Las Vegas

Yours truly is back from a few glorious days of NBA Summer League in Las Vegas — a magical place where people like Jan Vesely and Aron Baynes look like All-Stars against journeymen attempting to land fall training camp invites. Before we get to David Stern’s comments from Thursday afternoon, a few thoughts on the scene at Thomas & Mack Center:

  • Mercifully, games don’t start until 1 pm, which is good for people like me, who like to take a couple laps around the lazy river at MGM Grand before heading over to the UNLV campus (it’s also good if you like to imbibe at nightclubs into the wee hours, which I may or may not have done as well). And, if the 1 pm game doesn’t sound appealing, more pool time!
  • Ralph Sampson is really tall. Like, really tall.
  • Rent a car. It’s more cost effective than taking cabs back and forth between the Strip and the arena.
  • John Hollinger looks even weirder in person.
  • Be wary of one game sample sizes. Example: Ben McLemore. I saw him play once. It was the game he scored 26 points and seemingly couldn’t miss down the stretch. I texted about five different people about how awesome Ben McLemore was. I regretted those texts 24 hours later.
  • Speaking of regrettable things, don’t go to Vegas with a girl who isn’t your girlfriend or wife. If she’s really hot, it’s even dumber.
  • If you’re a Washington Husky fan, Summer League was the place to be. Free agents participating: Matthew Bryan-Amaning, Justin Dentmon, Abdul Gaddy, Jon Brockman, Scott Suggs. Signed players participating: Terrence Ross, Tony Wroten. Players just chillin’, cheering for their homeys: Quincy Pondexter, Isaiah Thomas, Nate Robinson.
  • If the games get boring (trust me, this happens a lot), develop nicknames for players, and yell them out when they score (or commit a horrific unforced turnover). Erik Murphy, you will forever be “Entourage”.
  • Heckling Quin Snyder never gets old.
  • Craig Sager is the most popular person in the arena. This is not hyperbole. Nobody posed for more pictures or signed more autographs than Sager. He also wears a polo shirt and khaki pants at Summer League, which just doesn’t seem right.
  • NBATV’s Steve Smith has a gut, which he (apparently) hides well on TV. Seeing it in person is somewhat depressing.

Meanwhile, the NBA’s Board of Governors convened for their summer meeting in Sin City. This marked the last BOG meeting David Stern held serve over, after which he spoke to the media about locations for potential future franchises:

“I think Las Vegas is in the NBA history books, and with the discussions now, it seems that there is an arena that is getting closer to moving ahead after years and years of discussions,” Stern said Thursday at a news conference at Wynn Las Vegas following the league’s Board of Governors summer meeting. “And that should make it interesting as well.”

“Given sort of all the references you see about Las Vegas and ‘Sin City,’ we have always believed that gambling is a very legal business regulated carefully in Nevada, that this is a huge entertainment destination and this is a place that we should embrace,” Stern said.

As for Seattle? Well, there’s not much to report:

“I have no doubt that down the road we’ll return to those discussions in (Seattle) and Las Vegas and, who knows, other markets potentially as well,” (Deputy Commissioner Adam) Silver said. “Right now, we’re focused on the health of the 30 franchises in the cities they’re located in.”

Stern followed up:

“It wouldn’t surprise me if Commissioner Silver was looking at strong applications from Las Vegas and Seattle in the coming years, and I’m going to enjoy watching it.”

I’m sure you will, David. I’m sure you will.