The Showcase is here, and these are the names you need to know.
With Mike James now a Chicago Bull, Justin Dentmon's looking to be the next point guard called up to the bigs.
Jack Arent/NBAE via Getty Images
After 16 games in four days, the NBA D-League Showcase has come to an end, but not before a number of players established themselves as viable NBA Prospects -- and, some, as players who can make an impact right away. And that doesn't even include the two guys who got called up.
So, as we break from Reno and move deeper into what promises to be a banner year for NBA D-League call-ups, check out the 15 guys -- of the 60-plus NBA prospects, by our count -- who stand tallest after the most talent-rich Showcase ever. The 15 guys who, in other words, should keep their cell phones on.
No. 1 MANNY HARRIS
(was No. 5)
Guard, Canton Charge (Michigan)
Harris would have almost certainly been in the NBA this year had he not suffered a freak burn on his foot that kept him out of training camp. He logged quality time with the Cavaliers in 2010-11, and impressed Byron Scott enough for the Cavs’ coach to encourage Harris to sign with Canton (the Cavs’ affiliate) so that the Cleveland brass could “keep an eye on him.” If Harris’ foot cooperates, he might get snatched up right before the Cavs’ eyes.
Day One Update: Harris remains a top-tier NBA prospect as long as he's healthy, so check back on Tuesday about his status with the Charge.
Day Two Update: Harris, thankfully, made his Charge debut on Tuesday. And by the end of the game, it was like he hadn't missed a beat. He came out slowly, which is understandable, given that he hadn't played competitive basketball since the spring. But down the stretch, Harris was an asset. He hit a big shot with 34 seconds left, rising up for a long jumper to make it 95-92, then got the rebound on the ensuing Dakota possession and hit the two ensuing free throws. When he's fully healthy, he's NBA-ready.
Day Three Update: Harris doesn't play again until Thursday night -- the final game of the 2012 Showcase (how's that for a send-off) -- but the aftershocks of his performance on Tuesday night are rippling through the Events Center. Scout after scout has said that Harris, who had some great stretches for the Cavs in 2010-11, is the best talent in the league. This spot's his to lose.
Day Four Update: Harris’ ballhandling has taken a hit because of all the time off, but his quickness and nose for the ball seem to be fully intact. He couldn’t slash as well as he’s grown accustomed to, owing to the rust of a two-month absence, but he consistently put pressure on the Iowa defense all night long. Despite a 4-for-12 night from the floor, his shot looked crisp, and he picked up eight rebounds to offset an off shooting night.
No. 2: ELIJAH MILLSAP
(was No. 1)
Forward, Los Angeles D-Fenders (Alabama-Birmingham)
Millsap’s older brother is already a regular in the NBA, as Paul’s now in his sixth year with the Jazz. And if the younger Millsap keeps playing the way he has to start his NBA D-League career, very soon that’ll turn into an NBA career. On a talent-rich L.A. D-Fenders team, Millsap has consistently been its most outstanding player, contributing in all facets of the game and looking in almost every way like a player ready for the NBA.
Day One Update: Millsap stays in the pole position in the rankings after a 14-point, 9-rebound day in the D-Fenders' 97-82 win over the Armor. It wasn't spectacular, it was just solid -- and that's what Millsap's offered every time he's stepped on the floor this year. He showed range, quickness and a willingness to scrap inside, not to mention a great feel for the game.
Day Three Update: Millsap's performance in Wednesday's opener left him -- and many in the stands -- underwhelmed. By his own admission, came out a little flat, but certainly picked it up after the half. One scout said he needs to show more consistency with his jumper, but beyond that, he's primed to make the leap.
No. 3: LANCE THOMAS (was No. 3)
Forward, Austin Toros (Duke)
The Toros’ swingman has already been up in the NBA once this year, after landing with the New Orleans Hornets out of training camp. But after getting released by NOLA last week, he’s back with the Toros, where he started the season. Don’t expect that to be anything more than a temporary setback for the Duke grad, who opened his NBA D-League season by starring on both sides of the court, parlaying his trip to the Pan-American Games this summer to take a huge leap in 2011-12.
