Knicks expected to showcase young core in NBA Summer League return

Imagine Obi Toppin slamming an alley-oop pass from the New York Knicks’ new point guard prospect.

That could be a recurring highlight in August when the NBA Summer League makes its much-anticipated return.

Argentinian point guard Luca Vildoza and the duo of Immanuel Quickley and Toppin are expected to banner the Knicks in the NBA’s summer showcase that will feature the league’s draft picks and young prospects.

The 16th annual MGM Resorts NBA Summer League will take place Aug. 8-17 at the Thomas & Mack Center and Cox Pavilion on the campus of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, the league announced on Wednesday.

All 30 teams will play five games apiece during the 10-day, 75-game event. After every team plays four games, the two teams with the best records from the first four games will meet in the finals on Aug. 17.

It will be Quickley and Toppin’s first NBA Summer League after the event was scrapped last year due to the pandemic. On the other hand, Vildoza will be fresh from his stint with the Argentina national team in the Summer Olympics in Tokyo which will run from July 23 to Aug. 8.

The Summer League will give Tom Thibodeau’s staff time to further evaluate the 25-year old Vildoza before they fully guarantee his 2021-22 salary by the start of next season.

“There’s a whole process that [Luca’s] going to have to go through so it’s going to be more of a summer thing. He’s got to go through a number of things to get cleared. That’s going to take time. We’ll take it step by step,” Thibodeau earlier said.

Unless they are moved in a package for a superstar, Quickley and Toppin are expected to play heavy minutes for the Knicks in the Summer League to fast-track their development.

The team’s draft picks will also be included in their Summer League roster. But the Knicks are not expected to have four rookies. New York Post’s Marc Berman earlier reported that the team is looking to bundle some, if not all, of their picks (Nos. 19 and 21, Nos. 32 and 58) to move up in the top-heavy Draft.

“Normally the Summer League is a dry run for training camp,” Thibodeau said back in December. “So it gives the guys an idea of what training camp looks like.”

Tickets for the NBA Summer League will go on sale on June 23 and the complete game and broadcast schedules will be announced at a later date.

Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo

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