DraftExpress President Jonathan Givony and D-League Director of Scouting Mike Schmidt are present in frosty Sioux Falls, South Dakota to track the progress of the NBA send-downs and potential call-ups. Kevin Pinkney and Pooh Jeter
raise some eyebrows with strong performances against Arkansas and Los Angeles respectively, while CJ Miles bounces back amongst the players sent down. Any International teams seeking more comprehensive information on any of the players at the showcase should feel free to get in touch using the email addresses listed below.D-League Showcase, Day One. Rumor Mill:
According to reliable sources here at the D-League Showcase in Sioux Falls, Renaldo Major will reportedly be called up shortly by the Golden State Warriors for a 10-day contract. The Warriors currently have only 14 players under contract and have recently found success with D-League swingmen by bringing up Kelenna Azubuike
. They are extremely banged up following the injuries to Adonal Foyle
and Mickael Pietrus
and only went with an 8-man rotation on Monday against the Clippers. To help ease the load, Patrick O'Bryant has also been called back up to Golden State. Major will reportedly be the 6th player this year called up by the D-League thus far.
Major is a 6-7 swingman with excellent athletic ability and very nice scoring instincts from inside the 3-point arc. Hes 24 years old, and seems to have improved rapidly from his collegiate days at Fresno State, where he only averaged 10.7 points per game in a senior year that was cut short by a season-ending suspension. This year hes averaging 18 points per game, 4.9 rebounds and 2.9 assists on 54% shooting from the field playing with the Dakota Wizards. Game One: Bakersfield Jam 99- Arkansas RimRockers 89Patrick OBryant, 7-0, Center, Golden State Warriors (Bakersfield Jam), 1986
4 points, 6 rebounds, 2 blocks, 1 assist, 2 turnovers, 6 fouls, 0-3 FG, 4-4 FT, 17 minutesJonathan Givony
Fouling out in just 17 minutes of action, there wasnt a whole lot to take away from this game regarding OBryants performance. He was pretty active early on in the game before fatigue kicked in, hitting the offensive glass well and rotating over to help out on slashers entering the paint. This activity level got him in foul trouble pretty quickly, though, and also seemed to drain a lot of his energy, which caused him to lumber/mope around on the court in the 2nd half before fouling out. He didnt show anything resembling an offensive game as his 0 field goals would indicate, and generally looked like he could use the entire season getting playing time in the D-League before hed even be ready for summer league. If anything, his energy level was sorely lacking and it didnt really look like he wanted to be there at all. Gerry McNamara, 6-0, Point Guard, Bakersfield
17 points, 3, assists, 2 turnovers, 6/12 fg, 1/5 ftMike Schmidt
McNamara displayed a nice mid-range game today, and hit a series of floaters over taller players in the lane. He created these shots out of the half court offense, and used a lot of high pick and roll screens to create the space. McNamara pushed the ball in transition when he could, and created a lot of easy points for his team in the process. He displayed good court vision in the half court, but only created in these situations when he was a threat to score off the dribble. There are a few main weaknesses McNamara will need to correct to make it to the NBA. He still settles for too many outside jumpers off the dribble, which he doesnt make with any type of consistency. Another main weakness is the fact that he only plays at one speed. Most point guards with below average athleticism use a number of fakes, direction changes, and speed changes to create space in both the half court and full court. McNamara plays as fast as he can at all times, and doesnt have the extra gear to get past athletic defenders. He hasnt added any muscle since graduating college, and struggles mightily on defense due to physical weakness. McNamara is one of the better point guards in the D-League at this point in time, but he has a long path ahead of him if he wants to stick in the NBA. Kevinn Pinkney, 6-10, Forward, Bakersfield Jam
25 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 9/16 fg,7/9 ft Mike Schmidt
Pinkney has been one of the better power forwards in the D-League this season, and he proved why today. He scored the bulk of his 25 points off of high pick and roll plays where he was able to knock down the 18 foot jump shot. He releases his jumper very quickly and at a high trajectory. The fact that he can score efficiently off the high pick and roll makes him an interesting guy in the eyes of NBA scouts. Pinkney also displayed the ability to mix it up inside. He is not the type of player who will dominate with a back to the basket game, but he made a lot of turnaround shots out of the post from 8-12 feet. Pinkney has a good body, but is not the most athletic guy in the world. He uses his body well on the glass, but has shorter than average length for a person of his size. If Pinkney was a little tougher inside and more athletic, hed be a lock to receive a call-up at some point. As it is, he could be an intriguing option to a team looking to fill in for an injured big.