Day Two Update: You know in Rocky IV, when the Stallion’s coming out of the locker room to the ring and the announcers talk about that look in his eye? How they’ve never seen the champ more focused? (And then this fight happens: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h8nC-RnETd0) Thomas had something like that in his eyes after the game (in which he had 12 points, 7 boards and only 1 turnover) today, vowing, “I got the taste. I want it back. And that experience … made me the hungriest guy in the D-League.” He still needs work on his mid-range jumper, but the rest is there.
Day Four Update: Edwin Ubiles spent most of the day looking like the best player on the floor. Thomas spent the day looking like the best prospect. Doing virtually everything that an NBA team would want from a bench player, he took smart shots (and scored 16 points), grabbed eight rebounds and once again turned the ball over just one time. He had seven rebounds by the half, playing out of position at No. 5 for most of the day – an adaptability he showed back at Duke, and one that should serve him well, given the NBA trend of having smaller, more athletic big men. Meanwhile, he didn't seem to take a single possession off on defense, and made it tough for Dakota's big men to get anything done. Given Al Horford's injury, could the Hawks be calling soon?
No. 4: EDWIN UBILES (was No. 4)
Forward, Dakota Wizards (Siena)
Ubiles is the perfect example of an NBA D-League prospect. The rangy 6-6 forward, who can play anywhere from No. 2 to 4, entered the NBA D-League via the Draft and immediately became one of its premier athletes. The problem? Ubiles played college ball at Siena, where he had a chance to prove that he belongs with upper-echelon ballplayers only a few times a year – for example, when Siena charred your bracket in 2008 and 2009 – but didn’t play against top-flight competition all year round. He’s a ball of potential with a lot of room to grow, especially in his rebounding and shooting abilities, and the final spot on the Golden State Warriors’ roster came down to him and Chris Wright.
Day Two Update: In Dakota’s Showcase opener, Ubiles was as advertised. The man who’s been good for 30 a night lately only scored 15, but the skills were evident. He’s got an NBA body and creates separation easily. His jumper’s a little wonky – a low release hurts his percentage. But he also crashed the boards every time he pulled up, something that a number of the league’s top big men didn’t do a whole lot, and got eight assists to show an ability to created. He did, however, turn into a turnstile a few times on the defensive end.
Day Four Update: After spending too much of Tuesday hanging out on the wing, Ubiles attacked from the start. Showing the driving and finishing ability that made him Siena’s third all-time leading scorer – not to mention a couple shakes that allowed him to blow past his defender. Ubiles creates separation with ease, and if covers a ton of ground in just a few strides. He finished with 22 points and no turnovers.
He’s listed below Thomas because right now, Thomas looks like the better ‘Prospect,’ which we’re defining as ‘guy an NBA team could plug into the lineup that night and feel reasonably confident that the head coach’s head wouldn’t completely detach from his body.’ But we think that Ubiles has a bigger upside as an NBA player who could score 10-15 a night. The main concern about him this year was that he’d be held back from a stress fracture that kept him out of the 2010-11 season, but as long as he holds up, a call-up should be imminent.
No. 5: KEITH McLEOD
(was No. 6)
Guard, Canton Charge (Bowling Green)
McLeod was locked in a heated battle with Jamaal Tinsley for the final point guard spot with the Utah Jazz. Tinsley, of course, won out, which sent the former NBA player McLeod back to Canton. But from the sound of it, McLeod impressed the Jazz staff, and he’s spent the year helping to groom a Canton team in its first year of existence, which means he could slide seamlessly into the league as a savvy veteran who can still run an offense. As it is, he’ll come into Reno as one of a half-dozen elite point guards.
Day Two Update: On a day in which he went for 18-and-9, McLeod created off the dribble with great body control, opening up shots for himself with ease. But just as often, he’d draw the defense to him – which happens when you’re going 5-for-9 and 2-for-3 from 3-point range – and dish off to an open teammate. He’s adept as ever at turning a defense into knots. Plus, he hit a great fade-away to close a 12-point first quarter and start a long alley-oop to Christian Eyenga.
