Hoop Group Alumni College NABC Give Back Team Nominees 2018

Jam Fest Spotlight: Tommy O’Neil Speaks with Hoop Group on Basketball After Pitt Jam Fest

NBA Playoffs 1st Round Breakout Players

The Evolution of Anthony Davis and the Pelicans

Bigger Than Ball Vol. 10: Balsa Koprivica

Giving in to Summer League Hype

nba summer league

The other day I found myself legitimately excited for an NBA summer league game. Wait, what?

This time a few years ago, I could have cared less. But I am starting to realize how relevant these contests are becoming with the summer league in full swing.

This NBA off-season has been arguably better than the entire 2016-2017 NBA regular season. In a time of “super teams” basketball fans alike are eager to see new talent … to see what newbies are going to take so-called mid-major teams to the next level.

It’s not far off from the NFL preseason. Think about it. Who cares if the team wins or loses? If I cared so much about winning, I wouldn’t be an Eagles fan, let’s face it. But preseason for me is about so much more. What draft picks are going to make the most waves? How are players in their sophomore year going to adjust? Are 6 and 7 year veterans worth a damn plugged into a new system?

If anything else, the NBA is that in a heightened sense.

No other sport has such a low starter to roster ratio. Teams more or less put all their stock in first-round picks, pricey trades and flashy acquirements. Does it matter if a team loses by 10 in a summer league game? No. Who cares. We all know that the five players on the floor will not be the five players in the starting lineup come mid-October. But boy do we eat up sideline chatter and over-speculate personnel changes and free agency moves.

And it’s not just about young guns making a name for themselves in the big boy league. “B-rated” players are auditioning for their future. The veteran-but-not-so-seasoned ballers are at a crossroads, trying to prove themselves worthy of a spot on a roster with 13 other heads while D-league standouts try to make a name for themselves.

Basketball fans are dying for something to change in a league of great disparity. While college basketball seems to be growing into a level playing ground with mid-major teams on the up-and-up, the age of the super team in the NBA is becoming less and less desirable to watch, unless you’re a Warriors or Cleveland fan.

So we hang out to whatever basketball we can watch. Fans are eagerly consuming these glorified exhibition games. We are over-analyzing and over thinking stat and story lines. We can’t get enough.

For now, it will do.