The Dallas Mavericks start their Las Vegas Summer League campaign on Friday afternoon. Here’s a few reasons why you should consider watching, even if you don’t know many of the players and it’s not regular NBA basketball.
Getting a first look at Jaden Hardy
The youngest and one of the newest members of the Dallas Mavericks joined the team after being selected with the 37th overall pick in last month’s draft. The Mavericks traded back into the draft, sending future picks to the Kings.
The former number two high school player in the country could make a big impression on Mavericks fans with a solid showing in Las Vegas, but really, the fact that the team has a young prospect is reason enough to be excited. Personally, I’m interested in seeing if he can finish in traffic and getting a live look at his shooting stroke.
What can Moses Wright do?
As a two-way player last season, I did not get to see Wright play any basketball that I can recall. The 6’8 forward reportedly has a massive 7’4 wingspan, so seeing how he uses a gift like that is fascinating to me. Guys with plus-wingspans (so their wingspan is longer than their height) are fascinating to me from a defensive perspective. If he does anything interesting in Vegas, I hope the Mavericks keep him as a two-way player to develop.
It’s the last Maverick or Maverick-adjacent basketball we’ll have until September
Luka Dončić and Slovenia start Eurobasket play in late August, so barring that or if you happen to be a Dallas Wings fan, this is the last high level basketball you’re going to see for a while. It’s worth soaking up even if the quality of play is all over the map.
Summer League has the very best basketball overtime rule
Hoping for a tie at the end of regulation is key. Because they have so many games to get through every day, in year’s past if there’s ever an overtime game it’s decided by sudden-death rules. That’s right, first team to score in overtime, wins.
Depending on the team or game, I’ve seen wild scrums to end games. These are professional athletes and they want to win.
While we’re here I wanted to make my annual case for why you as a basketball fan should get together with some basketball-loving friends and make the journey out to see the Mavericks and other teams in Las Vegas Summer League.
I’ve come for eight years now and while the Mavericks have rarely performed well, it’s been so much fun every time. Think about it: you can come to Las Vegas, get a $60-$80 ticket and watch games all day long. Depending on the day and the schedule they can have 10 or more games to see, with future NBA players.
On top of that, there are often big time NBA players just walking around. For full disclosure I’m writing this during breaks of the Orlando Magic-Houston Rockets game and DeMar DeRozan is walking around and he and Mike Miller just shared a hug. This happens throughout the first weekend.
Then there’s the fellow hardcore fans. You see so many great jerseys, shoes, and team gear everywhere. It’s fun to just walk around between games to see what you can from the crowd.
I can’t recommend it enough. Las Vegas is a fun and wild town you can eat well in and enjoy while catching some fun basketball. I can’t recommend it enough.