Game Two: Idaho Stampede- Anaheim ArsenalJames Augustine, 6-9, Power Forward, Orlando Magic (Anaheim), 1984
12 points, 1 rebound, 1 block, 3 fouls, 5-7 FG, 2-2 FT, 22 minutesJonathan Givony
After struggling initially in his first few D-league games, James Augustine
seems to be settling in nicely into his role coming off the bench for Anaheim, even if he needs to work on tying his shoe laces before he comes into games. He ran the floor initially very well, used his hands to catch a nice pass in transition for an athletic finish, and put the ball on the floor slashing with his left hand on another occasion. Augustine struggles when placed on the side of the court where he needs to start his moves with his weaker right hand, so any kind of scouting report on him can almost immediately neutralize him in the NBA. Going to his better hand, Augustine had a few quick nice moves in the post using a fake and then a jump-hook, and then drained a pretty looking mid-range jumper when given space to operate from 16 feet. All in all, this was a pretty nice showing for Augustine, and something the Magic can come away encouraged from. It would be nice to see him rebound the ball better, though.CJ Miles, 6-5, Shooting Guard, Utah Jazz (Idaho Stampede)
22 points, 8 rebounds, 1 steal, 1 block, 9/20 fg, 8/8 ft, 3/9 3pfgMike Schmidt
After struggling yesterday, Miles displayed the talent that made him an early second round pick of the Utah Jazz in 2005. Early in the game, he had the ball at the top of the key on a pick and roll. He dribbled away from the screen and exploded off the ground for a dunk that certainly would have put an opposing player on a poster had it been in the NBA. Miles continued to attack the hoop with success throughout the game, and was able to gain 8 attempts from the free throw line in the process. As was the case yesterday, Miles settled for too many three point jump shots. His perimeter stroke is streaky at this point, and this was the biggest hindrance to his efficiency from the field today. He seemed to have increased his focus on the defensive end today, though he still missed a couple defensive rotations. Miles had a much bigger role today in the offense, which may have led to an increase in his focus on both ends of the floor. He has a few main improvements he needs to make before he is ready to be a consistent contributor at the NBA level. The biggest thing Miles needs to develop is an in-between game of some sort. He shoots a lot of threes, and gets to the basket, but doesnt really have any type of pull-up or runner he can go to when the lane is clogged. He must also continue to develop his body. Miles weighs around 10 pounds more than last season, but hes still a twig by NBA standards. He has the athleticism and the talent to play in the NBA, but he must build on the foundation he has in place to get to the next level. Jawad Williams, 6-10, Forward, Anaheim Arsenal
19 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists, 6/13 fg, 5/6 ft, 2/5 3pfgMike Schmidt
Williams shot the ball very well today when spotting up and shooting off the dribble. He made some very difficult double pump shots, and also made a few step back mid-range shots out of the post. He did take a few bad shots off the dribble where he was caught in the air and didnt have any other place to go. Another major asset to Williams game is the fact that he can initiate contact and get to the free throw line. He knows how to anticipate when the defensive player will jump, and he can always get a shot attempt up while being fouled. Williams also brought fundamental rebounding skills to the floor, and collected 7 rebounds throughout the game. He will have to get by a few limitations to make it at the NBA level. Williams doesnt really have the ability to drive past the defense and get to the hoop on a regular basis. He can finish inside, but most of the shots he creates in the D-League are jumpers. Williams was always known as a good defender in college today, but he struggled to stay with C.J. Miles today. Though Miles plays the shooting guard, it may be a sign that Williams will struggle against quicker players at the NBA level. Despite his limitations, he has played well for Anaheim this season. Jawad Williams
could see a call-up at some point this season, but will make a lot of money overseas if he cant make it to the NBA. Andre Owens, 6-4, Shooting Guard, Anaheim Arsenal, 1980
