As first reported by Richard Walker and Jim Hlavac of DraftExpress, center Jelani McCoy
of the Los Angeles D-Fenders will join the Denver Nuggets. The 8th overall pick in the 2007 D-League draft, McCoy averaged 8 points, 6.5 rebounds, and 4 blocks per game in his 2 games so far this season. The veteran center becomes the second Gatorade Call-up of the season, after Eddie Gill
of the Nets.
A 29 year old out of UCLA, McCoy has seven years of NBA experience under his belt, with previous stints in Seattle, Los Angeles, Toronto, Cleveland and Atlanta. In addition, he has spent time playing overseas in the Ukraine, Italy and Spain.
The Nuggets have dealt with various big men injuries so far this season. Nene Hilario
will miss several more weeks with a thumb injury, and Stephen Hunter has been sidelined after he underwent knee surgery in mid-November. Kenyon Martin
has also missed time with knee troubles. McCoy played with the Nuggets during the pre-season, and had many observers thinking he would make the team out of training camp.
A member of the Nuggets front office was reportedly in attendance on Tuesday night as the D-Fenders hosted the Idaho Stampede. McCoy finished the game with 6 points, 10 rebounds, 5 blocks, and 4 assists while connecting on all three of field goal attempts.
10 day contracts cant be signed until January 5th, so the Nuggets will sign the veteran big for the remainder of the season. All NBA contracts become guaranteed on January 10th, so Denver has until then to decide if they want to keep him for the rest of the season.
With the D-League season in its second week, we have already seen two call-ups, both of whom are veterans with a great deal of NBA experience. Both McCoy and Eddie Gill
were called up by the teams who brought them in for training camp. With the number of proven veterans in the D-League this season, it comes as no surprise that two teams in win-now mode would sign two players who can contribute immediately.
With a record number of NBA players sent to the D-League before the start of the season, we could very easily see a record number of call-ups by the end of the season.