Prospect Watch presented by BBVA, Playoffs Edition: Round 1
The NBA D-League regular season came and went, and April 19 is the last day prospects can be called up to the next level. But NBA eyes are always watching, and the NBA D-League Playoffs gives the players lucky enough to make it yet another platform to showcase their abilities. Whether during NBA Summer League, training camp or next season, being a part of a winning team could pay off down the road.
Here are the players who boosted their stock the most during the first round.
Stock Watch: The flair for the dramatic, the clutch gene, "The Zone" -- whatever you want to call it, it apparently runs in the Curry family. Seth's professional playoff debut looked a lot like his older brother's last spring, as he simply caught fire in a Game 1 obliteration of L.A. (44 points, 15/20 FG, 9/14 3FG). And he wasn't fazed by the buzz that followed his epic performance, playing under control in a 138-126 win two nights later. Curry's been consistently solid all season long, but these two games showed he still has another gear to reach.
Stock Watch: The numbers Morris put up in the run-and-gun Iowa-RGV series are astounding: 38.7 points -- on 61% shooting, including 68% from three -- 4.3 rebounds and 12.3 assists per game. Of course, they need to be kept in perspective given the breakneck pace of the RGV-Iowa series. But what they do suggest is that Morris, with 94 games of experience at the next level, is a major leaguer among minor leaguers, looking the same way Malcolm Thomas, James Johnson and Kendall Marshall looked earlier this year. Still just 23, Morris is a man on a mission, and could rewrite his own book if he really becomes a knockdown shooter from long range.
Stock Watch: It would have been easy for Liggins to return from his stint with the Heat gunning for his numbers, but he's never fallen into that trap. Instead, his NBA-ready skills mainly show up in the 'W' column. The 26-year-old is the Skyforce's anchor on both ends of the floor, setting the tone for league's top defense and keeping the ball moving on offense. Evidently the winning cultures of Miami and Oklahoma City have rubbed off on Liggins, and -- as we noted on our Most to Gain list -- don't be surprised if he's in an NBA rotation next season.
Stock Watch: One NBA D-League player shot at least 50% from the field, 40% from three and 85% from the foul line during the 2013-14 season. That player was Patrick Christopher, who averaged 13.6 points per game while often hiding in the background of Iowa's offensive juggernaut. Yet he remained coolly efficient even after being thrust into a leading role following Othyus Jeffers' late-season Call-Up. Take the numbers -- 34.2 points, 61% FG, 46% 3FG) over his last five games -- with a grain of salt, but not the sharpshooting ability.
Stock Watch: The numbers hardly ever do justice to Rojas, the engine behind a 36-16 team that's won 15 of its past 17 games. But the farther the Mad Ants advance, the more eyeballs that will be watching the 6-4 "Wolverine" go to work. His lack of a true position will always make the NBA an uphill battle, but toughness and basketball IQ will never be a question. Plus, he's now shooting 24-of-48 from three over his last 12 games and 42% on corner 3s this season.
Other Standouts: Brandon Costner, Lance Goulbourne, Dario Hunt, Cameron Jones, Tre Kelley, Arinze Onuaku, Larry Owens