NBA Summer League
The three NBA summer leagues from last year are back again in 2017. These are the dates:
• July 1-6: Orlando Summer Basketball League
• July 3-6: Utah Summer Basketball League
• July 7-17: Las Vegas Summer League Basketball
In order of importance, the big one is Las Vegas. That's the official NBA Summer League. The vast majority of the league is there. Fans love it, too. If anyone mentions NBA Summer League and doesn't specify a city, this is the league they are probably referring to.
In second place on the list is Orlando. It's run by the Magic. What sets this league apart is, there's no room for fans. The public isn't invited. If you watch this league's games on TV, anybody you see on the sideline either works in basketball or is a member of the media. (Or their buddy works in the building and they snuck in through the back door.)
And third on the importance list, because it has the fewest number of teams and the least games, is Utah's league. But unlike Orlando, fans can attend this one, so anybody near Salt Lake City should go check it out. Note that this year's games are on July 3, 5 and 6, 2017. There are no games on July 4.
ABOUT NBA SUMMER LEAGUES
NBA summer leagues feature rosters that are different from the regular season. A team's summer league roster usually features a mix of (1) rookies that the team just drafted, (2) a few other players signed to that team, and (3) various undrafted players and free agents looking to get signed to that team or any other team. If a player is a free agent, and that player gets invited to play on a certain summer league team, that team obviously has some interest in him, but the player is hoping to get signed to that team or any other team that happens to be impressed by him.
If you are a member of the Boston Celtics, and you play summer league, you'll be on Boston's team. If you are not currently signed to any NBA team, a team might just sign you for their summer league team, and you're trying to get signed to a real, regular season NBA contract from any team in the league, including the team that you're playing summer league for.
NBA summer leagues are great for seeing how various rookies play as well as watching guys compete for NBA jobs.
In NBA summer league play wins-losses don't really matter. These aren't regular season rosters. It's really all about the individual player performances. Some of these players are fighting to prove themselves worthy of more playing time once the regular season rolls around. Others just want more experience. But a lot of NBA summer league players are jobless. These dudes need a contract. And they'll do whatever it takes.
FORMER LEAGUES THAT NO LONGER EXIST
- Rocky Mountain Revue (league is back, but under a new name. See above.)
- Summer Pro League (SPL) (They played at the Pyramid in Long Beach, California. This was NOT an "NBA" summer league. It was just an extremely good league with tons of former NBA and very good college ballers.)