Between the NBA draft, the league’s inaugural awards show and the impending kerfuffle around free agency, you might’ve forgotten there’s still some actual basketball to be played in the Association. Come July 1, balls will be bouncing in Orlando, followed by a small gathering in Salt Lake City starting July 3 and finishing with the main event in Las Vegas beginning July 7.
Granted, the basketball on display won’t look anything like the master class put on by the Golden State Warriors. Heck, we’d all be lucky if the annual consortium of rookies, sophomores, international imports and hopeful hangers-on so much as resembled the regular-season frenetics of the Brooklyn Nets and Philadelphia 76ers.
But outside of retirees playing half-court ball in Ice Cube’s Big3, the return of The Basketball Tournament and local leagues from coast to coast, this is the closest we’ll get to bona fide NBA basketball until October. Adjust your expectations accordingly.
Not that summer-league ball is bound to be a bust entirely. Some squads will be stacked with the stars of tomorrow, however far they may be from reaching those heights. Others could put together impressive runs by virtue of having experienced pros, even if they lack much in the way of hallowed upside.
To prepare for what’s left of the Association before the fall, let’s rank the possible starting lineups of all 30 organizations, based on a combination of potential summer-league success and NBA impact down the line.