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cordobes
11-22-2010, 06:01 PM
Ok, time to start this thread as the D-League season is now in its first week and I've watched the first 10/11 season game yesterday.

Some factoids to those less familiar with the subject:

1. Intro

The D-League is the NBA official minor league basketball organization, trotting out there 16 teams divided into 2 conferences.

At the end of 2009, 20 percent of the NBA players had spent time in the D-League at some point of their career. I suspect that number is now close to 25%. I’ll do the math one of these days.

Mike Taylor was the first D-League player to be drafted by a NBA team; Latavious Williams was the first D-League player to be drafted coming directly from high-school - happened last season.

The current D-League champions are the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, the Houston Rockets affiliate. Mike Harris was the D-League MVP from last season while Alonzo Gee, he of superb dunks, was ROY. Greg Stiemsma was the DPOY Greg Stiemsma,

2. Resources:

The D-League Official Website (http://www.nba.com/dleague/)

D-League Stats: DraftExpress (http://www.draftexpress.com/stats.php?league=DLEAGUE)
Basketball-Reference (http://www.basketball-reference.com/nbdl/)

Blogs: Ridiculous Upside (http://www.ridiculousupside.com) - where potential is way cooler than reality - is the standard bear of D-League blogs and of mandatory reading for any D-League fan. My man Steve Weinman started a D-League blog, affiliated with the TrueHoop network, called D-League Digest (http://www.dleaguedigest.com/). Steve is a great guy, a brilliant writer, a passionate and knowledgeable fan of the game and an insightful basketball analyst who now has a full time job with the NBA, so Matt Hubert is now the lead writer and an excellent one at that.

3. Where to watch?

Via Futurecast (http://www.nba.com/dleague/news/dleague_webcasts.html). It's free and the streaming quality is pretty good – even if the broadcasting quality is frequently subpar. Archived games are available on demand.

Some games will be shown on NBA TV (especially from the showcase + playoffs).

Additionally, VERSUS will air 11 regular season games and 6 playoff games in high definition. (http://www.nba.com/dleague/news/versus_coverage_101102.html)

4. Affiliations

There are 3 type of affiliations between D-League and NBA franchises. The pure ownership (San Antonio Spurs/Austin Toros; OKC Thunder/Tulsa 66ers; LA Lakers/LA Defenders); a new hybrid affiliation model, where the NBA franchise doesn't own the D-League one but controls (and pays for) the basketball operations (Houston Rockets/Rio Grande Vipers; starting next season New Jersey Nets/Springfield Armor) and the the basic affiliation model with independent ownership (like the Fort Wayne Mad Ants being affiliated with the Pacers, the Pistons and the Bucks).

5. Last season
By virtually every metric, last season was the most successful D-League season ever.

There were 40 Gatorade call-ups, a number that shatters the previous record. Some of them earned long-term NBA contracts, notably Reggie Williams and Anthony Tolliver.

Public interest beat records too:


In addition to the national broadcast deal they signed with sports cable network VERSUS to air games during the season (including six games during the D-League Playoffs), NBA Futurecast also provides fans with the opportunity to watch every D-League game live online and for free. And for fans in markets with a team, people came out in record numbers, finishing the regular season by exceeding one million (1,043,261) in total attendance for the first time in league history.

Perhaps this speaks more to the explosion of social media than the popularity of the league, but the D-League Twitter account also exploded this season, currently featuring 146,613 followers after starting the season with 8,000.

From Aaron Philips in Dime Mag (http://dimemag.com/2010/04/the-nba-d-league-is-bigger-and-better-than-ever/)

A rookie franchise, the Maine Red Claws sold out every single game they played at home. (http://www.pressherald.com/sports/on-with-the-encore_2010-11-18.html)

There were great dunks too:
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6. Assignments:

The season is early, but we already have 4 assignments, including a lottery pick:

Patrick Patterson – Houston / Rio Grande
Solomon Alabi – Toronto / Erie
Gani Lawal - Phoenix / Iowa
Christian Eyenga – Cleveland / Erie

Every NBA player in his first two seasons is elegible for a D-League Assignment.

7. What’s new?

The Texas Legends (http://www.nba.com/dleague/texas/index.html?nav=page) - the new Dallas affiliate for the 2010-11 season, based in Frisco, TX - a team owned by the Mavericks GM Donnie Nelson (son of Don). Plus, their head-coach is also a rookie - Nancy "Lady Magic" Lieberman, HoFer, one of the best and most accomplished college players ever, a pioneer of professional female basketball and a former TV analyst. It's a very bold move by Nelson, as Lieberman hasn't a lot of experience in the realm of male basketball (a few games in minor league USBL and in a Lakers Summer League team as a player plus a stint with the Washington Generals) or in coaching (a couple of years with the Detroit Shock at the start of the decade with mixed results and an experience as Martina Navratilova's personal coach back in the 80s). Now she will become the first woman in history to work with NBA players. Hopefully she's successful as that will certainly attract some much needed press coverage to the D-League. With longtime NBA coach and former COY Dell Harris and former dunk contest winner Spud Webb aboard as GM and President of basketball operations, she will certainly have a knowledgeable, reputable and experienced FO supporting her.

