NBA D-League Alumni P.J. Hairston and Thanasis Antetokounmpo Selected in 2014 NBA Draft
NEW YORK, June 27, 2013 -- Texas Legends guard P.J. Hairston (6-6, 230) was selected by the Miami Heat with the 26th overall pick of NBA Draft 2014 presented by State Farm before being traded to the Charlotte Hornets, becoming the first player with NBA D-League experience to be drafted in the first round. Later in the night, Delaware 87ers forward Thanasis Antetokounmpo (6-7, 215) was selected by the New York Knicks with the 51st overall pick, becoming the first international player to use the NBA D-League as a springboard to the NBA. Hairston and Antetokounmpo are the fifth and sixth players with NBA D-League experience to be picked in an NBA Draft, respectively.
Hairston, who appeared in 26 regular season games (15 starts) for the Legends last season, averaged 21.8 points on 45 percent shooting from the field to go with 3.5 rebounds and 32.1 minutes. He led the team in scoring 12 times, notching six 30-plus point games and scoring a career-high 45 points on Jan. 29, in a 124-115 road loss to the Reno Bighorns.
Antetokounmpo played in all 50 of the 87ersí regular season games, 42 as a starter, and averaged 12.0 points, 4.3 rebounds and 29.3 minutes for the year. The older brother of Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis, Antetokounmpo capped his rookie season in Delaware averaging 17.1 points, 5.5 rebounds and 3.4 assists over his last 15 games, a span in which he led the team in scoring four times.
Hairston and Antetokounmpo join Mike Taylor (55th overall, 2008), Latavious Williams (48th overall, 2009), Chukwudiebere Maduabum (54th overall, 2011) and Glen Rice, Jr. (35th overall, 2013) as players with NBA D-League experience to be selected in an NBA Draft.
Twenty-six members of the 2013 NBA Draft class honed their skills in the NBA D-League during the 2013-14 NBA season, while more than 40 percent of players drafted in the NBA since 2005 have played in the NBA D-League. In total, one third of NBA players (149) at the end of the 2013-14 season boasted NBA D-League experience, including 79 who went on to play in the 2014 NBA playoffs. Five players with NBA D-League experience were crowned NBA Champions in 2014, as Aron Baynes, Austin Daye, Danny Green, Cory Joseph and Patty Mills contributed to the Spurs title run.