The NBA Summer League continues to grow in popularity for many good reasons. If you’re not watching, you’re missing out. Not only is this the place to catch the best and brightest prospects, including this year’s top draft picks, but it’s also a place to watch and bet online on some competitive basketball.
In fact, the NBA Summer League started this Sunday and will go until Aug. 17 with all the games in Las Vegas.
2021 NBA Summer League: What to Know
This 16th edition of the NBA Summer League features all 30 NBA teams playing five games each. Each game consists of four 10-minute quarters, as opposed to 12 minutes like in the regular NBA format. This is akin to the format in the Olympics.
After every team plays four games, the two teams with the best records will meet in the championship game on Aug. 17.
The 28 teams not playing in the championship game will play a fifth game. Tiebreakers will be determined by the head-to-head record and point differential if only two teams tie. If three or more teams tie, it will just be point differential. Here is the NBA Summer League Schedule.
Every NBA team has already put out their roster, which is typically a combination of this year’s and last year’s rookies, G-League prospects, and overseas or former NBA veterans. Teams are coached by an assistant coach.
Just like regular season or preseason basketball, NBA betting lines are opened for each game though you may not find any props or team totals. Remember that even if games are competitive, the coach’s main responsibility is to scout and develop talent. With that said, teams still play to win.
Teams, Players to Watch
Every summer there are always teams or players who catch fans’ attention by lighting the league on fire. And it isn’t always the usual suspects. Sometimes it’s a team or player you do not see coming. Here are a few possible surprises.
The Raptors caused quite a stir when they selected guard/forward Scottie Barnes fourth overall instead of guard Jalen Suggs. One of Barnes’ assets is his ability to take control of a team with his basketball IQ and leadership. Leading the Raptors to the championship game would be a nice feather to his cap.
Luka Garza (Detroit Pistons)
The Pistons selected the former Naismith Men’s Player of the Year with the 52nd overall pick and that was already considered an ove-rpick based on his projections. But the big man slimmed down and surprised scouts with his shooting range, which could translate well in the Summer League.
Charlotte arguably had the best NBA Draft as highly touted guard James Bouknight and promising center Kai Jones (who is already making his presence felt) fell into their laps. They also took guard Scottie Lewis, a fierce defender, and made a high-profile acquisition in G LiAngelo Ball.
KAI JONES MY GOODNESS
— Barstool Sports (@barstoolsports) August 8, 2021
JaQuori McLaughlin (Golden State Warriors)
All eyes will be on the Warriors’ top two picks: forward Jonathan Kuminga and guard Moses Moody. But undrafted guard JaQuori McLaughlin could steal the show. The 2020-21 Big West Conference Player of the Year knows how to score and is one of the nation’s deadliest pick-and-roll players.
The Nuggets will have a wealth of firepower on the team beginning with sweet-shooting 7-foot-2 center Bol Bol. But even if he doesn’t play, guards Markus Howard and Nah’Shon “Bones” Hyland could light it up. Howard was Division I basketball’s leading scorer while Hyland is a flamethrower and can score from almost anywhere.