60 Former NBA D-League Players On 2008 NBA Opening Night Rosters
by Matthew Brennan, D-League.com
A new all-time high of 60 players with NBA D-League experience are on 2008-09 Opening Night rosters, which is up from 44 last season. Here is a closer look at all 60 players divided by NBA team.
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Gabe Pruitt: A 6-4 guard, Pruitt averaged 18.6 points in 15 games on assignment to the Utah Flash in his rookie season. Pruitt should expect to see more playing time in the Celtics backcourt this year but is still eligible to make a return to Orem. He became the second NBA player with D-League experience (Devin Brown, San Antonio, 2004-05) to win an NBA title in June.
Charlotte Bobcats Andre Brown: A rugged rebounder, Brown was a GATORADE Call-Up to Seattle in the 2006-07 season after a stellar beginning to the season with the Sioux Falls Skyforce. After spending all of last season with the Memphis Grizzlies, Brown landed in Charlotte as a free agent.
Shannon Brown: Brown was assigned to the D-League three times by two different teams in the first two years of his NBA career. A first-round pick of Cleveland, Brown played one game in Albuquerque in 2006-07 before the Cavaliers assigned him to Rio Grande Valley last year. Brown then was traded to Chicago and made another appearance on assignment with the Iowa Energy. In total, He averaged 23.4 points in 11 games last season on assignment before joining the Bobcats as a free agent.
Matt Carroll: The 2004-05 NBA D-League MVP with the Roanoke Dazzle, Carroll is set to start his fifth season with the Bobcats. He averaged 9.0 points last year while appearing in 80 games for Charlotte.
Ryan Hollins: The first player assigned to the D-League in the 2006-07 season, Hollins played in five games for Fort Worth. The UCLA product appeared in 60 games for Charlotte last season and re-signed with the Bobcats over the summer, where he will continue to back up Emeka Okafor and Nazr Mohammed at center.
Chicago Bulls Demetris Nichols: Nichols was assigned to Iowa last season for 14 games, averaging 19.3 points and 4.2 rebounds. He will be eligible to return to the Energy in his second NBA campaign.
Cedric Simmons: Simmons played in Rio Grande Valley and Iowa on assignment last year in his second NBA season. The 6-9 forward averaged 13.3 points and 6.3 rebounds in nine games.
Cleveland Cavaliers Jawad Williams: An NBA D-League All-Star in 2006-07 with the Anaheim Arsenal, Williams made the Cavaliers roster in training camp and will enter his first NBA season. He spent last season playing overseas.
Dallas Mavericks Brandon Bass: Bass was assigned to Tulsa for one game by the Hornets during his rookie year in 2005-06. He returns for a second year in Dallas after a breakout 2007-08 season where he averaged 8.3 points and 4.4 rebounds in 79 games.
Jose Barea: Barea played in 44 games last season in his second year with Dallas. Assigned to Fort Worth as a rookie, Barea averaged 27.3 points in a total of eight NBA D-League games.
Gerald Green: Green enters his first season with the Mavericks after splitting last season between Minnesota and Houston. The former first-round pick of Boston averaged 11.9 points in nine games on assignment during his rookie year in 2005-06.
Denver Nuggets Chris Andersen: The first overall draft pick and the first GATORADE Call-Up in NBA D-League history will return for his second stint for the Nuggets, who signed him out of Fayetteville in 2001. Andersen appeared in five games for the Hornets last season.
Dahntay Jones: Jones made a cameo for the Fort Wayne Mad Ants late last season after being waived by the Kings. He signed with Denver for this season after a strong NBA Summer League and 24.4 points in ten games with the Mad Ants in April.
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Will Bynum: Bynum was the 2005-06 NBA D-League Rookie of the Year after averaging 24.0 points in 29 games for Roanoke and earning a GATORADE Call-Up to Golden State. Bynum signed a contract with the Pistons this summer after playing in Isreal for the past two seasons.
Amir Johnson: Johnson is expected to start at power forward this season, which will be his fourth with the Pistons. Detroit drafted him in the second round of the 2005 Draft out of high school, and assigned him to Fayetteville as a rookie and Sioux Falls in his second season. Johnson was one of the best players in the D-League in 2006-07, averaging 18.9 points and 9.6 rebounds in 22 games with the Skyforce.
