The NBA Summer League kicked off Sunday. That’s right, the NBA Summer League. There are two sections, the first in Orlando (July 7-12) and the second in Las Vegas (July 12-22).
Why do you care? Because there are a bunch of legit local connections, something I mentioned a couple weeks ago. Among them:
* Rookies Colton Iverson and Nate Wolters will make their unofficial NBA debuts. The Yankton grad Iverson, a second-round pick of the Celtics, got going Sunday with 0 points, four boards, a block and five fouls in 16 minutes of reserve time. He’ll be back at it at 2 p.m. today.
A second-round pick of the Bucks, the former South Dakota State star Wolters will tip off July 13 in Vegas - and figures to get plenty of playing time. Milwaukee will be without its first-round pick due to prior obligations and is low on guards.
* Roosevelt and University of South Dakota grad Nate Tibbetts will be splitting his time in Las Vegas as the head coach and an assistant with the Portland Trail Blazers. He was back in his home state over the weekend.
Tibbetts is a Summer League vet, having spent time there with the Timberwolves, Thunder and Cavs in previous seasons.
* Maybe it’s just me, but it seems natural to pay closer attention to the Miami Heat now that they’re involved in a hybrid relationship with the Skyforce. Odds are good that a couple players from Miami summer roster will wind up playing in Sioux Falls this season. The Heat started summer play Sunday, falling to Utah despite 10 points, six boards and four blocks by former Force post Jarvis Varnado. (He’s one of many former Sioux Falls players in the summer league, by the way.)
On a related note, a couple of Skyforce executives were slated to visit Orlando in order to meet with Heat brass and work on early details for the upcoming season.
* More from the maybe it’s just me file: Perhaps all of these local ties to the NBA will result in easier access to NBA TV. Fingers crossed.
Either way, it’s really easy to follow the action thanks to a Summer League app put out by the NBA. Fifteen bucks gets you every game live on your phone. The clarity is good and the experience more enjoyable than you’d expect for a variety of reasons: The games are often at odd hours in small gyms and incorporate experimental ideas such as quarter points (remember those from the old CBA?) and v-neck shirts as jerseys.
Terry Vandrovec also posts regular updates on his Twitter page.