On August 20, Washington, D.C.-area hoops fans were treated to one of the best matchups of the summer when the top players from the D.C.-based Goodman League and the Los Angeles-based Drew League got together for a thrilling exhibition game at Trinity University. Among the NBA stars present at that contest, won by Goodman 135-134: John Wall, Brandon Jennings, James Harden, and game MVP Kevin Durant, who had 44 points. As the NBA draws closer to the inevitability of a shortened (or canceled) season, hoopheads everywhere have become increasingly more desperate to see their favorite players in action. Of course, normally at this time of year, basketball isn’t on most people’s minds, as sports fans usually focus on the beginning of the NFL season or baseball pennant races. But because it’s uncertain when we’ll get to see NBA players again, every opportunity from here on out becomes that much more important. And that’s why the cancelation of the Goodman-Drew rematch, supposedly set for this week in LA, is such a big blow to hoops fans.
In this scenario, the underlying culprit is obviously the lockout itself (read: players and owners) because without the lockout, no one would put up a huge stink about a Goodman-Drew game in the first place. But it’s a shame that the league organizers (and the top-end players in each league) couldn’t make a rematch happen, especially when the first game was so good. Reluctantly, I’ll assign Rogue of the Week to the league organizers, but I would like to present an idea that would benefit fans while also giving NBA stars the chance to represent their hometowns (seeing as the players are at odds with their NBA teams at the moment).
Here’s how it would work:
-Take the top 8 cities for NBA talent
-Any NBA player who grew up in that city (or within 30 miles) is eligible to play for that city’s team
-Get someone to secure a deal with a gym in a fun city (Miami, Los Angeles, or Las Vegas)
-Divide the teams into two groups of four and play round-robin format
-Top two teams in each group to the semifinals, winners to the final
-Televise all the games and sell tickets
(Credit to Zachariah Blott for the idea and Jonathan Tjarks for helping to identify hometowns)
As long as the players could get someone capable of running it, how can this idea lose money? You can look at Tjarks’ article for full breakdowns of what the rosters would look like, but here are some of each team’s top stars:
Los Angeles: Paul Pierce, Tyson Chandler, Russell Westbrook
Dallas: Deron Williams, Chris Bosh, LaMarcus Aldridge
Atlanta: Dwight Howard, Josh Smith, J.J. Hickson (Howard and Smith were AAU teammates growing up)
Chicago: Dwyane Wade, Derrick Rose, Andre Iguodala
Seattle: Jason Terry, Jamal Crawford, Brandon Roy
Washington, D.C.: Kevin Durant, Ty Lawson, Michael Beasley
New York: Lamar Odom, Elton Brand, Ron Artest
Philadelphia: Kobe Bryant (grew up in Europe but played HS ball near Philly), Tyreke Evans, Jameer Nelson
A tournament like this would be a blast to watch, I’m sure the players would have a blast playing in it, and, perhaps most importantly, it would cause every NBA fan to immediately join the players’ side (if they haven’t already). While I know that something like this will never happen (you try getting all these guys in the same place at the same time), a guy can dream, can’t he?
Stupid NBA Move of the Week
While I’m pleased that the NBA and the NBPA met last week in New York (and will reportedly meet again September 7), I’d feel a whole lot better if I knew what the heck was going on. I don’t expect a detailed analysis of where the talks stand (though that would be nice), but since the fate of the 2011-12 season rests on the results of these meetings, I don’t think it’s too much to ask for a few rudimentary details (basic outlines of new proposals, where the groups stand on the major issues, the deadline for when games will be lost). Yet deputy commissioner Adam Silver said that, “I don't see any benefit to characterizing our positions," while NBPA president Derek Fisher added that "We just feel that a little bit less -- or a lot less -- of talking outside of the room and more talking inside of the room is better for everyone.” My feeling is that neither side wants to release this information because it will reveal how far from a deal they truly are—but I think most NBA fans understand that there is a wide gap between the sides. I can understand that the two sides would like to settle their conflict in the meeting room rather than through the media, but I don’t think that it’s too much to ask to provide a few snippets of information to keep the NBA’s millions of fans in the loop. Here’s to hoping that Wednesday’s meeting is productive, and that soon I’ll be able to stop complaining about the lockout and writing about real basketball.