Cheikh Samb: Samb spent extensive time in Fort Wayne on assignment last season, where he set a new single-game record with 11 blocked shots in a game. He is eligible to spend time with the Mad Ants again in his second NBA season.
Golden State Warriors
Kelenna Azubuike: Azubuike was the first GATORADE Call-Up of the 2006-07 season and has become a valuable member of Golden State's rotation since he joined the Warriors. He posted 8.5 points per game and played in 81 games last season for Golden State.
C.J. Watson: Watson was dominating the NBA D-League last season when the Warriors signed him to a contract, making him the 100th GATORADE Call-Up in league history. After appearing in 32 games off the bench last season, Watson is expected to play a bigger role at the point guard spot for the Warriors as they head into the 2008-09 campaign.
Rafer Alston: Alston led all former D-League players with 13.1 points and 5.3 assists last season, his ninth in the NBA. The 6-2 guard averaged 15.8 points for the D-League's Mobile Revelers during the 2002-03 season.
Aaron Brooks: Brooks averaged 23.0 points in two games on assignment to Rio Grande Valley during his rookie season. He should play a bigger role for the Rockets after appearing in 51 games for Houston in 2007-08.
Chuck Hayes: Hayes has been a mainstay in the Rockets' rotation since they signed him for the Albuquerque Thunderbirds in the 2005-06 season. He played in 79 games for Houston last season and ranked third on the team with 5.4 rebounds.
Von Wafer: Wafer has been assigned to the D-League as a rookie with the Lakers in 2005-06 and was then a D-League All-Star and GATORADE Call-Up the next season as a member of the Colorado 14ers. He spent all of last season in the NBA with the Nuggets and the Trail Blazers before joining the Rockets this summer via trade. The former Florida State Seminole has appeared in a total of 46 NBA games and will enter his fourth NBA season.
Stephen Graham: Graham will enter his second season with the Pacers after signing with Indiana in the summer of 2007. He has averaged 3.3 points while appearing in 58 NBA games. Graham's D-League exerience came in Sioux Falls, where he posted 18.0 points per game during the 2006-07 season and played in the All-Star Game.
Josh McRoberts: McRoberts won a D-League title last season while on assignment to the Idaho Stampede from the Portland Trail Blazers, who made him a second-round pick in the 2007 NBA Draft. After appearing in eight games last season for Portland, he was traded to Indiana and will start the season on the Pacers' inactive roster.
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Jason Hart: Hart returns to the Clippers as he enters his eighth NBA season. He appeared in 57 games off the bench for the Jazz last season, averaging 2.2 points. The veteran guard played in the first season of the NBA D-League, appearing in 12 games for Asheville in 2001-02 before signing with the Spurs as a GATORADE Call-Up.
Steve Novak: The sharp-shooting Novak was traded to Clippers in the offseason after spending his rookie season with the Houston Rockets. Novak was assigned to Rio Grande Valley last season, averaging 18.3 points in seven games of action. He connected on .450 (27-60) of his three-point attempts from the field.
Mike Taylor: Taylor made history in June as the first former NBA D-League player to be selected in the NBA Draft after Portland made him the 55th choice. Traded to Los Angeles minutes later, Taylor has been a revelation this preseason averaging 12.4 points per game. He averaged 14.5 points, primarily off the bench, for Idaho last season as the Stampede won the league title.
Los Angeles Lakers
Jordan Farmar: Farmar became the first player to play in a D-League and NBA game in the same day during the 2006-07 season, when the Lakers assigned him to the D-Fenders three different times. He enjoyed a breakout year for the Lakers last season, appearing in all 82 games and averaging 9.1 points and 2.7 assists.
Joel Anthony: Anthony played in three games on assignment to Iowa last season, averaging 6.7 points. After playing in 24 games last season for the Heat, he will be eligible to be assigned to the NBA D-League again in 2008-09.
