The Utah summer league is back, and NBA Hoops Online will be covering all 3 days. The Utah Summer League, which was formerly known as the Rocky Mountain Revue, was one of the oldest and most respected summer leagues in the NBA before falling on hard times in the mid 2000s. A number of NBA legands got their first taste of NBA action in Utah, including NBA greats Tim Duncan, Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony, Dirk Nowitzki, Steve Nash, Karl Malone and John Stockton as well has all-stars like Amare Stoudemire, Tony Parker, Paul Millsap, Deron Williams, and many others.
This year's reboot will feature 4 teams; the San Antonio Spurs, Philadelphia 76ers, Boston Celtics and host Utah Jazz. 2015 draft picks which will be playing include; Jahlil Okafor, Terry Rozier, RJ Hunter, Trey Lyles and Olivier Hanlan as well as 2014 draft picks Jermi Grant, Marcus Smart, Dante Exum, Rodney Hood, and Kyle Anderson. There will also be NBA veterans such as Bryce Cotton, Elijah Millsap, Jack Cooley, Furkan Aldemire, and rumors persist that Jazz starting shooting guard Alec Burks will use the three day event as a rehab stint.
If Vegas had odds on who would have the best record in the Utah Summer league my money would be on the host Jazz. Even if Burks doesn't play they have the roster with the most NBA experience. The Jazz should be fun to watch this year as they will be show casing a lot of their young talent who got major minutes last season. Dante Exum is a guy I would keep an eye on. It is said that he has been working hard and hard filled out a little bit so far in the off-season. Another guy I would pay attention to for Utah is Bryce Cotton. Cotton came on strong for the Jazz at the end of the year and is competing with second round pick Olivier Hanlan for the third point guard spot on the Jazz roster next year.
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Philadelphia has some interesting story lines as well. Okafor should be a nice fit for them and will be amongst the most interesting rookies in this summer league. The Sixers will be without Joel Embiid again this summer as he suffered another injury this spring.
The Celtics are loaded with talent as well. With the number of guards they have it will be interesting to see how they divide minutes amongst them. I don't expect to see a whole lot of Marcus Smart though. I think he'll get some minutes in a few of the games but may see a lot of DNP's in both Salt Lake and later in Las Vegas. This is because the Celtics know what they have with Smart and will want to get Rozier and Hunter more minutes.
For me the Spurs are the least interesting team in this summer league. They lack any high profile players and most the guys that will be on their roster are your typical summer league guys who play most their careers in the D-League and Europe.