by Matthew Brennan, NBA D-League.com
An NBA D-League player was selected in the NBA Draft for the third straight year on Thursday, although this selection verged a bit towards the unexpected. The Los Angeles Lakers drafted Bakersfield Jam forward Chukwudiebere Maduabum with the 56th selection in the draft before trading his rights to the Denver Nuggets for a future second-round pick. A 6-9 forward out of Nigeria, Maduabum joined the Jam late in the season and appeared in only three games. He averaged 0.7 points in 20 total minutes of game action, but did register one game with three blocked shots. Maduabum joins Mike Taylor (55th, 2008) and Latavious Williams (48th, 2010) as players taken in the NBA Draft after playing in the NBA D-League.
With such a small sample size of activity, it is hard to tell where Maduabum will fit in with the Nuggets and what his strengths and weakness are as a player. Obviously an assignment to the Nuggets' NBA D-League affiliate (still TBA at this time) could be in the cards for the 2011-12 season. Maduabum could also join Denver's affiliate as an allocated player if he does not make Denver's roster, or he could return to Bakersfield for another season if he does not report to training camp with the Nuggets. With Maduabum only recently turning just 20 years old, he obviously has plenty of room for further development as a player under the eye of Denver General Manager Masai Ujiri.
In more disappointing developments for NBA D-League players on draft night, New Mexico Thunderbirds forward Jamine Peterson was not selected. Eligible for the draft after leaving Providence last season, Peterson joined New Mexico in January and went on to average 13.4 points and 5.9 rebounds in 36 games. Despite appearing on several draft boards and some promising workouts for NBA teams,. Peterson will have to look for a training camp invite or a return to the NBA D-League as he seeks to make an NBA roster. Peterson showed that he is capable of explosive offensive performances in his first season and would be a viable GATORADE Call-Up candidate if he reappears in the NBA D-League. First on the schedule, according to a tweet by his agent, is a free-agent camp next week with the Miami Heat.