The Golden State Warriors went 1-2 in the group stage of the Las Vegas Summer League. After myriad tiebreakers were considered, that earned them a match against the 2-1 Charlotte Hornets in the first round of the single-elimination tournament. They square off at 7:30 p.m. PT on NBA TV.
With a win, the Warriors would face the winner of tonight’s match-up between the Toronto Raptors and the Denver Nuggets. That game would take place on Saturday at 6:00 p.m. With a loss, the Warriors would be eliminated from the tournament, but would still play on Friday at 7:00 p.m., against the loser of today’s game between the Sacramento Kings and the Cleveland Cavaliers.
There’s not too much to preview in Summer League games, which have minimal coaching and preparation, and bizarre rosters that are constantly in flux. Nonetheless, let’s take a look at some of the storylines.
Charlotte’s exciting roster
The Hornets came to Las Vegas with a pretty interesting roster. At the center of it was this year’s 12th-overall pick, Miles Bridges. I was highly impressed watching Bridges, a 6’7” wing who displayed a tremendous feel for the game and some impressive versatility and athleticism. Keep your eye on him.
But he’s not the only intriguing player. Charlotte also has their second-round pick from last year, Dwayne Bacon, who is a highly athletic shooting guard, and Willy Hernangomez, a unique big from the 2015 draft who is starting to show signs of putting it together.
The best player on their team, however, is last year’s 11th-overall pick, Malik Monk, a sharpshooting guard who absolutely dominated in Friday’s opener. Unfortunately, Monk suffered a thumb injury and is day-to-day, so it seems unlikely that he’ll play tonight.
INJURY UPDATE: After Malik Monk was originally diagnosed with a right thumb fracture, further review has determined that his thumb is not fractured. His status will now be listed as day-to-day #BuzzCity— Charlotte Hornets (@hornets) July 10, 2018
The fight for the final two-way spot
After the opening weekend of Summer League, it looked like the pair of two-way contracts the Warriors have available would go to Kendrick Nunn and Marcus Derrickson. But then the team made a surprising move, and gave one of the two-way contracts to Damion Lee, the soon-to-be brother-in-law of Stephen Curry, and a former Santa Cruz Warrior.
And just like that, there’s an exciting battle for the final two-way contract. Nunn has been the most impressive candidate, but since he and Lee are both guards, the Warriors may be intrigued by what Derrickson brings to the table.
Either way, the Warriors are probably going to be watching this game closely to see which player stands out.