Day Four Update: When McLeod’s in rhythm, like he was for pretty much the entire second half on Thursday, he’s one of the most entertaining players in the league. And that’s on both ends of the floor. Not only did he score 13 points and six assists, but he wore down the Iowa point guards – including one memorable sequence when Iowa PG Nick Covington was on the wing, trying to cut back and forth to get open, and McLeod had him covered so tightly for about six back-cuts that the ball swung the other way.
No. 6: JUSTIN DENTMON
(was No. 7)
Guard, Austin Toros (Washington)
Dentmon’s playmaking ability makes him the kind of point guard that ruins opposing coaches’ days. Lay off him, he’ll pull up and hit from outside. Press him or double him and he’ll find somebody else. As good a combo point guard as exists outside the NBA, he hasn’t had any trouble on the offensive end. Defensively, he could use a little more glue in his game, but he looks like he’s on the precipice of bidding goodbye to the NBA D-League, his home since finishing up a standout career at Washington.
Day Two Update: Dentmon scored 26 points in his Austin Toros' 111-88 win over the Erie BayHawks in Tuesday's second game. He spun. He shimmied. He soared. He finished at the rim and stuck jumpers from all around the zone. But the best part of his day, as far as scouts are concerned, were the nine assists he gave out. He knows that to get to the next level, he'll have to create more than finish, and this was a big step.
Day Four Update: The six turnovers won’t help. But Dentmon did a great job running the offense all day long, as evidenced by Austin’s five starters all in double-figures in scoring. He also scored 27 points (including an 11-of-12 mark from the foul line), piercing the middle of the Dakota defense all day long solidifying his status as the best combo guard in the NBA D-League. If he can hold onto the ball a little better, the only thing he has to prove is that he can answer the phone and sign his name.
No. 7: BLAKE AHEARN
(was No. 5)
Guard, Reno Bighorns (Missouri State)
Ahearn's become the unofficial Best Player in the NBA D-League. The Reno Bighorns’ point guard leads the NBA D-League in scoring and nearly took the league’s first Performer of the Month award of the year, despite missing a chunk of December due to a trip to Clippers training camp. He’s also picking up three rebounds a game and dishing the ball better than he ever has in his five-year NBADL career. But the NBA has a surplus of supremely talented guards, and the rap on Ahearn is he struggles to keep pace defensively with the guys at the highest level. But he’s kept elevating his game, and the leader of this summer’s Pan American Games team can’t do much more to prove his case in this league – now, he just needs to get the chance to prove that he belongs in the big leagues.
Day One Update:
Ahearn took some time to get going, but the third quarter of the Bighorns' win over the Vipers showed him at his very best. He finished in the lane. He shot off the dribble. He stuck open jumpers. He made every foul shot (he's historically good from the line). And he never once looked out of control.
Day Three Update: Ahearn’s vision, timing and passing ability were on full display against the Energy, as the Bighorns guard expertly managed a Reno attack that went after the Energy from the start (he finished with 21 points and 6 assists himself). Even when he dribbled himself into a corner – a quicker Curtis Stinson made it tough for him to get where he wanted to be – Ahearn knew exactly where a teammate would be. He did force a few passes, going for the spectacular instead of the safe, but he also threw down a dunk to dispel that particular myth.
Day Four Update: Given the tenor of the past few days -- with Mike James going up to the Bulls instead of somebody like Justin Dentmon, hinting that NBA teams place some added value NBA experience in their point guards -- Ahearn's prospect status takes a hit on Thursday, as McLeod jumps him. Meanwhile, without the athleticism of Dentmon, the Toros guard gets an edge based on his explosiveness and potential. Ahearn did nothing but impress at Showcase, but still needs to find a team that needs a point guard and can handle a little risk.
No. 8: MARCUS LEWIS
(was No. 9)
Forward, Tulsa 66ers (Oral Roberts)
Throw on some tattoos, some hair dye – maybe some eyeliner, maybe a ballgown – and have him show up on a motorcycle, and Lewis could pass for Dennis Rodman. Nobody in the NBA D-League of any height vacuums up rebounds the way that Lewis does. Among players who’ve played at least eight games this year (Lewis has played 11), he’s more than four rebounds better per game than his closest competitor. Oh yeah, he’s 6-foot-8. A hard worker who cut his NBA D-League chops under the defense-first regime of former Tulsa coach (now Cleveland Cavaliers assistant) Nate Tibbetts, Lewis is the kind of player that NBA teams need on the bench.
