Were back in Boise for the second time in three years for yet another exciting D-League Showcase. DraftExpress is here in full force with a staff of five expert talent evaluators watching every forced shot, turnover, blown defensive assignment and unbelievably athletic play, all of which we expect quite a few of in the next few days.
Well be covering some of the most interesting storylines of the Showcase both here and on our Twitter page
, breaking down the top NBA prospects on each and every roster, so check back and feel free to interact with us over the course of the week.
Plenty more information can be found on the D-League's official website, nba.com/dleague
Increasing the importance of the event is the fact that NBA teams may begin signing players to 10-day contracts starting on Tuesday. At that point we may see more call-ups than the three (Mike Harris
to Houston, Chris Hunter
to Golden State, and Anthony Tolliver
very briefly to Portland) that already happened.
The Showcase will feature 16 games, as all 16 teams will play twice, with seven of those games being broadcasted live in high definition by NBATV. Those games that wont be broadcasted can be viewed live, online, for free on NBA Futurecast at nba.com/dleague
.The TV schedule is as follow:
MON., JAN. 4
1 P.M., Rio Grande Valley Vipers vs. Albuquerque T-Birds
3:45 P.M., Los Angeles D-Fenders vs. Maine Red Claws
TUES., JAN. 5
1 P.M., Maine Red Claws vs. Sioux Falls Skyforce
WED., JAN. 6
1 P.M., Reno Bighorns vs. Erie BayHawks
3:45 P.M., Bakersfield Jam vs. Rio Grande Valley Vipers
THURS., JAN. 7
1 P.M., Albuquerque T-Birds vs. Tulsa 66ers
3:45 P.M., Erie BayHawks vs. Los Angeles D-FendersTop Prospects, or Top Call-Up Candidates?
While we arent totally ready to release our latest Top D-League Call-Up Candidates rankings, we are ready to give that list a more appropriate name. From now on it will be known as the Top D-League Prospects" rankings, as we realize that there are too many variables (positional issues, injuries, familiarity, etc) involved in every individual call-up to try and predict who will be pegged next.
Instead, we will just try and give our personal opinion on who the top overall NBA prospects are in the D-League at the moment, which will become a lot more relevant once weve seen everyone at the conclusion of the Showcase. To clarify, this is a subjective list looking more at NBA upside than the way the player is producing in the D-League, although that obviously can go hand in hand at times.
In the meantime, heres a rough draft of what our list might look like based on our preconceived notions going into the Showcase.
1. Morris Almond
2. Carlos Powell
3. Dwayne Jones
4. Cartier Martin
5. Zabian Dowdell
6. Alade Aminu
7. Sundiata Gaines
8. Anthony Tolliver
9. Alonzo Gee
10. Greg Stiemsma
11. Rob Kurz
12. Joe Crawford
13. Antonio Anderson
14. Mustafa Shakur
15. Will Conroy
16. Keith McLeod
17. Curtis Jerrells
18. Garrett Temple
19. Amara Sy
20. Rod Benson
21. Jared Reiner
22. Russell Robinson
23. Trey Gilder
24. Gabe Pruitt
25. John Bryant
For comparison, here is Matthew Breenan of the official D-League websites personal take.
In addition to the 25 listed above, there are a few other players we need to take a look at to get a better read on how they are putting up the stats they are. Wait and see:Reggie Williams
- Averaging 25 points, shooting 62% inside the arc and 42% outside it, similar to the way he did in college. He had an awful season in France last year, though, so which one is closer to the truth?Ron Howard
- After a strong showing in training camp with the New York Knicks, Howard has been on a tear ever since, in this, his third season in the D-League. He was 1-17 in 95 D-League games from 3-point range going into the year, but is now 26-54 (48%) in 14 games in 2009-2010. Did Mike DAntonio teach him how to shoot, and if so, why cant he do the same for Jared Jeffries
- Purely on his stat totals (26 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists), Farmer is a D-League all-star, if not the best swingman player in the league. There is zero buzz about him getting a call-up, though, likely due to the manner in which he gets his numbers and the reputation hes earned. Well take a look with our own eyes and come to our own conclusions. Other things to look forNBA Draft Eligible Prospects:
In addition to the veteran call-up candidates, we also have two players who could have been in college this year, but are instead trying to earn a spot in this years NBA draft through the Development League. Latavious Williams
of Tulsa and Jeremy Wise
of Bakersfield are both NBA draft eligible, and both will get extended looks from us over the course of the week. NBA Allocation Watch:
Four players who have been allocated by NBA teams to their D-League affiliates are here in Boise. They are: Alexis Ajinca
(Maine/Charlotte Bobcats), Taylor Griffin
(Iowa/Phoenix Suns), D.J. White
(Tulsa/Oklahoma City Thunder) and Joey Dorsey
(Rio Grande Valley/Houston Rockets).
As always, it will be interesting to see how the allocated NBA players look compared with their D-League counterparts, and especially how they are able to interact and coexist in such an important week of their careers. Black Hole of the Day Award
Its always fun to watch a player coming into the Showcase thinking he needs to shoot the ball every time he touches it in order to earn that elusive NBA call-up. Thats just the nature of the beast and how poorly some players understand precisely what NBA teams are looking for in a 10-day contract. Well be keeping a close eye on the best chuckers around and try to narrow down the field to a single candidate every day. The winner will be named DraftExpress black hole of the day. Anything else? Let us know.