Daequan Cook: Cook, a first-round draft choice last season, was assigned to Iowa for three games in 2008 and averaged 19.3 points. He is eligible to return to the NBA D-League this season as a healthy Dwyane Wade will mean less minutes at shooting guard.
Dorell Wright: Wright set new careeer highs for Miami last season with 7.9 points and 5.0 rebounds in 44 games before his season was cut short by a knee injury. Selected in the NBA Draft by the Heat out of high school, Wright was assigned to the Florida Flame for six games during the 2005-06 season.
Ramon Sessions: Sessions was named Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month for April after he played his way into the starting lineup for the Bucks. He was expected to challenge for the starting point guard spot this season with Milwaukee, but did not see action for the first game. He averaged 20.9 points, 7.6 assists and 6.6 rebounds on assignment for Tulsa last season.
New Jersey Nets
Maurice Ager: Ager was assigned to Tulsa by Dallas last season, but was recalled after being involved in the Jason Kidd trade. He will be looking for more playing time this season after appearing in a total of 26 games last season split between the Nets and the Mavericks.
Bobby Simmons: Simmons is the only former NBA D-League player to win an NBA end of season award, taking Most Improved Honors with the Los Angeles Clippers in 2004-05. He is now entering his first year in New Jersey after the Bucks traded him in the offseason. Simmons averaged 17.1 points per game in 14 appearances with Mobile in 2002-03.
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Devin Brown: The 2002-03 NBA D-League MVP and Rookie of the Year, Brown was the first former D-League player to win an NBA title, getting his ring as a member of the San Antonio Spurs. He is back in New Orleans this season after spending the past two years with the Cavaliers. He averaged 24.6 points and 6.0 rebounds for Fayetteville during his MVP campaign.
New York Knicks
Anthony Roberson: Roberson signed with the Knicks in the summer after an impressive summer league stint and made the roster out of training camp. He was assigned to the D-League by Memphis in 2005-06, and made a return trip the following season after he was waived by Golden State. He averaged 17.1 points in 28 games during his NBA D-League career, all of which was spent with Arkansas.
Oklahoma City Thunder
John Lucas III: Lucas is back in the NBA after spending the last season overseas. Playing for Tulsa in 2005-06 season, Lucas received two GATORADE Call-Ups to the Rockets. He averaged 17.3 points in 35 games for the 66ers in 2005-06 and went on to appear in 60 games over two seasons for the Rockets.
Mouhamed Sene: Sene was assigned to Idaho for the second straight season and picked up Co-Defensive Player of the Year honors, although he did not take place in the Stampede's championship run due to a knee injury that could sideline him for the entire 2008-09 season.
Orlando Magic Marcin Gortat: Gortat was Orlando's only assigned player to the NBA D-League last season, averaging 9.8 points and 5.6 rebounds in five games for the Anaheim Arsenal. He will be eligible to be assigned to the Magic's new affiliate in Bakersfield this season.
Anthony Johnson: The most experienced former NBA D-League player in the NBA, Johnson has appeared in 682 games heading into this season, which will be his second stint with the Orlando Magic. He played in 15 games for Mobile during the D-League's first season in 2001-02 before he joined the New Jersey Nets via a GATORADE Call-Up.
Jeremy Richardson: The 2007-08 NBA D-League All-Star Game MVP, Richardson is tied with Mikki Moore for the most GATORADE Call-Ups with five over the past two seasons. He made the Orlando Magic roster after finishing last season with the Atlanta Hawks has also played for the Trail Blazers, Grizzlies and Spurs over the past two seasons. In the NBA D-League he averaged 19.5 points in 46 total game with Fort Wayne and Fort Worth.
Mike Wilks: Veteran guard Wilks played in the NBA D-League's first two seasons, receiving GATORADE Call-Ups to the Hawks and Timberwolves in 2002-03. The Magic will be his ninth NBA team in seven seasons.
Louis Williams: Williams was a seldom-used reserve for Philadelphia when he was assigned to Fort Worth in the 2006-07 season, but opened eyes with 26.0 points in three games. He has since developed into a valuable performer for the 76ers, scoring a career-high 11.3 points in 80 games during the 2007-08 season.