Day Two Update: Lewis pulled down his usual bevy of rebounds on Tuesday (11 this time, which is three shy of his average), but scored only nine points and turned the ball over a game-high seven times. He’s been getting doubled-up by defenders since the beginning of the season, he said, but he struggled all day to find an open teammate when the Legends ganged up on him. He’ll need to turn double-teams into opportunities if he’s to stick up in the bigs.
Day Four Update: Lewis was on a different level on Thursday. (And might soon actually be at one) Going 11-for-12 from the floor (for 23 points) and pulling down 12 rebounds, he didn’t miss a shot until 2:35 remained in the third quarter, opening at 8-for-8 due largely to an array of post moves that ensured he was always shooting from pretty much on top of the hoop. He even made a nifty over-the-shoulder grab in front of the basket on a fast break, then finished left with harm. He spent most of the day playing, as always, about four inches taller than he is, and the only thing that moved him from the lane was the final whistle.
No. 9 JAMESON CURRY
Guard, Springfield Armor (Oklahoma State)
Curry's path to the NBA has been littered with potholes. Most of them self-caused. However, people around the league keep saying the same thing: He's a hard worker. A natural leader. A truly great person. And people make mistakes when they're young. So now, what we have left of JamesOn Curry is his potential as an NBA prospect -- which is to say, a ton. The one-time phenom is having his best year in the NBA D-League, with more than 19 points, six assists and five rebounds per game.
Showcase Wrap: Curry had one of the best Showcase runs of anyone, racking up 16 points, 8.5 assists and 2.5 steals per game. But his crowning moments came in the closing five minutes of Springfield's comeback win over Rio Grande Valley on Thursday, when he stayed in the game with a sprained ankle, still ran the point and set up new Armor recruit Preston Knowles for the game-winning bucket. Curry's teammates, coaches and opponents love him. It's only a matter of time until NBA teams to feel the same way.
No. 10: CHRIS DANIELS
Center, Erie BayHawks (Texas A&M - Corpus Christi)
With the absences of Greg Stiemsma (called-up by the Celtics), Brian Butch (recovery from injury sustained during training camp) and Jamal Sampson (injury, but on the Legends’ roster), the 7-foot, 265-pound Daniels has turned into one of the marquee big men in the NBA D-League. One version of Daniels, that is. He recorded four straight double-doubles from November into December and went 32-9 in his first game back from Lakers camp, but also had four straight games with single-digit boards (including a two-rebound effort against Springfield on Jan. 5…which he followed-up with 18 rebounds against the Armor two nights later). When he’s at his best, he could be the best in the league; when he’s off, he vanishes – and all of that makes him so interesting this week.
Day One Update: Daniels' stock took a tumble in our eyes on Monday, after he looked a step behind the play all day. As a result, he continued his recent trend of getting into foul trouble early and limiting his productivity, as he only managed six rebounds. He did score 19 points -- including nine of them on three wide-open 3-pointers -- but didn't leverage his 7-foot, 265-pound frame effectively.
Day Two Update: Daniels, for whatever reason, hung out around the 3-point line on Monday, waiting for the ball to come to him and hoisting up shots like a rec leaguer. On Tuesday, he played like a guy with an NBA future, battling for position inside (though he faded late) and dominating his defenders at times. He finished with 17 points and 12 boards against some quality interior players on the Toros.
No. 11: BRANDON COSTNER
Forward, L.A. D-Fenders (North Carolina State)
Costner’s an interesting case. No one dominated the NBA D-League like he did over the first five weeks of the season – a feat reflected by his recent Performer of the Month nod. He averaged 25.7 points per game and pulled down 6.1 rebounds while he was at it. His game-high of 42, on Dec. 10, was one of three times this year in which he scored 30 or more points. However, Costner spent the first few weeks of the season missing. A lot. His shooting percentage hovered right around 40 percent in the early-going, although it’s now picked up to 47 percent. To further complicate matters, the scoring happened with the NBA D-League talent pool severely depleted, as others were up at NBA camps. But scoring is scoring, and the N.C. State product is very good at it.
