With seven weeks remaining in the season, the time has come for teams to get serious about seeding. Every week counts in the Drew League and no excuses will be accepted come playoff time. Those teams with losing records need to buckle down and start playing with a sense of urgency or they may find themselves watching from the bleachers at L.A. Southwest College in August.
Week 6 is critical for a number of teams in the league, as their records demand they put some numbers in the win column if they stand any chance of playing past the regular season. In the Christopher Baxter Division, Jaguars, Clozers and LA Loop must find some consistent rotations and lock in on D.
Unfortunately for Loop and Jaguars, their weekend schedules look like some of the roughest in that instance, as Loop plays a double; on Friday night, they’ll have to deal with MHP, one of the high-scoring teams in the league and Clozers on Sunday. Jaguars, meanwhile, will run up against Problems, one of the most well-rounded juggernauts in the Drew. With Antonio Biglow, Deshawn Stephens and Garrett Nevels in the lineup, Problems tends to be pretty unstoppable.
In the Jonathan Baxter Division, Hoops Legends look like a lost cause, while Juglife will need to win out the entire season to secure a winning record. Juglife faces off against the 2-4 Optimus on Friday, so theoretically, they could start a streak then, while Hoops Legends’ odds against the 2-4 Reapers largely depend on the calming veteran presence of Reapers’ point guard Johnny Dee. Without him, they can be disjointed, leaving them vulnerable to the Legends, even if the Legends don’t have a superb game.
However, both Optimus and Reapers are just about on the bubble and probably will be come the season closer, so they’ll both probably jump at the chance to beat up on teams with worse records to pad their own.
On Saturday, LAUNFD will defend their undefeated record against 3-3 Redemption, who will be looking to (ahem) vindicate their record, which belies the collective strength of the talent on that team. Jonathan Gibson and Chris Johnson should be able to keep pace with usual complement of scorers including Chance Comanche and Corey Allen but will have to find some way to offset Montrezl Harrell, who’s been an utter wrecking ball on offense for LAUNFD this season. They’ve got to be hoping for either a Chuck Garcia appearance or more contributions from big man Tyrone “50” Riley who’s had a tough time staying on the floor. If he can find his shot from range, Redemption stands a pretty good chance. If not, or if LAUNFD’s stars begin showing up, LAU may run roughshod over the struggling Redemption.
LAU’s continued dominance won’t be safe even with a win on Saturday, as they play their back-to-back this weekend, matching up against Hometown Favorites Sunday. Hometown Favorites’ 4-1 record is made even more impressive by the fact that the team has yet to run out a consistent starting five, which should make LAUNFD very nervous.
In previous weeks, Mike Taylor and Kevin Porter Jr. have both gone off and Hometown has yet to reveal any big name additions, which they’ve been known to pull in on short notice. A full complement of their scorers on Sunday could spell doom for LAU, who will be playing the second game in two days and may be incorporating new lineups themselves.
While Hometown is used to the weekly roster turnover, LAU has gotten comfortable with the squad they’ve run out since Week 1. If they have new player rotations, some of their most visible players may end up relegated to bench minutes, so they’ll have to stay sharp and ready to play.