The First Days of NBA Summer League Were Packed with Excitement


Gary Payton II throws down a dunk for the Golden State Warriors in an NBA Summer League game against the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Ethan Pearce | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Ethan Pearce, Sports Editor


NBA Summer League is in full swing and there has been plenty of action over the first few days of the event. Every team has played at least once, and nearly all of the top picks are in action this week in Las Vegas. Here are some key takeaways after the first portion of NBA Summer League.

Houston Rockets

The Rockets are off to a blazing 2-0 start here in Vegas, with No. 2 overall pick Jalen Green besting fellow top three selections Cade Cunningham and Evan Mobley.

The Rockets are firing on all cylinders with three first round picks in the lineup: Green, Alperen Sengun and Josh Christopher, with Usman Garuba potentially joining the lineup later this week after finishing his Olympic run with Spain.

Beating the two teams picking on either side of them in the top three is no joke, and Green is showcasing his supreme scoring ability along the way. Houston has been a major story over the first few days and are a major threat to win the Summer League Championship.

Boston Celtics

The Celtics have a few players who are clearly a step above many of the others here in Vegas. Payton Pritchard and Aaron Nesmith have been downright dominant through two games, leading Boston to a 2-0 record. The Celtics stars have shot the lights out and look really tough to stop.

Sacramento Kings 

No. 9 overall pick Davion Mitchell has been very impressive in his two games, locking up the Charlotte Hornets’ James Bouknight and throwing away the key. Mitchell also racked up nine assists in that game before leading Sacramento to a win over the Washington Wizards the following night. Louis King has been impressive shooting the ball, and former Utah State big man Neemias Queta has looked solid.

Close Games

There have been plenty of nail biters so far, including two 2OT thrillers.

In Summer League, the rules for overtime are much different than they are in the regular NBA season. There is one 2 minute overtime period, and if the game is still tied, the clock turns off, and the next basket wins.

Max Strus of the Miami Heat won a game over the Memphis Grizzlies on a deep three pointer in 2OT, and Trent Forrest of the Utah Jazz sunk a free throw to win it over the Dallas Mavericks.

Sharife Cooper of the Atlanta Hawks drilled a three pointer at the end of regulation for a one point victory over the Indiana Pacers, and the Orlando Magic toughed out a two point win over the Golden State Warriors in overtime during a marquee matchup.

Ties to Utah

There are no former Utes playing in this event, but JD DuBois is coaching for the Detroit Pistons. Former BYU Cougar Yoeli Childs is suiting up for the Los Angeles Lakers. Along with Queta, Sam Merrill is representing Utah State for the Memphis Grizzlies after he was traded there last week. The Utah Jazz are among the undefeated squads with victories over the Phoenix Suns and Dallas Mavericks.

Up Next

NBA Summer League continues all week with the event concluding on Aug. 17. There are still nine teams that have yet to lose with all but three teams having played multiple games. Plenty of NBA players and coaches have been supporting their Summer League squads, and the party’s just getting started in Las Vegas.


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