These summer pickup games are making us impatient ahead of the NBA season

Aug 29, 2019

Remember that clip of Joakim Noah jawing at Devin Booker for complaining about getting double teamed? Apparently there's more where that came from.

The infamous match, which also featured other NBA players Justise Winslow, Ben Simmons, Tony Snell, Rodney Hood, and Trey Lyles, is just one of the many stacked offseason pickup games caught on camera. With the 2019-20 season still a couple of months away, pros and their fellow ballers have been — according to Booker — "work(ing) on (their) game" through these casual runs.

In a world dominated by rec league mixtapes and personal workout videos, three basketball trainers are thriving in this type of content, at the same time filling the NBA void for hoops fans this summer.

Chris Johnson Hoops

Before he became a private NBA development coach, more popularly for Jimmy Butler, Johnson spent time with the Houston Rockets as D-League affiliate coach. The skills trainer only started his private runs this year, but he has already garnered much attention — mainly because of the Booker brouhaha and Ben Simmons' threes.

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Tristan Thompson has to like what he's seeing from his fellow Canadian, Simmons, and Cavs lottery pick Darius Garland.

It's an athletic wing party for Portland's Rodney Hood, Detroit's Tony Snell, and Toronto's Stanley Johnson.

Nice to see the Wolves' Andrew Wiggins, who has been accused of playing with no heart, going hard in the paint.

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    Rico Hines Basketball

    People in NBA circles are quite familiar with DaRico Travone Hines, who serves as the development coach for the Sacramento Kings. His player clientele include the likes of reigning Most Improved Player Pascal Siakam, Thomas Bryant, and Marvin Bagley III. Kevin Durant recently gave Hines a shout-out while defending Booker on Twitter.

    What better way for Sacramento's Buddy Hield to learn the ways of an elite shooting guard than working out with James Harden.

    A little Raptors reunion between Fred VanVleet and current Spur Demar Derozan, with some Michael Beasley on the side.

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    Three's a crowd for young power forwards Julius Randle of the Knicks, Marvin Bagley of the Kings, and Jordan Bell of the Timberwolves.

    The young (Atlanta's Trae Young, Washington's Thomas Bryant) mix it up with the old (Houston's PJ Tucker, and Arron Afflalo).

    Chris Brickley's Black Ops Runs

    Brickley's scrimmages might have been the first series of summer pickup games to be noticed after starring superstars such as Durant, LeBron James, and Black Ops legend Carmelo Anthony aka Hoodie Melo. The well-attended games usually happen at the Life Time Athletic at Sky facility in New York, a testament to the high regard for it.

    Would you rather have Randle's smooth point forward skills or Celtic Enes Kanter's overpowering post-up prowess?

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    Playing with Portland's CJ McCollum and Kelly Oubre from Phoenix, JR Smith looked like he's playing for a contract out there.

    The same can be said about Smith's former teammate, Carmelo Anthony, who is giving the young guns (Young, Jaren Jackson Jr) a run for their money.

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    Utah's Donovan Mitchell, Dallas' Dennis Smith, and dunk champ Hamidou Diallo are seriously trying to take down the hoop.

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