Archive for the ‘D-League’ Category

Starting January 5th, NBA teams can sign free agents to 10-day contracts. And while there’s nothing that demands those 10-day contract signees need come from the NBA D-League, it logically follows that it’s a good place to start looking. Whether a team is struggling and looking for new blood, or just looking for injury cover, the seamless call-up system allows them to plunder the D-League for reinforcements for a week and a half, as an extended midseason tryout. Here’s a list of the top call-up candidates, in no order other than when they were thought of.

Point Guards

Courtney Fortson – 18.8ppg, 6.2 apg, 5.5 rpg: Fortson’s decision to declare early for the draft looked especially ridiculous after he wasn’t able to progress beyond the Romanian league in his first season. Since then, however, he’s turned his career around and managed a few NBA looks. Fortson’s speed, aggression and handle haven’t changed, and now come with a much improved jumpshot and better decision making. But he’s still not a proven halfcourt point guard, and he’s still only 5-foot-11.

Justin Dentmon – 19.7 ppg, 4.0 apg, 5.0 rpg: Unashamedly a scorer as well, Dentmon is the leading scorer on the D-League’s second-highest scoring team. He too cracked the NBA on multiple occasions last season, on account of the quality of his jumpshot (432 from three in his D-League career) and his ability to create them. To stick in the league in any more than a peripheral role, though, he’ll need to be as lucky as Eddie House.

Walker Russell – 14.2 ppg, 5.5 apg, 3.9 rpg: Russell played his way from D-League benches to the NBA within five years, a working demonstration of the league’s developmental qualities. The purest point on this list, Russell played almost all of last season with the Pistons, but struggled at the NBA level. He is unspectacular, unathletic and undersized, without three-point range on his shot and now with 30 years on the clock. But his knack for finding open players and controlling the offense puts him ahead of the rest, should those be the desired qualities.

Chris Quinn – 18.0 ppg, 7.0 apg, 3.0 spg: Knocking on 30′s door, Quinn has returned to the D-League to play two games, after beginning the season in Spain. This is possibly his last chance to make the NBA, and even if he can’t defend his position, he can certainly contribute as both a playmaker and shooter.

Ben Uzoh – 16.1ppg, 5.5 apg, 5.9 rpg: The most athletic player listed, Uzoh thrives in transition, and has the size to project as a quality defense player. However, he isn’t at this point, and as he’s not a pure point and is a sub-par shooter, his usefulness in the halfcourt is limited.

Chris Wright – 16.3 ppg, 7.7 apg, 5.5 rpg: Reports last year that Wright’s career was in jeopardy after a diagnosis of MS were clearly premature, as Wright is performing to a high standard. His all-around game is very solid, and although he still lacks for consistent three-point range, his game management and pick-and-roll abilities stand him in good stead.

Troy Hudson – 11.8 ppg, 4.2 apg, 2.8 rpg: Hudson’s comeback started well with some good shooting performances. However, it soon tapered off, and by this time, he is a fairly average soon-to-be-37 year old D-Leaguer. The speed has gone, as has the hair.

Orien Greene – 15.9 ppg, 2.5 apg, 4.1 rpg: Former Celtic Greene is mostly playing two guard alongide Fortson. In the process, he is proving that he can still defend both spots. He’s also improved his jumpshot over the years, and is shooting 40 percent from three on the season.

Stefon Hannah – 14.3 ppg, 4.4 apg, 4.3 rpg: Perennial nearly-man Hannah is slowly becoming more and more of a three-point shooter offensively, taking eight of them a game and hitting 41 percent last season. He’s also the reigning D-League Defensive Player of the Year; however, neither big nor quick, it’s unclear as to how well this effort may translate.

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Years and years ago, Jamaal Tinsley was a well-respected man about town player in the NBA. He had a huge ESPN Magazine profile before he got to the league, was a second team NCAA All-American, then a first round draft pick and he started playoff games for a bunch of very good Indiana Pacers teams.

