By Charlie Widdoes (Twitter)
Knicks vs. Heat | Cox Pavillion
When: Wednesday | 10:00 PM EST
Where to Watch: MSG
New York (15th seed): As the newly-formed tournament portion of Summer League begins, the Knicks' entry looks much different than it did a week ago. Iman Shumpert has come and gone, putting in the limited time that you might expect from an established NBA starter. Tim Hardaway Jr. looked good before hurting his wrist, and his return is uncertain. In their absence, others have stepped up, including point-guard-in-the-making Toure Murry and Jeremy Tyler, the big man with NBA talent and two years of NBA experience.
Miami (18th seed): Three games is a small sample size, but Miami's performance so far is probably indicative of its talent level, relative to the other summer league entries. There are no promising lottery picks, or even first-rounders, to speak of, so the Heat have had trouble scoring against some of the more talented teams out here. Second-round pick out of Long Beach State, James Ennis (50th overall) is one of the few players with a chance to crack the world champs' roster at some point.
The Numbers Game
The Heat (66-16) and Knicks (54-28) finished with the two best records in the Eastern Conference last season.
Matchup to Watch
Jeremy Tyler vs. Jarvis Varnado
Two big men with considerable potential, Tyler (39th overall in 2011) and Varnado (41st in 2010) are in Vegas to show that they can fill roles with contenders. Varnado was a prolific shot-blocker in college and has impressed so far, averaging almost 10 points, six rebounds and four blocks through three games in Vegas. Tyler had a hot start before tweaking an ankle in Monday's game against Charlotte and struggling to score after.
What to Look For
The new tournament format means that these games "count," so it should be fun to see teams compete. As we've discussed before, Summer League is for development, but it's in everyone's nature to compete when score is being kept. Murry's development as a point guard continues to be a story worth watching, especially in light of comments from G.M. Glen Grunwald that the team might look to fill the third point guard spot through training camp competition, rather than big-name free agent. If Hardaway returns, his progress remains a must-watch storyline.
Update: It looks like Hardaway will miss tonight's game.
Wish i cold play today against the Miami Heat. No need to explain why..... My team will take care of it though.— Tim Hardaway (@t_hard10) July 17, 2013