLive: Boston Celtics’ Jaylen Brown delivers vicious entry to Drive-By Dunk Challenge | ESPN Boston: Celtics’ Jaylen Brown shows off his bounce in drive-by dunk challenge
The rest of the links