Jul 14, 2013; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Portland Trailblazers coach David Vanterpool leans in to talk to his team during a first quarter time out while facing the Los Angeles Lakers in an NBA Summer League game at the Thomas and Mack Center. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Portland Trail Blazers Summer League Tip-Off

Portland Trail Blazers vs. New York Knicks

Tip-off: 1 P.M. Saturday, July 12  

Where: COX Pavilion, Las Vegas, Nevada

Channels: CSNNW and NBATV

Portland Trail Blazers basketball is back! NBA Summer League in Las Vegas officially kicked off yesterday, and the Blazers start their summer league campaign Saturday against the New York Knicks.

In the first game of the summer league, it’s incredibly important to get off to a good start. Of the teams playing in Las Vegas, the Blazers, led by assistant coach David Vanterpool, have one of the more veteran groups with multiple players who played during Portland’s playoff run this season. This summer is about four players for Portland: C.J McCollum, Will Barton, Thomas Robinson, and Meyers Leonard. It’s coming down to decision time, and if these players would like to stay and have an impact with the team, the offseason, summer league, and beginning of next season is incredibly important. If they can’t rise to the challenge, general manager Neil Olshey will have to make some tough decisions, and ultimately, that means someone’s getting traded or cut. So, it’s incredibly important for those guys to get off to a hot start and prove they’re worth keeping around.

As for the Blazers’ opponent, the Knicks won their first game of summer league against the Dallas Mavericks, 76-64. The Knicks boast a handful of young talent, headlined by shooter and wing Tim Hardaway Jr., who scored 25 points against the Mavs. Hardaway Jr. will be hard to stop, as the Blazers don’t have a real defensive stopper at wing on this summer league team, but that’s what the Blazers are there for, to get better. Barton and McCollum will get the opportunity to improve on defense today with a good showing against Hardaway Jr.

That’s enough chatter about the summer league for one morning, so kick back, relax, and enjoy Portland basketball over the next ten days. Oh, and get excited for next season! It’s never too early!



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