The Golden State Warriors announced their schedule for NBA Summer League next month in Las Vegas, which includes a Finals rematch with the Boston Celtics summer team on July 12th, aka, Sam Hauser’s Game 7. They’ll be the Knicks, Spurs, Celtics , and Thunder in their first four games, with more if the team can make the prestigious Summer League playoffs. Here are the games:
Friday, July 8: Warriors @ Knicks, 5 PM ESPN2
The summer Warriors will hopefully be led by James Wiseman, who said he would “most likely play” in his first Summer League, Moses Moody, and Jonathan Kuminga who said he would “love to” play in Vegas. “I feel like the Summer League would be good,” he said, adding, “I would want to do it especially if I’m trying to grow and learn and get better every day.” This Knicks squad will likely feature their No. 11 pick in this year’s draft, plus second-year players Quentin Grimes, Jericho Sims, and Miles “Deuce” McBride. Look, Coach Tom Thibodeau isn’t playing those guys in the regular season, so they better get their minutes in the desert.
Sunday, July 10: Warriors @ Spurs, 4:30 PM NBA TV
San Antonio has three selections in the first round of the draft this week, which should keep the summer roster well-stocked. The Warriors may also face Joshua Primo, last year’s No. 12 pick who ended up starting 16 games for San Antonio last year, even though he only turned 19 on Christmas Eve. They’ll also see second-year forward Joe Wieskamp, who fits the Spurs’ model of sweet-shooting white guy, except that he’s from America, and they usually go with imports. Speaking of foreign imports, if Wiseman plays, he’ll be taking with him some plasma injections he got in England, but you don’t have to declare platelets when you go through customs.
Tuesday, July 12: Celtics @ Warriors, 5:00 PM ESPN2
Finally a home game for the Warriors! I don’t know what home court advantage means when the summer league games are all played in the same location, but the long road trip is over! Boston doesn’t have a first-round pick this year, so the only player almost guaranteed to play is last year’s second-round pick, Sam Hauser. Assistant GM Austin Ainge also said the Celtics will have Malik Fitts and Juwan Morgan, plus Brodric Thomas and Matt Ryan, who were both on two-way deals last season. They’ll also have Israeli point guard Yamm Nadar and French forward Juhann Begarin on the summer squad. Meanwhile the Warriors have been far to hung over this week to decide who’s playing this summer. Is Chris Chiozza busy? What about Axel Toupane? They might forget and start making desperate calls to Mychel Thompson and Jordan Bell during Fourth of July weekend.
Friday, July 15: Thunder @ Warriors, 4 PM ESPN
Oklahoma City is a dangerous opponent in Las Vegas, because for two straight years, they’ve been treating the regular season like it’s Summer League. Some of these guys effectively have over 150 games of NBA exhibition experience, and that’s invaluable for this desert tournament. And they should be loaded. Aside from their two first-round picks this draft and one high second-rounder, the Thunder squad should include Tre Mann, two-way player Lindy Waters III, likely rookies Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, Aaron Wiggins, and Jahm’ius Ramsey, and possibly Josh Giddey and Alexsej “Poku” Pokusevski. They could be a tough out, but it’s also possible that Sam Presti will have them tank for draft position, to prepare for the upcoming season.
There’s going to be another game added, based on the results of the first round and the Warriors’ playoff “seeding.” The team has a very solid top three – though there’s a strong chance any one of these guys could be shut down early as an injury risk.
Still, winning at Summer League isn’t totally meaningless. The Memphis Grizzlies won the Summer League crown in 2019, behind the performance of Summer MVP Brandon Clarke. Ja Morant was out with minor knee surgery, which was probably blamed on Jordan Poole. The Warriors won their own summer title in 2013 behind the play of Summer MVP (and future 2017 NBA champion) Ian Clark, plus a second-year player named Draymond Green. Then they won a G League title in 2015, and a few weeks later, their first NBA title as well.
The Warriors will also be hosting the California Classic one week earlier at the Chase Center, where the Sacramento Kings, Miami Heat, and Los Angeles Lakers will compete in a two-day round robin tournament. On Saturday, July 2, the Warriors will play the Kings at 4:30 PM, after the Lakers and Heat face off at 2 PM. On Sunday, July 3, it’s the Kings and Heat at 2 PM before the Warriors play the Lakers at 4:30. While it may be boring to play the Kings once again, the Warriors are lucking out by missing the maniacal Heat, because #HeatCulture doesn’t take the summer off, and they don’t need Jimmy Butler yelling at one of their rookies.