16 points, 4 rebounds, 0 assists, 3 turnovers, 5-14 FG, 0-2 3P, 6-8 FT, 46 minutesJonathan Givony
Despite putting up decent numbers, it was hard to come away impressed at all by the way Andre Owens
played today. He was asked to initiate much of Anaheims offense today, and for the most part looked extremely selfish by constantly being the lone man to touch the ball after it was inbounded following a made basket. Owens looked to use his athleticism to slash to the basket time after time, and was not deterred even one bit by the swarm of defenders he constantly drew. He pulled up off the dribble occasionally for a tough, contested off balance shot, and didnt find all that much success doing so. After Owens again dribbled his way into a double team and threw the ball aimlessly towards a surefire steal and easy dunk, one exasperated NBA scout sitting behind us wondered out loud just what exactly is Owens good at and why did the Jazz keep him for an entire season? The answer to that would be that hes an outstanding slasher thanks to his athletic ability and is capable of being a real lock-down defender when he puts his mind to it. The problem is that Anaheims offense has little rhyme or rhythm to it, and from weve been told they have some of the worst team chemistry of any team in the league. Owens play today within their offense did little to discourage that notion.Mouhamed Saer Sene, 7-0, Center, Seattle Supersonics (Idaho), 1986
6 points, 5 rebounds, 2 blocks, 3-8 FG, 0-3 FT, 21 minutesJonathan Givony
Although not quite as consistent as he was yesterday, Saer Sene
still showed off many of the tools that have NBA types drooling over his upside. He started off the game quite poorly actually, missing a few easy shots around the rim that he surely should have dunked, looking pretty tentative, not hitting the glass as well he did in the past, and being outmuscled defensively. Once Sene learns how to use his body better in the post and really trust his length and athleticism to go up and dunk everything, hell be able to make a real impact offensively. He frustrated in the first three quarters by missing from point blank range, but in the fourth quarter came on and made an instant impact on the game. He had a couple of outstanding blocks, pinning one Majic Dorsey layup to the glass without mercy in highlight reel fashion for example. He also did a better ball catching the ball and finishing around the net, once for a layup and on another occasion for a turnaround jumper from about three feet. Wed encourage Seattle fans not to get too excited since hes still a long ways away, but he looks like hes definitely on the right track.
Game Three: Colorado 14ers 103- LA D-Fenders 85Poor Jeter, 5-11, Point Guard, Colorado 14ers, 1983
10 points, 11 assists, 0 turnovers, 5 rebounds, 2 steals, 4-6 FG, 2-2 FT, 22 minutesJonathan Givony
Coming out of nowhere to put up one of the most impressive performances of any player the showcase so far was Pooh Jeter
s awesome 10 point, 11 assist, 0 turnover, 5 rebound effort in a blowout win over the LA D-Fenders. Whats shocking about the way Jeter is playing is the fact that he was considered mostly a combo guard coming out of college at Portland, sporting a 3 assist per game average and a 1.2/1 ast/to ratio. Jeter seems to have made the very tough transition to the point guard position incredibly well, and we had already seen sparks of that at the Las Vegas Summer League.
Jeter controlled the tempo of the game like no point guard at this showcase had so far. He handled the ball on a string, driving in and out of traffic with the greatest of ease and looking calm and under control at all times. He displayed awesome court vision both when penetrating and while running plays on the perimeter, dropping off some gorgeous bounce passes to cutters, perfectly timed entry passes into the post, as well as terrific lobs for alleyoops out of absolutely nowhere. He used a strong crossover to keep his defender on his heels at all times, and even showed off some scoring ability by getting into the lane and using his strength to finish strong at the basket, and 1. Defensively, he was very solid despite his lack of size, being extremely pesky on the ball and having no problem getting scrappy on the floor if the situation called for it.
