Inside the D-League

Inside the D-League
Dec 11, 2006, 09:52 pm
Williams and Jones Recalled by the 76ers

On Tuesday, Bobby Jones and Louis Williams informed the home crowd that they were likely playing their last home game in the D-League. They were expected to play one more road game, but sources have informed us that they have been recalled by the 76ers, and are back in Philadelphia.

Williams put on an amazing scoring display in his last D-League game, going off for 35 points on 12/13 from the field, and 8/12 from the free throw line. His perimeter shot is much improved from high school, and he was making some very nice finishes around the hoop. Despite this, he turned the ball over 8 times, and didn’t make an effort to get his teammates involved.

Jones didn’t display any creativity on offense, and missed all of his 3 point attempts. He did rebound the ball well, and played the usual defense that he became known for at Washington. Jones needs to develop a consistent perimeter shot, and he should be fine to play a defensive specialist role in the NBA.

Jay Williams Joins Toros

Former #2 overall draft pick Jay Williams, formerly of the Chicago Bulls, was recently acquired by Austin from the available player pool. Williams suffered injuries in a motorcycle accident 3 years ago, and was expected by some people to never play again. He played in training camp with the New Jersey Nets, but was cut at the conclusion of the pre-season. He will join Brock Gillespie and BJ Elder in the Toros’ backcourt. Williams will be keeping a blog about his time spent in the D-League, which can be found at . Williams can be expected to be one of the most heavily scouted players in the D-League over the next few months. Teams will be looking closely at his lateral quickness and explosiveness in particular to gauge how far along he is in his comeback effort.

Pops Mensah-Bonsu Assigned to Fort Worth

Dallas Mavericks rookie forward Pops-Mensah Bonsu was assigned to the Fort Worth Flyers on Thursday. The undrafted rookie free agent is the 4th NBA player to be assigned to Fort Worth this season, and the 5th to be assigned to the D-League. Mensah-Bonsu struggled in his first game, scoring 5 points on 1-2 from the field and 3-8 from the line, but he did grab 6 rebounds in 19 minutes. In the D-League, he will have to work on developing a consistent mid-range jump shot, and polishing his inside game. Mensah-Bonsu’s athleticism and energy will make him a hustle player if he makes the NBA, and it will be interesting to see how his game progresses throughout this season. He is the 4th Maverick to be sent to the D-League after Rawle Marshall, Josh Powell, and Pavel Podkolzine, who were all assigned last season.

Justin Williams Continues Dominance on Boards

Justin Williams of the Dakota Wizards has now had more than 15 rebounds in 4 out of his 5 games. His offensive game has really started to come along lately as well, and he’s averaging 16 points per game over his past 3 games. For the season, Williams is averaging 12.4 points, 14.0 rebounds, and 2.4 blocks per game. After going undrafted, he is one of the more intriguing big men in the D-League, and if his offensive game develops, Williams will find himself playing in the NBA very soon.

Ryan Hollins Update

Hollins continued to rebound the ball well Friday night against Arkansas, gathering 13 for the game and 8 on the offensive end. Offensively, he shot the ball well from the floor, but turned the ball over 8 times. Hollins still needs to add muscle mass, but it will be difficult as he has a thin frame and narrow shoulders. His offensive game is coming along well, but he still lacks a post game. He will need to continue to work on his timing on the defensive end to reach his fullest potential as a player. He finished the game 12 points, 13 rebounds, 4 blocks, and 8 turnovers in 37 minutes.

Julius Hodge Update

Hodge received his first real minutes of the season on Sunday, and played pretty well considering he hasn’t played basketball since last April. He scored the ball well going to the basket, and created some nice looks for his teammates. His shooting mechanics still looked poor however, and he only made 3 of his 7 free throw attempts. Hodge finished the game with 15 points, 6 rebounds, and 6 assists in 24 minutes. Colorado is playing well, so they can afford to bring Hodge along slowly, and increase his minutes as he becomes more comfortable.

Andriuskevicius Assigned to Wizards

The Chicago Bulls have assigned big man Martynas Andriuskevicius to the Dakota Wizards. Andriuskevicius spent time in the D-League last season as a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers, and was acquired in an off-season trade for Eddie Basden. Martynas combined with Justin Williams will make one of the better front court duos in the D-League, and it should provide Andriuskevicius with a nice opportunity to get a lot of playing time.

