Free agency is still in full swing, but basketball never stops. The Wizards head off to the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas, first with a date against the Atlanta Hawks later Saturday afternoon. Here's the basic info to get you started:
Where and when? UNLV's Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas at 4:30 p.m.
Will the game be on TV? Yes. Comcast SportsNet will play the game on television. The game is also available online through the NBA Summer League Live App, where you can watch every game. There is a fee for it, but it's just $4.99.
What will be the main focus for the Wizards? I know that there is a movement to try to make this more of a competition in and of itself, where the Golden State Warriors won the Vegas championship last year. But to me, the wins in Summer League will matter more if the players who figure to be on the Wizards roster anyway are making big contributions. Umair has a post on the Summer League team which you can see here.
The Wizards have two players from their 2013-14 team: Otto Porter and Glen Rice Jr. Both of them played sparingly last season. However, they will also have higher expectations for this fall and are the safest bets to make the team. There will definitely be more focus on Porter, who was the third overall pick in 2013, but failed to be a regular rotation player. That's disappointing for anyone in that position. While both will face outside pressure to perform, this will definitely be the case for Porter.
There are also some other players on the team who once suited up for an NBA roster. One of them is Daniel Orton, who just happened to be John Wall's teammate at Kentucky, and was the 29th pick in the 2010 NBA Draft. He however has played sparingly on NBA teams during his professional career. Another former player is Maalik Wayns who suited up for the Sixers and Clippers over the last couple seasons.
Umair also talked a bit about Khem Birch, who was one of the 10 players on his draft board for the Wizards' second round pick (that was ultimately sold). Coincidentally, Birch went to UNLV for college, so he's going to be on his old stomping grounds.
Which notable Hawks players will be on their Summer League team? John Jenkins, Dennis Schroder, and Mike Muscala were on the Hawks 2013-14 team. Like Porter and Rice, they played sparingly. Their 2014 first round pick Adreian Payne, as well as second round picks Walter Tavares and Lamar Patterson will also be on.
Who wins? By default, I'll say Atlanta given that they have more current day draft picks playing.
But it's more important to see Porter and Rice make positive contributions while they are on the floor. If both of them make big plays and lead the Wizards to a win, I'll be really happy.