The most fun part about taking in Jeters performance was the fact that he did it with a huge smile on his face the entire time, as if he was playing in the backyard of his house rather than at a pressure packed showcase in front of dozens of NBA and International scouts. His size remains a question mark, as does his ability to shoot the ball from outside (for people who didnt see him in college) but Jeter surely made a name for himself today and should be one of the more closely scrutinized players tomorrow. Elton Brown, 6-9, Power Forward/Center, Colorado 14ers
15 points, 8 rebounds, 1 assist, 4/7 fg, 7/8 ftMike Schmidt
Brown displayed the ability to score out of the post with a couple different moves today. He possesses nice footwork inside, and the ability to wait for the right opportunity to score. Because he is so patient inside, Brown makes it to the free throw line with consistency. Today, he made it to the charity stripe 8 times, and converted 7 of his attempts. He knows how the use his weight on the defensive end as well, and his ability to push people around is used very effectively on the glass. In terms of size, post scoring, and rebounding, there are few comparable players outside of the NBA. Though Brown weighs less than he used to, he still carries some extra pounds, and would definitely benefit from some muscle tone. He also turns the ball over too often at this point, and thats largely due to the fact that he rarely passes the ball out of the post once he receives an entry pass. Brown has struggled a bit with consistency this season, but is definitely in the mix for a call-up to a team looking for a post scorer. Brian Chase, 5-7, guard, Los Angeles D-Fenders
17 points, 7 assists, 5 rebounds, 7/11 fg, 3/4 3pfg, 1/1 ftMike Schmidt
Chase had his best game of the showcase, and one of his best games since joining the D-League. He still has a scorers mentality despite standing at 57, but he did a good job today of involving his teammates. Chases biggest asset right now is as a shooter. He gets his shot away quickly, and is very accurate from behind the three point line. He shoots his best off the dribble, and can always create separation to get a shot off. He lacks the quickness you see from most midget guards, but has a good body and is very strong. Chase was at his best today late in the game when his team was down big. Though the D-Fenders werent able to come back from the large deficit, he was very vocal on the court in leading his team. He will always have some weaknesses due to lack of size and court vision, but his shooting helps greatly in compensating. The best things Chase can do in terms of making it back to the NBA is consistently knock down the three balls, and continue to involve his teammates.Louis Amundson, 6-8, Power Forward, Colorado 14ers
3 points, 4 rebounds, 5 blocks, 1 assist, 1/2 fg, 1/2 ftMike Schmidt
Amundson is coming back from a hip pointer that kept him out of a few games, and only played about 20 minutes today. He was quiet for a lot of the time he was on the floor, but had some stretches where he showed his value as an energy guy at the NBA level. Amundson has explosive leaping ability off the ground, and he displayed it during a stretch where he blocked 3 shots in a span of 2 minutes or so. His value as a shotblocker goes beyond the numbers, because he disrupted a lot of shots once the opposing team realized that he was hard to score against. Amundson is also active as a rebounder, and kept a lot of balls alive today. He only finished up with 4 rebounds, but the ability he has in this area was easy to see. The biggest limitations he has at this point in time are on the offensive end. Amundson lacks the ability to create offense for himself on a consistent basis, and really struggles outside of 10 feet. He has very bad form on his jump shot as he displayed at the free throw line. For the season, he is shooting less than 50% from the charity stripe. Still, any team that signs Amundson will do so because of the hustle and energy he brings to the court. Players of his type are always valuable at the NBA level, and Amundson has as good of a shot as anybody to make it up to the NBA this season. Von Wafer, 6-5, Shooting Guard, Colorado 14ers, 1985
19 points, 1 rebound, 1 assist, 2 turnovers, 3 steals, 1 block, 7-10 FG, 2-4 3P, 3-3 FT, 23 minutes Jonathan Givony
The main recipient of many of Pooh Jeter
s terrific assists and a pretty intriguing guy in his own right, Von Wafer did a very good job helping the 14ers blow out the developmental squad of the Los Angeles Lakers team that drafted him and eventually cut him.
Wafer was extremely aggressive throughout the game, looking for his shot constantly thanks to his athleticism and all-around talent, and finding multiple holes in the defense to exploit in many different ways. He pulled up off the dribble nicely on a few occasions, showing a very smooth mid-range jumper, and knocked down the 3-pointers that were presented him. He also did a nice job in the passing lanes and showed off his explosiveness finishing in transition or off a Pooh Jeter
alley-oop lob. All in all he looks a bit more mature every time we see him and certainly just as naturally talented. It would have been nice to see him round out his game a bit beyond the scoring, as he didnt contribute all that defensively behind the steals he accumulated and also didnt hit the glass particularly hard.
