Yes, the NBA season is done, and a champion has been anointed, but that does not mean there’s no basketball to be played. The NBA’s annual trip out to the desert for the Las Vegas Summer League (LVSL), is set to begin in a couple of weeks, and, as always, the Raptors aim to compete.
The LVSL tournament runs from July 7th to 17th. Here’s your Toronto-centric schedule (all times in EST) for the opening round:
Friday, July 7 - 6:00pm vs. New Orleans (at Cox Pavilion)
Saturday, July 8 - 6:30pm vs. Minnesota (at Thomas & Mack Center)
Mon July 10 - 8:00pm vs. Denver (at Cox Pavilion)
Note: ESPN will be airing all of the Summer League games on ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, and the ESPN App. And NBA TV will also air 28 of the games. There’s a lot of ways to watch, is my point.
After the 10th, there will be more games for the Raptors, but we won’t know the exact dates and times until seeding is worked out. Keep an eye open here for more scheduling updates.
Much like last year, the Raptors will have a few of their roster mainstays on their Summer League team. Last year, Pascal Siakam only got in about 15 minutes before an injury cut his time short — he’ll be there again (D-League Finals MVP or not). Same goes for Jakob Poeltl and Fred VanVleet, who will both probably get some time in.
The question marks, as I have them, are Delon Wright and Bruno Caboclo. (It seems incredibly unlikely that Norman Powell will make any sort of appearance at this point.)
For Wright, heading into his third year in the league -- after a shortened sophomore season due to an injury suffered at last year’s Summer League — it may not make sense for him to play again. While the Raptors value player development, and playing time, Wright has proven himself to be, let’s say, a cut above the level of competition in LVSL. Also, it’d be nice to not have him wrench his shoulder again.
Caboclo, meanwhile, has hit the maximum required number of years (three) and could beg off if he wanted. (Last summer Lucas Nogueira essentially did this; he was in Vegas, but just working out and playing in scrimmages, not tournament games.) Of course, Caboclo is heading into that fourth magical year, the one in which he’ll finally no longer be “away.” It would not shock me if Bruno opted to play again, just for more experience at NBA-adjace competition. We’ll see.
Also worth mentioning: the Raptors will send their 23rd pick to play for them in the LVSL (unless the pick turns into some sort of draft-and-stash player, but that seems unlikely). That should prove to be exciting, as always.
Sadly, unlike last year, I will not be attending the festivities in Vegas, but we’ll do our best to keep everyone in the loop as to what is going down in the desert.