Inside the D-League

Inside the D-League
Jan 09, 2007, 07:04 pm
Marcus Vinicius Assigned to Tulsa

Rookie forward Marcus Vinicius of the New Orleans Hornets has been assigned to the Tulsa 66ers. DraftExpress mentioned the possibility of Vinicius being sent to the D-League last week, and the Hornets decided this would be the right time to send him down. He will play his first D-League game on Friday night in Dakota. The rookie out of Brazil has appeared in 8 games for the Hornets this season, and scored 1.4 points in around 6 minutes per game. Vinicius was the 43rd overall pick in the draft last June.

P.J. Tucker Assigned to Colorado 14ers

Rookie P.J. Tucker of the Toronto Raptors was assigned to the Colorado 14ers of the D-League last week. Tucker’s name had been mentioned in connection with the D-League several times this season, but injury problems with the Raptors prevented him from being sent down earlier. As a rookie out of Texas, he appeared in 16 games for the Raptors this season, averaging 1.4 points and 1.3 rebounds in 4.4 minutes per game. Tucker is still making the transition from the power forward to the small forward position, and the D-League should provide him with some valuable experience.

Amir Johnson to Sioux Falls

2nd year forward Amir Johnson of the Detroit Pistons has been assigned to the Sioux Falls Skyforce. Johnson spent time in the D-League last season after being drafted in the late second round out of high school. He has appeared in 4 games for the Pistons this season, and averaged 1.0 points and 1.3 rebounds per game. Johnson will be a nice front court replacement for Andre Brown, who was just added to the Sonics from the Skyforce. Johnson will play his first D-League game on Friday.

Tamar Slay Joins Bakersfield

Former New Jersey Net and Charlotte Bobcat Tamar Slay was recently acquired by the Bakersfield Jam from the available player pool. Slay lasted 3 years in the NBA before going to Israel to sign with Hapoel Jerusalem. He played the shooting guard in the NBA, and struggled in Jerusalem where he was played at power forward. Hapoel decided to let him go, and he now returns to the D-League at the age of 26. Slay will provide Bakersfield an additional scoring threat who can play both the shooting guard and small forward positions.

Loren Woods added to Austin

NBA veteran Loren Woods has been acquired by the Austin Toros from the available player pool. Woods was originally drafted by the Minnesota Timberwolves in the second round of the 2001 draft. He spent time with Minnesota, Miami and Toronto before being released from veterans’ camp by the Sacramento Kings in October. Woods considered playing overseas, but decided to stay home and see if he could get back into the NBA. He is a 7 footer with experience, and the D-League showcase will be a good opportunity for him to show that he can still play. Woods has career averages of 2.6 points and 3.3 rebounds in 11 minutes per game.

D-League Showcase Approaching

The D-League’s annual showcase will be held from January 15th-17th in Sioux Falls, SD. Each of the 12 D-League teams will play 2 games, and 10 of the 12 games will be broadcast on NBATV. This is a big opportunity for many players to play in front of several NBA decisions makers. The full schedule for the D-League showcase can be found on the official site of the NBDL. DraftExpress will provide full coverage of the showcase, so check back next week for updates.

Conroy Named Player of the Week

Will Conroy of the Tulsa 66ers has been named the D-League Performer of the Week for the second consecutive week. He played 3 games last week averaging 21.0 points, 15.3 assists, and 3.6 rebounds per game. Conroy has been the best point guard in the D-League all season long, and his steady play has put him at the top of DraftExpress’ Top 10 Call-Up Candidates.

NBA Player Updates

Pops Mensah-Bonsu, Dallas Mavericks, Fort Worth Flyers
11.5 pgg, 10.1 rpg, 1.25 bpg

Mensah-Bonsu has been of the best rebounders in the D-League throughout his stint with the Fort Worth Flyers. He is using his athleticism well on the glass, and few players in the D-League can match his natural physical tools. He had his best D-League game last week, scoring 15 points and grabbing 18 rebounds in a win over the Arkansas Rimrockers. On the offensive end, Mensah-Bonsu still has a lot of improvements to make, but his free throw shooting has improved slightly. The D-League showcase will be a good chance for him to display the progress he has made in Fort Worth this season.

