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Hardwood Paroxysm at Las Vegas Summer League: Day 1

I took this

I took this

By David Vertsberger: Yes it’s only the first game of Summer League, but I’m seeing some things that are getting me increasingly pumped for this NBA season. Wiggins’s athleticism is ridiculous. Anthony Bennett looks like an NBA player, and is playing like one too. Jabari Parker has some nifty moves for a guy his size. THE GREEK FREAK, too. Oh, and the game’s going down tot he wire so we get to see Wiggins and Parker duke it out in crunch time. Let’s see who has the clutch gene.

By Brian Schroeder: I imagine that when Jack Cooley and Johnny O’Bryant first saw one another today, they bought thought “finally, there is the glorious death I seek.” And then proceeded to smash at one another’s chests for two hours.

 

By Jack Maloney: Giannis still doing Giannis things

By Jack Maloney: Smooth

By Jack Maloney: Early on this Bucks-Cavs matchup has felt almost like a playoff game with the electricity flowing through the arena. I don’t know how long it will last but…ANTHONY BENNETT SMASH…it’s pretty damn cool so far.

By Andrew Lynch: People are ready to go NUTS for Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker. Let’s get it on! https://twitter.com/ericbuenning/status/487746830071889921

By Jack Maloney: Important update: Hello. John Shurna has 18 points at the end of the third quarter. I am not joking. That is the end of this update.

By Andrew Lynch: I might have spoke too soon about this year’s Summer League being more fun than years past. https://twitter.com/jmaloney9/status/487737192903503873 It’s been a quiet first half between the Lakers and Raptors, to say the least.

By Jack Maloney: I’m not down with the jerseys the Lakers are wearing. They have white shirts and white shorts, but the shorts are not quite the same shade of white as the shirts and it’s really bothering me.

By David Vertsberger: Panini, a trading card company, has a table set up in the arena giving away free packs of basketball cards. I instinctively took one, being an avid collector at flea markets when I was younger. Full of excitement, I open the pack, and the first face I see is that of Andrea Bargnani. After spending the next ten minutes sulking in my sorrow, I checked out the rest of my pack. I ended up trading a Julius Randle card with fellow HP’er Sean Highkin for his Andray Blatche card. I think I came out on top.

By Brian Schroeder: The return of Roddy Beaubois (or “Rod Beaubois,” as the LVSL PA announcer called him, magically) begins in earnest today. He began shooting the basketball, and I imagine he will continue to shoot the basketball at a high rate. You can never stop Roddy B.

By Jordan White: The Raptors are a team comprised of players with horrifying, inhuman proportions. Bruno Caboclo’s arms reach nearly to the floor. Lucas “Bebe” Nogueira has a similar wingspan, and his afro is as glorious as ever. For a normal human, these proportions are freakish. Small children would gasp and shriek at them as they passed these players on the street. In basketball, however, they are prized beyond belief. A long wingspan can help you compensate for less-than-ideal athleticism, or in the case of those who already possess terrific hops and speed, that length augments those dimensions.

By Andrew Lynch: The Knicks got the win in the first Las Vegas Summer League game of 2014, and that’s neat.

More importantly, though, from a fan perspective, is that the basketball was a lot of fun. Granted, we’re dealing with a very small sample size; there’s plenty of time for the games to regress. But that’s not the sense you get this year in Vegas. With Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker, Nerlens Noel and so many other young, exciting, hoped-to-be-superstar players here, there’s a palpable hope in the air that this year, the basketball is going to be fun. We’ll see. But the first game certainly didn’t disappoint.

By Andrew Lynch:  Apparently there’s more than one way to get the fans out of their seats in Las Vegas, and Cleanthony Early is just the man to demand that all rise in his honor. He obliterated Ivan Johnson on a dunk that had the arena (and twitter) rocking.

ALL HAIL CLEANTHONY.

By Jack Maloney: It appears the Antetokounmpo family’s American takeover will have to wait until stat sheets are big enough for their name.

By Zachary Bennett:

Here in Vegas, I’m entering the second NBA season of my blogging career.

There is a ton I have to learn.

I left my hotel this morning to meet with Jack Maloney, and it was on my way there when the LeBron James announcement nearly broke the internet. My blogging-bread-and-butter is producing content as it pertains to the Minnesota Timberwolves. So, naturally, after #thereturn was announced, the rumors regarding Kevin Love resurfaced with more fuel to the fire.

Will Andrew Wiggins play with the Cleveland Cavaliers later today? Will he be used as the main trade piece in a deal that would send Wiggins to Minnesota?

I don’t care.

I’m sitting next to some veteran bloggers, some are able to keep with free agency news whilst live-tweeting the game taking place only a few feet in front of me. I don’t know how these guys do it, but I’m just going to take things one blog post at a time. After all, it’s Summer League.

By Brian Schroeder: For what is surely the first time in his NBA career, Gal Mekel is using his natural size advantage to its fullest. Shane Larkin can’t get anything off over him. Fair to assume they had their fare share of practice battles last season in Dallas.

By Jack Maloney: THE ANTETOKOUNMPO FAMILY IS TAKING OVER AMERICA. Thanasis–older brother of Giannis–is just a few minutes into his NBA career, but he’s already showing the same kind of athleticism and energy that had everyone excited about Giannis last season.

By Andrew Lynch: The actual basketball at Summer League got off to a strong start. Ricky Ledo thought he had himself a nice, open layup at the rim, but Mr. Cole Aldrich had other ideas. Aldrich rose like a giant yeti of vengeance, crushed the ball against the backboard, and drew an appreciative gasp from the audience.

It was the first time the crowd really came alive … until a t-shirt giveaway at the first timeout. That’s what really gets the people going.

They were given another chance to pop a few minutes later:

By Seth Partnow: Throwback game here is strong. Bucks Michael Redd, Mardi Gras Pelicans, I think a Jazz Devin Harris all in evidence along with way too many Kobe’s. There’s a pretty incredible black Carmelo Syarcuse number, but the leader in the clubhouse is the gentleman with the aquamarine/teal Mike Bibby Grizzlies jersey.

By Jordan White: We woke up expecting a slow news day. Maybe a smaller free agent signing, or at least agreement, but nothing major. How foolish we were. Those expectations were quickly shot to hell around 9:30 when the LeBrocalypse came to its stunning (though, really, not all that stunning, right?) conclusion. After writing the necessary articles and tweeting the necessary tweets, Andrew and I packed up and headed to UNLV, our home for the next 11 days. I picked up my credentials and walked into the media room to find basically all of Paroxysm congregating around the couches. Unsurprisingly, the talk amongst us bloggers had nothing to do with Summer League and everything to do with LeBron — what the Cavaliers do next, how they acquire Kevin Love, and so forth. Congratulations, NBA, you’ve become the year-round sport you hoped to be. Already, next season is more exciting than last season. But first, we have to make it through Summer League. Shammgod help us all.

Hardwood Paroxysm