They lost their first game vs. the Rio Grande Valley Vipers. (http://sports.espn.go.com/dallas/nba/news/story?id=5823817)

Plus, i-phone app.:
http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/nba-d-league-center-court/id354782300?mt=8

pacer4ever
11-22-2010, 06:06 PM
GL magnum u looked good in ur preseason gm 16 pts go MAGNUM

Peck
11-22-2010, 06:08 PM
where potential is way cooler than reality

My God that is brilliant. This should probably be a sub forum here on the digest.:D

cdash
11-22-2010, 06:11 PM
where potential is way cooler than reality

My God that is brilliant. This should probably be a sub forum here on the digest.:D

Where do you see that at?

cdash
11-22-2010, 06:13 PM
At the risk of beating the hell out of this dead horse, do we think Lance Stephenson will eventually see time in the D-League this season? I'd really like to see him get some game experience.

pacer4ever
11-22-2010, 06:22 PM
At the risk of beating the hell out of this dead horse, do we think Lance Stephenson will eventually see time in the D-League this season? I'd really like to see him get some game experience.

no we will never use the D league

Peck
11-22-2010, 06:26 PM
At the risk of beating the hell out of this dead horse, do we think Lance Stephenson will eventually see time in the D-League this season? I'd really like to see him get some game experience.

There is probably about as much chance of us winning the NBA title this season as there is for Lance to be sent to Ft. Wayne.

This is something that the gm/management has to force on the coaching staff because (& this is not a slam at O'Brien because I doubt there are very few coach's in the NBA who would be much different when it comes to this) coaching staffs will always believe that a player will get more from being around the team and the staff practicing then by being sent to a farm team.

That is probably true, as long as the team is praciticing. However when you start playing a series of 3 games in 4 nights or you are either on an east coast or west coast swing for 2 weeks at a time teams don't practice as much as do shootarounds, film sessions and individual work.

Now you can argue that individual work is where you can make improvements but at the end of the day it's not game time.

cordobes
11-22-2010, 06:26 PM
"where potential is way cooler than reality" is the RidiculousUpside motto, not sure if that's clear in the text.

cdash, I don't know, but it seems like a good idea to me. The last over-sized point-guard / undersized combo-guard drafted in the 2nd round who was assigned to the Fort Wayne Mad Ants was going for 24 assists in a game when his NBA team called him back (it was Ramon Sessions). As of now, the Mad Ants have plenty of touches available to Stephenson.

-----

The D-League draft ran 2 weeks ago: http://www.nba.com/dleague/draft_2010.html

Here's a brief analysis of the first round, adapted from a mock draft I wrote in another thread:

1. Reno Bighorns - Nick Fazekas C

In the D-League, size is a very scarce, hence valuable, resource. Fazekas is also a veteran who’s produced some numbers in the D-League before. A plodding big man who plays the pick’n’pop well, Fazekas always lacked the mobility to be regarded as a NBA prospect.

Fazekas busted in the NBA, busted in the Belgian league (a league where half of the players are pros and the other half has daily jobs) and was a semi-bust in the French league. His career has anywhere to go but up – a strange thing to say about someone who’s going to be the nº1 pick in a draft. If Greg Stiemsma and Brian Butch got call-ups, Fazekas will eventually get his chance, providing decent conditioning and health. If he works hard on his body, he can actually become a solid NBA bench filler.

2. New Mexico Thunderbirds - Alan Anderson G/F

A 28 years old veteran who has been in Europe for awhile, Anderson played for Macabi TelAviv last season putting up respectable scoring stats in the Euroleague. A gunner who loves to jack up shots and be the go-to man for his team, Alan Anderson should be one of the top scorers in the D-League and probably the player most capable of creating his shot in isolation sets in the competition. He’s a mediocre to slightly below average shooter and a poor ball-handler and decision-maker. He needs to show NBA scouts that he’s capable of producing non-scoring contributions . He’s a very competent defender when he wants to and he needs to bring it every night. Anderson certainly reckons that, at 28 years old, he’s running out of time to get back into a NBA roster (was with the Bobcats a few years ago. The money and prestige from one of the top European clubs would be enough to change his mind, but those selected few had little interest in him. He’ll probably get back to Europe if he isn’t called up till February or so.

The Thunderbirds (that featured Rasheed Wallace as an assistant coach in their open-tryouts) have a very weak roster without a single. A D-League superstar like Alan Anderson projects to be makes sense for them. Either that or a quality point-guard.

