Mark Dolejs-USA TODAY Sports
The NBA Summer League is a chance for rookies, younger players, and undrafted free agents to gain experience playing in the NBA system against tougher competition as well as to show off their skills to impress pro scouts and coaches. This year 7 former Duke basketball players will participate in the summer league. The 2014 Summer League will feature two summer tournaments, the first one in Orlando July 5-11 and then in Las Vegas from July 11-21.
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The headliners for this group of former Blue Devils will most likely be new NBA rookies Jabari Parker and Rodney Hood playing for the Milwaukee Bucks and Utah Jazz, respectively. Parker was drafted #2 overall in this year’s draft and will play for the Bucks in the Las Vegas tournament. Hood was just drafted 23rd overall by the Jazz and will also be playing in Las Vegas. Both Hood and Parker will be competing to display their skills, develop a chemistry with their new teammates and coaches, and start off their NBA careers before the NBA regular season.
Two former Duke players currently on NBA rosters, Miles and Mason Plumlee, will also be participating in the Summer League this year. Miles Plumlee will play with the Phoenix Suns in the Vegas tournament. He was drafted 26th overall by the Indiana Pacers in the 2012 draft but was traded to the Suns in the 2013 season. Mason Plumlee will be playing in Orlando with the Brooklyn Nets. Mason, who was drafted 22nd by the Nets in the 2013 draft, is coming off an NBA All-Rookie First Team season and finished 4th in Rookie of the Year voting, becoming the 10th Duke player to make an NBA All-Rookie team.
Wiz of Awes
Several Duke players are participating in both summer league tournaments, hoping to make an NBA roster. Andre Dawkins, a Duke guard from the class of 2014, went undrafted in this year’s NBA draft but will compete in both league tournaments for different teams. In Orlando, he will be playing with the Miami Heat and in Las Vegas he will be a part of the Houston Rocket’s summer team.
Former Duke guard Seth Curry (class of 2013) will also be competing in both leagues this summer. He’s on the Orlando Magic’s roster in Orlando and will play with former teammate Miles Plumlee on the Phoenix Suns’ summer team in Las Vegas. Curry was undrafted in 2013 and is coming off a successful season in the NBA Development League playing for the Santa Cruz Warriors, affiliated with the Golden State Warriors where his older brother Steph Curry plays.
Former Duke star Nolan Smith will also be participating in this year’s summer league, playing for the Oklahoma City Thunder in Orlando. Smith was selected 21st by the Portland Trailblazers in the 2011 draft. He spent last season playing overseas in Croatia as the starting point guard for the 2014 Croatian Champions Cedevita, but is looking to make his way back into the NBA. While at Duke, Smith was an ACC Player of the Year, NCAA First Team All-American, and helped lead Duke to the National Championship in 2010.