Friday, July 11, 2008 | 2 a.m.
Beyond the Sun
IF YOU GO
What: 2008 NBA Summer League presented by EA Sports
Where: Cox Pavilion and Thomas & Mack Center
When: Friday through July 20. Minimum of four games each day.
Teams: Charlotte Bobcats, Cleveland Cavaliers, Dallas Mavericks, Denver Nuggets, Detroit Pistons, Golden State Warriors, Houston Rockets, L.A. Clippers, L.A. Lakers, Memphis Grizzlies, Milwaukee Bucks, Minnesota Timberwolves, New Orleans Hornets, New York Knicks, Philadelphia 76ers, Phoenix Suns, Portland Trail Blazers, Sacramento Kings, San Antonio Spurs, Toronto Raptors, Washington Wizards.
Tickets: General admission daily passes begin at $20; UNLVtickets.com; 739-3267
“The Endless Summer” is considered one of the most influential films of the surfer movie genre. It was one of the first great sports-related documentaries and spawned a movie category that still exists.
The Endless Summer League is sort of like that. Minus the bushy, bushy blond hairdos. (Unless Dennis Rodman is planning a surprise appearance.)
Actually, the 2008 NBA Summer League isn’t endless. It’s just that with 21 teams playing 53 games over 10 days — man, that’s a lot of bad passes — it may seem endless.
But for every bad pass there’s a slam dunk. Or at least a cool reverse layup. Since making its debut in 2004, the Vegas Summer League has grown from six teams to 21 and seems to be getting bigger and better (in spurts, anyway) every year.
Although the teams don’t wear real uniforms, trust me, there are real NBA players inside those practice jerseys. And a lot of guys they’re going to love in Turkey.
Cream of the draft crop
The NBA Summer League is presented by EA Sports. Here are some of the hotshots expected to receive free video games — er, work on their games here: Kevin Love (Minnesota), O.J. Mayo (Memphis), Danilo Gallinari (New York), Eric Gordon (L.A. Clippers), Joe Alexander (Milwaukee) and D.J. Augustin (Charlotte). As they always say at the Summer League, rosters subject to change. Michael Beasley will not be here. The rent-a-frosh from Kansas State is still in Orlando, Fla., trying to find his jump shot, after going 1-for-13 from the field for the Heat against the Nets on Tuesday. That’s what happens when you score 28 on Monday. The other team puts a man on you.
Skip to your Lou
Three former Rebels are listed on Summer League rosters. In fact, one of them was listed on two Summer League rosters. Dalron Johnson, who starred (most of the time, anyway) for UNLV from 1999 to 2003, will suit up with the Hornets. One of his Rebel teammates, Romel Beck, will play for the Cavs. Lou Amundson is listed on the Warriors’ roster and was with the Sixers. I think it had something to do with the Sixers’ being undecided about signing Elton Brand. Then again, it’s the Summer League. Rosters subject to change. If the Lakers’ changes, you could see ex-Rebel Wendell White as well. (He isn’t listed on L.A.’s summer roster on the NBA Web site). The hard-nosed Amundson played in 10 games for the Sixers last season, which is 10 more than anybody thought he would play when he signed with former UNLV coach Charlie Spoonhour. Nice job of overachieving, big guy.
Tall persons of interest
Local fans who feel like booing somebody should note that BYU’s Trent Plaisted is now playing for the Pistons. Jason Smith, the 7-foot bean pole with the soft hands from Colorado State, is beginning his second campaign with the Sixers. Smaller persons of interest include former Bishop Gorman star C.J. Watson and Brando Heath, the ex-San Diego State backcourt demon. They’ll play with the Warriors and the Clippers, respectively. Don’t forget to move your feet on defense, guys. The fans won’t notice but your coaches probably will.
The real (old) McCoy
Most players in the Summer League are rookies or second-year veterans. Or played in Turkey last year. Then there’s Jelani McCoy, the old — or at least older — UCLA Bruin. McCoy has not played in Turkey. Yet. But he has played for Viola Reggio Calabria in Italy and Menorca Basquet in Spain. And the Sonics, Lakers, Raptors, Cavaliers, Hawks and Nuggets (his summer squad). He’s the Summer League’s Paul Assenmacher. Have game, will travel.
One year ago
The Chinese National team became the first international team to participate. What’s the Cantonese word for “turnover” again? The Knicks and the Mavericks went 5-0 and the Suns’ Louis Williams led all scorers with 25.2 ppg — teammate Marcus Banks, the former UNLV star, scored 42 points in his only appearance (he was used to the rims). Detroit’s Amir Johnson did a good job of blocking out, or least grabbed the most rebounds, with 12 per game. Phoenix’s D.J. Strawberry led in assists (6.4) and made a lot of new friends. The Knicks’ Nate Robinson earned Most Outstanding Player honors by averaging 19.6 points and 6 assists. If you remember any of this, your wife is probably still mad at you for not mowing the lawn.