NBA Developmental League Showcase, Day Three-- Part One

NBA Developmental League Showcase, Day Three-- Part One
Jan 18, 2007, 05:10 am
DraftExpress President Jonathan Givony and D-League Director of Scouting Mike Schmidt are present in frosty Sioux Falls, South Dakota to track the progress of the NBA send-downs and potential call-ups. Because of the length of the article, we’ve decided to split this one into two parts. The first half of day three saw a couple of very strong performances, including perimeter oriented big man Kevinn Pinkney, former Syracuse point guard Gerry McNamara, Michigan State swingman Alan Anderson and Orlando Magic send-down James Augustine.

Any International teams seeking more comprehensive information on any of the players at the showcase should feel free to get in touch using the email addresses listed below.

D-League Showcase, Day One.

D-League Showcase, Day Two.

Game One: Bakersfield Jam 102- Austin Toros 96

Kevinn Pinkney, 6-9, Power Forward, Bakersfield Jam, 1983
25 points, 8 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 turnovers, 5 steals, 8-19 FG, 9-12 FT, 44 minutes

Jonathan Givony

Capping off a coming out party at the D-League showcase, Kevinn Pinkney showed everyone in attendance just how much progress he’s made since his days as an unpolished sidekick to Nick Fazekas at Nevada. Pinkney is a pretty special type of power forward, possessing terrific ability to face the basket and put the ball in the hoop. He was ran off a number of pick and pop screens throughout the showcase, and for the most part showed off a very nice looking stroke, even if he did have a tendency to fade away too much and therefore make things more difficult on himself than they should have been. He also displayed very nice ball-handling skills for a power forward, putting the ball on the floor and pulling up off the dribble or making his way all the way to the hoop and drawing fouls. At the free throw line his stroke looked just as good, knocking down 9 of his 12 attempts. Pinkney was more likely to start his moves from the high-post, but also showed some skill dropping shots high off the glass with a one handed floater or jump-hook from the mid-low post, thanks to his excellent touch. These are the kind of moves that very few power forwards can execute successfully, and Pinkney surely drew the attention of the numerous international scouts and GMs in attendance with the high skill-level he showed.

One pretty glaring issue that Pinkney needs to address is his rebounding ability, pulling down just one board in the entire first half. He’s also not a great defender either, and has a tendency to settle for difficult shots at times. All in all, though, this was an excellent week for Pinkney and one that will surely boost his stock. It’s not clear if his skill-set is exactly what NBA teams are looking for at the power forward position, but he’s made clearly made some serious strides over the past two years since graduating from college.

Gerry McNamara, 6-2, Point Guard, Bakersfield Jam, 1983
20 points, 3 rebounds, 7 assists, 3 turnovers, 3 steals, 7-15 FG, 2-4 3P, 4-4 FT

Jonathan Givony

Piecing together a nice all-around performance after a ho-him debut in the first game of the showcase, Gerry McNamara was particularly clutch down the stretch as you might expect, bringing his team back from down double-digits late in the fourth quarter to force overtime and eventually win the game. McNamara played the point guard position exclusively throughout the game, showing good smarts running the half-court offense, but also taking too many risks at times with flashy passes seemingly intended to impress the scouts. He’s developed some nice chemistry with big man Kevinn Pinkney, and the two hooked up on a couple of occasions on pick and roll or pick and pop plays. Offensively, G-Mac did a lot of damage pulling up from mid-range and stroking 3-pointers, one of which came with 46 seconds left and was essential in forcing overtime, somewhat reminiscent of some of the shots he hit in the Big East tournament last March. Defensively he had a bit of a hard time staying in front of Troy Bell or BJ Elder, getting into a bit of foul trouble due to his lack of lateral quickness. All in all, though, McNamara looks like one of the better point guards in the developmental league so far, but it’s not clear where he stands in the pecking order of potential callups behind guys like Will Conroy, Randy Livingston or Pooh Jeter.

Loren Woods, 7-2, Center, Austin Toros, 1978
14 points, 2 rebounds, 5 fouls, 0 blocks, 6-8 FG, 2-2 FT, 18 minutes

Jonathan Givony

On paper, one of the biggest names here in Sioux Falls, it’s hard not to come away a bit disappointed from what Loren Woods showed here in limited minutes. Hampered by foul problems as well as an injury to his hand, Woods did not have a chance to continue the excellent momentum he had going into this week. Coming off the bench, Woods only got his first touch of the game with about a minute and a half to go in the first quarter. When involved in Austin’s offense, though, Woods showed the type of finesse offense you’d be hard pressed to find in a 7-footer anywhere in the world. He put the ball on the floor beautifully, either dishing off the dribble or finishing softly (literally and figuratively) with an elegant finger roll. He has soft touch around the hoop and all kinds of swooping hook shots and spin moves in his arsenal. Something that is quite frustrating about Woods’ play is his distinct lack of aggression. Even two feet away from the basket and with a 6-8 center on his hip, he absolutely refuses to dunk the ball, instead preferring to lay it up delicately. This might work at the D-League level, but in the NBA he’s going to be (and usually is) pushed around and intimidated by guys who are closer to his size. This certain softness also showed up on the glass, where Woods came away with only 2 rebounds in 18 minutes. Regardless of his shortcomings, it’s hard to see Woods staying in Austin for too long, as he’s just too big, too athletic and too skilled not to find a home sometime soon. It’s quite shocking to see that no big-time Euroleague teams have approached him with a big offer yet, as it seems like he could absolutely dominate over there, granted playing for the right coach.