Day One Update:
Alright, alright, Costner can score. Outside of Walker Russell's 19-point, 19-assist day, Costner's 29-point effort was the performance of the day. But in a sort of maddening twist, he only pulled down three rebounds. But, like Warriors assistant GM told us
, "anytime you get a big guy that can make shots, that’s appealing."
Day Three Update: Costner went cold on Wednesday, going only 3-for-12 from the floor. But that wasn't necessarily a bad thing. Without his usual scoring touch, he showcased the other parts of his game that'll help him get to the NBA, picking up seven rebounds and going 7-for-7 from the line.
No. 12 ANDRE EMMETT
Forward, Reno Bighorns (Texas Tech)
Two years ago, Andre Emmett scored 71 points while playing for Chinese club Shandong. And in a way, that didn't come as a surprise. Emmett left Texas Tech as the school's all-time leading scorer, but couldn't stick around the NBA after getting drafted in '04 because he seemed to want to be the NBA's leading scorer, too. However, after years spent abroad burning out bulbs in scoreboards, Emmett's chasing the dream of getting back to the NBA by using his athleticism on both sides of the floor -- although he clearly hasn't sacrificed any offensive firepower.
Showcase Wrap: Emmett led all scorers in the Showcase, hanging a combined 57 points on the Vipers and Energy. Using a combination of size (6-5, 225) and speed (fast) and power (lots), he either forced his way into the lane, then elevated over everybody, or hit from mid-range. But he also averaged 6.5 rebound and 3.5 steals per game in the Bighorns' two losses, suggesting that Emmett's dropped the No Defense stance that kept him from sticking in the NBA after getting drafted by the Sonics in '04.
No. 13 Walker Russell, Jr. (was No. 13)
Guard, Fort Wayne Mad Ants (Jacksonville State)
Nobody dishes the ball like Russell, the son of a former NBA player by the same name. All season long -- before and after a training camp invite to Detroit -- he's been the premier distributor in the NBA D-League. Quick, agile and explosive, he's long faced questions about his size (6-foot, 170 pounds), but has shown more and more that he's the kind of player a team would want running the show.
Day One Update:
Russell gave the performance of the day in Reno, putting up 19 points and 19 assists to drive the Mad Ants to a win over a Bakersfield team that'd rushed out to a 17-2 lead to start the game. Not only did he set his teammates up to score, but Russell's emotional play clearly affected his team, helping to drive them to victory and showing just why he's beloved wherever he plays.
Day Four Update: At times, Russell and teammate Darnell Lazare looked like the only ones able to make anything happen for the Mad Ants. Finishing with 19 points and 4 assists, Lazare could have boosted the latter number if Fort Wayne shot better than the 40 percent from the field they did through three quarters. His performance didn’t have the stat-sheet voltage of Monday’s, but it did show Russell as he is: a veteran leader who won’t turn the ball over.
No. 14: Gerald Green
Guard, L.A. D-Fenders (Gulf Shores Academy, Tex.)
Gerald Green came to the NBA out of high school in 2005. For four years, he looked it. Playing a style of basketball that had him labeled as selfish and one-dimensional, he bounced around from team to team before leaving the league after the 2008-09 season. But he always had hops and a great first step, and he says he's renewed his commitment to the game after "taking the NBA for granted." Defensively, he's looked like a different player this year, and he'll be tough to keep in the NBA D-League if he continues playing the way he has.
Day Three Update:
Green couldn't miss on Wednesday. Going 13-for-17 from the field, he scored in a range of ways, elevating to hit mid-range jumpers and even ending up 4-for-5 from 3-point range. On a team stacked with prospects, he was the best athlete on the floor, and even added three steals to go a little way toward quieting the criticism that he doesn't play defense.
