SAN ANTONIO (March 11, 2011) - Several of the NBA’s top prospects, including four first-round NBA Draft picks, can be seen on national television on Saturday night when the Austin Toros, the NBA Development League affiliate of the San Antonio Spurs, play at the Texas Legends, affiliate of the Dallas Mavericks, at 7 p.m. CT. The game will be broadcast on VERSUS at 11:30 p.m. ET/10:30 p.m. CT.
After producing GATORADE Call-Up Marcus Cousin (Utah Jazz) this week, the Toros (17-22) are led by forward Leo Lyons, the reigning NBA D-League Performer of the Week. Lyons, the former Missouri star, averaged 31.7 points, 6.3 rebounds and 2.0 assists in his past three games. Austin also features guard Kyle Weaver, who played in 68 games with the Oklahoma City Thunder from 2008 to 2010. Weaver joins the Toros via trade from the Iowa Energy, where he averaged 16.6 points, 5.9 rebounds and 3.5 assist in 21 games this season. Rookie forward Lance Thomas, an NCAA Champion at Duke last season, averages 13.4 points and 5.6 rebounds for the Toros, while guard Aubrey Coleman, the NCAA’s leading scorer last season at Houston (25.6 ppg), averages 12.9 points for Austin. Toros point guard Squeaky Johnson, meanwhile, is fourth in the league in assists (6.5 apg).
The Legends (18-22), which are owned by Dallas Mavericks general manager and president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson and coached by Basketball Hall-of-Famer Nancy Lieberman, feature four first-round NBA Draft picks who have played in a combined 1,309 NBA games. Forward Joe Alexander, the West Virginia product who was selected by the Milwaukee Bucks with the eighth overall pick in the 2008 NBA Draft, leads the Legends in scoring (19.9 ppg), and is fourth in the league in rebounding (9.4 rpg). Point guard Antonio Daniels, a 12-year NBA veteran and the fourth overall pick in the 1997 NBA Draft, averages 9.0 assists, which ranks second in the league. Center Sean Williams, selected out of Boston College by the New Jersey Nets with the 17th overall pick in the 2007 NBA Draft, is the league’s third-leading rebounder (9.5 rpg) and leading shot-blocker (2.9 bpg). Rashad McCants, the NCAA champion at North Carolina who was taken with the 14th overall selection in the 2005 NBA Draft, recently rejoined the team. Texas also features guard Justin Dentmon, out of Washington, who averages 19.5 points per game.
The Spurs have utilized the NBA D-League this season, calling up Steve Novak from the Reno Bighorns and Othyus Jeffers from the Iowa energy.
Currently about 20 percent of NBA players have NBA D-League experience, including Jeffers, Novak and Spurs guard James Anderson. This season, a record 24 NBA teams have assigned players to their NBA D-League affiliates, including the Spurs, who assigned Anderson to Austin twice. Further, 25 of the 60 2010 NBA Draft selections have played in the NBA D-League in 2010-11.