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Playground / Aug 17, 2011 / 11:00 am

Best Summer League Game Ever

James Harden

James Harden (photo. Nicky Woo)

“Capital Punishment.” That’s what they’re billing it as. The best of the best as far as summer league games go…and we’ve had some great ones, dating back to the 1960-1970s in Harlem at Rucker Park. Nowadays, Washington D.C.’s Goodman League and L.A.’s Drew League are considered the two premier summer leagues in the country, and probably the world. In case you haven’t been on this site, on any other basketball-related site, on YouTube or been out of the house in the last few months, this Saturday at 6:30 p.m. ET at D.C.’s Trinity University, the two leagues will face off for bragging rights.

I wrote a piece a few weeks ago on the NBA’s best playground players, and asked everyone to come up with a five that would kill on any blacktop in anywhere in the country. The names that kept showing up were Kevin Durant, Michael Beasley, DeMar DeRozan and Brandon Jennnings. As it turns out, two of those guys will be playing for D.C. (well, probably one since Michael Beasley won’t be able to make it) and two play for L.A. But as the game gets closer, the names of the other participating players are surfacing.

Here are the confirmed players for each squad:

GOODMAN (East Coast):
Kevin Durant…John Wall (is apparently still sorting out a few insurances issues)…Ty Lawson…DeMarcus Cousins…Gary Neal…Sam Young…Emanuel “Duce” Jones…Warren “D-Nice” Jefferson…Hugh “Baby Shaq” Jones…Josh Selby

DREW (West Coast):
Nick Young…DeMar DeRozan…James Harden…Brandon Jennings…JaVale McGee…Craig Smith…Pooh Jeter…Bobby Brown…Marcus Williams

Other rumored players include Donte Greene (East), Tyreke Evans (East) and Marcus Banks (West).

Those are two killer squads. The Drew League has the wing position on lock, with Young, DeRozan and the Beard (Dorell Wright reportedly backed out because of a wedding). But summer league and playground games often come down to the guards; They’re the ones with the rock, and more often than not, they’re the ones who aren’t passing. I gotta go with Goodman having an edge in the backcourt with Wall (hopefully), Lawson, Baby Shaq, Gary Neal (he’s been killing it all summer in the DMV area) and Josh Selby (who you might recall, has been torching NBA players on the regular).

The big cat in the hat though is whether Kobe Bryant will play. Rumors are starting, and with Bryant’s out-of-nowhere 45-point, game-winning showcase last night at the Drew League, the rumbles are growing. If he does show up, does that swing the pendulum to L.A.’s side? One would think so, although in these types of games, you never really know what’s gonna happen. Baby Shaq could drop 35 on Kobe. Or Kobe could go off for 60. You just don’t know.

Either way, if he does show up, it immediately becomes Kobe’s squad vs. KD’s squad and it’s been a long time since two players of that caliber faced off in a summer league game of this magnitude. The action will be insane whether 24 shows up or not. But who will win? I will ride with my DMV dudes, and the team with the hometown edge, Goodman.

For those of you wondering, all of the action will be streamed on the web (with former NBA star Marques Johnson commentating), and you can pay the pre-order price of $4.99 on www.thebasketballchannel.net to watch.

Who’s going to win?

Follow Sean on Twitter at @SEANesweeney.

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  • King

    if Reke plays with KD and Wall and lawson running the point they win easily. Also whos guarding cousins

  • Ryan I.

    This reminds me of the game that was supposed to take place at Rucker between Jay-Z’s team and Fat Joe’s team but couldn’t cuz of the NYC blackout. It would nearly be impossible for any game to ever top that one if all the rumored players played.

  • Danny

    So excited to go to this….I’ll be getting there early as shit.

  • s.bucketz

    @ #2
    wut wer the rumored squads for that…i didnt hear bout that 1??

  • braindead

    damn bruh. no free stream? das gay.

  • beiber newz

    I am not surprised harden was talking shit to kobe during the game. That thunder squad has some outspoken youngsters. And I don’t mean that in a good way. Durant has this image of the nice humble quiet boy, but I’m pretty sure in the locker room or chilling at westbrook’s home they talk sooo much crap. (as anyone would)