The 2K24 NBA Summer League in Las Vegas kicks off with a packed slate of eight matchups on Friday, July 7, headlined by the top three overall picks in the 2023 NBA Draft taking the floor. The Portland Trail Blazers will face the Houston Rockets with tip-off scheduled for 7 p.m. ET, and the game will air on ESPN.
There’s no shortage of promising talent for both of these squads as lottery picks from this year, as well as last will be on the floor. Headlining Portland’s roster is of course No. 3 overall pick Scoot Henderson, who will be joined by No. 23 overall pick Kris Murray and the No. 7 overall pick in the 2022 draft, Shaedon Sharpe.
On the other side, Houston’s lineup will feature the No. 4 overall selection in Amen Thompson, who will be joined by No. 20 overall pick Cam Whitmore as well as last year’s third overall pick Jabari Smith. Jr.
Trail Blazers vs. Rockets, 7 p.m. ET
Pick ATS: Trail Blazers -2 (-110)
I’m curious how Thompson will fare in his debut vs. NBA competition following his path through Overtime Elite, and simply put it’s hard to ignore the talent level on Portland’s side in this one. Henderson had a case to be made for being taken second overall and if he has a chip on his shoulder, the first stop in making a statement would be in his Summer League debut Friday night. Murray may not be as efficient of a sharpshooter as his brother, but I do think he adds another layer to the Blazers’ offense after shooting 58.3 percent on two-pointers while at Iowa last season.
Over/Under: Under 185.5 (-110)
In spite of the talent level on display, I’m going to go with the under between Portland and Houston. The debut game for this year’s lottery selections could result in some jitters, and while I expect more than a handful of highlight plays I do think it’ll come at the expense of shot efficiency, with this year’s prospects using summer league action to work out the wrinkles in their game.