NBA Summer League has the biggest exhibition games in sports


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Greetings, hoops friends. Charles Curtis here, and it’s been a while since I’ve written this, so I wanted to share a silly but very true thought that crossed my mind this morning.

I was watching another set of Summer League highlights, marveling at all the rookies – Chet Holmgren, WOW! and have you seen the debut of Jaden Ivey? Intriguing!! – showing why they were first-rounders.

It hit me as I was watching these highlights on my phone: I’m watching an exhibition game. In a professional sport. And I’m addicted. As our Prince Grimes wrote in this space on Thursday, we need to relax when it comes to getting the Summer League off the ground, because who knows? In real NBA action, Chet might not exactly be the GOAT.

But! It’s the most fun! We see Jabari Smith Jr. go RIGHT to Paolo Banchero. We get a first glimpse of Keegan Murray and can see a world where this huge game translates become the key to the Kings’ success this season.

With NFL preseason games? It’s at best one or a few other football series to watch. In the NHL? Meh, we’ll wait for the real thing. Major League Baseball may be #2, but I think it’s an in-person thing, where to go to Florida or Arizona and see the stars up close is pretty cool.

Have you ever thought of that? I never did until this morning! I thought I would share. Let’s get to some more basketball goodness:

The tip

Speaking of Ivey: Our Bryan Kalbrosky explained what he loved about the rookie debut with the Pistons: he saw some play, which is promising!

What impressed me the most about Ivey’s pro debut in the NBA 2K23 Summer League was actually the way he played. Watch the game’s first play, above, to see Ivey come off screen for an alley-oop lob to fellow rookie Jalen Duren.

It was incredibly encouraging for me to watch Ivey continue to use his speed and strength to drive to the basket and then throw it to his teammates on the perimeter or midrange.

With his explosiveness, Ivey will attract so much gravity that his rim pressure will bring defenders with him towards the basket. As these opponents give him the attention he deserves, his teammates, including Cade Cunningham and Saddiq Bey, will have more room to fire wide-opening attempts.

I love what the Pistons are building right now.

Shootaround

– LOL Steph Curry mocked Charles Barkley’s chances at the American Championship of the Century: “Hell no!”

– Jimmy Butler had a hilarious response to PJ Tucker’s Instagram post saying goodbye to the Heat.

Some big backup men the Celtics could use their traded player exception of $17.1 million.

– Here are all the NBA 2K cover stars since 1999.

Have a great weekend everyone!

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