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2015 Vegas Summer League Primer

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Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

I love the Vegas Summer League. I love the overreactions, I love the overreactions to the overreactions, and I especially love the overreactions to the under reactions. It's everything fantastic and ridiculous about the NBA condensed into ten days of fairly ugly basketball. It's over priced and under produced. It's also the one last basketball event of the summer before we all have to say goodbye to the NBA until October. Enjoy!

The Roster

· James Anderson, 6'6'', Guard, Oklahoma State

· Sim Bhullar, 7'5'', Center, New Mexico State

· Duje Dukan, 6'10'', Forward, Wisconsin

· Corey Hawkins, 6'2'', Guard, UC Davis

· Ian Hummer, 6'7'', Forward, Princeton

· C.J. Leslie, 6'9'', Forward, North Carolina State

· DeAndre Liggins, 6'6'', Guard, Kentucky

· Shaquielle McKissic, 6'5'', Forward, Arizona State

· Eric Moreland, 6'10'', Forward/center, Oregon State

· Alex Oriakhi, 6'9'', Forward, Missouri

· Willie Cauley-Stein, 7’1", Center, Kenrucky

· Juwan Staten, 5'11', Guard, West Virginia

· David Stockton, 5'11'', Guard, Gonzaga

· Julyan Stone, 6'6'', Guard, UTEP

· David Wear, 6'10'', Forward, UCLA

· Kyle Randall, 6’1", Guard, Central Michigan

The Schedule

The Kings have three scheduled games as of this writing:

  • Friday, July 10th at 3:30 p.m. vs. Toronto Raptors at the Thomas & Mack Center
  • Sunday, July 12th at 5:00 p.m. vs. Denver Nuggets at the Cox Pavilion
  • Monday, July 13th at 3:30 p.m. vs. Golden State Warriors at the Thomas & Mack Center

All other games are to be determined after tournament seeding.

How to Watch

NBATV will be broadcasting some of these games live, but it's very hit or miss. You're going to have to keep checking the guide. If you are a crazy person like myself, you can purchase the NBA Summer League Live package right here, which guarantees you the ability to stream every game live on your tablet, computer, phone, etc.

Players to Watch

Willie Cauley-Stein – As the Kings lone draft selection this year, most (if not all) eyes will be on ‘Trill’ in Vegas. I’m not sure what to expect, to be honest. Summer league basketball is a lot like college basketball in that guards and perimeter players tend to dominate the ball and the box scores. The Kings have a nice summer league player that could prevent that scenario, but I’ll touch on him later. I just want to see Cauley-Stein play his game. I want to see him run the floor hard, I want to see him block and alter shots at the rim, and I’d like to see some aggressive rebounding. Offensively, it’ll be interesting to see how the Kings manage Cauley-Stein and Eric Moreland together. Spacing could be an issue, but if the Kings coaching staff allows it, we could get a decent dose of Cauley-Stein as a mid-range shooter. We know he’s been working on his jumper. Summer league is the perfect time to experiment with it.

Eric Moreland – I don’t want to sensationalize the position Moreland is in right now, but it is starting to feel like he’ll be fighting for a roster spot in Vegas. With the additions of Kosta Koufos and Willie Cauley-Stein to the roster this offseason, Moreland’s potential role with the Kings this season is just about covered. You can never have enough depth, and with a strong performance this summer, Moreland could stick around, but a poor showing could be the end for Moreland in Sacramento. I’m really looking forward to seeing what a healthy Eric Moreland looks like, and I’m sincerely hoping he finds a spot on this roster next season.

David Stockton – Stockton, like Moreland, will be playing for a spot on the Kings regular season roster. Now that Ray McCallum is in San Antonio with the Spurs, there is a wide-open 3rd string point guard spot for Stockton if he can impress the Kings coaching staff. Stockton’s passing ability will give the Kings a different look than most summer league teams, which could be fantastic news for Willie Cauley-Stein, Eric Moreland, and anyone else on the Kings roster that could use some offensive exposure. If I’m the Kings, I want to see some real leadership out of Stockton. A lot of the success or failure of this teams ability to score the ball will rest on Stockton’s shoulders, and if he can get these guys running and sharing the ball, that bodes well for his future in Sacramento.

James Anderson – We still don’t know any details about the contract Anderson verbally agreed to with the Kings about a week ago, but he’s on the summer league roster, and might be the best offensive weapon the Kings have in Vegas. Anderson averaged 10.1 points in 28.9 minutes per game with Philadelphia in the 2013-2014 season. Anderson played in Lithuania last season, so it will be interesting see how, or if, he’s improved since his last run in the NBA. I’m still not quite sure why the Kings targeted Anderson so early in the moratorium period, but maybe we’ll find out in Vegas.

DeAndre Liggins – Liggins gets my ‘most likely veteran to stick’ vote. Liggins is an outstanding defender, and at best, could provide the Kings with ‘3 and D’ depth on the perimeter. It’s also worth mentioning that Liggins is a Kentucky alumnus, and spent one of his three seasons in Lexington with DeMarcus Cousins.

Corey Hawkins – Hawkins gets my ‘most likely undrafted rookie to stick’ vote. Hawkins had an amazing college career at UC Davis, which included being named the Big West Player of the Year as a senior last season. He shot an absolutely ridiculous .488 from three for the Aggies in his senior year, and a strong showing in Vegas could earn himself a training camp invite, or an Eric Moreland-esque undrafted rookie contract.

Defense First

If last years summer league roster was loaded with offensive talent, this year’s summer league roster is loaded with defensive talent. Willie Cauley-Stein and Eric Moreland will command most of the frontcourt minutes, and if the Kings don’t block 8 or more shots per game as a team I’d be shocked. Sim Bhullar will be with the Kings for just two games before joining the Canadian National Team, but he’ll add to that block total in his limited minutes.

DeAndre Liggins is known for his defensive ability, and his skill on that end was validated when he was named the Defensive Player of the Year of the D-League back in 2014. Julyan Stone is a good defender. C.J. Leslie is a good defender. This team won’t play a beautiful brand of basketball, but if I’m a rookie on an opposing team, this is the last lineup I’d want to play against.

Coaching Carousel

The Kings have had an interesting group of coaches, advisors, and observers around their summer league squad over the last two days of mini-camp. By all accounts, John Welch is the head coach. Chad Iske is the co-head coach, or the assistant coach, depending on whom you listen to. Vance Walberg is around. George Karl has been in and out. We haven’t been able to confirm if Corliss Williamson will be on Karl’s staff next season, but he continues to hang around. Coby Karl is around, Anthony Carter is around, and yes, Peja Stojakovic is also present for some undisclosed reason. I’ll be keeping a close eye on the Kings sideline in Vegas.

Can the Kings repeat?

The 2014 summer league roster had Ray McCallumBen McLemoreNik Stauskas, and Quincy Acy on it. The Kings’ 2015 team doesn’t have that kind of firepower, but Vlade Divac did round out his roster with capable ‘young veterans’ whose experience could lead the Kings to another summer league title. James Anderson, CJ Leslie, DeAndre Liggins, and Julyan Stone have been fringe NBA players for a few years. We saw what MarShon Brooks was able to do in a similar role for the Kings summer league team last year. I’d expect a similar performance from the players in that group. It’s Vegas, it’s the summer league, anything is possible.