Thursday , Jul , 07 , 2005 C.Y. Ellis

Vegas Summer League Preview

By Paul Benedict

The 2nd-Annual Vegas Summer League kicks off today and will run through July 15th with now 16 teams (instead of 6) having an early opportunity to evaluate some of their draft picks, the luxury of allotting their current young prospects some quality run against respectable competition, and a chance to scour through the plethora of free agents that aren’t having long-term guaranteed contracts thrown at them on a daily basis.

Among the top names in attendance for the next 2 weeks will be Al Jefferson, Marquis Daniels, Darko Milicic, Shaun Livingston, Chris Paul, Dwight Howard, Sebastian Telfair, and Jarvis Hayes. Before I break down each of the 16 teams showing up in Vegas, let’s take a look at the 5 most intriguing match-ups that will take place:

  • 7/7: Orlando vs New York @ 1:00 PM- Dwight Howard vs Channing Frye.
  • 7/7: Clippers vs Boston @ 7:00 PM- Two of the most experienced teams (in VSL-terms) face off.
  • 7/9: Sacramento vs New Jersey @ 12:00 PM- Master P vs Jay-Z.
  • 7/10: New Orleans vs Orlando @ 1:00 PM- Hornets’ dynamic backcourt vs Magic’s imposing frontcourt.
  • 7/14: Boston vs Golden State @ 5:00 PM- Two of the league’s best young teams go at it.

Unfortunately, some of the more thrilling potential match-ups aren’t on the schedule: Portland vs Clippers (Telfair vs Livingston); Portland vs Boston (Webster vs Green); Denver vs New Orleans (Hodge vs Paul, Part II); Detroit vs Orlando (Darko gets embarrassed by Howard); Portland vs New Orleans (Battle of the best backcourts);

Boston Celtics
7/7 vs Clippers @ 7:00 PM
7/8 vs Dallas @ 2:00 PM
7/11 vs Phoenix @ 3:00 PM *NBA TV*
7/12 vs Cleveland @ 1:00 PM *NBA TV*
7/14 vs Golden State @ 5:00 PM *NBA TV*
7/15 vs Detroit @ 12:00 PM

The Vets: SG Tony Allen, PF Al Jefferson, PF Kendrick Perkins, F Justin Reed, G Delonte West

The Draftees: SF Ryan Gomes, SG Gerald Green

The Wannabees: G Will Bynum (Georgia Tech ’05), PF Taylor Coppenrath (Vermont ’05), SF Jeremiah Massey (Kansas St. ’04), C Will McDonald (South Florida ’03)

What to Watch For: The Celts’ are probably the most intriguing team at VSL as Doc Rivers brings in 7 players (Orien Green is not playing due to a foot injury) that are all but guaranteed roster spots for next season. If Delonte West wants to make a move towards claiming the team’s starting PG spot, now is his chance since Marcus Banks is ineligible to be on the roster. Tony Allen and Al Jefferson will also earn chances to shine in hopes of being in the Celtics’ starting lineup for next season. Of course most Celtics fans are going to tune in to check out draft-day steals Gerald Green and Ryan Gomes. Green comes to the Celtics with more hype and potential than any draftee since Paul Pierce, and so the bar is raised pretty high for the 19 year old from Texas. Among the players trying out for roster spots, keep an eye on Will Bynum and Taylor Coppenrath. Bynum is an outstanding athlete from Georgia Tech who was passed by in last Tuesday’s Draft simply because of his size (6’0″) and lack of true point guard skills. Coppenrath played very well at the pre-draft camps, but scouts are concerned about his below-average athleticism and quickness.


