It might have been tempting to change the format, but with things having worked out so well last year, the NBA decided to leave things as they were for the 2014 Vegas Summer League.
When the 11-day event tips off July 11 at the Thomas &Mack Center and Cox Pavilion, 24 teams will begin their run to play in the July 21 title game to be nationally televised on NBA TV. Last year, the Golden State Warriors ran the table, defeating Phoenix, 91-77, in the championship in front of a crowd of nearly 8,000.
There are new participants in Las Vegas this year, most notably the Utah Jazz, which is making its inaugural appearance. The Jazz, who recently hired Quin Snyder as head coach, make their Summer League debut on July 12 against Philadelphia in the Thomas &Mack Center at 7:30 p.m. The 76ers are also back after taking a couple of years off. The Houston Rockets are the third “new” team in 2014 after taking last year off.
Opening day figures to be big for the fans as the New York Knicks begin the start of play against the Dallas Mavericks at 1 p.m. in Cox Pavilion, followed by the Los Angeles Lakers against the Toronto Raptors. Former UNLV star Anthony Bennett is also expected to be in uniform when the Cleveland Cavaliers face Milwaukee at 5 p.m. after the Lakers-Raptors game. Bennett was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft but struggled during his rookie season, battling injuries and a lack of playing time.
The Cavaliers also own the No. 1 pick in this year’s draft, scheduled for June 26, so fans will likely get a look at the last two overall No. 1’s. The Bucks own the No. 2 overall pick which could result in a showdown between the top two overall picks in this year’s draft. It would be reminiscent of 2007 when Portland selected Greg Oden No. 1 and the Seattle SuperSonics took Kevin Durant with the second pick and the two faced off against each other in the opening game of the ‘07 Summer League at Cox Pavilion.
The playoffs, which tip on July 16, will seed the teams One through 24 with the top eight seeds receiving a first-round bye. The championship game is set for 6 p.m. on July 21 at the Thomas &Mack. NBA TV will show all 67 games, 38 of them live.
Single-day session tickets, which are good for all games that date, are currently on sale at the Thomas &Mack box office or online at UNLVTickets.com and NBATickets.com. Prices are $25 for adults and $15 for kids 16 and under and seniors 65 and older, ($20 and $10 for July 21) plus applicable fees.
Contact reporter Steve Carp at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-2913. Follow him on Twitter: @stevecarprj.