Prospect Watch, Week 9: What We've Learned

The NBA D-League bills itself as the fastest way to the NBA. These are the 30 guys who look like they'll get there next.

Showcase gave a whole world of talent evaluators -- including your editors -- a rare chance to see every single NBA D-League Prospect in one place. Here's what we came away with heading into the first week post-Showcase and into the final three months of the NBA D-League season.

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Related: 2013 Showcase Schedule | Top 25 PER | Primer | Showcase Central | Most Intriguing Players
1
Shelvin
Mack
Forward | 6-3, 215 | Drafted Player
Mack left Showcase as the No. 3 overall Prospect, having played just one game (though, at 24-7-7, it was a really good one) after returning to the team halfway through Reno, having been waived by the Wizards a week prior. Then he averaged 23.5 points and 11.5 assists (on 53 percent shooting and 66.7 percent gunning from long range) over his next two games to drive one lesson home: in a league that's featuring fewer and fewer outliers, Mack's the Undisputed No. 1. Oh yeah. He's also leading the league in scoring and assists.
After Showcase: No. 3
2
Courtney
Fortson
Guard | 5-11, 185 | Returning
The guy who left Showcase as the No. 1 spot didn't do much to give it up, including a near-triple-double on Saturday against Bakersfield, as L.A.'s floor corporal is making his play match up with his ambitions. He's said all year that he'd bring leadership into the NBA, and after what he did at Showcase, it doesn't look like the NBA D-League has anyone who can better make that claim.
After Showcase: No. 1
3
Jerome
Jordan
Center | 7-0, 253 | Waiver Claim
The NBA D-League's never had better bigs. And Jordan -- from body control to rebounding to ability to score with three players draped from his shoulders -- is the best one.
After Showcase: No. 2
4
Chris
Wright
Guard | 6-1, 205 | Affiliate Player
Wright's as steady as a preacher's voice.
After Showcase: No. 4
5
D.J.
Kennedy
Guard | 6-6, 215 | Returning Player
That one of the league's elite talents falls into one of the league's three valleys: the one between 2-guards and small forwards (the shorter one falls between 1 and 2, with too-short shooting guards getting makeovers as point guards; the last between 3 and 4, with shorter forwards scrambling for shooting range), though his outside game has improved.
After Showcase: No. 8
6
Chris
Wright
Forward | 6-8, 225 | Returning
Not a whole lot. Suffering from concussion-related symptoms since mid-December, Wright's been placed on Maine's inactive list. But when he's back, he's lethal.
After Showcase: No. 6
7
Travis
Leslie
Guard | 6-4, 205 | Drafted
That Leslie powered much of the Warriors' early-season success. Santa Cruz has struggled lately without Leslie in the lineup, after their star guard injured an already problematic groin at Showcase.
After Showcase: No. 7
8
DaJuan
Summers
Forward | 6-8, 200 | Affiliate
That valley thing? Summers falls into the third one. But with an improved rebounding game and a consistent mark from the outside this year, he could soon turn himself into a Top 5 guy.
After Showcase: No. 8
9
Arinze
Onuaku
Center | 6-9, 275 | Drafted
Onuaku, too, didn't play at Showcase. But whispers about his work ethic knocked him down. Nobody's touching Onuaku's PER, but even our favorite metric won't hide a lack of hustle.
After Showcase: No. 1
10
Luke
Harangody
Forward | 6-8, 240 | Waiver Claim
That Harangody has, is and will continue to tear apart the NBA D-League like the Jets coaching staff at the Golden Corral. After earning First Team All-Showcase honors, he followed that up with a 21-rebound night on Jan. 12. But what we haven't learned is where he'll fit into an NBA roster.
After Showcase: No. 10
11
Tim
Ohlbrecht
Center/Forward | 6-11, 255 | Drafted
Ohlbrecht -- That a more robust set of skills on a big man, the NBA D-League doesn't have. He won't out-rebound Harangody or Onuaku. He won't out-swat Jordan. But he'll give a defender some profound agita with his ability to hit from mid-range and outside, surprisingly quick first step and seeming inability to miss from anywhere within five feet. He's also coming off a 29-point, 13-board, 3-block night against Sioux Falls (though Sioux Falls, having lost Jarvis Varnado and Donald Sloan to the NBA, is having a rough run at the moment).
After Showcase: No. 13
12
Ben
Uzoh
Guard | 6-3, 205 | Returning Player
That his shot's the only thing holding the Springfield point guard back from an NBA gig, though he's coming off two strong showing. Matched up with Mack last weekend, he averaged 18.5 points (on 53-percent shooting) and 8.5 assists in two games.
After Showcase: No. 12
13
Andrew
Goudelock
Guard | 6-3, 200 | Drafted
That NBA experience won't be enough to keep Goudelock among the top flight of Prospects. He could score against NBA talent (and thus the Kobe-given 'Mini-Mamba' nickname), but he hasn't done a particularly stirring job doing so in the NBA D-League (at .450 as a jump-shooter, including a .301 mark from outside, though that's ballooned to .429 in his five games with RGV), and needs to use his outside game to create more opportunities for his teammates.
After Showcase: No. 11
14
Chris
Johnson
Guard | 6-11, 210 | Waiver Claim
Johnson can use his body like a 2- or 3-guard, which has its pluses (the very tall dude can jump and create shots for himself) and minuses (he can get pushed out of the key by an especially hard bounce pass). But few players in this league protect the rim like he does.