James White, San Antonio Spurs, Austin Toros
17.8 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 2.2 apg, 2.17 spg

White helped the Toros have their best week of the season last week by leading them to a 2-0 record. He lead the team in the win last week over Bakersfield, and scored his 25 points while getting 12 attempts from the free throw line. In the second win over Albuquerque, White displayed some of the all-around game he will need to show during the rest of his stay in Austin. White finished the game with 5 assists, but he did turn the ball over frequently. He will have the rest of the D-League season to prove that he can play a consistent all-around game.

PJ Tucker, Toronto Raptors, Colorado 14ers
6.0 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 2.5 apg

Tucker has struggled to fit in with Colorado thus far. He should get better, as there is an adjustment period for a player like Tucker entering the D-League. Tucker has passed the ball well in his first two D-League games, and his rebounding has been solid as well. He has just made 4 of his 13 field goal attempts thus far, however. Tucker has only played 24.6 minutes per game on a Colorado team that has played well this season, but after another few games he should be getting starters minutes.

Patrick O’Bryant, Golden State Warriors, Bakersfield Jam
6.3 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 1.7 apg, 2.6 bpg

O’Bryant has been inconsistent in his first few D-League games, but has displayed solid potential as a rebounder and shotblocker. On the offensive end, O’Bryant is very limited at this point, and he will have to improve this area a lot before he is ready for the NBA. He will also need to cut down on fouls, as right now he is averaged 5 fouls per game. This limits him to only 24 minutes of playing time per game. The time in the D-League is well spent for O’Bryant, who is a project at this point in time.

Team Updates

Fort Worth Flyers, 11-3

The Flyers are adapting well to life after Kelenna Azubuike. They won both of their games at home last week against the Arkansas Rimrockers. Jeremy Richardson has emerged as the main scoring threat for the Flyers lately, and top 20 in the D-League in scoring at 17 points per game. Kevin Burleson has started to play better lately with a bigger role, and scored 17 points to go with 6 assists in the Saturday victory. The Flyers have one of the deeper and more experienced front courts in the D-League, but they could look to the available player pool for a scorer to try and fill the role left by Azubuike.

This week, Fort Worth is off until Saturday when they head to Albuquerque. This is their last game before the showcase.

Dakota Wizards, 11-3

Despite losing Justin Williams to the NBA, the Wizards won both of their games last week in Los Angeles and Anaheim. Quemont Greer had a 32 point outburst against Anaheim on a very efficient 15/18 from the field. Renaldo Major has also continued to play well for the Wizards, and made the game winning shot against Los Angeles. Guard Dontell Jefferson has also played well lately after accepting a larger role with the team.

This week, Dakota hosts a pair of home games starting Friday verses the Tulsa 66ers. On Sunday, they play an afternoon game against the Anaheim Arsenal.

Colorado 14ers, 10-5

Colorado went 3-0 last week, winning all 3 of their games at home. They started their week with a victory over Tulsa in which they scored 130 points, and they finished up with a pair of wins against Bakersfield. Pooh Jeter has really started to play well lately, and had 2 games of 12 or more assists last week. Von Wafer has continued to play well this season, and is shooting over 48% from both the field and the three point line. Elton Brown has also really improved over the past month, and is now averaging 17.0 points, 10.3 rebounds, and 2.5 assists per game on the season.

The 14ers open their week with a home game Tuesday against the Austin Toros. They finish the week with Friday and Saturday games in Albuquerque and Tulsa.

Sioux Falls Skyforce, 10-8

Last week, Sioux Falls won Friday in Tulsa, but lost a home game to the same team Saturday night. Vince Grier has emerged as one of the top guards in the D-League, and had 27 points, 9 rebounds, and 8 assists on Saturday night while only turning the ball over 2 times. Frank Williams has struggled as a point guard, but has been one of the best three point shooters in the D-League throughout the season. He was 7/13 from the three point line on Friday, and 8/15 on Saturday. Jared Reiner has also played well recently, and should help make up for the loss of Andre Brown for the NBA.

Sioux Falls opens their week at home against Arkansas on Friday, before finishing up in Idaho Saturday night.

Idaho Stampede, 9-7

Idaho won their only game last week on Sunday in Los Angeles. Peter Ramos has scored very well for the Stampede lately, but is not rebounding the ball well considering his size. Randy Livingston had a triple double on Sunday, racking up 10 points, 12 rebounds, and 15 assists. Jeff Graves has continued his solid play up front, and has been one of the better rebounders in the D-League recently. Eddie Robinson is injured right now for Idaho, and it doesn’t help that they lost Luke Jackson to the L.A. Clippers.

