Suns’ NBA D-League Affiliate Iowa Energy to Be Seen on Versus
Several of the NBA’s top prospects can be seen on national television on Saturday night when the Iowa Energy, the NBA Development League affiliate of the Phoenix Suns and Chicago Bulls, hosts the Dakota Wizards at 8 p.m. ET. The game will be broadcast on VERSUS at 11 p.m. ET/9 p.m. MT.
James Johnson, the Chicago Bulls’ first-round selection (16th overall) in the 2009 NBA Draft, will suit up for Iowa (23-9) while on assignment from Chicago. In six games this season with the Eastern Conference-leading Energy, Johnson has averaged 19.3 points, 8.2 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 2.2 blocks in 29.8 minutes.
Johnson joins a deep and talented Iowa team that includes former NBA players in center Courtney Sims and guards Mike Taylor and Othyus Jeffers, whose 21.1 points per game currently leads the league. Iowa’s point guard, former Iowa State star Curtis Stinson, leads the league in assists with 9.3 per game. Iowa is coached by Nick Nurse, who will coach the East in the NBA D-League All-Star Game on Feb. 19.
Dakota (11-21) features Chris Johnson, the LSU product who was called up to the Portland Trail Blazers in January, as well as Javaris Crittenton, the former Georgia Tech standout who was drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers in the first round (19th overall) of the 2007 NBA Draft and went on to play in 113 games with the Lakers, Memphis Grizzlies and Washington Wizards from 2007-09.
The Suns have utilized the NBA D-League this season, calling-up and signing guard Zabian Dowdell from the Tulsa 66ers, and assigning center Garret Siler to the Energy.
Currently about 20 percent of NBA players have NBA D-League experience. This season, a record 23 NBA teams have assigned players to their NBA D-League affiliates, while 23 of the 60 2010 NBA Draft selections have played in the NBA D-League in 2010-11.
VERSUS’ Complete Regular-Season NBA D-League Schedule (subject to change):
Feb. 12: Dakota Wizards at Iowa Energy
Feb. 26: Bakersfield Jam at Idaho Stampede
March 5: New Mexico Thunderbirds at Utah Flash
March 12: Austin Toros at Texas Legends
March 19: Springfield Armor at Fort Wayne Mad Ants
March 26: Reno Bighorns at Sioux Falls Skyforce
April 2: Maine Red Claws at Erie BayHawks
For complete schedule information, visit www.VERSUS.com. VERSUS will announce its postseason schedule when information becomes available.
VERSUS prides itself on super-serving passionate sports fans across all platforms (VERSUS.com, VERSUS on Demand and VERSUS HD). Now in more than 75 million homes, the network is the cable television home of the National Hockey League (NHL), IZOD IndyCar Series, Tour de France, World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) and Professional Bull Riders (PBR). VERSUS also airs NASCAR, NBA, UFC, college football and college basketball programming. The network is home to the best outdoor programming on television and airs original programs not available anywhere else, including The T.Ocho Show. VERSUS, a wholly owned company of Comcast Corporation (NASDAQ: CMCSA, CMCSK), is distributed via cable systems and satellite operators throughout the United States.
NBA Development League
The NBA Development League, founded in 2001, is the NBA’s official minor league. Featuring 16 teams with direct affiliations to NBA franchises, the NBA D-League is a proven developer of talent: 20 percent of players in the NBA at the conclusion of the 2009-10 season boasted NBA D-League experience, and the league continues to develop coaches, referees, and front-office staff for the NBA and its teams. In fostering the league’s connection to the community, its teams, players and staff promote health and wellness, support local needs and interests, and assist in educational development through NBA D-League Cares programs. The NBA D-League also advances the game of basketball as the research and development arm of the NBA. Throughout the league’s 10th season, fans can watch all NBA D-League games on NBA FUTURECAST, the free live Web-streaming initiative found at nba.com/futurecast.