That seems like a long time ago, as Tinsley’s career took a pretty severe nosedive in the latter part of the 2000s. Injuries limited him in a few seasons, then he was told by the Pacers that he couldn’t play for them, causing him to miss the entirety of the 2008-09 campaign. Finally, Mel-Mel was salvaged by the Grizzlies where he played 38 games during 2009-10 before sitting out all of last year because nobody wanted him. Bit of a change from the early part of the decade.

Now, he’s trying to make it back to the NBA, which isn’t surprising since that’s what all the most maligned guards of the Aughts are doing these days. However, he’s going about things a slightly different way. From Yahoo! Sports’ Marc J. Spears:

Jamaal Tinsley hopes to return to the NBA, and he wants to use the Development League to help his efforts.

Tinsley has sent in the needed paperwork to enter Thursday’s NBA Development League draft, sources told Yahoo! Sports. [...] The deadline to enter the D-League draft is Tuesday.

Hey, it worked for Antonio Daniels. He was a second round NBDL pick in the 2010 draft and made it back for four games with the 76ers last season, so at least there is some precedent for a once-good guard to drop down to the D-League in a bid to make it back to the majors. These sorts of things are always a bit easier for the second guy to try it.

That being said, coaches liked Antonio Daniels a lot more than they ever liked Jamaal Tinsley. He was never told to stay away from a team that refused to move him. He was never arrested or had other legal issues that might not have resulted in charges but were still poorly-timed incidents. Antonio Daniels is exactly the kind of guy coaches love to keep around as a hard-working, veteran presence who will just keep the peace and play basketball. Maybe Jamaal Tinsley can be that, but he’s going to have a tough time convincing some executive that their image of him is wrong. Teams aren’t always quick to forgive non-franchise players.

But who knows? Maybe this’ll work out and Jamaal Tinsley will make it back to the NBA as a third-string point guard. At the very least, if he gets picked in the D-League draft, he’ll be playing in some actual competitive basketball games, which is more than a lot of NBA players can say. Seems like a good place to start.

Are you tired of dominating your pickup league where you play with a bunch of old guys who are school administrators? Have you won too many rec league championships and are looking for a new challenge? Can you beat your dad one-on-one pretty much every single time?

Then maybe you are cut out to be a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers’ D-League team. But maybe not. There’s only one way to find out, and that’s by going to the open tryout the Canton team (formerly the New Mexico Thunderbirds) on October 6. From Ohio.com:

The Cavaliers are holding open tryouts in both Cleveland and Canton for men interested in trying out for the team’s new Development League team which begins play in Canton this fall.

The Cleveland tryout is Saturday, Oct. 8 and continues on Sunday, Oct. 9 at St. Ignatius. The Canton tryout is Saturday, Oct. 15 and continues on Sunday, Oct. 16 at Canton Fieldhouse. Participants must be available to participate on both days. Anyone who makes the cut will be invited to the D-League team’s training camp.

All applicants must be eligible to play in the NBA D-League and should pre-register by Oct. 6 for the Cleveland tryouts or Oct. 13 for the Canton tryouts by submitting the official registration forms and a $150 fee. The fee increases to $200 at the door on-site at the tryouts. Information about the tryouts, registration forms and payment options and instructions are available online at www.CantonNBA.com or at the Canton team office located inside the Canton Memorial Civic Center.

“The open tryout process is an important part of our launch and a good way to evaluate additional talent on the court,” Canton General Manager Wes Wilcox said. “It will be a great opportunity for players to make their case for an invitation to our training camp.”

This is a really great opportunity, TBJers. Not only is this a good way to break in to professional basketball, the Cavs are so bad that you might even be able to sneak your way in to the NBA. Cleveland’s made 11 callups from the D-League in the past 10 seasons, so there is a legitimate chance that you might get the nod when Baron Davis suffers his inevitable injury (not really). At the very least, you’ll get to experience the finest things that Canton has to offer. Like, for instance, the Pro Football Hall of Fame and maybe something else.

So get your shoes ready and your game also ready (good inspirational speech, you’re welcome) and head down to the tryout. If one of you guys can’t make the Cavs’ D-League team, then I guess there’s no hope for any of us.