We had already been surprised with the news that the Sixers would be participating in the Salt Lake City Summer League on July 5-7. While this was a welcome development, those games would clearly serve as a mere appetizer to the main course that is (the now-branded) NBA 2K23 Summer League in Las Vegas. The full schedule for the league was announced earlier today — here are your first four games for Philadelphia:
- July 9 vs. Raptors - NBA TV - 3:30pm ET
- July 10 vs. Nets - NBA TV - 3:30pm ET
- July 13 vs. Heat - ESPNU - 9:00pm ET
- July 15 vs. Nuggets - NBA TV - 6:00pm ET
After every team plays four games, the two teams with the best records will play in the championship game on July 17 for the chance to break out the title T-shirts and hang the Summer League ‘ship banner at the practice facility. All other teams will still play a fifth consolation game regardless.
As for the Sixers specifically, it’s not exactly top billing with no games on ESPN or ESPN2. That’s certainly understandable from the league’s perspective with Philadelphia not drafting until 23rd overall this year and having no impact rookies last season. Their opponents won’t be bringing high-profile rookies to the table either. Toronto and Brooklyn do not have first-round picks this year, while Denver selects 21st and Miami 27th. I would anticipate Rookie of the Year Scottie Barnes being “too good” to participate for Toronto, so we might be looking at Denver’s Bones Hyland as the most accomplished player in these games.
In a funny twist, each of the first four opponents has some sort of revenge/retribution angle between the big clubs. Toronto still has the Kawhi shot lingering, and now Pascal Siakam breaking Joel Embiid’s face. The Brooklyn game will obviously determine the winner of the James Harden/Ben Simmons trade. Miami just bounced the Sixers from the playoffs, and you can envision Embiid and James Harden catching the game courtside together to light up the eyeball emojis on social media. Then to cap things off, a Sixers win over the Nuggets will right the wrong once and for all of Nikola Jokic winning MVP over Joel.
As always, remember the rules for Summer League. If a player you’re rooting for doesn’t play well, don’t worry, it’s only Summer League. If he does, head to Kayak and purchase some first-class tickets on the hype train. If the Sixers don’t trade the pick away, we’ll have the 23rd overall selection to watch. The likes of Jaden Springer and Charles Bassey will probably be out there as well. The 2022 NBA Draft is days away and Summer League action will be here in just a few weeks. Grab some oxybenzone-free sunscreen and let’s hit the desert strip.