Chicago Bulls
7/6 vs Washington @ 7:00 PM
7/8 vs Orlando @ 6:00 PM
7/10 vs Sacramento @ 7:00 PM
7/12 vs Denver @ 5:00 PM *NBA TV*
7/13 vs New York @ 1:00 *NBA TV*

The Vets: F/C Jared Reiner

The Draftees: None

The Wannabees: PF Mario Austin (Mississippi St. ’04), PG David Bailey (Loyola-Chicago ’03), SG Eddie Basden (Charlotte ’05), C Mengke Bateer (China ’75), SG Adam Hall (Virginia ’02), PF Arthur Johnson (Missouri ’04), F Ugonna Onyekwe (UPenn ’03), PF Drago Pasalic (Croatia ’84), SF Kasib Powell (Texas Tech ’03), C Dawid Przbyszewski (Vanderbilt ’05), PG Kenny Satterfield (Cincinnati ’03),

What to Watch For: John Paxson and Scott Skiles decided to leave off Ben Gordon, Luol Deng, and Andres Nocioni from the Summer League team and instead bring in some free agents that might be able to help the club next season. As it stands right now, the Bulls have just 6 guaranteed roster slots filled and so Skiles will take a good, hard look at all of these players. Eddie Basden is the most likely to be offered a contract with the Bulls after impressing scouts at the pre-draft camps and surprisingly being skipped over during the draft. Most people compare him favorably to Trenton Hassell and that should go over fine with defensive-preacher Skiles. Mario Austin and Kenny Satterfield are two other NBA-caliber players to keep an eye on– both have played well overseas the last couple of seasons and have a very good chance of sticking with an NBA team going into next season if they can impress in Vegas.

Cleveland Cavaliers
7/7 vs New Orleans @ 3:00 PM
7/9 vs Golden State @ 8:00 PM
7/10 vs Denver @ 3:00 PM
7/12 vs Boston @ 1:00 PM *NBA TV*
7/13 vs Portland @ 7:00 PM *NBA TV*
7/15 vs Portland @ 2:00 PM *NBA TV*

The Vets: G/F Luke Jackson

The Draftees: C Martynas Andriuskevicius

The Wannabees: SG Kelenna Azubuike (Kentucky ’06), SF Bryan Bracey (Oregon ’01), SG Carl English (Hawaii ’03), PF Matt Freije (Vanderbilt ’04), PG John Gilchrist (Maryland ’06), PF Kresimir Loncar (Ukraine ’83), PG John Lucas, Jr. (Oklahoma St. ’05), PF Olumide Oyedeji (Nigeria ’81), PF Ryan Randle (Maryland ’03), SG Blake Stepp (Gonzaga ’04), SG Derrick Tarver (Akron ’04), PF James Thomas (Texas ’04), G/F Ime Udoka (Portland St. ’02), G/F Jeff Varem (Washington St. ’05)

What to Watch For: A lot of people will be watching last year’s lottery pick Luke Jackson very closely to see how he responds from an injury-riddled rookie season. A good performance from the Oregon product and the Cavs might not be pressing quite as hard to find a stud shooter on the free agent market. We’ll also get our first opportunity to check out Martynas Andriuskevicius, the 7’3″ Lithuanian who has a world of potential, but is still a good 2 or 3 years away from making any contributions. The Cavs’ VSL roster also includes a number of big-time former college players: Azubuike, Gilchrist, Lucas, Stepp, Thomas– each of these guys was highly touted in college, and that just goes to show you how difficult it is to find a home in the NBA.

Dallas Mavericks
7/6 vs New Jersey @ 1:00 PM
7/8 vs Boston @ 2:00 PM
7/10 vs Portland @ 5:00 PM
7/12 vs Orlando @ 7:00 PM *NBA TV*
7/15 vs Sacramento @ 4:00 PM *NBA TV*

The Vets: SG Marquis Daniels, C Pavel Podkolzin, PF/C D.J. Mbenga, PG Devin Harris

The Draftees: None

The Wannabees: PG Filiberto Rivera (UTEP ’05), PG Gee Gervin (Houston ’00), SG Felipe Lopez (St. John’s ’98), SF Roger Powell (Illinois ’05), SF Victor Muzadi (Angola, ’78), SF Michael Harris (Rice ’05), PF Josh Powell (N.C. State ’03), F Darius Rice (Miami ’04)

What to Watch For: Daniels wants some work as the go-to guy since he’s going to see a lot of burn next year with Michael Finley on his way out of Dallas. Avery Johnson will certainly give Devin Harris a chance to prove he’s worthy of making a run at Jason Terry for the team’s starting point guard spot next season. Also look out for Felipe Lopez, who has been out of the league since 2002 after he suffered a torn MCL and ACL during a pre-season game– it would be a remarkable comeback if Lopez could find his way back onto an NBA roster.