Possible Assignment Candidates

2 players have recently been mentioned as possible candidates in the D-League. Uros Slokar and PJ Tucker of the Toronto Raptors could be sent down to the Colorado 14ers. The Raptors have injury problems with their lineup right now, and Slokar was used sparingly in Toronto’s last two games. If the Raptors can get healthy, they will likely send down both Tucker and Slokar. The Raptors used the D-League last season and sent Pape Sow to Arkansas, where he played very well. Tucker is a rookie out of Texas who has appeared in 8 games for the Raptors this season, and Slokar is a rookie out of Slovenia who has played in 2.

Team Updates

Fort Worth Flyers, 4-1

After a tough win on Tuesday against Anaheim, the Flyers dropped their first game of the season against the Rimrockers Friday night. Louis Williams had his best scoring game in the D-League against Anaheim, scoring 35 points. Kelenna Azubuike continued his dominance scoring 27 on Tuesday, but shot just 8 of 24 from the field in a 23 point effort Friday. With Louis Williams and Bobby Jones on their way out, the Flyers will need increased effort from some of their guys who have had a lesser role lately. Kevin Burleson and Luke Schenscher are two guys who could really step up and take on a larger role. Cory Santee has played very well for the Flyers this year, and his scoring will be important with Williams gone.

This week, the Flyers play back to back games against the Tulsa 66ers. On Friday night they will play in Fort Worth, and they will travel to Tulsa for the Saturday night game.

Dakota Wizards, 4-1

Dakota played a close game on Tuesday, edging Idaho by a margin of 94-90. Justin Williams led the way with 18 points, 15 rebounds, and 5 blocks, and Renaldo Major lead all scorers with 27 points. Major is averaging 16 points per game this season, and shooting 54% from the field. The Wizards may soon add big man Martynas Andriuskevicius from the Chicago Bulls. A front court combination of Andriuskevicius and Williams would be very hard for opposing teams to stop.

The Wizards will try to add to their 2 game winning streak on Thursday and Friday, when they host the winless Austin Toros.

Colorado 14ers, 4-1

Colorado played just one game this week, beating the D-Fenders by a wide margin on Sunday. Von Wafer continued to play well, scoring 29 points, and making 5 of 7 from the three point line. He did turn the ball over 7 times, but he is now averaging over 22 points per game, and shooting 55% from the 3 point line. In addition, Colorado received solid contributions from Julius Hodge and Elton Brown on Sunday. Brown scored 17 points and added 13 rebounds. He is now second in the D-League in rebounds per game at 11.

This week Colorado faces their toughest challenge of the season so far when they travel to Albuquerque for a pair of games. Their games Friday and Saturday night should test the 14ers, and give them a good idea of where they stand as a team.

Arkansas Rimrockers, 6-2

The Rimrockers are currently the hottest team in the D-League, and won a pair of home games last week. On Tuesday, they beat Austin, and they handed Fort Worth their first loss of the season Friday night. Clay Tucker has continued to play well for Arkansas. He had 26 points, 7 rebounds and 6 assists against Austin, and contributed 14 points against Fort Worth. Matt Haryasz had his best game of the season against Fort Worth. He scored 19 points and grabbed 11 rebounds against a solid front line with NBA experience.

Arkansas will attempt to extend their 5 game winning streak on Thursday and Friday. They travel to Sioux Falls to take on a struggling team in back to back games.

Albuquerque Thunderbirds, 5-2

The Thunderbirds won a pair of home games last week against the Anaheim Arsenal. Dijon Thompson played well in both games, and is making a strong case for a return to the NBA. Thursday night he had 25 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists, and he followed it up Friday with 20 points, 10 rebounds, and 3 assists. Troy Bell has been up and down this season. He followed up a 23 point effort on 8 of 11 shooting with a 4 point game on Friday. 6’10” center Marcus Douthit has been a steady inside presence for the Thunderbirds this year, and is averaging 18 points and 9 rebounds per game.

Albuquerque will host a pair of games Friday and Saturday. They will be tested for the first time against the Colorado 14ers in what should be a close match-up.

Los Angeles D-Fenders, 5-4

The D-Fenders played 4 games last week, and finished them 2-2. They won Monday at home against Sioux Falls, but lost to them on Wednesday. L.A. bounced back with a Friday win verses Tulsa, but dropped a road game Sunday to Colorado. Devin Green has continued to be one of the top players in the D-League. His play-making as the point guard in the triangle offense is very impressive, and he displays surprising scoring ability at times. His best game of the week came Friday, where he had 25 points, 7 assists, and 6 rebounds. Green is now averaging 19 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists per game. Newly acquired guard Brian Chase has scored the ball well for L.A., but has not displayed much in terms of point guard skills.

