Mat MacDonald AKA The Rook The Rook is currently enrolled in Human Kinetics at St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, Nova Scotia. A frequent contributor to all NBA and Raptors debates along with other sports. Witty, quick and never afraid of a challenge, Mat’s here to talk hoops with you and dish out his two cents whenever!
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Goodman, Melo, Drew. I bet those are three names you never thought youʼd
connect to basketball. No, this isnʼt another American Pie remake either – itʼs the headline entertainment this summer for hoop fans.
There hasnʼt been better basketball this summer from anyone other than these
The Drew League has torn up the summer circuit, showcasing some of the best NBA and California talent. The Melo league has had itʼs fair share of NBA players coming through including LeBron, Chris Paul – to name a few, and Goodman has some of the baddest ballers on this side of North America.
With no deadline on a start date for the NBA season, NBA players have been
taking this time to have fun and play the game for free – ironic, isnʼt it? And the best part about it is that the ball isnʼt bush-league. This is full-on, hard basketball. Guys are playing for a purpose and arenʼt playing to just impress a crowd.
After a tiring four months of labor dispute talks and nonsense from both parties,
itʼs refreshing to see players coming from all over to showcase in these leagues and All-Star games.
Last nightʼs Melo/Goodman game was another prime example of just how blessed we really are.
Kevin Durant has made a name for himself this year, and in many ways has solidified that he is the best scorer in the NBAʼs artillery and arguably in the world.
Durantʼs 59 points against Melo and co. last night was an assault for the ages. One thingʼs for sure – his step-back game is on point. Durant fooled LeBron with numerous dribble moves, an array of jumpers and possibly every trick that you could pull out of the bag.
The man is on a mission.
After bantering back and forth with Brandon Jennings the night before on Twitter about their match-up weeks ago, Durant backed up all his smack talk with his best performance of the summer. Some of you might remember his showing in that Drew/Goodman game, and his blistering performance at Rucker, but neither of those compared to last night.
These games also showcase just how good players are becoming. It feels like
over the past four years, players have really started to take a hating to being leapfrogged on the positional rankings. Brandon Jennings is a prime example.
A year removed from his rookie campaign, Jennings showed glimpses of his
potential talent level, but never broke out of his shell last season.
At the same time, Derrick Rose was winning an MVP award and Chris Paul was trying to carry an undermanned Hornets team on his back. Jennings too it all in and has clearly put in work this season on and off the court. His physical size alone is impressive considering heʼs looked quite frail in the past.
Another interesting player on the rise is Josh Selby. Iʼve been so impressed with everything heʼs done this summer against Jennings and the rest of his opponents. I had a chance to watch the Goodman/Drew game online and have to say that Selby did more than hold his own – the kid can hoop.
The continuous hunger to get better and not be outdone by their opponent has
really helped the players and these leagues this summer.
And letʼs not forget the big guns – LeBron and Melo. James is finally starting to
show some consistency in that jumper thatʼs been almost eight years in the making and itʼs about time. Now, will that carry over into the playoffs next season?
But for now, itʼs nice to at least have the image stuck in my head that he can indeed hit them. As for Melo, heʼs been Melo. I still think today that heʼs the toughest person to guard in the NBA because the man can score from anywhere on the floor. His dunk in last nightʼs game caught me off guard, and thatʼs how his gameʼs always been – sneaky and efficient.
Needless to say, itʼs late in August and weʼre in the midst of an NBA lockout, yet
weʼre all beaming over NBA basketball – sort of. This is amazing, this is what the gameʼs all about! Hopefully both sides are noticing this and realizing that at the end of the day, theyʼre out there to work a job thatʼs not work at all, but instead, what they grew up living and dreaming about.
Hereʼs to the magical moments so far, and hopefully the ones coming in the near
future. Cheers to you Drew, Goodman and Melo. Basketball fans appreciate it.