3. Maine Red Claws – Magnum Rolle, C

Apparently Rolle decided to give the D-League a try. There were rumors that he could go to Europe, so if his agent is being non-committal about his short-term future, he may fall in the draft. Maine’s coach Austin Ainge will love to add Rolle to a very promising big man rotation that includes combo forward and shot-blocking ace Stephane Lasme and the intriguing prospect Tiny Gallon (both out of the Celtics training camp).

Plus, after the dream of a Tiny Babyor Big Gallon was shattered, joining together these two cool names is a nice consolation prize.

3. Maine Red Claws – Magnum Rolle, C

Apparently Rolle decided to give the D-League a try. There were rumors that he could go to Europe, so if his agent is being non-committal about his short-term future, he may fall in the draft. Maine’s coach Austin Ainge will love to add Rolle to a very promising big man rotation that includes combo forward and shot-blocking ace Stephane Lasme and the intriguing prospect Tiny Gallon (both out of the Celtics training camp).
Plus, after the dream of a Tiny Baby or Big Gallon was shattered, joining together these two cool names is a nice consolation prize.

4. Texas Legends – Matt Rogers, C

Don’t know this player, but he’s a 6’11’’ center from Div. 2 Southwest Baptist.

5. Springfield Armor - Vernon Goodridge, PF/C

Another guy I don’t know, even though I recall his name – he had some Summer League/training camps with NBA teams. Highlight reel:

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6. Iowa Energy - Chris Lofton, G

Lofton is one of the best outside shooters in the world – he once scored 61 points, shooting 17/22 from the 3 point line, in the Turkish league. He doesn’t do much else and is only 6’2’’and last season playing in the stronger Spanish league his limitations become more visible. Still, in the D-League he should lead the competition in 3PTs made – but, more importantly, get the opportunity of trying to develop his PG/ball-handling/defensive skills. Long shot, but it’s for this that the D-League exists.

7. Rio Grande Valley Vipers - Robert Vaden, G/F

A natural scorer with a ranged shot, Vaden will need to show he can contribute in other areas of the game. Lacks athleticism and ball-handling ability but he's a very good cutter. The kind of player NBA teams value if he can defend. Makes sense for a Utah team with lots of guys who like to have the ball on their hands.

8. Utah Flash, Brandon Costner, PF

Undersized power-forward out of NC State. I only have some fuzzy memories of him.

9. Dakota Wizards, Chris Johnson, C

Another 6’11’’ center directly out of college whose game I don’t know. Present in the Celtics training camp.

10. Fort Wayne Mad Ants, Obi Muonelo, SG/SF

The sharp-shooting wing from Oklahoma State. Good rebounder for his position. Lacks any kind of ball-handling and is inconsistent defensively. An interesting prospect, the kind of player that can take advantage of the D-League. If he shows defensive commitment/quality, he’s a good candidate to a call-up.

11. Sioux Falls Skyforce – Cheivk Samb, C

A former draft pick by the Pistons, Samb is one of those African “late bloomers” that never really bloom. He was still fouling like a 18 years old rookie in the last Summer League. He’s a fairly athletic 7 footer and has always been capable of rebounding the ball and hit the occasional jump-shot, so I wouldn’t rule out a call-up. Interested to see if he can put up some numbers in the D-League.

12. Bakersfield Jam - Marquis Blakely, G/F

The Vipers will probably draft someone on whom Morey and the Rockets see some kind of NBA potential. That’s probably some college player I don’t know about, but it can also be ex-Clippers Marquis Blakely, a guy who looked very good in the Summer League and almost made the Clippers roster. A wing with a terrific motor, length, athleticism and rebounding, he seemed to be an excellent and active cutter but was timid with the ball on his hands – probably because he’s not very good in that department. He’s intriguing as a wing defender prospect though and that should be enough to grant him a lottery selection.

13. Tulsa 66ers - – Scottie Reynolds, G

One of the most well-known players in the draft, Reynolds is scoring combo-guard who’s probably too physically limited and self-centered to play in the NBA. He’ll probably be able to translate part of his success in the college to the NBA though. Under the orientation of rookie coach Joe Lieberman, he should combine with NBA problem children Rashad McCants and Sean Williams to form an interesting Big 3.

14. Austin Toros, Dominique Archie, F

A 6’7’’ forward who’s pretty athletic but is out for a few months with a torn ACL. Showed top notch defensive promise when I saw him playing in college. Not much offense, but pretty good athleticism. I’m intrigued by this pick.

15. Erie BayHawks, Ivan Johnson, PF/C

Johnson is a D-League veteran who has been playing in Asia. Another undersized big whose above average athleticism would allow to play decent defense and had reliable midrange jumper, Johnson may earn a call-up if his game improved during his Asian stay.