This week, the D-Fenders just play one game. Idaho visits the Staples center on Friday for an early afternoon game.

Tulsa 66ers, 4-3

Tulsa played 3 games last week, starting with a home win against Austin. They lost to L.A. Friday, but bounced back in Bakersfield on Saturday. Cheyne Gadson played very well for Tulsa last week, and is currently scoring over 19 points per game. Will Conroy once again is one of the top distributors in the D-League, and had 8 assists or more in all three games this past week. He is now averaging 7.5 per game for the season. Denham Brown continues to be inconsistent. He scored in single digits his first two games last week, before bouncing back with 22 points and 10 rebounds against Bakersfield.

Tulsa plays a road game Thursday in Anaheim before traveling to Fort Worth on Friday. They finish the week on Saturday with a home game against the Flyers.

Sioux Falls Skyforce, 3-4

Sioux Falls split a pair of road games in Los Angeles last week. They lost on Monday, but came back Wednesday and won by a score of 98-90. Andre Brown contributed 16 points and 6 rebounds on Monday, followed by 21 points and 10 rebounds Wednesday. Frank Williams had a solid week, netting 14 points and 5 assists Monday, and 25 points and 10 assists Wednesday.

This week, the Skyforce host Arkansas on Thursday and Friday. They finish the week with a Sunday game in Austin against the Toros.

Anaheim Arsenal, 3-5

The Arsenal had a tough week, dropping a game in Fort Worth Tuesday, before losing a pair on Thursday and Friday in Albuquerque. Jawad Williams has played very well so far for Anaheim. In the D-League, he has been taking big guys out on the perimeter, and either shooting it or taking it to the basket. Williams has averaged nearly 21 points per game this season to go along with 4 rebounds and 2 assists. Andre Owens has struggled from the field so far this season. He is shooting 39% from the field, and only 24% from the 3 point line. They will need a more consistent effort out of Corsley Edwards if they are going to string together some wins.

This week, Anaheim plays 3 games, starting with a home game Tuesday against Tulsa. They play at home Thursday against Idaho, and travel to Bakersfield on Saturday.

Bakersfield Jam, 1-5

Bakersfield played 1 game last week, and lost to Tulsa by 15 points. Kevinn Pinkney has been their best player so far this season, scoring 19 points per game on 54% from the field. He is a very good spot up shooter, and hard for big men in the D-League to guard. Tony Bobbit has been inconsistent for the Jam, and they will need efficient scoring from him if they are going to start winning some games. Brandon Bowman is still struggling with the D-League game, and shot just 4-12 from the field in his last game.

This week, Bakersfield’s only game is on Saturday when they host the Anaheim Arsenal.

Idaho Stampede, 1-6

Idaho lost a close game on Tuesday against the Dakota Wizards. Peter Ramos was able to go 9-9 from the field on his way to 18 points on Tuesday, but he only finished the game with 5 rebounds and 1 blocked shot. Eddie Robinson struggled again, and needs to be more consistent. He finished the game with 11 points on 3-11 from the field. Randy Livingston continues to distribute the ball well but he turned the ball over too often against Dakota. He finished the game with 9 assists and 5 turnovers.

This week, Idaho plays in California on Thursday and Friday. Thursday night their game is in Anaheim, and they play against the D-Fenders on Friday.

Austin Toros, 0-6

The Toros are the only winless team remaining in the D-League after dropping a pair of games Tuesday and Wednesday. Jamar Smith played well Tuesday, but struggled Wednesday against Tulsa. He is currently averaging 20 points and 7 rebounds per game this season. They have also received strong play from BJ Elder as of late. Elder scored 31 points in Tuesday’s loss, and also scored 22 on Wednesday. The addition of Jay Williams should help an Austin team that is very thin in the backcourt. If he can control the tempo and distribute the ball, it will give the Toros a much needed upgrade at the point guard position.

This week, the Toros will try to win their first game in Dakota on Thursday. They play Dakota again on Friday, and return home to host Sioux Falls on Sunday.

Recent articles

Twitter @DraftExpress

DraftExpress Shop