by Matthew Brennan, NBA D-League.com
The 2011 NBA D-League Showcase is set to tip off on Monday and will consist of 16 games over four days from South Padre Island. Here are some reasons why you should be paying attention to what will go down next week in Texas.
1. Potential GATORADE Call-Ups
The point of the Showcase is for NBA scouts and front-office members to be able to see all 16 NBA D-League teams and their players in one location. As a result, it's a very important opportunity for players to "showcase" their talents in the hopes of earning a GATORADE Call-Up to an NBA roster. There's no better example than in last season's Showcase when guard Sundiata Gaines earned a call-up to the Utah Jazz and went on to finish the season in the NBA. Other examples of current NBA players who went on to earn call-ups after playing well in the Showcase include Minnesota's Anthony Tolliver, Washington's Cartier Martin, Golden State's Reggie Williams and Lou Amundson, and Houston's Chuck Hayes. To learn about who some of the top NBA D-League players are that could follow in their footsteps next week, read the Prospect Watch's list of GATORADE Call-Up Candidates.
2.NBA Assigned Players
The Showcase is not only a big moment for players hoping to reach an NBA roster, but also for some players that are already there. This season has seen 24 NBA players in their first or second years get assigned to the NBA D-League for additional playing time and development, and the players currently on assignment will look to have a big week to improve their NBA stock. Some of the top players currently on assignment are Tulsa's Cole Aldrich (Thunder), Bakersfield's Devin Ebanks (Lakers), and Sioux Falls' Dexter Pittman (Skyforce). They will be trying to follow in the footsteps of former assigned players who excelled at the Showcase like Cleveland's Ramon Sessions and Los Angeles' Shannon Brown.
3. Big Names Looking For Another Shot At The NBA
The NBA D-League always has a large group of former NBA players looking to get back onto a roster, and this season's group may be the most talented yet. The biggest name of course is former NBA All-Star Antoine Walker, who has emerged as the Idaho''s Stampede's leading scorer. Other NBA veterans to watch include Walker's Idaho teammate Luke Jackson (Cavaliers/Raptors/Heat), Utah's Orien Greene (Celtics/Kings/Pacers), Iowa's Kyle Weaver (Thunder), Reno's Salim Stoudamire(Hawks), and Texas' Sean Williams (Nets) and Joe Alexander (Bucks/Bulls).
4. Young Prospects
The success of the NBA D-League in sending players to the NBA has drawn a great deal of talented young players looking for a shot at the next level. Many of them will be familiar to fans after very successfuly college careers like Springfield's Scottie Reynolds or Maine's Paul Harris, while others came from smaller schools or have further developed their talents in the professional ranks like New Mexico's Shane Edwards or Austin's Marcus Cousin. Whatever their background, their performances at the Showcase can have a big effect on the future of their basketball careers.
2. Watch All The Action On NBA Futurecast, NBA TV, VERSUS, and AOL FanHouse
You will be able to watch all 16 Showcase games . Click here for a complete schedule of games, with coverage provided by NBA TV, NBA Futurecast, VERSUS, and AOL FanHouse. In addition, NBA D-League.com and NBA.com will also have plenty of coverage the happenings in South Padre.