Denver Nuggets
7/7 vs New Jersey @ 5:00 PM
7/9 vs Detroit @ 2:00 PM
7/10 vs Cleveland @ 3:00 PM
7/12 vs Chicago @ 5:00 PM *NBA TV*
7/14 vs Phoenix @ 7:00 PM *NBA TV*
7/15 vs Clippers @ 6:00 PM *NBA TV*

The Vets: G Luis Flores

The Draftees: G/F Julius Hodge, F Linas Kleiza, F Ricky Sanchez

The Wannabees: C Joseph Dabbert (Creighton ’04), PG Tyus Edney (UCLA ’95), SF Jason Ellis (Boise St. ’05), SG Desmon Farmer (USC ’04), PF Marcus Haislip (Tennessee ’03), C Kenyon Jones (San Francisco ’00), C Boniface N’Dong (Senegal ’77), C Luke Schenscher (Georgia Tech ’05)

What to Watch For: The 3 draftees are the obvious attraction for Nuggets fans, most notably Hodge who is expected to come in and contribute right away. Kleiza will likely stay in Denver next season, but probably won’t play much as long as Eduardo Najera is around. Sanchez is almost certainly off to the NBDL no matter how well he performs in Vegas. A few interesting names on the ‘wannabees’ list– Tyus Edney from the ’95 UCLA Championship team has had extraordinary success in Europe over the past 5 years, but probably won’t get a contract offer due to his age. Marcus Haislip, a 2002 lottery pick by the Bucks and the first official bust from that year’s draft, will get plenty of consideration because of his size (6’10” and very long) and reputation. And Boniface N’Dong, if not because he has far and away the most hilarious name of anyone in the VSL, then because he is supposedly a hidden gem overseas that has been dominating competition for the last couple of years.

Detroit Pistons
7/8 vs Phoenix @ 4:00 PM
7/9 vs Denver @ 2:00 PM
7/11 vs Clippers @ 5:00 PM *NBA TV*
7/14 vs New Orleans @ 3:00 PM *NBA TV*
7/15 vs Boston @ 12:00 PM

The Vets: G/F Carlos Delfino, PF/C Darko Milicic

The Draftees: SG Alex Acker, PF Amir Johnson, PF Jason Maxiell

The Wannabees: SG John Allen (Seton Hall ’05), PG Rodney Billups (Denver ’05), Andreas Glyniadakis (Greece ’81), PG Junior Harrington (Wingate ’02), PF Jerry Holman (Minnesota ’03), SG Rickey Paulding (Missouri ’04), SF Bryant Matthews (Virginia Tech ’04), SF Thomas Mobley (College of Charleston ’04)

What to Watch For: Darko, Darko, Darko. All eyes will be on Darko Milicic as the former #2 overall pick launches what will be his make-or-break season as a Detroit Piston. Anything less than a superb showing by Darko will be deemed as disappointing, so it’ll be interesting to see how he copes with the added pressure. The Pistons will also have a look at their 3 draftees, though only Maxiell stands a real chance to make the team’s roster for next season. Among the invitees, take note of Rodney Billups, Chauncey’s kid brother. There’s no denying that the Pistons are simply doing Chauncey a favor by including Rodney on their VSL roster, but don’t be surprised to see NBA teams track him closely over the next few years to see if he matures and progresses the same way his big brother did.

