Las Vegas is a land of hope. It exudes the gleam of possibility. Tourists, flocking from planes, drift out from the airport's hub into a night filled with potential and intrigue. Money to be made. Games to be conquered. The night is endless.
Many of the players at this year's Summer League are hoping. They're hoping they can make a name. Hoping to come out a winner, their pockets full of the coin of an NBA contract. Hoping to catch on somewhere.
But, much like the vast majority of tourists who limp back towards the airport in the harsh gleam of morning's light, most of these players will be forced to ply their trade overseas or in the D League.
It's the reality of Vegas. Not everyone can be a winner. The odds are ever stacked against you.
Summer League is a strange corner of the world. Assorted writers and NBA-heads descend upon Vegas to cover games that mean absolutely nothing. Fans travel from all the world to see the "new guy," the "face of the future," or the "next big thing."
It is an unbridled explosion of puns, bad jokes, cheap food, strange basketball games, and communal living.
Right now, I'm watching the Knicks - Spurs summer league game. Let me be the thousandth person to say that Kristaps Porzingis is a tall dude. Like, taller and thinner than a human might seem to be normally.
Derek Fisher is playing him solely in the center position. He has the height and the length, but he's just so damn skinny. Hes getting banged around the by Spurs down low.
At one point, he went into the locker room for an extended period of time, and word leaked that his hip might be bothering him. But soon thereafter, he returned. He's shown flashes. He's shown hesitancy. He's given the assembled Knicks fans reason to hope and reason to cheer. They are cheering and jeering, trying to project themselves five years into the future when Kristaps will be carrying the torch of all their dreams.
But for now, in the overly air-conditioned atmosphere of Thomas & Mach arena in Las Vegas, NV, all we have are glimpses and moments. All there is is the allure of success, the scent of something greater than the present.
Kristaps finished with the modest stat line of 12 points on 3-5 shooting. He went 6-7 at the line.
Phil Jackson was sitting baseline, wearing a funny shirt, taking in the scene.
Now up, Minnesota vs. Chicago. Karl Anthony-Towns has taken the floor and hit his first shot. He just threw a gorgeous no look behind the back pass that his teammate mishandled.
He'll play out these games, and everyone will wonder what he'll become. As with all these young guys. As with Vegas.
Much more to come. I'll be posting at least once a day, plus will have full updates and some interviews from tomorrow's Warriors game.