Everything you need to know about the 2023 NBA


Now that the 2023 NBA draft has come and gone, it’s time to play ball.

Top prospects and young talent will face off against each other in the NBA Las Vegas Summer League. No. 1 pick Victor Wembanyama is the headliner, creating a buzz around the games that only a few have replicated through the years. Top picks Scoot Henderson and Brandon Miller will also play their first NBA games.

All 30 teams will take the floor in Vegas with games starting July 7. In previous years, the Summer League has drawn major crowds for top NBA prospects. Lonzo Ball and Zion Williamson’s debuts resulted in sellout crowds. Williamson’s first and only game in Vegas was cut short due to a 7.1 earthquake.

It’s unclear if there will be any earthshaking this time around, but there will surely be some fireworks on the court. Here’s everything you need to know about the Vegas Summer League, from matchups to how to watch and the format:

The 2023 NBA draft class poses for photos on stage before the first round of the 2023 NBA Draft at Barclays Arena.

The 2023 NBA draft class poses for photos on stage before the first round of the 2023 NBA Draft at Barclays Arena.

What is the NBA Vegas Summer League?

Launched in 2004, the League is for newly drafted prospects and players fighting for a spot in the NBA to showcase their talents. Teams utilize the games to evaluate players that they either drafted or worked out during the NBA draft combine. Members of the NBA’s G-League can also earn roster spots.

The NBA has other summer leagues such as the California Classic and Salt Lake City Summer League, but the one in Vegas is the only time when all 30 teams participate. Games are held at the Thomas & Mack Center and Cox Pavilion on the UNLV campus. Vegas Summer League MVPs throughout the years include Nate Robinson, John Wall, Blake Griffin, Damian Lillard and Lonzo Ball.

When is the NBA Vegas Summer League and how can I watch?

There will be 76 games played from July 7 to 17. Each game will air on ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPNews or NBA TV. They will also be available to stream on YouTube TV, NBA League Pass, the ESPN app or the NBA app.

What is the format and rules for the NBA Vegas Summer League?

Each game will have four, 10-minute quarters, two minutes shorter than a normal NBA game, and each team has only two timeouts per half. A player is fouled out once they commit 10 fouls as opposed to the regular six foul dismissal. Overtime is two minutes instead of five and if the game reaches a second overtime, it is a sudden death format – whoever scores first wins.

There are playoffs in the Summer League. Four playoff teams will be determined by the best winning percentage through each team’s first four games. The Summer League semifinals are Sunday, July 16, with the championship game played the next day.

The Portland Trail Blazers, who drafted Henderson with the No. 3 pick this year, are the defending Summer League champions.

When is No. 1 pick Victor Wembanyama’s first game?

Victor Wembanyama’s NBA debut will come Friday, July 7, at 9 p.m. ET. Wembanyama and the Spurs will face No. 2 overall pick Miller and the Charlotte Hornets in the second game of an ESPN triple header. The Spurs’ center is expected to play only two games in the Vegas Summer League.

His second game is against No. 3 overall pick Henderson on Sunday, July 9, at 8 p.m. ET. The rest of the Spurs schedule rounds out with a game against the Washington Wizards on Tuesday, July 11, at 10:30 p.m. ET and the Detroit Pistons on Friday, July 14, at 8:30 p.m. ET.

What are some of the key matchups/games to watch?

The first big matchup of the Summer League includes the Nos. 3 and No. 4 overall picks. The Blazers’ No. 3 pick Henderson and the Houston Rockets’ No. 4 pick Amen Thompson face off at 7 p.m. ET on Friday, July 7.

It’ll be a family affair on Sunday, July 9, when Amen Thompson and his twin, No. 5 pick Ausar Thompson, go head-to-head at 6 p.m. ET.

Last year’s No. 2 overall pick, Chet Holmgren, could also make his long-awaited return to NBA action after a ruptured tendon in his foot required surgery and forced him to miss the 2022-23 year. Oklahoma City Thunder general manager Sam Presti is hopeful Holmgren can participate in Vegas.

The Thunder’s first game is against the Dallas Mavericks on Saturday, July 8, at 3:30 p.m. ET. Oklahoma plays Houston and Amen Thompson on Tuesday, July 11, at 6:30 p.m. ET. Henderson and No. 2 overall pick Miller may also play against each other on the same day at 8:30 p.m. ET.

What rules will the NBA test during the Summer League?

The offseason gives the league time to rethink its rulebook and this summer is no different. The NBA’s Competition Committee may test a new rule in Vegas focused on penalizing players who flop, according to The Athletic.

A technical foul free throw will be issued for in-game flopping by a player, which will be determined by referees. This is the first kind of rule the league has created to limit flopping. International soccer already has a similar rule – referees can hand out yellow cards to players who are accused of flopping during a match.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: NBA Vegas Summer League 2023: When is Victor Wembanyama’s first game?

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