NBA / Jul 14, 2008 / 12:19 pm

How to Improve the NBA Summer Leagues

Jeff GreenJeff Green, Dime #38

I was watching a few minutes of one of the Vegas Summer League games, and for the most part, the stands were empty. Except for the times when a marquee name like O.J. Mayo or Eric Gordon is playing, most of the games have been like that.

Here’s my idea: Instead of a destination summer league (Vegas, Orlando), let’s have a small mini-season. Same roster rules apply, with rookies, no-names, and a few young NBA players rounding out each team. The mini-season can be over two weeks and can include only local teams. So the East, for example, could be New Jersey, New York, Boston, Philly and Washington. Or maybe you could break it up the same way the NBA divisions are broken up. The teams would travel between each other’s cities, but play in secondary local markets or smaller venues. In other words, the Celtics might play in the Hartford Civic Center, the Knicks at Long Island University, Philly at St. Joe’s, and so on. Knicks fans would definitely go check out Danilo Gallinari if they could without having to fly to Vegas, right? Same with Chicago and Derrick Rose, Milwaukee and Joe Alexander, and so on. And the fact that every summer league roster has a few local guys who are either from that team’s area or played college in the area would bring out fans as well.

The travel would give the rookies a quick prep course on life on the road in the NBA and fan interest would be greater. If your team played a summer league game near where you live, would you go watch?

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  • http://vendingsystems.com TBone

    I’d be derrr

  • http://www.barackobama.com Jim

    Hell yes I would go. I used to drive down to Utah and go to some games when I was in college and watch whoever was there.
    You’ve also seen the summer league change from being a casual thing (Jazz and Celtics players doing it on their own) then to teams hosting it, to now where you just have to sites. I love summer league, I think it’s a hell of a way to spend $5.

  • D

    yeah, I totally agree. sucks trying to consider driving or flying to vegas just for a meaningless game, even though you want to see some summer league games. it wouldn’t hurt to improve the camera quality either for webcasts, seeing as how the NBA is a multi-million (billion?) dollar organization.

  • Logan Light

    JED – you might be onto something here… problem is that once Stern gets a hold of this idea, it will become a marketing campaign and money will turn it into a beast… and do you really think that Stern could get away with taking that much attention away from the WNBA so openly?

    I can see it working out though… just like an age minimum.

  • yallallreadyknow

    this is what i like to see/read from people on here. problems with solutions.

    everyone take note. if you notice something is flawed, come correct led da jed and issue a solution

    now then….
    teams do this so players can be AWAY from the local media and dont have to deal with getting blasted after a bad summer league as you know columnist will do.

    why not take it one step further and have the summer league games in other countries?

    how hard is it for some of you to fly/drive/commute to las vegas when some of us would have to leave our country to come to the states to see a summer league game?

    stop ya crying….

    i would gladly fly to vegas if i were already in the states. tsk tsk tsk…more of you americans crying at the lil picture

  • http://psinapticapotheosis.org Amar

    the WNB-what?

  • sans

    columnists will do that any way, they’re paid to put people on blast. hell yeah I would go see summer league ball if it played near me in Eugene.

  • Clipshow

    You don’t think the local media travels to these games? Also, the media doesn’t really care. the wins and losses don’t matter so it’s not that big a deal. It’s a fan thing.

  • Canada

    I think it is a great idea. Teams could just stay in their division. So toronto would play in the east (short trip from NYC. No really it is). Also, there are places close to Toronto that would love it if they got to watch the games. I like the small market concept.

  • Question for Dime

    Can you guys get someone from the NBA to comment on the idea? see why think it works or doesn’t work?

  • Logan Light

    Amar… that is hilarious. Thank you.

  • http://dimemag.com Austin Burton

    Having it in Vegas and Orlando is also a little treat for the media who travels and the people who work for the NBA putting on the summer leagues. Not sure about the Utah thing, though.

  • TJ

    I imagine that would cost a lot more than the way they do it now. It would also drag the league out due to travel.

  • hahns

    YES i would totally go the summer league games. might be a nice revenue making venture for teams as well.

    great idea.

  • Justice

    i think it’s fine,it builds the anticipation during the dog days of summer,can we just get some better cameras out there…

    nba/college hoops gamers im i the only one that updates all the rosters with the rookies etc and start a new season in 2k,etc?then a trade happens and ur screwed? or do most people just make the switch to other games during the off season?

  • celticsdada

    Hartford ain’t part of new England in my book so no no if the celtics play there. That’s like being in NY’s land. If such league exist the celtics would probably play in worcester or Manchester,NH. I enjoyed it very much when they had the summer league at my school Umass Boston couple years ago until they re- locate to vegas. You paid like $10 and you can watch like 3 games all day. I saw D-miles, Lebron, omar coook…… Etc pretty cool

  • MoxWestCoastRep

    Being in Vegas during the summer is no treat! Lol

  • biccockshuttle

    They don’t want the travel time and costs at this time of year. Then there is the cost to rent the arenas, etc.

    Casual fans don’t give a crap about summer league rosters.

  • cbizzle

    I would go to summer league games, especially with the summer league team Detroit is putting out there. You get a chance to check out potential future members of your favorite team. I think it is a good idea.

  • bballinca

    #13 and 17 posts hit the nail on the head. It is a cost factor situation along with time.

  • http://dimemag.com Austin Burton

    I think post #4 has some validity. Hate on the WNBA all you want, but David Stern obviously wants the league to succeed and he won’t do too much to kill his own product by creating competition.

  • Imperial-Mel

    im in there like WNBA wedges!!!

  • http://www.dimemag.com The Jed

    I hear people on the budget.Obviously it’s cheaper for the league to get one gym for a week or 2 bring all the teams to one place and let them play. That being said, these games aren’t sold out and they aren’t really televised. It’s definitely cheaper for them to do it the way they are doing it, but I bet they can make more go mini-season.

  • James

    I would def. go if they played in Charlotte- but I cant go all the way to Vegas

  • Oak

    This would be crazy for oak city. esp. with durant playing.

  • Luke

    That might the dumbest question ever. Of course I’d go. That’s like asking if you got offered a billion dollars, with no strings attached, would you take it? DUH!

  • BlazeMcHerbs

    Of course i’d go watch, but it aint gonna happen.

    Travel costs, the teams arent gonna be willing to pay for all that traveling, hotels, etc…

    Secondly, you’re probably gonna force these rooks to hit the wall sooner than usual, they’ll definitely be burnt out sooner from playing 2 seasons instead of one to focus on.

    But yeah, if they were here locally, its much more of an incentive than having to fly out to Vegas…

  • http://www.dimemag.com The Jed

    The wall? they play 2 weeks of basketball and then they have off until training camp. I’m not talking about a gruesome schedule here. I’m talking maybe 8 games in a little less than 3 week. And most of the trips are extremely short.

  • parker

    They don’t want any of the Knicks fans to see Galinari. The purpose is for these guys to get to played a seriously fucked up game of basketball in front of noone who is going to be critical. I was watching the wizards game last night. At one point there were 42 turnovers in the third quarter. Its a bunch of guys who have no clue how to get a shot off in 24 seconds. Jarryd Bayless is a beast. One of the most underrated players in the draft. Same with Love. 18 and 13 is ridiculous in any grown man league where the average height is above 6’5.

  • Big V

    I agree with #28 insofaras the fact that we might be losing sight of what this really is: a chance for young players to get acclimated to the game and work out their kinks in advance of the regular season. Yeah, it’s gonna be ugly and unwatchable at times, and that’s what it’s supposed to be.