Golden State Warriors
7/8 vs Portland @ 12:00 PM
7/9 vs Cleveland @ 8:00 PM
7/11 vs Washington @ 1:00 PM *NBA TV*
7/14 vs Boston @ 5:00 PM *NBA TV*
7/15 vs Phoenix @ 8:00 PM *NBA TV*

The Vets: PF Andris Biedrins, F Zarko Cabarkapa

The Draftees: PF Ike Diogu, PG Monta Ellis, PF Chris Taft

The Wannabees: F Brandon Gay (San Diego ’05), SF David Graves (Notre Dame ’02), SG Larry O’Bannon (Louisville ’05), G Paul Marigney (St. Mary’s (CA) ’05), G Damir Miljkovic (Croatia ’80), G Guy Muya (Belgium ’83), PG Marque Perry (St. Louis ’03), G Ronald Ross (Texas Tech ’05), F Jawad Williams (North Carolina ’05), SG Ray Young (UCLA ’03)

What to Watch For: Biedrins and Diogu are likely to share minutes in the frontcourt next season, so it will be important to see which has a better showing in Vegas. Right now the odds are on Diogu to play a bigger role, but Biedrins has more size and might be able to push Foyle for some time at the 5. Ellis and Taft were two slick picks by Mullin in the 2nd Round and will be looking to stick it to teams that bypassed them in the draft. An impressive display by Taft might earn him a roster spot for next season, but the Warriors might be better off allowing both Taft and Ellis to mature and gain some confidence in the NBDL. Jawad Williams was a nice pick-up for Golden State and shouldn’t have a problem being signed by a team this summer, though he’ll likely be playing in the NBDL.

Los Angeles Clippers
7/7 vs Boston @ 7:00 PM
7/9 vs Phoenix @ 4:00 PM
7/11 vs Detroit @ 5:00 PM *NBA TV*
7/13 vs Sacramento @ 5:00 PM *NBA TV*
7/15 vs Denver @ 6:00 PM *NBA TV*

The Vets: PG Lionel Chalmers, C Chris Kaman, PG Shaun Livington, PF/C Mikki Moore, G/F Quinton Ross

The Draftees: G Daniel Ewing

The Wannabees: C Lance Allred (Weber St. ’05), SG Alpha Bangura (St. John’s ’02), PF Mark Bortz (Buffalo ’05), PG Mire Chatmn (UTPA ’05), F Erwin Dudley (Alabama ’03), F Chuck Eidson (South Carolina ’03), F Tang Hamilton (Mississippi St. ’01), PG Jerry Johnson (Rider ’05), SG Thomas Kelati (Washington St. ’05), PF Ontario Lett (Pittsburgh ’03), F Jonathan Moore (N.C. Central ’05), SG Jobey Thomas (Charlotte ’02), SG Cuthbert Victor (Murray St. ’04)

What to Watch For: Unfortunately, we won’t get an opportunity to check out everyone’s favorite draft-day overachiever Yaroslav Korolev who will be in Russia playing for the National Team. We will have the chance to watch future superstar Shaun Livingston as he firmly stakes his claim as the Clippers’ 2005-06 starting point guard. The Clippers are one of a handful of teams that are bringing along a slew of players already on their roster with the hope of building some chemistry during the off-season. With their history of plucking quality players from the NBDL (Bobby Simmons, Mikki Moore), Tang Hamilton has a chance to make the Clippers with an impressive showing.

New Jersey Nets
7/6 vs Dallas @ 1:00 PM
7/7 vs Denver @ 5:00 PM
7/9 vs Sacramento @ 12:00 PM
7/11 vs New York @ 7:00 PM *NBA TV*
7/12 vs New Orleans @ 3:00 PM *NBA TV*