This week, Idaho plays home games against Bakersfield on Wednesday and Friday. Saturday night, they host the Sioux Falls Skyforce.

Los Angeles D-Fenders, 9-8

The D-Fenders have struggled since losing Devin Green, and went 0-2 last week. Brian Chase played well in their loss on Friday, but was nowhere to be found on Sunday. Butter Johnson has been getting back from an injury, and played well Sunday, compiling 17 points and 6 rebounds. TJ Cummings has struggled from the field recently, and Andre Patterson has rebounded well but struggled with his scoring.

This week, L.A. just plays one game, and it’s at home on Friday against the Austin Toros.

Tulsa 66ers, 9-9

Tulsa went 1-2 last week, losing Wednesday and Friday games before bouncing back Sunday for a win in Sioux Falls. Will Conroy is making a strong case for MVP of the D-League this season. He is averaging 16.6 points, 9.9 rebounds, and 5.2 rebounds per game this season. Denham Brown has started to play more consistently lately, and his play has helped the 66ers greatly. Newcomer Alan Anderson, formerly of the Charlotte Bobcats, has averaged 14.2 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 1.4 assists per game in his first 5 games in the NBDL.

This week, Tulsa plays Friday in North Dakota against the Wizards. They return home Saturday for a game against the Colorado 14ers.

Albuquerque Thunderbirds, 7-9

Albuquerque dropped a home game Friday against Austin, and lost Saturday night in Anaheim. Chris Rodgers has played very well since joining the Thunderbirds, and made 19 of his 20 free throw attempts Saturday. He is currently averaging 14.6 points, 3.0 rebounds, and 2.6 assists per game with Albuquerque. With Dijon Thompson in the NBA, and Marcus Douthit gone, the Thunderbirds need a scorer to step up and play well. They will probably look to the available player pool soon to try and fill these voids.

This week, Albuquerque plays Friday and Saturday home games against Colorado and Fort Worth.

Anaheim Arsenal, 7-11

Anaheim went 1-1 last week, and dropped their first game against Idaho on Thursday. They bounced back Saturday with a victory over the Albuquerque Thunderbirds. Andre Owens has stepped up his play over the past few weeks, and is now a clear cut number 2 option behind Jawad Williams. Corsley Edwards scored 30 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in the win on Saturday. Majic Dorsey had a good game Saturday with 15 points, and he made 7 of his 9 free throw attempts.

Anaheim starts their week Thursday with a home game against Austin. They finish the week with Saturday and Sunday road games in Arkansas and Sioux Falls.

Arkansas Rimrockers, 6-10

Arkansas dropped Friday and Saturday games last week in Fort Worth against the Flyers. Clay Tucker has been one of the better guards in the D-League this season, and scored 42 points in Saturday night’s loss. He is averaging 18.0 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 4.2 assists per game on the season. Matt Haryasz is back with the team, but still isn’t ready for more than about 20 minutes per game at this point in time. Myron Allen has struggled as a point guard recently, and turned the ball over 6 times on Saturday.

Arkansas opens their week Friday in Sioux Falls, before playing at home against Anaheim Saturday night.

Bakersfield Jam, 5-11

Bakersfield went 0-3 last week, though they were battling until the end in all of their games. Gerry McNamara has continued his hot and cold play from college, but has scored well from the field this season. He has also increased is assists numbers to nearly 7 per game, but he’s still turning the ball over 4 times. Brandon Bowman had a bad week after playing better recently. Kevinn Pinkney has continued to be a good scorer and solid rebounder, but often struggles with foul trouble.

Bakersfield plays two games in Idaho this week on Wednesday and Friday nights.

Austin Toros, 3-13

The Toros had their best week of the season last week, winning games on Thursday and Friday nights. James White was a key component in these wins for Austin, and has displayed some tools that might allow him to stick around for a while in the NBA. BJ Elder has maintained his 20ppg scoring average this season, and Troy Bell scored 27 points against the Albuquerque team that cut him a couple weeks ago. Jamar Smith has really struggled recently, and will have to improve his play if the Toros are going to keep winning some games.

Austin plays a pair of road games in California this week. Thursday night they play in Anaheim, and Friday night they play in Los Angeles.

Recent articles

Twitter @DraftExpress

DraftExpress Shop