Three's Company at All-Star Weekend
On Saturday afternoon in Orlando, Fla., Gerald Green, Elijah Millsap and Zach Andrews will represent the Los Angeles D-Fenders for the West Conference at the 2012 NBA Development League All-Star game.
The trio, each tabbed as D-League All-Stars for the first time in their careers, will have a unique opportunity to showcase their basketball talents to NBA scouts, coaches and fellow players at the Amway Center.
“All three have worked really hard so far this season and have remained committed to helping our team win,” said Head Coach Eric Musselman of the All-Stars who helped the D-Fenders attain a league-best 26-10 record at the break. “I think it’s great that winning teams like us and Springfield on the Eastern side have the most represented players. It’s always good to see players from winning teams get rewarded.”
Green, the 2007 NBA Slam Dunk Champion and fifth leading scorer in the D-League, has a platform to impress onlookers with his improved shooting touch (19.1 PPG, 45.8 3FG%), his commitment to the defensive side of the floor, and of course, his dunking abilities.
“In the summertime I did work hard on a few things, I worked hard on my jump shot,” said Green. “Coach Musselman has done an excellent job helping me with my defense. I have to give him that credit. And I’ve just been trying to work hard in practice every day and get better.”
Meanwhile, Millsap, who is set to compete in both the game and Shooting Stars Competition, can let loose and show fans the dribble-penetration style of basketball that has made his game the most effective this season.
“It’s a great honor to be an All-Star among the best players in the D-League and to show how much things can change in a year,” said Millsap. “Last year I was at the house watching it on TV and this year I’m playing in it. Last year I wanted to be in and I wasn’t picked to be one, and this year, it shows how much hard work pays off and how much things change in a year.”
Millsap finished with a memorable first half, averaging 18.9 points (6th highest D-League scoring average), 6.0 assists and 1.7 steals in 27 games (19 starts). What’s more, on January 20th the 6-6 guard posted his first career triple-double after totaling 26 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists at Bakersfield. The triple-double was the third for the D-Fenders this season as well as the third in franchise history.
Additionally, Andrews, a late addition to the West Conference squad after teammate Costner withdrew due to injury, will take part in Saturday’s game along with the D-League Slam Dunk Competition. The 6-9 forward has averaged 10.4 points (65.0 FG%) and 8.5 rebounds in 30 games (28 starts), and electrified D-League crowds all season with dunks such as this one against Idaho.
Furthermore, Andrews will be only the second D-Fender participant in the slam dunk contest in franchise history, joining former D-Fender and 2009-10 D-League Slam Dunk Champion Dar Tucker.
“To be an All-Star for the LA D-Fenders and to be out here in Orlando, I felt it was impossible because they called who the All-Stars were on the team, and I wasn’t called,” said Andrews. “I really wanted it and it’s crazy how things work out like that. And to be here and to even be a replacement, to me it’s like a Cinderella story.”
Including Green, Millsap, Andrews and Costner, the D-Fenders now have a total of nine players in franchise history to be named an All-Star. Moreover, Los Angeles will have seen two entries all-time in the Shooting Stars Competition and the Slam Dunk Contest, respectively.
Not a bad way to punctuate the first half of the season.
The 2012 NBA Development League All-Star game, Slam Dunk Competition and Dream Factory, which includes the Shooting Stars Competition, will take place Saturday, Feb. 25 at Amway Arena beginning at 2 p.m. ET. The game is available for viewing on NBA TV.