Thursday, January 8, 2015

2015 D League Showcase Preview

The annual NBA D-League Showcase moves from Reno, Nevada to Santa Cruz, California for 2015 and it offers some structural changes as well. For the first time, a tournament format will be used with the top eight teams advancing to the championship round of play. The focus on team play is welcomed and should be applauded. In past D-League Showcases we have seen players "going for their own" too often. 

Prior to the Showcase we do an audit of the D League stats, year-to-date, and try to enter the 2015 Showcase as "data informed" as we can be. We continue to believe that data can be a useful tool but it must be combined with a "feel" and a dose of common sense when scouting professional basketball is concerned. 

The D-league can be a source for help to an NBA roster. In many instances, the youngest players on NBA rosters are not much better, if better at all, than the top D-Leaguers. Last season, Shabazz Muhammad and Rudy Gobert used the Showcase to shine. DeWayne Dedmon was still property of the Santa Cruz Warriors. He has since parlayed that into a gig with the Orlando Magic. 

I was hoping to see Joe Alexander play this time around but the Santa Cruz Warriors forward signed a deal to play in Israel through April. Alexander, now 28 years old, had started to show NBA worthy ability. 

This year - here are the players we are particularly interested in seeing again... 

McAdoo is on the verge
James Michael McAdoo - Santa Cruz 6'9" 229 PF ... I wasn't sold on him at North Carolina but McAdoo is making me re-think. McAdoo has one of the strongest defensive ratings in the D-League. He can score despite not shooting the three-ball at all. He has improved from being a 56% free throw shooter in college to now hitting 72%. That is HUGE because he does get to the line often. He is getting closer to being good enough as a decision maker to have a shot at playing on an NBA team. He currently has as many assists as turnovers through 16 D-League contests.  His standing reach of 8'10.5" is the same as Kyle O'Quinn and Quincy Acy which helps explain why McAdoo is blocking shots left and right. 

Willie Reed - Grand Rapids 6'10" 220 PF ...The "stretch four" fascination in the NBA is working against Reed, now 24 years old, and continuing to improve. He is shooting 70% FG and he gobbles up rebounds, especially on the offensive end. He plays solid defense. Reed is averaging 13 points and eleven rebounds per game but his shooting range is limited. He still can't make free throws (47%), and his decision making is suspect. 

JaMychal Green - Austin 6'9" 220 PF ...The reigning D-League Player of the Month, Green is playing with absurd efficiency. He is averaging 22.5 points, and eleven rebounds per game on the season for the Spurs affiliate. He does not have reliable range out to the three point line but he does have touch for a BIG. He shoots 80% FT (career). Green is 24 years old. 

Talib Zanna - Oklahoma City 6'9" 232 PF ...Zanna was draft eligible in 2014 out of Pittsburgh. He is shooting 63% FG while averaging 12 points and ten boards for the OKC Blue. He leads the D-League in offensive rebounding (total). 

Tim Frazier - Maine 6'1" 170 PG ...Frazier is a guy capable of putting up a triple-double in any game he plays in. His one weakness is his deep shooting, otherwise I think he would already have an NBA gig. Frazier is averaging 16 points, eight assists, and six rebounds per game. 

The D-League Showcase begins January 15 and runs through the 19th. For more information and to purchase tickets please follow this link.

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