Hoops Hooplah: NBA Summer League Tips Off in Vegas

Las Vegas has been trying to get a major league sport into the market for eons. Issues like gambling and no stadium keep getting in the way of courting an appropriate suitor. But that doesn’t mean a drought on big league sports. For the sixth year, NBA Summer League comes to Las Vegas beginning this Friday.

Twenty-two NBA teams, including 11 that appeared in the 2010 NBA Playoffs, will compete. For the second consecutive year, a team of NBA Development League Select players will also participate in the action taking place at the Thomas & Mack Center and the COX Pavilion on the campus of the University of Nevada Las Vegas.

A 58-game schedule of action tips off on Friday, July 9, with four games between the Dallas Mavericks, Denver Nuggets, Detroit Pistons, Golden State Warriors, Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Lakers, New Orleans Hornets and Phoenix Suns scheduled at COX Pavilion.

While entertaining for fans, the Summer League is meant to give NBA teams a chance to look at young talents and free agents, says Stu Jackson, executive vice president of  NBA Basketball Operations.

The Las Vegas Summer League kicked off its inaugural season in 2004 in Vegas with six NBA teams — the Boston Celtics, Cleveland Cavaliers, Denver Nuggets, Orlando Magic, Phoenix Suns and Washington Wizards — playing 13 games.

Look for the Washington Wizards, who won the top overall pick in the 2010 NBA Draft, along with the Minnesota Timberwolves (fourth overall pick) and the Sacramento Kings (fifth overall). Ten of the top 14 picks are expected to participate in Las Vegas this summer.

Other teams competing include the Atlanta Hawks, Chicago Bulls, Cleveland Cavaliers, Los Angeles Clippers, Memphis Grizzlies, Miami Heat, Milwaukee Bucks, New York Knicks, Portland Trail Blazers, San Antonio Spurs, Toronto Raptors and Washington Wizards.

Friday’s games include a 1 p.m. tip off with Denver vs. Dallas, followed by Houston vs. Phoenix at 3 p.m., Detroit vs. the LA Lakers at 5 p.m. and Golden State vs. New Orleans in the nightcap. A complete schedule of games can be seen at UNLVtickets.com.

Tickets for the 2010 NBA Summer League can be purchased by calling 702.739.FANS, through UNLVtickets.com or by visiting the Thomas & Mack Center Box Office and UNLV Ticket Outlets. All general admission tickets are $25 for the day; seniors and children (3-12) are $15 for the day; and children two years and under are admitted free of charge.