Organized Chaos

Posted by Kevin Arnovitz

David Roth of Can't Stop the Bleeding has a fun piece in Slate about the absurdities and guilty pleasures of watching Summer League ball. Roth appreciates that the anarchy of Summer League makes it "worthless" for evaluating talent, even though we all desperately want to glean something about the talents of our team's second round draft picks and potential twelfth men. Need proof?

"...the Knicks' Nate Robinson was the MVP of this year's Vegas summer league."

Enough said. But "[w]atching ['even marginal NBA players'] play pickup ball, in which defense is secondary and creativity is king, is thrilling." Besides, the menagerie of players, drawn from "a reality-show casting call," is worth the price of admission for Roth:

"Gabe Muoneke, an undersized power forward still seeking his first NBA shot at age 29, scored 31 points in a game in Orlando. Coby Karl, a thyroid-cancer survivor, starred for the Lakers' Vegas summer league entry. The Sacramento Kings' summer roster boasts a whopping seven centers, as well as the previously unknown 300-pound brother of Ron Artest. The Golden State Warriors' summer-league team is the best example...There's a player who recently got out of prison for burglary, professional street-ball players nicknamed "The Assassin" and "Homicide," a 7-footer from Harvard, and a former lottery pick who spent his collegiate summers as a line chef at an Italian restaurant. Oh, and an undrafted rookie from Creighton named Nate Funk."

Back at Can't Stop the Bleeding, Roth's fellow contributor Jason Cohen offers us more sights from Summer League, including Steve Kerr wagering on the premises.