No. 15: Charles Garcia
Forward, Sioux Falls Skyforce (Seattle)
When Garcia came to the Skyforce from the Iowa Energy (for the paltry price of a fourth-round pick) this year, questions about his work ethic and passion dogged him. He's largely answered the criticism this year by turning into Sioux Falls' most reliable scorer and raising his game to become one of the NBA D-League's most athletic big men -- one able to finish with both his left and right hand. He's a work in progress, and still takes a lot of ill-advised shots, but the raw material is there.
Day Two Update: Garcia showed something on Tuesday. His play this year has him near the top of the NBA D-League in points, rebounds and blocks, and on Tuesday, he showed why. By far the most athletic post player in the five games thus far in the Showcase, Garcia showed off an array of post moves, inside and outside defensive ability and agility more common to 2-guards. He finished with 20 points and 13 boards.
Day Three Update: On Tuesday, Skyforce coach Mo McHone talked about how Garcia still doesn't know how to "turn it on, because he's always on," and on Wednesday, the big man showed the side effects of that. Never quite finding the page, he fouled out in only 26 minutes -- including a charge early in the fourth quarter to send him off -- and only picked up seven rebounds to go with 14 points. He made an impact, but took himself out of the game much too early.
(Called Up -- was No. 15)
Guard, Erie BayHawks (Duquesne)
James, at 36, didn't get a whole lot of love when he announced that he'd be joining up with the BayHawks to start an NBA comeback. He'd been cut by the Warriors in 2010, after a career that started strong and eventually faded to a lull in Washington. The, with a 23-point, 5-rebound game against the Idaho Stampede on Monday, James showed that not only can he play with guys a half-generation younger, he can still beat 'em. Handily. And don't let the age part deter you. According to a scout we spoke to on Monday
, if Jamaal Tinsley can get a call-up from the Jazz, there's no reason James can't land up in the NBA, too.
Day One Update: James took the entire Reno Events Center by surprise, beating his defender off the dribble and to loose balls (he had 5 rebounds to go along with his 23 points and 5 assists) and showing shades of the man who once scored 20 points a night for the Raptors in 2005-06.
Day Two Update: James fell back to earth on Tuesday. The ability to play at a high level two nights in a row is no easy task for a 26-year-old, let alone a 36-year old. He had only six points and two assists and turned the ball over five times, as he was effectively nullified by Justin Dentmon and Spurs assignment Cory Joseph.
How to Watch Him:
- Thursday vs. Iowa, 10 p.m. ET (Futurecast)
(Called Up -- was No. 6)
Forward, L.A. D-Fenders (San Diego State)
Thomas had quite the summer. After wrapping up at San Diego State University, he and current NBA player Kawhi Leonard helped to transform the Aztec program, he went (somewhat shockingly) undrafted. So, as a way to help heal that wound, signed for a hefty chunk of change with Korean club Mobis Phoebus, where he was set to make a reported $350,000. But an invite to Lakers camp brought him back Stateside, and the man who ended up second all-time on SDSU’s blocked shots list in only two years with the team could very well make the Showcase one giant coming-out party.
Day One Update: Well, we didn't see Thomas on Monday. Read into that as you wish. By reading this. The report's not confirmed, but stay tuned to see if Thomas returns on Wednesday.
DAY THREE UPDATE: Believe the hype. On Wednesday, the news became official: Malcolm Thomas was called up to the San Antonio Spurs. Thomas is expected to join the Spurs today and will be available when the team hosts the Houston Rockets tonight.
How to Watch Him:
- Wednesday vs. Houston Rockets (NBA League Pass)
(was No. 12)
Center/Forward, Rio Grande Valley (Fresno State)
Wait until you see this guy. At 6-foot-10, 250 pounds, Smith anchors the lane with the best of them. But he also, according to Draft Express, has gigantic hands (a foot long, acc to their measurements) – the better for rebounding and blocking with. And ever since Smith came to the NBA D-League out of Rockets camp, he’s wrought havoc. Coming out of Fresno State after two years (only to be undrafted), the knock on Smith was that he had amazing tools, but didn’t have the work ethic to contribute every night. Thus far, he’s been nothing but a game-changing big man in every single game he’s played in the NBA D-League. Also, he just turned 20 on Sunday. If he plays well, he’ll have the scouts drinking the Kool-Aid before he can even drink at a bar.
