Wine & Gold Gear Up for 13th Straight Visit to Vegas
It’s been less than a month since the Cavaliers concluded the 2016-17 campaign but basketball never stops as the organization has been busy putting the Wine & Gold’s Summer League squad together for their annual visit to Las Vegas.
This trip will be the Cavaliers’ 13th straight trip to the invitation in the desert. Cleveland and Washington are the only two franchises to participate every year since its inception back in 2004.
Last July, following the franchise’s first title, the Wine & Gold’s summer squad was in the hunt for a championship themselves, making it to the Semifinals before falling to the eventual tournament Champs, the Chicago Bulls.
With Cleveland’s first game slated for Friday night at the Thomas & Mack Center, here’s a quick primer on what to look for as the MGM Resorts Summer League tips off …
Kay Felder #20 of Cleveland Cavaliers shoots the ball against the Milwaukee Bucks during the 2016 NBA Las Vegas Summer League game on July 8, 2016 at the Cox Pavilion in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Photo by David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images
1. The roster includes Cavaliers guard Kay Felder, the 54th overall pick of the 2016 NBA Draft, and center Edy Tavares, the 2016-17 NBA G League Defensive Player of the Year.
Gerald Beverly and Roosevelt Jones, who spent last season with the Canton Charge, the Cavaliers’ exclusively owned and operated NBA G League team, will also participate, as well as Sir’Dominic Pointer, who was drafted by Cleveland in 2015 (53rd overall pick) and played for the Charge in 2015-16.
Other notable names include Sam Cassell, Jr. and Malcolm Thomas. Cassell, Jr.’s father is well-known among NBA fans having played 15 seasons in the Association winning three titles – two with the Houston Rockets in ’94 & ’95 and one in his final season in ’08 with the Boston Celtics. Thomas is a four-year pro having seen NBA action with five different teams – San Antonio Spurs (2012, 2014), Golden State Warriors (2013), Chicago Bulls (2013), Utah Jazz (2014) and Philadelphia 76ers (2015). Fun Fact: On July 22, 2014, Thomas was traded by Utah, along with John Lucas III and Erik Murphy, to the Cavaliers in exchange for Carrick Felix, a 2015 second round draft pick, and cash considerations.
2. Summer League has some unique rules. Players are allowed 10 personal fouls in pre-tournament games. There’s a two-minute overtime period and if the game goes to double-OT, then it’s a dance off … just kidding, the game goes into sudden death. The first team to score wins.
Each team will play three opponents to start Summer League. At that point, tournament play begins.
The Cavaliers will start out against the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday evening (6:30 p.m. ET) at the Thomas & Mack Center. On Saturday, they take on the Houston Rockets (10:00 p.m. ET) at Cox Pavilion before closing out the opening round against Golden State on Monday night (10:30 p.m. ET) back at Thomas & Mack.
From that point, the Wine & Gold will be seeded in the Summer League tournament, which tips off on July 12 and concludes with the championship game on July 17. Each of the record 24 participating NBA teams is guaranteed to play a minimum of five games.
In the unlikely scenario that the Cavaliers need another body to suit up in emergency duty, they can easily look to their bench of coaches (if that were legal … it is not). Not only because there will be 11 total coaches but four of those coaches played in the NBA, including this summer squad’s head coach, Damon Jones.
Jones will be the head man for the first time in Summer League action. This past regular season, Jones entered his first as an assistant coach for the Cavaliers. Jones was previously an assistant coach for the
Canton Charge. In that season with the Charge, Canton went 31-19 and advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals. Jones played a major role in the growth and development of 2015-16 NBA G League Rookie of the Year, Quinn Cook.
Prior to his time as an assistant coach with Canton, Jones was a roving instructor for the Cavaliers. He also played in 11 NBA seasons from 1998-2009, averaging 6.6 points and 2.7 assists in 20.5 minutes over 657 games (114 starts) with New Jersey, Boston, Golden State, Dallas, Vancouver, Detroit, Sacramento, Milwaukee, Miami and Cleveland. He shot .390 from the three-point line, including a career-best .432 (225-521) mark from deep during the 2004-05 season.
Joining Jones on the bench will be last summer’s head coach and current Cavs Director, Player Development/Assistant Coach, Phil Handy. Completing the list of coaches include: James Posey, Vitaly Potapenko, Dan Vincent, Dan Geriot, Nate Reinking, Sam Jones, Melvin Ely, Mike Gerrity and Steve Fankoski.
The past five Cavs Summer League records: 4-3 (2016), 2-3 (2015), 4-1 (2014), 3-2 (2013), 3-2 (2012). The Wine & Gold have gone undefeated once during Summer League play – back in 2005 (6-0).
4. We took a quick snippet of the current Cavs, Charge players and notable names in the first portion, so now let’s round out the rest of the roster …
Anthony Gill – Forward – played in 30 games (29 starts) with Yesilgiresun Belediye of the Turkish Basketball Super League, averaging 14.4 points on .655 shooting and 6.9 rebounds in 31.0 minutes per game.
Brandon Paul – Guard – appeared in 29 total games for Anadolu Efes of Basketbol Super Ligi in Turkey (17 starts), averaging 9.5 points in 18.2 minutes. Played in 23 games (14 starts) during Euroleague play, averaging 8.6 points in 17.3 minutes. Appeared in six contests (three starts) in BSL competition, averaging 12.7 points and 3.3 rebounds in 21.7 minutes.
Casey Prather – Forward – appeared in 13 games for Ratiopharm Ulm of Basketball Bundesliga in Germany, averaging 8.7 points in 18.2 minutes. Also played in 32 contests (all starts) for the Perth Wildcats of the Australian National Basketball League, averaging 19.5 points, 4.6 rebounds and 3.5 assists in 31.5 minutes…was named to the All-NBL First Team. Helped Perth capture the NBL championship.
Andrew White – Guard – White did not get selected in this past June’s NBA Draft. He Played two years at Kansas before transferring to Nebraska, where he played one season. He also played one graduate year at Syracuse and shot better than 40 percent from three-point range in each of his final two seasons. In his graduate year at Syracuse in 2016-17, White played in 34 games (all starts) and averaged 18.5 points, 4.7 rebounds and 1.6 steals in 37.2 minutes to led the team in scoring and minutes.
T.J. Williams – Guard – Williams also went undrafted this past month. He appeared in 123 games (102 starts) over four college seasons at Northeastern and averaged 11.2 points on .449 shooting, 3.2 rebounds and 3.3 assists in 29.8 minutes. During his senior season in 2016-17, Williams averaged a team-high and CAA-leading 21.4 points (14th in the nation), 4.3 assists and 4.7 rebounds in 38.2 minutes.
5. ESPN will present all 67 games from Las Vegas across ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU and the ESPN App, including 35 on its linear television channels. NBA TV will also air 28 games.
In total, 63 games from Las Vegas will air across ESPN and NBA TV’s linear channels – a Summer League record.
As always, Cavs.com will have your full coverage including feature videos, photos and more. Fans can also follow the team’s summer league coverage on Twitter (@Cavs), Instagram (Cavs) and Facebook (@Cavs).
Lastly Cavs nation, keep in mind that action from the desert will be on Pacific time, so take an afternoon nap and get ready to support the Wine & Gold!