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April 17, 2014

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NBA SUMMER LEAGUE:

Names of local, national interest pepper NBA summer league rosters

Former Rebel Adams, top overall pick Griffin set to play in the Mack

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AP PHOTO

No. 1 draft pick Blake Griffin, left, stands next to Clippers head coach and general manager Mike Dunleavy while holding his jersey at a news conference Monday, June 29, 2009, at the Clippers’ training center in Playa Vista, Calif. He will make his pro debut at the Thomas & Mack Center for the Clippers’ summer league squad on July 13.

Rosters from nearly all 22 participating teams in the upcoming Las Vegas NBA Summer League are in. That said, here are some names that carry national and local interest that will be invading the desert July 10-19.

Taurean Green -- Chicago

The two-time national champion point guard from Florida is also the son of UNLV legend Sidney Green. Taurean jumped ship early from Billy Donovan's program along with Joakim Noah, Al Horford and Corey Brewer. He's the only one of the four who has yet to stick and find a home in the NBA.

Trent Plaisted -- Detroit

The former BYU center, who left Provo following his junior season in 2008, was a second round pick of the Seattle Sonics (now the Oklahoma City Thunder). He was dealt to Detroit, but spent last season playing in Italy.

Stephen Curry -- Golden State

The most exciting offensive player in college basketball last season (and probably the year before, too) averaged 28.6 points per game. Safe to say he should be as entertaining as they come in the summer league.

Rod Benson -- Houston

The creator of the 'Boom Tho' movement and well-known blogger saw limited time in the summer league last year with Toronto, started his season overseas and ultimately finished it out in the NBA Developmental League, where he had starred a year earlier. With Yao Ming's future in question thanks to a bum foot, is this the right opportunity for Benson to slip into the league?

Blake Griffin -- LA Clippers

The No. 1 overall pick in last month's draft will make his professional debut at the Thomas & Mack Center next Monday at 5:30 p.m. And, go figure, he'll conclude his summer league stint on the 19th against Phoenix, whose roster will feature his brother, Taylor, who draws just a wee bit less fanfare.

Adam Morrison -- LA Lakers

The No. 3 overall pick in the 2006 NBA Draft has been a bust to this point in his pro career, though he did earn himself a championship ring as the token cheering-his-butt-off-in-street-clothes-while-left-off-of-the-playoff-roster guy on the Lakers' bench this spring. Now he tries to prove that he deserves some playing time in Phil Jackson's rotation next season.

Brandon Jennings -- Milwaukee

Everywhere he's gone, Jennings has made headlines. First he failed to qualify academically to play his lone season of college ball at Arizona, and broke the mold by playing a year overseas before entering the draft. He followed it up by talking trash on Spanish teen star Ricky Rubio leading up to the draft. Then, after the Bucks took him 10th overall, he made waves with a profanity-laced phone interview with rapper Joe Budden shortly after the draft. Now he needs some positive press to come out of Vegas.

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Lorrenzo Wade throws his hands in the air in celebration as UNLV takes on San Diego State in the Mountain West Conference tournament at the Thomas & Mack Center. The Rebels fell for the third time this season to the Aztecs, 71-57.

Lorrenzo Wade -- Milwaukee

The Cheyenne High product, recent SDSU grad and UNLV punisher will return to the Thomas & Mack Center yet again. He went 2-0 in the Mack last season as the Aztecs swept the season series from the Rebels en route to a semifinal appearance in the NIT. Former SDSU teammate Kyle Spain will be playing with Washington, but the two will not get a chance to face off.

Jonny Flynn -- Minnesota

With all the talk about Ricky Rubio and whether he'll come to the United States and play for the Timberwolves at all, Syracuse star Jonny Flynn is the forgotten man. He became a household name when he led the Orange to a 6-overtime victory over UConn in the Big East Tournament, and he'll be as entertaining to watch as any player in this year's summer league.

Luke Nevill -- New Orleans

The 7-foot-2 Utah product was last seen in Las Vegas pacing Utah to the Mountain West Conference Tournament title back in March, where he earned MVP honors.

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Wink Adams takes it against the defense as UNLV takes on the Wildcats in Lexington, Ky., in the first round of the NIT.

Wink Adams -- New York

Two years ago, an NBA career seemed much more likely for Adams, who finished his four-year run at UNLV as the school's sixth all-time leading scorer. But an up-and-down senior campaign, which involved adjusting his shot to his new-found upper body mass and dealing with minor injuries, threw a wrench in those plans. Now he tries to earn, at first, a spot in someone's training camp, or even a deal overseas.

Nikoloz Tskitishvili -- New York

Before there was Nate Robinson as the unofficial king of the summer league, there was Tskitishvili, a former lottery pick of the Denver Nuggets who starred in Vegas but could never translate it into the regular season. Does he still have the magic?

Shaun Livingston -- Oklahoma City

Another NBA vet looking for redemption. Coming out of high school back in 2004, he was tapped as the next Magic Johnson thanks to his raw blend of size and natural point guard skills. He was the fourth overall pick of the Clippers in 2004, then suffered a horrific knee injury during the 2006-07 season. After a shot in Miami to start last season, he ended it in Oklahoma City, where he averaged 7.8 points per game in 8 appearances. His comeback trail continues with the Thunder. Despite all he's been through, he's still only 23 years old.

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Lee Cummard shoots a three over Tim Shelton as BYU takes on San Diego State at the Thomas & Mack Center in the semifinals of the Mountain West Tournament. The Aztecs beat the Cougars 64-62.

Lee Cummard -- Phoenix

The former BYU do-it-all comes back to the Mack, as well, this time trying to grab a spot with Phoenix, who employs a system under coach Alvin Gentry that his style of play would fit nicely. The odds of him hearing 'Psycho Sarah' chants this time in the building, however, are much lower.

Jerryd Bayless -- Portland

A first-round pick a year ago, Bayless was the MVP of last year's summer league, averaging 29.8 points and 4.8 rebounds per game. He also shot 48.5 percent from the floor in his four games in Vegas. It didn't carry over into the regular season, as he was buried on the depth chart and had limited opportunities, averaging 12 minutes and 4.3 points per game in 53 appearances.

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