If there's one thing the last week has shown us it's that basketball isn't in complete hibernation. Last week the Goodman League from D.C. bested the Drew League from L.A. in a glorified pick up game featuring Kevin Durant, Jeff Green, Austin Daye, San Antonio Spurs guard Gary Neal and several others. Over the last two days, both FIBA Americas and Eurobasket tournaments launched, which we'll call real basketball.
Last night, some of the biggest names in the NBA squared off in Baltimore as the "Melo League" hosted the Goodman League. Basically Carmelo Anthony recruited some Baltimore born players including Spurs' Neal (who dropped 17 points for the game) but he also called in big guns LeBron James (aka the greatest basketball player alive) and Chris Paul (aka the greatest point guard alive) and thus beat Durant and the rest of the Goodman League.
Check out some of the highlights (via Crossover Chronicles) from the game.
Still, the narrative coming out, thanks to the gaudy 59 points Durant put, is that Durant bested LeBron individually and that he accepted some challenge LeBron laid down.
Washington Post's excellent Wizards Insider Michael Lee wrote Durant accepted the challenge of taking on three of the best players in the league. Sure, he did and played really well. Durant also apparently wants to go at Kobe too if a Goodman League-Drew League rematch happens.
Depending on which tweets you're looking at, Durant apparently got the best of LeBron even if LeBron's team won and LeBron scored 38 points on Durant. Great, awesome. It was an exhibition game with very little drawn up plays and virtually no defensive schemes. Kevin Durant has shown this summer that he loves basketball & has also shown he's an ultra competitive guy. That's great, but I'm not sure that you take anything away from this game other than Durant may be the best pick up game player to ever live because he can shoot over anyone and has a tendency to get hot.
Does this mean that Durant is destined to take the next step whenever the upcoming season starts? Maybe, maybe not. We said the same thing after Durant torched the world last summer during the World Championships and basically came back as the same player he was the year before. What's more important is what Durant is doing in the gym. He tweeted he's working on his post game and creating off the dribble. That's what really matters, not these pick up games at Rucker Park or wherever else.
I can't wait for this coming season to start. One thing we did see is Durant and LeBron wanting to go at each other, which is good, because we're probably going to see that same matchup for three out of the next five NBA Finals. Until then, we'll have plenty of highlights to watch from the game's best scorer as he continues his summer blacktop tour.