Game Four: Tulsa 66ers 100 Albuquerque Thunderbirds 97Will Conroy, 6-2, Point Guard, Tulsa, 1982
16 points, 7 assists, 1 turnover, 4 rebounds, 5-14 FG, 1-1 3P, 5-5 FTJonathan Givony
The player widely considered by most to be the closest to getting an NBA callup, Will Conroy
didnt do much to discourage that notion with the way he played tonight, even if it wasnt his best game ever in the D-League. He seems to have added plenty of strength to his frame since graduating from Washington, and hes certainly moving a lot better than we remember him a few years back, while still playing excellent man to man defense. Conroy is your consummate floor general, running half-court sets to perfection, making crisp passes, using shot-fakes to make his way to the basket, displaying plenty of nifty ball-handling skills with either hand and the ability to change gears and keep his defender on his heels. We got the feeling that he should have finished with a lot more than the 7 assists he was credited with, partially because the statistician might have skimped him a bit, but more so because of how many excellent looks his teammates failed to convert. He displayed the entire arsenal of passing skills; including simple bounce passes off the dribble after penetrating, beautiful post-entry looks, and even some flashier stuff like a very difficult behind the back pass right into the oncoming hands of a cutter making his way to the basket.
Conroy stepped up his scoring in the clutch when his team really needed him, as the 66ers were down by as many as 10 points deep in the 4th quarter. He used his strength to get into the paint and take contact before finishing or drawing fouls, and used the glass pretty well. When an open 3-point jumper presented itself, he took it and knocked it down smoothly without any hesitation, which is very important considering that this was considered a major weakness of his coming out of college. Its pretty surprising to still see Conroy here in the D-League considering the way he looks and just how few quality backup point guards there are in the NBA. Its our sense from talking to numerous scouts here that hes not going to be sticking around for long. Desmon Farmer, 6-5, Shooting Guard, Tulsa, 1981
21 points, 5 rebounds, 3 turnovers, 2 steals, 9-14 FG, 3-5 3P, 33 minutesJonathan Givony
Teams looking for an absolute bundle of energy to bring off the bench got a great taste of what they can expect once Desmon Farmer
hit the floor. He made his presence felt immediately with various contributions in every facet of the game, and ended up being the best player on the floor for either team. Farmer ran the floor extremely well and constantly looked to attack the defense, getting in the passing lanes on multiple occasions, slashing to the basket, hitting the glass with reckless abandon, and playing absolutely tenacious defense on whoever he was asked to guard. His outside shot was money all night long, either spotting up on the wing or pulling up off the dribble. Farmer might not be the most orthodox guy in the world with his style of play, but he definitely got the job done for his team. Just recently having been cut from the Seattle Supersonics, it wouldnt surprise at all to see him return to the league sooner rather than later. Mike Hall, Forward, 6-7, Tulsa 66ers, 1984
17 points, 13 rebounds, 4 assists, 7/13 fg, 1/4 3pfgMike Schmidt
Hall had one of the most impressive all-around performances of the D-League showcase today. His numbers stand out along, but they dont speak to the intangibles that he brings to the floor. Hall displayed the ability to hit a jumper, and he finished well near the basket as well. Hes not the type of guy whos going to blow you away by creating his own shot, but hes very cerebral with how he scores. Hall has good size for the small forward position in the NBA, and his rebounding skills will help greatly. He was able to get key rebounds on the offensive end that provided points in the fourth quarter in the come-back victory. A lot of players in the D-League force bad shots to try and impress NBA decision makers with high point totals, but Hall is very good at taking what the defense gives him. He can find the open man when double teamed in the lane, and makes good decisions in transition as well. There was some buzz today that Hall might have drawn the eye of a few NBA teams, and he should be able to get a contract if he can continue to produce like he did today. Denham Brown, 6-5, Guard/Forward, Tulsa 66ers,
16 points, 5 rebounds, 6/15, 4/4 ftMike Schmidt
Brown struggled to create his own shot today, but was helped out greatly by his ability to get to the free throw line. He had a number of nice drives where he repositioned himself well, but he lacks the touch to finish on a lot of these moves inside. He wasnt helped at all by the fact that his jumper was off today. Brown was able to initiate contact a couple times, but he looks slow off the dribble, and doesnt really strike you as a great slasher. He was a step slow on the defensive end a number of times as well. Brown has been streaky throughout the season in the D-League, but he is a 4 year player from a winning college program. He would greatly improve his chances of getting a call-up if he could play more consistently, and stick to what he is good at on the basketball court. Most of the guys who receive call-ups from the D-League have one NBA skill that stands out, but Brown seems to lack this. It will be interesting to see what the rest of the D-League season holds for Brown.