The Vets: None

The Draftees: SG Antoine Wright

The Wannabees: PG Maurice Baker (Oklahoma St. ’02), F Brian Boddicker (Texas ’04), PF Sam Clancy (USC ’02), G/F Christian Drejer (Denmark ’82), PF Noel Felix (Fresno St. ’03), F Sharrod Ford (Clemson ’05), G Cliff Hawkins (Kentucky ’04), SG Matt Lottich (Stanford ’04), C Jelani McCoy (UCLA ’99), G/F Melvin Sanders (Oklahoma St. ’03), F Awvee Storey (Arizona St. ’02), G Derrick Zimmerman (Mississippi St. ’04)

What to Watch For: Antoine Wright will be the main attraction as he attempts to justify to Nets fans why he was selected ahead of Hakim Warrick. Other than that, there’s really not much to get excited about– 2nd Round pick Mile Ilic will not be in attendance, although Christian Drejer, last year’s 2nd Round pick, is expected to be a part of the roster in 2005-06 so he’s worth keeping a watchful eye on. I’m looking forward to seeing how Sam Clancy is playing, a guy I once deemed the second-coming of Karl Malone while at USC. I still have hope for Clancy, though he’s reportedly lost a lot of his athleticism and mobility due to some debilitating injuries over the years.

New Orleans Hornets
7/7 vs Cleveland @ 3:00 PM
7/8 vs Washington @ 8:00 PM
7/10 vs Orlando @ 1:00 PM
7/12 vs New Jersey @ 3:00 PM *NBA TV*
7/14 vs Detroit @ 3:00 PM *NBA TV*

The Vets: PF Maceij Lampe, SG J.R. Smith, PF Jackson Vroman

The Draftees: F Brandon Bass, PG Chris Paul

The Wannabees: F Sean Banks (Memphis ’07), Troy Bell (Boston College ’03), C Chris Garnett (Indiana Southeast ’04), SG DeSean Hadley (Eastern Michigan ’01), PF Jarred Merrill (Oklahoma Christian ’05), SF Eddie Robinson (Central Oklahoma ’99), PF Marc Salyers (Samford ’01)

What to Watch For: The VSL will be the first chance fans get to witness what promises to be one of the NBA’s most exciting and explosive backcourts in Chris Paul and J.R. Smith. The duo will have a chance to develop some chemistry right away before being cast into the starting lineup together next season against much more formidable competition. Hometown boy Brandon Bass can secure a roster spot by outplaying fellow power forwards Maceij Lampe and Jackson Vroman, but it will be no easy task for the draftee. Some interesting names on the invitee list– Sean Banks, a gifted small forward who has witnessed his reputation take a major hit due to conduct problems at Memphis last season; Troy Bell, the 2003 1st Round pick who is currently being sought after by a number of teams; and Eddie Robinson, now back with the Hornets after showing a ton of potential to start his career before landing a big contract with the Bulls and subsequently playing his way right out of the league.

New York Knicks
7/6 vs Portland @ 3:00 PM
7/7 vs Orlando @ 1:00 PM
7/9 vs Washington @ 6:00 PM
7/11 vs New Jersey @ 7:00 PM *NBA TV*
7/13 vs Chicago @ 1:00 PM *NBA TV*

The Vets: SF Trevor Ariza, SF Jackie Butler, C Bruno Sundov

The Draftees: PF/C Channing Frye, PF David Lee, G Nate Robinson

The Wannabees: PG Steven Barber (Texas-Arlington ’02), SG Rueben Douglas (New Mexico ’03), C Anthony Fuqua (Texas- San Antonio ’05), SG Cheyne Gadson (Oklahoma St. ’03), PF Otis George (Louisville ’05), SG Lou Kelly (UNLV ’02), PG Aaron Miles (Kansas ’05), SF Lamar Rice (Clemson ’05), F Brent Wright (Florida ’01)

What to Watch For: It won’t be against the toughest of competition, but Channing Frye will be out to prove that he’s no sissy as a lot of people have been labeling him from day one. It’ll be interesting to see how he holds up against Dwight Howard on the 7th. David Lee and Nate Robinson are really going to have to prove their worth since the Knicks roster is practically full– poor showings and Isiah may decide not to cut any of the veterans in favor of his draftees. Now is also the time for Trevor Ariza to step up big time and make his case for the starting 3 slot.