Louis Amundson: The 2006-07 NBA D-League Rookie of the Year with the Colorado 14ers, Amundson signed with the Suns during the summer and will start his second full NBA season. The UNLV product appeared in 26 games over the last two season with Philadelphia, who made him a GATORADE Call-Up late in the 06-07 season.
Matt Barnes: Barnes signed with the Suns as a free-agent this summer after a emerging as a valuable contributor with the Golden State Warriors. He is one of the most succesful D-League alums who did not receive a GATORADE Call-Up during his time in the league. The former UCLA star averaged 9.7 points in 50 games for Fayetteville during the 2002-03 season.
Alando Tucker: Tucker picked up an NBA D-League Performer of the Week nod on assignment to Albuquerque last season. He averaged a whopping 27.7 points in 21 games with the T-Birds in 2007-08. He was not active for the Suns' season opener and is eligible to make a return trip to the D-League this season, this time to the Suns new affiliate in Iowa.
Portland Trail Blazers
Martell Webster: Webster was expected to start for Portland this season, but will be sidelined with an injury until December. Selected 6th overall in the 2005 Draft, he is the highest-drafted player to be assigned to the NBA D-League after averaging 10.8 points in eight games for Fort Worth in 2005-06.
Mikki Moore: Moore, the first overall pick in the 2002 NBA D-League Draft, will be playing in his 11th NBA season with the Kings. He averaged 17.3 points in a total of 59 games with the Roanoke Dazzle during the 2002-03 and 2003-04 seasons. Moore also earned five GATORADE Call-Ups during his time with Roanoke, which is tied with Jeremy Richardson for the most all-time.
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Desmon Farmer: Farmer, the most prolific three-point shooter in NBA D-League history, made the Spurs roster out of training camp this season. He enjoyed a stellar season with Rio Grande Valley last season, averaging 24.7 points and shooting .420 (89-212) from long-range. Farmer previously spent time between 2005-2007 with the Tulsa 66ers. His current NBA D-League total stands at 274 three-point field-goals.
Ian Mahinmi: Mahinmi spent most of his rookie season on assignment to Austin, and made it a successful trip as he earned First-Team All-D-League honors at center. He could make a return trip to the Toros this season after starting the season on the inactive list.
Anthony Tolliver: Tolliver stuck with the Spurs out of training camp and will enter his first full NBA season. He spent last year in the NBA D-League with the Iowa Energy, averaging 11.6 points and 6.4 rebounds in 25 games.
Ime Udoka: Udoka enters his second season with the Spurs after after a three-year career in the NBA D-League where he played in 136 games. Udoka was named the winner of the D-League Sportsmanship Award for the 2005-06 season, then made the Portland Trail Blazers roster in 2006 and has remained in the NBA ever since. He has now played in 160 NBA games with a 6.8 points per game average.
Jamario Moon: Moon was one of the NBA's top rookies last season, averaging 8.5 points and appearing in the NBA Slam-Dunk Contest. The well-traveled forward has played in four different NBA D-League seasons, including 53 games with Mobile in 2001-02.
Morris Almond: Almond led the NBA D-League in scoring on assignment from the Jazz in his rookie season. The former Rice star averaged 25.6 points per game, including a D-League record 53 points in one game in January. He could return to the Utah Flash this season but is expected to play a bigger role with the Jazz in 2008-09.
Kyrylo Fesenko: Fesenko appeared in the NBA D-League All-Star Game last season as a rookie on assignment from the Jazz. The 7-1 center averaged 10.1 points and 7.7 rebounds in 37 D-League games for the Utah Flash.
C.J. Miles: The Jazz assigned Miles to the NBA D-League in both his rookie and sophomore seasons, sending the 6-8 forward to Albuquerque in 2005-06 and Idaho in 2006-07. Miles appeared in a career-high 60 games last season and averaged 5.0 points per contest.
Andray Blatche: Blatche has emerged as a valuable member of the Wizards rotation in the past few years. Last season he set new career highs with 7.5 points and 5.2 rebounds for the Wizards. Washington assigned him to Roanoke during his rookie season of 2005-06 for six games.