After Showcase: No. 14
15
Chris
Roberts
Guard | 6-4, 205 | Affiliate Player
Roberts impressed the scouts in attendance with what he didn't do. Namely hog the ball, make poor decisions or try to stand out. He just played defense, took smart shots and showed that sometimes he can shake off gravity.
After Showcase: 17
16
Sean
Singletary
Guard | 6-0, 185 | Drafted
Singletary calms doubts about his size by holding onto the ball and finding passing lanes like an Earnhardt. His 3.1 assist-to-turnover ratio leads the league.
After Showcase: 18
17
Henry
Sims
Center | 7-0, 240 | Affiliate Player
Like Ohlbrecht, Sims has the offensive game to lure his defender out of the key and leave holes on the inside. Like Bigfoot, he shies away from contact.
After Showcase: No. 19
18
Micah
Downs
Forward | 6-8, 200 | Affiliate
An active wing capable of playing everywhere from 1 to 3, Downs does a whole lot well. He takes a few too many risks, but that looks like a product of trying to do a little too much. He'll get an NBA job as a defender off the bench.
After Showcase: No. 20
19
Marcus
Landry
Forward | 6-7, 225 | Returning Player
Landry's mucked it up on the inside more this year than he has in the past, while turning his 3-point range into something very, very dangerous. He might go the way of Novak. With more upside.
After Showcase: No. 21
20
Hassan
Whiteside
Guard | 7-0, 235 | Waiver Claim
If Uzoh's shot keeps him out of a steady job in the NBA, Whiteside's consistency does the same thing. The size and shape of your average Great Plains tornado, he can play like one, too. Other times, he'll just breeze through a game (though he's given up a lot minutes lately to Ohlbrecht and Vernon Macklin, which should speak well for both of them).
After Showcase: 15
21
Rick
Jackson
Guard | 6-9, 240 | Affiliate Player
Jackson has one of the best things a Call-Up can bring with him to the NBA: predictability. One of the league's most efficient players this year, he fights for every board and brings down one every 2.5 minutes or so.
After Showcase: 25
22
Tyler
Wilkerson
Forward | 6-8, 240 | Affiliate Player
Wilkerson, at 6-foot-8, has the hops and energy game to make up for a slight height disadvantage (in the third valley).
After Showcase: No. 22
23
Gary
Flowers
Forward | 6-8, 214 | Returning
Flowers came into Showcase with a hyperextended knee, and looks like it's still affecting him. He's at his best when he moves from inside to outside, ripping down rebounds and hitting 3's. Of late, though, the shot totals have stayed high while the boards have sunk.
After Showcase: No. 23
24
Vernon
Macklin
Guard | 6-10, 227 | Waiver Claim
Macklin takes some time to get started off the bench, with the big man who averaged 14.3 boards in 34.2 minutes a night last year falling to six rebounds in 20 minutes a game this year. He'll need to bring a more immediate impact to get a longer look.
After Showcase: No. 24
25
Justin
Dentmon
Guard | 6-0, 185 | Returning
A hamstring injury's slowed down almost every part of Dentmon's game this year, accounting for his troubles from the floor (a career-low .390 shooting percentage, compared to .465 for his career). Without his spark, his Prospect status stalls out a bit.
After Showcase: No. 26
26
JaJuan
Johnson
Forward | 6-10, 220 | Drafted
The work ethic, despite accusations to the contrary, is there. But the confidence doesn't look like it is right now.
After Showcase: No. 27
27
Jerel
McNeal
Guard | 6-3, 200 | Affiliate Player
He's put in a great deal of time dragging his offense up to the level of his defense. And if it's not there yet, that's only because his defense has improved, too.
After Showcase: 28
28
James
Mays
Forward | 6-9, 230 | Affiliate
Mays' great strength -- his energetic approach to basically everything, especially rebounding -- is also his weakness: he puts up shots like somebody just handed him a lit coal.
After Showcase: No. 29
29
Ron
Howard
Forward | 6-5, 185 | Returning Player
Howard doesn't have many years left. But he's never been better at virtually any part of his game.
After Showcase: No. 30
30
Dennis
Horner
Forward | 6-9, 230 | Returning Player
Back from a foot injury that stopped his ultra-promising Elite Mini Camp effort cold, Horner's working himself back into the double-double shape that made him one of the year's best stories in 2011-12, after going from Open Tryouts to the NBA.
After Showcase: On the Cusp
On the Cusp
  • Dominique Sutton, G, Tulsa
  • Walker Russell, G, Fort Wayne
  • Elijah Millsap, F, L.A.
  • Chris Quinn, G, Tulsa
  • Solomon Alabi, C, Idaho
  • Paul Harris, G, Iowa Energy
  • Morris Almond, G, Iowa Energy
  • Demetris Nichols, F, Sioux Falls
  • Sadiel Rojas, F, Fort Wayne
  • Brian Butch, C, Bakersfield Jam
  • Willie Reed, F, Springfield
  • Tony Mitchell, F, Fort Wayne
  • Mike Singletary, F, Rio Grande Valley
  • Andy Rautins, G, Tulsa
  • Jorge Gutierrez, G, Canton
  • Mark Tyndale, F, Sioux Falls
  • Anthony Richardson, F, Fort Wayne
  • Jarrid Famous, F, L.A.
  • Mychel Thompson, G/F, Sioux Falls
  • Mickell Gladness, C, Santa Cruz
  • Stefhon Hannah, G, Santa Cruz
  • Sean Evans, F, Idaho
  • Durrell Summers, G/F, Idaho Stampede
  • Taylor Griffin, F, Santa Cruz
  • Mike Davis, F, Sioux Falls
  • Micheal Eric, C/F, Erie BayHawks

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