NBA Summer League in Las Vegas is drawing big crowds as media interest and buzz continues to rise even during the offseason:
Via the NY Times:
LAS VEGAS — The games may be exhibitions, and most of the players may be fringe candidates to make N.B.A. rosters, but the operation is highly professional.
“We provide a credible product,” said Warren LeGarie, executive director of the N.B.A.’s Las Vegas summer league. “We also know we have to put on a show.”
Featuring 24 of the league’s 30 teams and the top five picks from the recent N.B.A. draft, the Las Vegas summer league is the most important event on the N.B.A.’s summer calendar. “We are the Burning Man of basketball,” LeGarie said, later trying out an analogy involving the Mos Eisley cantina from “Star Wars.”
N.B.A. teams are testing their rookies, and scouting players for the end of the bench. Foreign teams are searching for players who are not good enough for the N.B.A. but good enough for Greece or South Korea. Executives are here to wheel and deal, owners are here to meet with one another, and the news media is here to talk with sources.
Kings All-Star DeMarcus Cousins leads White Team to victory in Team USA’s training camp tuneup in advance of 2016 Olympics:
Via The Associated Press:
LAS VEGAS — There was no LeBron James or Stephen Curry.
Nor were there any signs of Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, Kevin Durant or James Harden.
Most important, there weren’t any injuries.
The U.S. men’s basketball team ended its minicamp with an exhibition that felt like a light-hearted pickup game, a much smoother ending than last summer, when Indiana Pacers All-Star Paul George broke his leg after crashing into a backboard stanchion.
Sacramento Kings All-Star DeMarcus Cousins scored 24 points and grabbed 11 rebounds to lead the White team to a 134-128 victory over the Blue team.
“I feel so good about these four days. … I thought our guys really responded tonight (with) a lot of effort (and) enthusiasm, they had fun,” coach Mike Krzyzewski said. “They all want to be a part of USA Basketball. Read the rest of this entry
Floyd Mayweather wins unanimous decision over Manny Pacquiao in a fight projected to generate over $400M in revenues:
Via The NY Times:
For nearly 20 years, boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. has frustrated opponents in the ring with his cool calculation. He has been criticized out of the ring for his lavish lifestyle and outbursts of domestic violence. And he has navigated it all by winning habitually and becoming unapologetically rich.
Manny Pacquiao, the mop-haired scrapper from the Philippines, presented a peculiar test. Pacquiao is a left-hander with fearless guile, the next-best fighter of the generation. He was an opponent who had waited years for a match. And he was so widely popular that Mayweather, a former Olympic medalist fighting in his longtime hometown against a foreigner, was widely booed upon arrival in the ring on Saturday night and again upon departure.
But he left a winner. And he got much, much richer along the way.
In what was considered the highest-grossing bout in boxing history, Mayweather, the 38-year-old with the baby face and the unblemished professional boxing record, beat Pacquiao for the welterweight world championship with a unanimous decision. Read the rest of this entry
ESPN’s Kevin Arnovitz on the behind the scenes chatter among NBA Executives convening at NBA’s Las Vegas Sumer League:
LAS VEGAS — Summer league is the closest thing the NBA has to an industry conclave, and industry conclaves tend to be more about the chatter than the official events. Even though the league unfurled its most anticipated draft class in years this past week, the insiders who populate the VIP sections of the Thomas & Mack Center and its little brother, Cox Pavilion, were consumed with the same stories that propelled the news cycle for fans.
Some of that can be attributed to a free agency period that bled into the summer-league schedule, or that LeBron James announced his decision to return to Cleveland nine hours before Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker squared off in their NBA debuts, or that none of the touted rookies really dazzled.
“Ask me in five years,” says one NBA head coach about the rookie crop.
Whatever the case, this year’s rookie class didn’t wow the league’s decision-makers. Read the rest of this entry
USA Today’s Jeff Zillgitt on USA Basketball’s new talent pool of young, emerging players hoping to join 2016 Olympic Team:
LAS VEGAS — USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo’s plan to infuse the men’s national team with new talent moves forward this week.
