By: Rob Botts
Summer is the off season for the National Basketball Association. Guys relax for a bit while they re-charge their batteries before the next season begins in the fall. They hang with their families, go on vacation, expand their brands, make appearances, co-star in movies or they just take a break from everything for a period of time. That is the case for the superstars and veterans of the league. But for the drafted and un-drafted rookies along with some 2nd year players? This little thing called the NBA Summer League exists just for them.
While said veterans and superstars have their collective feet up before diving into their off season training, the dudes in the Summer League are getting their shots up. And up. And up. And up some more. These off season glorified pick up games are shown on the NBA channel and are being given more spotlight and overall coverage than ever by ESPN. It’s like the season before the season. In a “bizarro” world sense.
What is up in the regular NBA season is down in the NBA Summer League. Teams that are normally good are bad. Offenses that are usually slower paced are now out on the open road letting their tops down. Detailed set plays drawn up by coaches that are designed to win games during the season are scrapped along with the actual drawing board itself used in time outs in favor of an up and down type of rhythm game. More organic if you will.
Summer is fun. So is the Summer League. Even though the un-drafted guys might be arguing that point to a certain degree, what could be more fun than trying to make an NBA roster by giving it all you’ve got when you get your hands on the rock to try and secure your own destiny going forward. The guys on the floor have the freedom to create and push, push and push the ball some more. When we see players make some spectacular moves in the lane or nail jumper after jumper we must remind ourselves that this is the NBA bizarro world and it just can’t be trusted. This is fun stuff. But that’s all it is.
Guys will try and tell you that what happens in the Summer League can be a real indicator for certain things in the NBA season. The Sacramento Kings won the Vegas run last year while the 76ers won the Orlando version. How did both clubs do in the regular season that followed? Oh, that’s right. The Summer League is all about fast drives and fun times. If we can gather any empirical or meaningful data along the way it is a bonus. Looks on defense that guys get now are not going to be the looks they get in the regular season. Moves on dudes that can’t play defense look great now but how will they translate when they have a guy in front of them when the brightest lights come on that can actually play defense? Post moves that looked so pretty now just aren’t going to be as attractive come October. We are watching a glossy, slicker version of young cats who are looking to gun their way into the league. Again, fun!!
Like a good summer popcorn movie, the NBA Summer League is a fun sight to behold. Just don’t think too much about the plot.