16. Idaho Stampede, Salim Stoudemire, G

Springfield’s only guard is open try-out recruit Brent Benson – who’s actually a sharp-shooter with very limited ball-handling skills. So, a veteran combo-guard with NBA experience like Salim Stoudemire makes sense for them. Stoudemire had his last spell in the NBA with the Bucks 2 years ago. The fact that he’s not a big NBA prospect – hence the risk he’ll be lost the entire season because some NBA team falls in love with him is limited – probably helps his cause here. This left-handed poor man’s Eddie House is also a vegan.

Another notable draft picks:

21st Bakersfield Jam - Brandon Wallace, PF

A former SL sensation for the Celtics – who actually signed a partially guaranteed contract -, Wallace is a tough and very athletic undersized power-forward, with a terrific work-rate and hustling ability. The Mad Ants are very short on bigs, so Wallace can be an excellent consolation prize. Wallace has been playing in European minor clubs for the last 2 seaons, but the lack of any discernible offensive skill besides running the floor and dunking putbacks prevented him from being noted. The D-League is a good place for him. Honing his defensive fundamentals and acquiring a jump-shot should be his biggest priorities. The Mad Ants are very short on size, so he'll be a welcome addition.


29th Texas Legends - Antonio Daniels, PG

Antonio Daniels, on the back of his +200 starts in NBA games, is the most accomplished player in this draft by a fair margin. By playing in the D-League he’ll be showing NBA GMs that he’s in shape and ready to play – something he’ll need to show after being inactive for the last season. A former top 5 pick, Daniels was a solid, risk averse, set-up guard, a quality backup during his prime. Lack of a reliable jump-shot + poor creativity always hold him back. It’s doubtful he can still be a decent NBA 3rd stringer, but we’ll see. The Wizards need a PG badly.

113th Idaho Stampede - J.T Tiller, PG

Tiller was the point-guard of one of my favourite college teams in the last few years, the Missouri Tigers who played a frenetic style of basketball, with a full-court press and a uber-fast paced offense that earned and made a solid Tournament run a couple of years ago. Their biggest talents were DeMarr Carroll (now with the Memphis Grizzlies) and Leo Lyons (a very skilled big man who has enough talent and athletic ability to be in the NBA but is in Israel). Tiller isn’t up to much as an offensive player – subpar shooter, not really a floor general or playmaker – but he’s a very good athlete and superb defender, one of the reasons why Mike Anderson’s peculiar style of defense was so successful. In spite of being an 8th round pick Tiller made the Idaho’s final roster - let’s see if he gets opportunities to show his talents.

I know some other guys from the later rounds, but I find them undeserving of an individual write-up until they prove something in the D-League.

Tomorrow I'll publish the first power rankings of the season.

Peck
11-22-2010, 06:27 PM
Where do you see that at?

ridiculas upside blog.

ChristianDudley
11-22-2010, 07:31 PM
I'm surprised to see Antonio Daniels in the D-League as he was and could still be a solid NBA player. I think he could easily be one of the first call-ups of the season. Of course I hope Magnum Rolle does real good. I also hope Robert Vaden and Rod Wilmont do good as they're both former IU guys. I personally love the D-League. These guys get after it even harder than NBA players as they're fighting to keep/get their/a job. I'll add to this thread every once in a while when I come across some news or information I think others would like to know about the happenings in the D-League.

I also wish Lance would go to the Mad Ants--it would definitely be some great experience for him instead of wearing a suit to all the games.

cordobes
11-23-2010, 06:01 PM
An article about Magnum Rolle by Steven Weinman.



At age 16, he had never touched a basketball. Eight years later, he has NBA training camp experience and might be the steal of the 2010 D-League Draft. “It was fate, really,” Magnum Rolle said, “I started playing around 10 th grade. I just happened to run across my high school’s coach, and as they say, the story just took off from there.”

That first week, the Grand Bahamian native, whom the Maine Red Claws recently selected third overall in the D-League draft, found even the simplest facets of the game to be looming challenges.

Read it all (http://www.nba.com/dleague/news/rolle_101115.html)

Sandman21
11-23-2010, 06:21 PM
This is something that the gm/management has to force on the coaching staff because (& this is not a slam at O'Brien because I doubt there are very few coach's in the NBA who would be much different when it comes to this) coaching staffs will always believe that a player will get more from being around the team and the staff practicing then by being sent to a farm team.


I don't think its coming from the coaching staff. I vaguely recall reading an article saying that Larry didn't want to send talent to the D-League.

Part Timer
11-23-2010, 07:02 PM
Regarding Rolle, the linked article is why he remains interesting to me. His age suggests that there is little potential left to tap, but that could be a premature assessment.

Regarding Stephenson, might the Pacers be concerned about him being on his own at this point? I know he has to grow up, but maybe a year around some veterans and being a part of something (even though he's not playing) will do more for his maturity as a person. If so perhaps that's more important for him at the moment.