Lockout has players flocking to Drew, Goodman leagues

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The Drew League in Los Angeles is an institution, a part of the fabric of hoops in the city, and it usually has some name NBA players taking part — Baron Davis has run there seemingly forever. But this year it seemed more NBA guys came in (including Kevin Durant, who was putting on a show).

Same is true of the Goodman League in Washington D.C., which this year has seen Brandon Jennings, DeMarcus Cousins, John Wall and a host of other players.

Why the increase in guys getting some run in the summer leagues? The lockout, as David Aldridge explains at NBA.com.

The pro-am leagues have their own history, charm and character, from the fabled Rucker League in New York City to the late Long Beach Pro Summer League just outside of L.A. The Goodman League has been in business 28 years. But their status has gotten a bump this summer as the NBA lockout enters its third week, with no realistic end anywhere in sight. With the NBA’s summer leagues in Orlando and Vegas shuttered, and players unable to organize runs at NBA arenas, leagues like the Goodman are, for now, close to the only game in town — unless they go play in Europe or China.

“It’s the life for a while,” Jennings said afterward. “It’s cool, just to be here. I’ll be here and Baltimore for two months. So I’ll be playing basketball a lot here in D.C.”

Aldridge’s story is a great look at the Goodman League and the culture of it. I used to be a regular at the old Summer League in Long Beach because it was minutes from my place, but that was more official than the Drew League’s pro-am style. While Vegas and Orland are the official NBA summer leagues, the pro-ams are a culture of their own. They are more streetball, more entertainment than the Vegas league, which is about guys auditioning for jobs (somewhat in the NBA but also overseas, there are tons of European scouts on hand).

What really will be fun is a planned game this summer between veterans of LA’s Drew League and DC’s Goodman League.

…the Goodman League and its Los Angeles version, the Drew League, are finalizing plans for a streetball showdown on Aug. 20 in D.C. The game is tentatively set to be at Georgetown University’s McDonough Arena. The Drew has had the likes of Ron Artest, James Harden, DeMar DeRozan, Tyreke Evans and L.A. natives Nick Young and Jeremy Tyler come through this summer. Compton native and Cavs guard Baron Davis is handling logistics at his end; the D.C. squad will likely feature Durant, Michael Beasley, Cousins, Neal, Jennings and Shelby, maybe Ty Lawson and Nolan Smith, among others. The trash-talking has already begun.

Now that is going to be fun. And maybe the only fun NBA basketball we’ll see for a while.

Father trolls son with signs at NBA games saying he will join dad when grades improve

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As a father who has threatened to take things away from my daughters if some behavior/school situation didn’t change (then felt bad when I had to follow through on the threat), I appreciate parents willing to follow through on what they say.

But this guy is taking it to a new level.

This father showed up at two nationally televised games this week with a sign and a message for his son.

Good on Dad for following through and not caving and taking his kid to the games, but the signs are a kicker.

As Matt Moore points out at CBSSports.com (who gets the hat tip for finding this, he better never do this to his son), how much time does this dad have, he was in Charlotte for the Cavaliers game, then in Houston. Did he spend a Spring Break traveling the country to go to NBA games and troll his kid? (It makes you wonder if it’s real.)

Steven Adams, Enes Kanter with another Russell Westbrook for MVP video

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I don’t know if Russell Westbrook is going to win the MVP award this season — Sunday night’s showdown with James Harden didn’t clear up the picture. This year’s four-way race (also with Kawhi Leonard and LeBron James) is one of the most interesting and even ones in decades.

If Westbrook doesn’t win, don’t blame Steven Adams and Enes Kanter.

The Stash Brothers, the roommates, are doing their best with videos to promote him. And take subtle jabs at Westbrook’s fashion sense.

Dennis Schroder insists reeling Hawks OK despite seven-game skid

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ATLANTA (AP) — Dennis Schroder insists the Atlanta Hawks will be fine when their three injures starters return.

The point guard also believes the Eastern Conference playoff standings are too tight for the Hawks to wait for Paul Millsap, Kent Bazemore and Thabo Sefolosha to return from their injuries.

Schroder said the Hawks must snap their seven-game losing streak with their current limited roster, which will be without the three starters for at least one more game.

“I’m saying now we have to change something,” Schroder said Monday. “We can’t wait until they come back. Maybe it’s too late then.”

The Hawks are in a three-way tie for fifth in the Eastern Conference playoff standings. They are only 2 games ahead of eighth-place Miami, which currently has the final playoff spot, and 2 + ahead of ninth-place Chicago.

The Hawks see they could drop out of the playoff standings if they don’t quickly end the losing streak.

“The NBA isn’t easy,” Schroder said. “You’ve got to win games to make it in the playoffs.”

Coach Mike Budenholzer said Millsap, the four-time All-Star who has missed five straight games with left knee tightness, and the other two injured starters will not play in Tuesday night’s home game against Phoenix.

Bazemore, who has missed four straight games with a right knee bone bruise, said he hopes to return for Wednesday’s game at Philadelphia.

Sefolosha, held out against the Nets with a right groin strain, was seen working on an elliptical machine at the portion of Monday’s practice open to media. There is no timetable on Millsap’s return.

Before the losing streak, which matches the team’s longest of the season, the Hawks were competing with Toronto for the fourth seed in the East and home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs.

Home-court advantage is now a distant dream.

Atlanta is tied with Milwaukee and Indiana for fifth following Sunday’s 107-92 loss to New Jersey, which owns the NBA’s worst record.

The latest ugly loss left Atlanta in what Bazemore described as “a dark time.” Even so, he insists the players’ spirit is not broken.

Bazemore pointed to players taking extra shots after practice and said “My teammates are still laughing. … We’re still alive and kicking.”

Budenholzer’s message is for players to avoid trying to do too much to fill the void left by the injured starters.

“I think to some degree we’re all pressing,” Budenholzer said. “Coaches pressing, each guy individually. It comes from actually a good place. They want to win. They want to have success and it’s just remembering that the best way for us to have success is to do it as a group and do it together.”

Budenholzer said rookie Taurean Price, who had 17 points, six rebounds and three steals in his first start against the Nets, likely will remain in the lineup against Phoenix.

Ersan Ilyasova and Tim Hardaway Jr. combined to make only 8 of 30 shots against the Nets. Atlanta’s depleted bench was outscored 46-7 by the Nets’ backups.

Budenholzer said Bazemore is “very close” to playing and could be cleared after “another good day.”

Bazemore said has done “pretty much everything” on the court in testing his knee, including change-of-direction drills.

“I’m starting to feel good,” Bazemore said. “… Things are trending in the right direction.”

Sixers’ Ben Simmons throws down impressive dunk in pregame workout (VIDEO)

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Consider this a look at what might have been this past season. Or a look into what will be next season.

Philadelphia has shut No. 1 pick Ben Simmons down for the season as they wait for the Jones fracture in his foot to heal properly, but he is traveling with the team and working out on its current road trip. Before the game in Indianapolis, Simmons got in a workout on the court.

Then casually threw down a between-the-legs, off the backboard self alley-oop.

What does that mean? Nothing. Other than next season in Philadelphia could be a lot of fun.