Brian Kotloff, NBADLeague.com
Once each week, NBADLeague.com will update the Prospect Watch presented by BBVA Compass, our list of the top 30 Prospects in the NBA D-League. Our rankings are a combination of upside and experience, potential and production. Only Call-Up eligible players will be ranked. The rankings are compiled by the editors at NBADLeague.com.
FEBRUARY MADNESS: DEADLINE BRINGS SWEEPING CHANGES
Pierre Jackson's decision to leave for Turkey provided trade deadline drama, but it turned out to be just the beginning. Eight NBA D-League players have been called up in the past week, all but one of whom ranked among our Top 30. With roster spots up for grabs before the stretch run, Manny Harris has assumed the No. 1 spot, Jackson's old teammates Kevin Murphy and Dee Bost are making their push, and a host of old faces have reappeared.
No. 21 SUNDIATA GAINES -- G -- RENO BIGHORNS
Four years after he became an NBA D-League darling, hitting a game-winning three as a Jazz Call-Up on the ninth day of a 10-day contract, Gaines is back to rediscover his mojo. The 27-year-old is a proven playmaker at any level, but as an average athlete with average size, he struggled to finish in the paint during his last NBA stint with the Nets. That said, once he gets cooking in Reno he should pique somebody's interest as a reliable backup.
No. 6 KEVIN MURPHY -- FEB. 22 VS. LOS ANGELES
Murphy answered any questions about whether his success would continue without Jackson in his first game after the Top Prospect's departure. The answer? A resounding yes. The silky smooth 2-guard continued his assault on the NBA D-League with 47 points on 17/30 shooting against Terrence Williams and the D-Fenders -- three weeks after dropping 51 on them -- including the go-ahead bucket with 2.5 seconds left in regulation.
SEEING IS BELIEVING
DeQuan Jones is a runaway train on the fastbreak, but apparently Chris Wright can stop a runaway train in its tracks. You can even see Jones' Reno teammates bracing for another punishing throwdown, only to cringe as Wright somehow meets him at the summit for the rejection. This was two of the NBA D-League's elite athletes on a thrilling collision course.
KNOCKING ON THE DOOR
COURTNEY FELLS -- G -- AUSTIN
Fells' rock-solid play this season comes with a caveat: Time is not on his side. Sixteen of the 22 players called up this season are 25 or younger; the other six all had previous NBA experience. Fells, 27, does not fall under either category, but it's not hard to imagine a team taking a flyer on the international vet during his best and maybe last shot at the next level. He has the requisite length, defensive chops and, most of all, basketball IQ.