The NBA added a new twist to its Summer League by having championship games in both Orlando and Las Vegas. While some teams certainly did not take the competitive aspect as much to heart as others, it certainly added some spice to the proceedings.
And now there are two teams entering the history books. Or something.
Monday, the Golden State Warriors wrapped up an undefeated Summer League (their second straight undefeated summer run) by winning the Las Vegas Summer League championship with a 91-77 win over the Phoenix Suns. Ian Clark, who played previously with Miami in Orlando, scored 33 points off the bench for the Warriors. Kent Bazemore added 18 points and five assists for Golden State in the win. Archie Goodwin completed a strong summer run with 18 points for the Suns.
So what do the Summer League champions get? It is not a mini Larry O'Brien Trophy or anything like that. The champions in Orlando got a nice hat proclaiming them Summer League champions. The Vegas Summer League champs took home t-shirts, a nice little trophy and, yes, a championship belt.
It certainly is an honor worthy of an event that sometimes feels more like an AAU tournament than a professional basketball circuit.
After all the odd weather — rain in Las Vegas?! — and summer league play, what were the takeaways?
Well, Jonas Valanciunas of the Raptors won Vegas Summer League MVP after averaging 18.8 points and 10.0 rebounds per game. He put in some strong performances throughout the week. We also saw Ben McLemore struggle throughout the week with his shot. But when he found it, he was one. Kent Bazemore had a dominant Summer League, scoring 18.4 points per game.
Of course, none of this means much because it is, after all, only Summer League. These guys clearly earned an opportunity to earn playing time in training camp. But other than that, nothing remains guaranteed for the Summer League stars (so to speak).
We will have to see in October who sticks.
Until then, enjoy the championship parade Golden State.