Forwards Paul George of the Indiana Pacers and 2012 Olympic gold medalist Anthony Davis of the New Orleans Hornets and guards Kyrie Irving of the Cleveland Cavaliers and 2012-13 rookie of the year Damian Lillard of the Portland Trail Blazers are among the 29 players, including two college players, invited to Team USA’s four-day camp, which begins Monday and concludes Thursday with a scrimmage.
The camp is the first step toward preparations for the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup (formerly the world championships) in Spain and, beyond that, a very early look at candidates for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
In their fourth epic battle, Manny Pacquiao gets knocked out by Juan Manuel Marquez at MGM Grand in Las Vegas:
LAS VEGAS (AP) — No need for Juan Manuel Marquez to impress the judges. No need for the referee to count to 10.
Marquez took care of all of his business Saturday night with a thunderous right hand that left Manny Pacquiao face first on the canvas with his remarkable career in question.
Unable to win a decision in their first three fights, Marquez won the old-fashioned way with a huge right hand that put Pacquiao down for the second time in the fight at 2:59 of the sixth round.
Referee Kenny Bayless never bothered to count as Marquez leaped into his handlers’ arms in celebration and Pacquiao’s wife broke into tears at ringside.
“I threw a perfect punch,” Marquez said. “I knew Manny could knock me out at any time.”
Las Vegas NBA Summer League Standouts: Blazers Damian Lillard and Grizzlies Josh Selby Named Co-MVP’s
Sports Media World was out in Las Vegas for 10 days to cover the Las Vegas NBA Summer League while also catching up with players, various media, agents and our league wide network of friends. CBS Sports Ben Golliver takes a look at some of the best performances during the past week:
Las Vegas Summer League Standouts & Surprises
Memphis Grizzlies G Josh Selby: The 2012 second-round pick shared co-MVP honors with Lillard after torching the competition throughout the week. The explosive, undersized shooting guard’s signature performance came when he scored 35 points against the Washington Wizards and he was a crowd favorite for his fearless attitude and quick trigger. He will join an ultra-intriguing Grizzlies backcourt that includes Mike Conley, Tony Allen and 2012 first-round pick Tony Wroten, who showed flashes of brilliant passing and elite athleticism all week.
Houston Rockets F Royce White: An intimidating frontline presence who boasts a soft-touch passing ability rarely seen for a player of his size, White averaged 8.4 points, 7.2 rebounds and 3.6 assists on a Rockets squad that was the most entertaining to watch all week. A potential match-up nightmare thanks to his strange combination of bulk, vision and versatility, he should see real court time this season.
Washington Wizards G Bradley Beal: For a one-and-done player, Beal impressed with his maturity, consistency and steadiness. Perhaps he could have exerted more influence over Washington’s games but he played within himself and scored in a variety of ways, notching double figures in all five of Washington’s games. The Florida guard has NBA size, handle, quickness and showed some range too. He has the chance to be a special player if the consistency of his jump shot continues to develop.
Tim Keown’s ESPN The Magazine cover story on Floyd Mayweather who is still undefeated after defeating Miguel Cotto:
“THE SCENE in the parking lot of the Mayweather Boxing Club in Las Vegas has devolved into an extended documentary on the perils of celebrity. There’s a betting slip on the loose worth $80,000, earned on the merits of the Miami Heat’s first-half performance about two hours earlier on this Friday night, and the quest to find it has everything but a circus-music soundtrack.
It’s not about the money. Really, it’s not. Floyd Mayweather Jr. bets a lot, both in frequency and amount, and this betting slip is not extraordinary in any way. Just the night before, he lost $50,000 on the first half of the Thunder-Lakers game before doubling down on his beloved Thunder and winning $100,000 in the second half. This is a man who later that night will put on a pair of pants he hadn’t worn in a while and pull four grand out of a pocket the way you or I might find a five in the dryer. Trust me: Eighty grand won’t change his life.