Have you been enjoying these summer league games? You know the ones, with all the scoring and the dunks and the fancy moves. Have you liked those? I have, for the most part. Like Kevin Durant says, they’re “starting to get played out,” but they’re still fun. At the very least, they’re basketball during a summer when we haven’t had basketball.
But there is one thing you’ve probably been missing, and that is defense. Everybody’s always like, “Sure, Gary Forbes scored 78 points but there was nobody there playing defense and also I hate smiling and having fun so I will complain about this.” According to Gordon Hayward, that’s by design. From the Washington Post:
Nobody’s sure when the lockout will end, so players are taking precautions.
Five of them told The Associated Press they are carrying insurance to cover any potential injuries during the lockout, and that’s not the only way they’re protecting themselves.
“The best thing about games like this is that all the guys realize you have careers,” former Butler star and current Utah Jazz player Gordon Hayward said. “So we’re not going to do something stupid.”
Sorry, Gordon Hayward, but that is not the “best thing” about summer league games is not that everyone realizes that everyone has careers and are therefore mostly trying to not get hurt. That is certainly part of those games, but it is nowhere near the best part. It’s probably not even in the top 20 of best things in those games, but he is certainly right about that being the case. Astutely noted.
And really, that’s how it should be. Obviously. Sure it is fun to see John Wall cross Julius Hodge over and make him look like a fool, but if his foot shattered, people would be pretty upset. Him, fans, executives — pretty much everyone. If that means he doesn’t try super hard in the summer, then so be it. That is a thing, but it’s still not “the best thing,” Gordon Hayward. (It is also a big part of the reason these games will never truly be threatening to NBA owners as an alternate means of revenue for the players but that is a discussion for our sister website, The Economics of Basketball Jones.)
So yeah, if you’re really missing defense, then you really need to be rooting for this season to get started. Either that or just go the Kevin Martin route and not even worry about that side of the ball. Seems to have worked out OK for him.