In the Beko BBL, basketball life and road trips for Heidelberg native Danilo Barthel have been rather easy going in his first three years of his professional basketball career in Frankfurt as he has usually played once a week and not had longer road trips in the Beko BBL then a 560 kilometer bus drive or sometimes short plane trip to the nations capital of Berlin. However since his magical journey in the NBA Summer League started a week ago, he has been playing almost every day and also had to make his first NBA Summer League road trip jaunting cross country from Orlando, Florida to Las Vegas which in European standard distance is 3,270 kilometers which is almost equivalent to traveling to Berlin five times one way. Barthel arrived in the glitz and high flying city of Las Vegas where you might be able to walk down the strip and bump into more NBA stars than you might Hollywood stars on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood. The big 207 cm power forward of the Fraport Skyliners had only enough time to check into his hotel and check out the mystic view outside his hotel room window where seeing the breathtaking beauty of the Mojave desert is definitely a totally different experience then looking on to the taunus hills from the Main tower in down town Frankfurt. Barthel had no real time to check out if there is a special Sun City surprise in his mini bar, but had to be on the court again for action against the Houston Rockets at the Cox Pavilion.
The first big difference to the two playing places in the NBA Summer League in Orlando and Las Vegas is the size and noise factor. In Orlando at times, the Amway center training facility of the Orlando Magic is so quiet that one could have heard a pin being dropped or if NBA legend Larry Bird were to whisper swish quietly after another jumper from highly talented Tyler Johnson out of Frenso State fell through the net. Only media, basketball executives as well as agents were allowed to watch the games in Orlando, but fans were prohibited from attending games. The Amway training facility also looks like a high school gym, so there was definitely nothing more to do than to focus on the task at hand basketball as one could easily have blocked out everything else happening around you. In Las Vegas. The difference from the Amway center training facility and the Cox Pavilion is like night and day and for Danilo Barthel like his training place in the BCM to a medium sized basketball arena in Germany like the Artland arena. The Cox Pavilion is a 78,300 square foot muliti purpose indoor arena on the Nevada Las Vegas university campus connected to the Thomas And Mack center and is the home of the Nevada Las Vegas university lady Rebels basketball and volleyball programs. And every summer it is the home of the NBA Summer League as it holds between 2,500-3,100 patrons. The stage where the top young NBA hopeful players show their basketball cuisine also has served for small concerts, boxing events, theater style family shows, corporate parties as well as small trade shows. The Cox Pavilion also served as the Nevada Democratic debate in 2007.
The first opponent for Danilo Barthel and the Miami Heat were the Houston Rockets. Another difference to the Orlando Summer League in Las Vegas is that the rosters for the most part stay the same except for some additions of new players and others leaving and playing for other teams.. A Barthel could get very awe struck quickly with all the basketball personel, top current NBA players hanging around and seeing what new basketball talent is on the horizon or NBA legends walking around the Cox Pavilion. Barthel who has been growing a proper and trim beard for some time most likely saw James “fear the beard” Harden chilling in the front row and if he got any tips for himself about how he might spice up his own face hair or asked him how the beard development carries on is unknown, but one thing is for sure, the German still has some way to go to reach the length that Harden possesses on his beard range.
The Miami Heat came into the game having had an unsatisfactory 1-4 record in the Orlando Summer League and wanted to come to Las Vegas and start of on the right foot and did getting past ex Jeremy Lin team with a 92-81 victory as the quick cross country trek showed little flaws in their conditioning or shooting as they shot for 55% from the field and 47% from the parking lot. The duel of the game was between the two guard Nick Johnson who came out of Arizona and two time NCAA champion with Uconn Shabazz Napier. Napier who had had had problems in Orlando recently with his right thumb shot a lot better scoring 11 points on four of five shooting and dishing out five rebounds and hauling down three rebounds. Johnson almost had the identical stats, but had one assist more. The five turnovers of Napier didn´t shine to bright as Johnson won the head to head duel, but left the floor on the losing end. After playing the most minutes against Oklahoma, the minutes of Danilo Barthel dropped back a bit to 15,21, but he scored six points, got two rebounds and had one assist. He had little luck against the Thunder where he missed many open looks, but had better shot selection and accuracy against the Rockets. The Miami Heat were led by big man Justin Hamilton who had 21 points and continues to impress and is doing his best to get back on the Heat roster and James Ennis finished with 19 points as he was his usual aggressive self finishing in so many different ways. Tyler Honeycutt rounded out the scoring with 16 points. Barthel next battles against teammate Aziz Ndiaye and the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday afternoon. Barthel will have Sunday off. He has so many interesting places of interest to visit in Las Vegas like the Neon museum(historical Las Vegas signs), The Freemont street experience, the Stratosphere tower or just testing the casino atmospheres and hotel and pool areas around the town. However on Sunday at noon time he was no where outside in the blazing Vegas heat, but was watching Germany win their fourth World Cup title and second against Argentina at the Hard Rock hotel. If Barthel was invited to celebrate at casa Agassi and Graf who reside in Las Vegas is unknown, but the German surely would have gotten further tips on his beard care from Agassi who had his beard faze back in the 90s.