NBDL Kicks Off
The NBA Development League got underway last night, so now’s a good time for a sneak preview of some players worth watching. In the coming weeks, NBDL teams will get some kids that are currently sitting on an NBA bench; last year there were 29 NBA players sent down to get some valuable minutes in the D-League.
So far this season, Bobcat Ryan Hollins is the only man who’s been sent down. The 7’0″ center is actually the first player the Bobcats have ever sent to the NBDL. The 50th overall pick this year, Hollins finished his collegiate career ranked fourth on the UCLA all-time block list behind only former Raptor Jelani McCoy, current Buck Dan Gazuric and Ed O’Bannon.
D-League dudes to watch:
- Troy Bell, G. An All-American at Boston College, Bell was taken in the first round by the Celtics in 2003, but dealt on draft night to Memphis in the Kendrick Perkins trade. Bell wound up playing in six games with the Grizz in 03-04, scoring 11 points on 4-of-18 shooting in 34 minutes with four assists but six turnovers. He didn’t resurface in the NBA again until the 2005-06 preseason when he played one game with the Hornets. The 6’1″, 26-year-old recently turned professional in boxing, so he’s a good guy to have around should the elbows start flying.
- Corsley Edwards, F. He’s not a youngster at 27, but has shown the ability to score and rebound. The 6’9″ Edwards spent six games in Spain last year, scoring almost 10 points per game. A second round pick by the Kings in 2002, Edwards played 10 games with the Hornets in 04-05, and was very strong in the CBA that season, averaging 17.9 points and 9.9 rebounds. Edwards played more games than anyone in Central Connecticut State University history. He’s off to a good start with 16 points in his first NBDL game.
- Matt Haryasz, PF. The athletic Stanford star, a big-time defender, was in the Rockets’ training camp this season. He’s a good post player who earned All Pac-10 honours in his senior season with the Cardinal. The 6’11” forward went undrafted this year. He’s a 22-year-old power forward who’s probably capable of handling centre as well. Haryasz was a very productive college player, so he bears watching.
- Darius Washington, G. The Memphis Tiger opted to enter the 2006 draft early despite a reduction in numbers in his sophomore season. It didn’t pan out as Washington was not drafted. He did, however, get picked in the first round of the NBDL draft by Austin. After failing to catch on in Dallas this fall, Washington chose instead to use the Euro League as a springboard to the NBA. He has signed with Paok in Greece and after an honourable All-American mention last season, Washington hopes to take his game to the next level overseas. The 6’2″ Washington won’t be 21 until next month, so time is on his side. He’s got a chance to be a very good point guard.
- Brandon Bowman, SF. Bowman’s stock slipped after a weak senior season at Georgetown. He played summer league ball for Portland and attended the Nets’ training camp this fall, but his numbers for the Hoyas were never the same after a big soph season. He did make the third All Big East team as a junior and was a pre-season candidate for the Wooden All-American Team and Player of the Year before stumbling last season. The 22-year-old has good size (6’9″) for the three spot with the outside possibility of developing into a Tim Thomas-type.
- Michael Harris is definitely a scorer. The 6’6″ small forward is Rice’s all-time leading point getter and rebounder. He averaged 20.6 points as a senior in 2004-05 to earn recognition as CollegeInsider.com’s National MVP. The 23-year-old Harris played professionally in Ukraine last season, averaging 10.4 points and 6.5 rebounds per game before coming back to North America to attend the Bucks’ training camp this fall. Harris is skilled enough that he could probably play the two-guard slot as well.
- Justin Williams, PF. Williams is a defensive wizard, setting the all-time blocked shots record at Wyoming and for the entire Mountain West Conference despite playing just two seasons after transferring from Colby CC. The 6’9″ 22-year-old racked up 12 points and 15 rebounds in his first D-League game. Williams, compared to Marvin Ely, attended the Kings’ training camp this fall. As a senior at Wyoming, he had 329 rebounds and 163 blocks in 30 games. Williams might be capable of playing centre.
- Kevin Burleson, G. Burleson appeared in 39 games with the Bobcats last year, but was cut in training camp this fall. The 6’3″ Burleson is now 27, so isn’t a prospect, but could land on a team that needs backcourt help. He’s considered a real team player. The former Golden Gopher was undrafted out of college so he spent a year playing in Germany before Charlotte signed him.
- It’s hard to miss Peter John Ramos. After all, the guy is a 7’3″ beast of a man. Ramos became just the third Puerto Rican ever drafted in the NBA when Washington plucked him in 2004 with the 32nd overall selection. The 21-year-old played six games with the Wizards in 2004-05, but spent the majority of that season on the injured list. An Olympian in 2004, Ramos attended Washington’s training camp this fall and spent last year on the team’s roster, but was in the D-League for most of the season, scoring 14.9 PPG with almost eight boards and two blocks per game.
- Denham Brown, G/F. Brown’s been a legend around these parts since scoring 111 points in a high school game and then getting recruited by UConn. The 23-year-old swingman, ideally suited for small forward, averaged almost 11 PPG in his senior season with the Huskies before Seattle grabbed him 40th overall this year. He attended the Sonics’ camp, but didn’t stick. Many were hoping the Raptors would draft the local product, part of a national championship with UConn. He’s a solid three-point shooter and managed 19 points in the D-League opener.
- Devin Green, G/F. This 24-year-old swingman played 27 games with the Lakers last season. The 6’7″ Green, a key player when he was at Hampton, poured in 31 points in the NBDL opener.