Orlando Magic
7/7 vs New York @ 1:00 PM
7/8 vs Chicago @ 6:00 PM
7/10 vs New Orleans @ 1:00 PM
7/12 vs Dallas @ 7:00 PM *NBA TV*
7/13 vs Washington @ 3:00 PM *NBA TV*

The Vets: PF Dwight Howard, SF Mark Jones, PG Jameer Nelson

The Draftees: PG Travis Diener, F Marcin Gortat, PF Fran Vazquez

The Wannabees: PF Jason Klotz (Texas ’05), SG David Jackson (Oregon ’01), C Rob Little (Stanford ’05), SG Roger Mason, Jr. (Virginia ’03), PF Isiah Victor (Tennessee ’01), F Rich Melzer (Wisconsin-River Falls ’04), PF Jerome Beasley (North Dakota ’03), CRuben Boumtje-Boumtje (Georgetown ’01)

What to Watch For: Dwight Howard is the best player at the VSL and should be able to dominate the competition as he looks to build on his role with the Magic heading into next season. Jameer Nelson is pissed off that Orlando is trying to bring in a quality point guard this summer, so look for him to play with a lot of intensity in Vegas. Also expect Brian Hill to play Howard and Vazquez on the floor a lot together to see if the two can co-exist– if so, then we might be watching 3/5ths of the Magic starting lineup out there.

Phoenix Suns
7/6 vs Sacramento @ 5:00 PM
7/8 vs Detroit @ 4:00 PM
7/9 vs Clippers @ 4:00 PM
7/11 vs Boston @ 3:00 PM *NBA TV*
7/14 vs Denver @ 7:00 PM *NBA TV*
7/15 vs Golden State @ 8:00 PM *NBA TV*

The Vets: G Leandro Barbosa

The Draftees: SF Dijon Thompson

The Wannabees: SG Tim Bowers (Mississippi St. ’04), SG Stephen Graham (Oklahoma St. ’05), PG Lynn Greer (Temple ’02), G/F Michael Haynes (Fordham ’04), Nick Jacobson (Utah ’04), PF Harold Jamison (Clemson ’99), Mindaugas Katelynas (Tennessee-Chattanooga ’05), C Brandon Kurtz (Tulsa ’00), PF Ron Slay (Tennessee ’03), PF Lucas Tischer (Brazil ’83)

What to Watch For: The Suns’ ultimate goal in the VSL will be to see how Leandro Barbosa can lead a team that will play their typical up-tempo offense. Barbosa is still considered the Suns’ point guard of the future, and should continue to see an increased role for the team next season. It’s obvious that Bryan Colangelo and Mike D’Antoni are trying to find a diamond in the rough at the VSL as well, since almost every single invitee fits the resume for a respective need they’re looking to address– Shooters: Bowers, Greer, Jacobson; Quality on-the-ball defenders: Graham, Haynes. Big Rebounders: Jamison, Kurtz, Slay. And athletes: Tischer, Katelynas (2005 College Slam Dunk Contest winner). With a few open roster slots, it’s definitely conceivable that at least one or two of the invitees ends up on the Suns regular season roster next season.

Portland Trail Blazers
7/6 vs New York @ 3:00 PM
7/8 vs Golden State @ 12:00 PM
7/10 vs Dallas @ 5:00 PM
7/13 vs Cleveland @ 7:00 PM *NBA TV*
7/14 vs Washington @ 1:00 PM *NBA TV*
7/15 vs Cleveland @ 2:00 PM *NBA TV*

The Vets: F Travis Outlaw, C Ha Seung-Jin, PG Sebastian Telfair

The Draftees: PG Jarrett Jack, G/F Martell Webster

The Wannabees: SF Seamus Boxley (Portland St. ’05), F Ira Clark (Texas ’98), SG Ebi Ere (Oklahoma ’03), PF Billy Keys (New Mexico St. ’00), PF Kris Lang (North Carolina ’02), SF Sergei Monia (Russia ’83), C Nedzad Sinanovic (Bosnia ’83), PF Robert Tomaszek (Texas Tech ’04)

