Nearly two weeks ago we relayed the story of a burgeoning summer league plan, cobbled together by the Impact Basketball training facility and promoted by Phoenix Suns wing Jared Dudley, set to attempt to replicate NBA-styled ball out in Las Vegas later this month. Real NBA rules, we were promised, as well as real NBA players. Color us real intrigued.
Now, according to Dudley and through Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic, we have a tentative list of players who are not only working out with Impact Basketball right now, but should take part in the collective once it starts up on September 23rd.
Dudley said the field of players will include Stephen Curry, Chauncey Billups, Al Harrington, John Wall, Zach Randolph, Stephen Jackson, Tayshaun Prince, Jermaine O'Neal, Austin Daye, DeMar DeRozan, Kyle Lowry, Eric Maynor and J.J. Hickson. Dudley said he is trying to recruit teammates Channing Frye, Josh Childress and Aaron Brooks to also play in the officiated series.
"You get an actual game feel," Dudley said, comparing it to other summer leagues that don't have NBA big men. "Instead of having to finish in the lane against LeBron James, I'll be finishing against Jermaine O'Neal."
There is something to that, which is why we had hope for this league and proposed a litany of hopeful traits that would help make this worth our viewing while.
We're not as hyped about the potential for bigger NBA stars, like James, stopping in; but for major hoopheads amongst NBA players (Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, and James, whether you believe it or not, are among that lot) there still should be an allure to a league like this. Once they get past the potential sponsorship issues with working for a company like Impact that might fly in the face of their usual personal trainers, the chance to play against some NBA depth and under solid officiating and scoring could be all a star needs to fly into Vegas.
That, and the Penn and Teller show. That big libertarian just put the little guy underwater!
We should also re-iterate our original point that, if this league comes as advertised, then this is something to get excited about. Sure, there will be missed alley-oops and probable scores in the mid-120s, but the sheer amount of NBA types will make this a nice amalgamation of the usual rookie-filled summer leagues we watch in Las Vegas every year, and the good time Rucker, Goodman, and Drew League games we've been mining for highlights all summer.
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- Jared Dudley