NBA summer league 2014: Pistons returning to Orlando Pro Summer League

Tony Mitchell rises for the dunk - Photo courtesy of MFMike Payne

How ironic is it that the first look we'll see of Stan Van Gundy's Pistons will be in the Orlando Magic's practice facility?

The Detroit Pistons will once again participate in the Orlando Pro Summer League, according to a report in the Orlando Sentinel. This year's league will run July 5-11, with 10 teams squaring off in the Orlando Magic's practice facility. Due to limited space in the facility, the league remains closed to the general public, although games historically have been available to watch on NBA TV and online. 

Joining the Pistons will be the host Orlando Magic, the Boston Celtics, Brooklyn Nets, Houston Rockets, Indiana Pacers, Miami Heat, Memphis Grizzlies, Oklahoma City Thunder and Philadelphia 76ers.

The Vegas Summer League will be held July 11-21. Both leagues guarantee at least five games, but the Vegas league features a tournament that could extend a team's schedule to seven games. The Vegas league is also open to the public and will feature at least twice as many teams. (Teams sometimes, but not frequently, participate in both leagues, and Vegas also features a team of select D-League players.)  

Although summer league games are obviously exhibitions that rarely leave a lasting impact, they do offer teams and fans an early look at their incoming rookies and other young players. Mike Payne covered the 2013 Orlando Pro Summer League for Detroit Bad Boys, snapping photos from the sidelines while providing an exclusive glimpse of Rasheed Wallace's NBA coaching debut, Kim English's final moments with the team, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope's emergence and more.

How excited should Pistons fans be for this summer's team? A lot depends on what happens at the NBA draft lottery on Tuesday evening, when we'll learn whether the Pistons will lose their pick, stay at No. 8 or move into the top three.

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