What to Watch For: The Blazers are firmly involved in the rebuilding stage and are more than likely to debut a starting lineup next season featuring not a single player older than 25 (Telfair, Webster, Miles, Randolph, Pryzbilla). Travis Outlaw has the most to prove of any Blazer during the VSL as a solid performance can push him into the starting lineup and Darius Miles out of Portland. Martell Webster will have to show the team that he is ready to start for the Blazers next season because as it stands now, the team doesn’t have another shooting guard slated to be on the roster. And Sergei Monia will get some tune-up as he is expected to join the team next year after staying overseas this past season.

Sacramento Kings
7/6 vs Phoenix @ 5:00 PM
7/9 vs New Jersey @ 12:00 PM
7/10 vs Chicago @ 7:00 PM
7/13 vs Clippers @ 5:00 PM *NBA TV*
7/15 vs Dallas @ 4:00 PM *NBA TV*

The Vets: F Erik Daniels, SG Kevin Martin

The Draftees: SG Francisco Garcia

The Wannabees: C Robert Archibald (Illinois ’02), SG Tony Bland (San Diego St. ’03), G Cookie Belcher (Nebraska ’01), C Marcus Campbell (Mississippi St. ’05), F Marquin Chandler (San Jose St. ’05), C Jared Homan (Iowa St. ’05), G Anthony Lever (Oregon ’03), SG Percy ‘Master P’ Miller (’70), PF Patrick Okafor (Houston ’02), G Ronnie Price (Utah Valley St. ’05), SG Tre Simmons (Washington ’05), G/F Garrett Tien (Taiwan ’83), SG Ray Weathers (Michigan St. ’97), PF Guillame Yango (Pacific ’05)

What to Watch For: Knowing that their VSL team wasn’t exactly going to draw a great deal of interest, the Maloofs offered rap mogul Master P and disgruntled superstar wide receiver Terrell Owens a chance to be a part of the roster. Master P happily accepted while my Eagles (thankfully) refused to grant TO permission to play. Other than that, look for Francisco Garcia and Kevin Martin to begin their battle for minutes either off the Kings’ bench or quite possibly in the starting lineup now that Cuttino Mobley is likely gone. Both have the talent to start, but certainly need some work physically to be able to guard opposing 2s.

Washington Wizards
7/6 vs Chicago @ 7:00 PM
7/8 vs New Orleans @ 8:00 PM
7/9 vs New York @ 6:00 PM
7/11 vs Golden State @ 1:00 PM *NBA TV*
7/13 vs Orlando @ 3:00 PM *NBA TV*
7/14 vs Portland @ 1:00 PM *NBA TV*

The Vets: PF Damone Brown, G/F Jarvis Hayes, C Peter John Ramos

The Draftees: PF Andray Blatche

The Wannabees: PF Ousmanne Cisse (St. Jude H.S. ’01), PG Ed Cota (North Carolina ’00), G Henry Domercant (East Illinois ’03), PF Corsely Edwards (Central Connecticut St. ’02), SG Gerald Fitch (Kentucky ’04), PF Hiram Fuller (Fresno St. ’03), SG David Hawkins (Temple ’04), F Randy Holcomb (San Diego St. ’02), C Jamal Sampson (California ’05), SG Donnell Taylor (UAB ’05)

What to Watch For: Jarvis Hayes is one of the more surprising players on a VSL roster, but the 2-year vet would like some competition as he returns from a knee injury that kept him out of the Playoffs this Spring. Regardless of whether or not Hayes shows he’s fully recovered and dominates in Vegas, expect the Wiz to still bring back Larry Hughes at whatever it costs them. Peter John Ramos and Andray Blatche are two long-term prospects for Washington that we’ll have a chance get a glimpse of as both are more than likely headed to the NBDL next season.