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NBA - US Sports: NBA 2k23 Summer League Day 1 preview

After the appetisers that are the California Classic and the Salt Lake Sumer League, the main course gets under way on Thursday as the NBA Summer League begins in Las Vegas.

All 30 NBA teams are involved over the next nine days, as fans get their first glimpses of the rookies, teams get the chance to experiment with different systems and the players get some meaningful pre-season action in before the new campaign starts.

What

2022 NBA Summer League, Day 1

Where

Thomas and Mack Center, Paradise near Las Vegas

When

7th July 2022

How to watchNBA TV

Rockets and Magic kick off Sumer League

There are at least six games a day in the Summer League, aside from the opener when we have just two to look forward to.

However, the first game could well be one of the most intriguing clashes over the course of the next week and a half or so, as Houston Rockets come up against Orlando Magic.

Orlando had the first pick at the NBA Draft last month and they opted for Paolo Banchero, swerving Jabari Smith Jr despite the fact most analysts expected them to go for Smith.

The Auburn product ended up with Houston as their third pick and this will be the first time these two players take to the court for their new teams.

The Rockets will be coached by Summer League coach Rick Higgins and most of the focus will be on their three first round picks - Smith, fellow forward Tari Eason and guard TyTy Washington.

Houston are a team in the middle, or perhaps more accurately the start, of a rebuild and these three players may well have a huge role to play in the future of the franchise.

Other names to look out for include a pair of last season's first-round picks, guard Josh Christopher and forward/center Usman Garuba as well as Daishen Nix, who starred for Rio Grande Valley Vipers' G League championship team and landed a standard NBA contract with the Rockets last season.

Guard Eron Gordon will also be involved, and he is the brother of Rockets veteran Eric, who has spent the last six seasons with Houston.

Orlando Magic's regular coach Jamahl Mosley will oversee their Summer League campaign and the focus from their perspective will all be on Banchero.

As the number one pick, the Duke product is among the frontrunners for the Rookie of the Year award and Thursday's match-up with Houston will be the first time we get to see him line-up against Smith since 2020 - as Auburn and Duke didn't play each other last season.

Banchero is 4/1 to win the Rookie of the Year award and Smith Jr can be backed at 5/1.

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Detroit and Portland face off

The second game on the opening day sees Portland Trail Blazers come up against Detroit Pistons.

Detroit lost out in the draft lottery and ended up with the fifth pick, but they still came out of the 2022 NBA Draft well by selecting guard Jaden Ivey with their first pick and then brining in center Jalen Duren with the 13th overall pick.

The Pistons have arguably the best roster in the Summer League and have included Cade Cunningham, Killian Hayes, Saddiq Bey, Isaiah Stewart, Isaiah Livers and Saben Lee - so this incarnation of Detroit is fairly close to their regular season roster anyway.

As for the Blazers, they will be coached by regular assistant Steve Hetzel and they have a youthful line-up for the event.

2022 draft picks Shaedon Sharpe (seventh overall pick) and Jabari Walker (57th) are joined by second-year players Greg Brown III, Trendon Watford, Keon Johnson and Brandon Williams, as well as third-year guard Didi Louzada.

Sharpe is just 19 and opted to forgo his college career to declare for the draft.

The guard is an unknown quantity in that respect, but has great potential and, if he can impress in the Summer League, he should see plenty of game time for Portland next season.

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