Brooklyn Nets get ready for summer league that's a tournament as well as a showcase

Mike Stobe

The Nets summer league team leaves for Orlando Saturday afternoon, following two practices Friday, and another Saturday morning. The first game is Sunday vs. Detroit at 5 p.m. It will be a showcase for the Nets new head coach, Jason Kidd but also for several key players, including Tyshawn Taylor, Toko Shengelia and Mason Plumlee.

More than that, however, this year's Orlando Magic Summer League will be a tournament, with a championship trophy awarded next Friday. Under the new format, the ten teams will play five games over six days, then the two best teams based on a point system will face off in a title game. All the games will be televised live on NBA TV and the NBA is offering an online package covering both the Orlando and Las Vegas summer leagues.

The summer league will be particularly important for Plumlee, who dropped a bit on Draft Night. While most mocks had him near the end of the lottery or in the teams, he fell to the Nets at #22. Asked what he brought, Plumlee responded, "I think athleticism, a strong rebounder, and a guy that can score inside."

Coach Kidd had some kind words for Plumlee after the first practice, telling beat reporters, "“I thought Mason looked great,” Kidd said. “He’s a rookie, so we’re going to be tough on him and ask a lot."

The NBA will have a familiar voice calling the games. Ex-Net Kendall Gill is doing the games and in an interview with the Post, talked about how the summer league experience will be good for Kidd.

"I think he’s going to gain a lot from it because he’s never done it before," said Gill. "He can jump in there and get his feet wet. This is good practice for him. He’s jumping into the fire, coming off a 19-year career and then jumping right into coaching. He has to get that experience."

Gill, who works the Bulls games during the season, said the Nets transition from New Jersey to Brooklyn has amazed him. "I can walk anywhere in Chicago and see most of the NBA T-shirts besides the Chicago Bulls shirts are Nets paraphernalia. They’re a popular team. The franchise is well on its way to being one of the top franchises in the league."

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