Day One Update: Smith didn't quite take over the game as much as we thought he would, but that's because the offense flowed through Marcus Morris all night (and Morris, who's down on assignment from the Rockets, complied, taking more shots than the rest of the starting lineup combined). But he did score 11 points with eight boards and give the Bighorns' big men a real tough time on the inside.
Day Four Update: Smith’s body is ready for the NBA, but his game isn’t quite there yet. Defensively, he sits too much on his heels stands straight up, which slows him down and keeps him from getting in position for rebounds he should grab on both ends of the floor. He ended the game, but got pushed around on occasion by Springfield’s Jeff Foote, who’s seven feet tall, but about seven inches around.
(was No. 9)
Guard, Iowa Energy (Iowa State)
The 2011 NBA D-League MVP is back. Following a season in which he seemed to turn out a near-triple-double every night (and in actuality averaged 19.3 points, 9.8 assists, 5.7 rebounds and 1.2 steals a game), Stinson split for the Philippines to play for the Barangay Ginebra Kings of the Philippine Basketball Association, where he only logged four games before getting injured against the Talk 'N Text Tropang Texters. (That's their actual name.) Of late, he's been playing ball in Slovenia, but agreed to sign with the Energy this week -- just in time for Iowa's last game at Showcase, and just in time to jump into our rankings.
Day Three Update: This probably wasn't the way Stinson envisioned coming back -- with a 107-72 drubbing at the hands of the Reno Bighorns. But, given that he had to fly from Slovenia, get to know his team for about 30 minutes before the game and then run the offense, he fared pretty well. He only had nine points, but he picked up seven assists and three steals, doing a great job cutting off the angles for Reno point guard Blake Ahearn.
Day Four Update: Stinson has earned a little bit of leeway in getting into the flow, but he didn't show much of an ability to break down his defender or get to the hoop at Showcase, going 6-for-23 across both games. After a tough game Wednesday, he came back with only seven points, three assists and two rebounds on Thursday. He'll certainly get looks this year because he was so singularly dominant in the NBA D-League last year, but for now, he's fallen behind a pack of point guards who showed themselves better in Reno.
Guard, Erie BayHawks (Hampton)
When Green was cut from Knicks camp, he left with some high praise from New York assistant GM Allan Houston, who talked about how impressed he was with Green’s defensive ability, his aggressiveness and his “natural” leadership ability. He has NBA experience, having played with the Lakers in 2005-06 before an extended trip abroad, and could slide immediately into a deep bench guard spot on an NBA roster.
Day One Update: Though his teammate stole the show, Green still gave a winning performance, racking up 15 points and seven rebounds in 33 minutes.
Day Two Update: Green had another game that didn't electrify anybody, but he showed a steady hand in picking up 12 points and five boards on the day. He's running the risk of getting bypassed by younger guards who can create a little better, but he's certainly impressed a few people in Reno.
How to Watch Him:
- Thursday vs. Iowa, 10 p.m. ET (Futurecast)
Guard, Idaho Stampede (Mississippi)
The 2010-11 season never really got going for the Pistons’ second round pick in the 2010 Draft, as a preseason injury set White back and effectively kept him out of the lineup all year. He and former NBA player (now L.A. D-Fender) Gerald Green both have a lot of similarities in their games, but White looks to have a little more upside. White's also a pure specimen. He can soar. He can beat virtually anybody off the dribble. And if he can put it all together, he’ll be something to witness this week.
Day One Update:
The springy guard notched only four points and two assists in 20 minutes, although his shot looked smooth. He didn't turn the ball over and played largely effective defense, however. But with athleticism like White's, you'd expect a little more of a mark on the game.
|NBA DEVELOPMENT LEAGUE TOP PROSPECTS AT A GLANCE
Fort Wayne Mad Ants
Los Angeles D-Fenders
Maine Red Claws
Rio Grande Valley Vipers
Sioux Falls Skyforce
Anthony Mason Jr