Drew League Week 9 Recap: Game of The Year MVP James Harden Season Debut

And it all came crashing down. The 26-0 Birdie’s Revenge, who needed only one more victory for the all-time Drew League record win, came up short.

“It took the Houston Rockets,” as Coach Tracey Mills said, to figure out how to take the Birdie’s Revenge empire down.

The game of the year was undoubtedly a matchup everyone had been anticipating all season, with circulating rumors that the reigning NBA MVP, James Harden, would make his Drew League season debut.

Spectators made it a priority to come early to secure a spot on the bleachers to survey the long-awaited matchup between Franklin “Nitty” Session and James Harden. A line wrapped around the corner of 120th Street outside King Drew High School showed the fanfare behind the dueling MVP’s.

Harden suited up for LAUNFD alongside his Rockets’ teammate PJ Tucker. The two joined forces with newly resigned Clippers’ center Montrezl Harrell and former Rocket, Bobby Brown.

All season long, Birdie’s has made the King Drew hardwoods their playground, and their opponents as toys to be played with, with week 8’s highlights of Franklin Session vs. Denzel Valentine attesting to that.


However, Birdie’s Revenge did not go down without a fight against LAUNFD. The first quarter of the match started off on a close run, as both teams exchanged equal energy. It was only a teaser of what to expect in the playoffs. However, Birdie’s found themselves in a second-quarter predicament as Marcus Bell got himself ejected from the game for the second time this season after things got heated up between him and PJ Tucker.

LAUNFD led 45-32 at the half, which had been the biggest deficit Birdie’s experienced all season.
Birdie’s Mike James and “Nitty” put in work, as they attempted to carry the team on their backs devoid of their big man. James ended the game with 32 points and was 7 for 10 from 3-point attempts. “Nitty” added 23 points, 6 assists, and 9 rebounds, but this wasn’t sufficient to stop Harden and Harrell.

With minutes remaining in the final quarter, Harden lobbed one to Harrell for the slam. It set the dynamism for the remaining minutes. Harrell’s showcase of dunks, Harden’s 26 points, and LAUNFD’s energy were unmatched. Undoubtedly, Harden was the X-factor in dethroning Birdie’s Revenge’s 26 game winning streak.

Sixteen teams remain, but only one will take home the coveted trophy. There will be no room for any slip-ups and excuses. Teams from here on out will have to produce to earn their respect.

 

The first round of playoffs tip-off Friday, 6:30 pm at Los Angeles Southwest College.

 

LoJo’s Top Five NBA Summer League Players

The NBA Summer League 2018 is heating up with the start of all 30 teams playing in Las Vegas on Friday (July 6). The summer league is usually a combination of new draftees and first or second year NBA players from each team. Most summer league rosters feature some G-League players as well. All with one common denominator, something to prove on the court for an opportunity to play in the NBA. The games are pretty consistent with the NBA with the exception of it being four 10-minute quarters and some other minor differences. Here are LoJo’s top five prospects who are projected to lead the charge in this year’s NBA summer league.

  1. Deandre Ayton(Phoenix Suns, C)The number one draft pick’s height, size, and strength has competition, fans, and coaches eager to see what is to come in the future for not only the summer league, but the Suns as an organization as well. Ayton has already been speculated to be the toughest competitor to maintain in the summer league. We suspect he will be a strong threat to his opponent’s defense with his shooting ability and pick and roll offense.
  2. Marvin Bagley III(Sacramento Kings, PF/C) The 6’11, 235-pound prospect is expected to light things up offensively in the summer league. His size and offensive grittiness makes him a top contender and threat to his competitors this summer. Bagley made his debut Monday against the LA Lakers with 18 points, six rebounds, and three blocks, finalizing the game 98-93. The hot commodity’s offensive style is projecting him to make a strong impact.

  3. Jaren Jackson Jr. (Memphis Grizzlies, PF) – The former Spartan displayed what his full skillset on Tuesday against the Atlanta Hawks. Jackson shot eight three pointers with a total of 29 points proving he’s a hot contender in the summer league. In his NBA debut, he garnered a tremendous amount of attention from coaches, critics, and fans; the question now is what will he do next?
  4. Trae Young(ATL Hawks, PG) – Although the 19-year-old prospect had a slow start in his first game Monday, he began to pick up the pace and gain the momentum of his shots Tuesday against the Spurs in the second half. Young went 4-for-8 from the field and scored eight of his 12 points. The number five pick makes it clear his focus is to make the right plays and lead his team to increasing their made shots. His leadership mentality puts him in a position to take the Hawks to a new level this summer and we’re excited to see where the young hawk takes them.

    (Courtesy Photo NBA)
  5. Kevin Knox (NY Knicks, F) – The 6’9 ninth overall pick has been proving he’s hungry for greatness with the recent criticism faced in regards to his work ethic and fitness. The young prospect has been putting in the extra work for conditioning, training, and being able to sustain his energy. In addition to Knox consistently conditioning at the Knicks training facility, he participated in his first formal summer league practice Tuesday and was let it be known he was determined and focused on what he needed to do win. We project Knox’s new physical and mental attitude will drive his hunger to win, leading him to be a threat in the summer league.
  6. Bonus Aaron Holiday (IND Pacers, G) – Selected at number 23, Aaron Holiday dropped 23 points in his NBA Summer League debut and has the potential to go down as the sleeper of this year’s draft class.  The 6’1 point guard out of UCLA led the Bruins to an NCAA Tournament appearance after a controversial start to the team’s season. With the dismissal of three of his teammates, Holiday stepped up in a major way emerging as a leader for the Bruins’ young squad. Last season he averaged 20.3 points, 5.8 assists, and 3.7 rebounds per game to earn All-Pac-12 First Team honors. Both his older brothers, Jrue Holiday (Pelicans) and Justin Holiday (Bulls) are actively playing in the NBA.

2018 NBA Draft Recap

The 2018 NBA Draft took place June 21 at the Barclays Center, home of the Brooklyn Nets, in Brooklyn, New York. As predicted, University of Arizona phenom Deandre Ayton was selected first in the draft by the Phoenix Suns. The seven-foot, 250 pound center was drafted to his hometown team after spending one season with the Arizona Wildcats and earning Pac-12 Player of the Year honors. Ayton was the University of Arizona’s first ever first pick in the NBA draft.

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