James White, 6-6, Shooting Guard, San Antonio Spurs (Austin Toros), 1983
10 points, 7 rebounds, 6 fouls, 5 turnovers, 3/10 fg, 4/6 ft

Mike Schmidt

White struggled again today, and proved that he will have a long path ahead of him before he's ready to contribute in the NBA. Early on in the game, he was able to draw a couple fouls, and scored 5 points early, but these were the only points he scored in the entire first half. White also turned the ball over too often, and displayed sloppy ball handling ability. Defensively, he struggled to stay in front of his man, and fouled out in just 27 minutes. Foul trouble has been no stranger to White during his stint in the D-League, and it really restricts his play. Whenever he picked up a foul, he reacted very poorly. He seems to get frustrated easily on the court, and it inhibits his play on both ends. White didn't attempt to slash more than a handful of times throughout the game, and was ineffective when he did. For a player as gifted athletically as White, it is a huge waste to not take advantage of his god-given tools. In terms of jump shooting, White also needs a lot of improvement. He can shoot it sometimes when he is set, but missed all but one of his attempts today. Off the dribble, White is unable to shoot with any type of consistency. Everybody knows that White has the talent and athleticism to play in the NBA, but he is far from being able to use his natural tools at this point in time. He will give himself a much better chance at success if he would more effectively use his athleticism.

BJ Elder, 6-4, Shooting Guard, Austin Toros, 1982
23 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 8/17 fg, 6/8 ft

Mike Schmidt

Known as a spot up shooter in college, Elder has been displaying a much better all-around game in this his 2nd year out of college. After starting slow in the first quarter, he exploded for 19 points in the second. He started by scoring on isolation post plays where he began his moves about 15 feet from the basket. Elder would then make his move, and he made many nice off the dribble jumpers on this type of play. He also displayed the long range on his jumper, and even mixed it up by taking inside during the second quarter. Though he had great success in this stretch, Elder only received 4 shots between the beginning of the third quarter and the start of the overtime period. Because of this, Elder cooled off and finished the game with 23 points. Elder has a strong body and the ability to make off balance shots from many different spots on the court. His handle is much improved from college, though he still shows an average first step. When slashing to the hoop, Elder can absorb contact well, but often struggles to find a good angle to finish at. He will be that more deadly if he can work on finishing more accurately inside. Elder probably lacks the size and athleticism to play in the NBA, but it is clear that he is a much better player now than at any previous point in his career. If Elder doesn't receive a call-up this season, he will have at least proven himself enough to earn some very good money overseas.

Game Two: Anaheim Arsenal 107- Tulsa 66ers 92

Jawad Williams, 6-8, SF/PF, Anaheim Arsenal, 1983
21 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 blocks, 1 steal, 9-21 FG, 0-6 3P, 3-3 FT, 40 minutes

Jonathan Givony

Making a very nice all-around contribution to Anaheim’s victory over a much stronger Tulsa team was former UNC forward and NCAA champion Jawad Williams. Williams has been playing very well all season long, and is making a strong case for himself to be one of the first SF’s called up. He showed a little bit of everything in his game today, whether it was his mid-range pull-up game, excellent court vision, ability to post-up smaller matchups, or just his terrific sense for moving off the ball, cutting to the basket and being in the right place at the right time. He’s still yet to truly show himself as a traditional small forward prospect for the NBA, but you can see that he’s making progress in that area. His 3-point shot wasn’t quite there today, but based on the way he’s been shooting from that range this season (41-109 or 37.6%), he’s definitely better than what he showed today. Defensively he’s also very solid.

Alan Anderson, 6-6, SG/SF, Tulsa 66ers, 1982
28 points, 5 rebounds, 1 assist, 3 turnover, 11-16 FG, 1-3 3P, 5-5 FT

Jonathan Givony

Arguably the best performance of any player at day three of the showcase, Alan Anderson attempted in vain to keep his team from suffering a humiliating defeat. He almost succeeded, but saw his 66ers come apart at the seams in the last few moments after withering down a 22 point deficit to within striking distance of tying.

Anderson showed off a very complete all-around game today, starting with a versatile offensive arsenal. He is a very solid athlete, complete with a powerful first step and good quickness getting off his feet. Tulsa decided to run quite a few isolations for him from the top of the key, and Anderson showed a great combination of skills and smarts to score from all over the floor. He got inside the paint at will going either left or right thanks to his excellent ball-handling skills, and finished intelligently off the glass plus the foul repeatedly. If the lane was too crowded, he would simply pull up smoothly off the dribble for a little kiss off the glass. Unlike yesterday, he was extremely aggressive immediately as he came off the bench, basically keeping his team in the game by doing all the little things that they sorely needed, including key rebounds, deflections, heady passes and a great overall attitude. He played great defense on Jawad Williams in the 2nd half after he lit up some of his teammates, but may have run out of gas in the fourth quarter. This isn’t surprising since he hasn’t seen this much run on back to back days possibly since summer league 18 months ago. If he doesn’t get a callup this year and decides to one-day go overseas, he’s going to make some high-level European team VERY happy. He’s basically perfect for that style of play.

James Augustine, 6-10, Power-Forward, Orlando Magic (Anaheim Arsenal)
14 points, 17 rebounds, 3 assists, 7/13 fg

Mike Schmidt

After a solid performance yesterday, Augustine displayed excellent rebounding fundamentals throughout the game today. He was most effective on the offensive glass, where he scored many of his points on tip-ins in the paint. In the D-League, there are international goal tending rules, meaning players can touch the ball above the cylinder if it has hit the rim. Few players take advantage of this rule like they should, but Augustine was smart enough to adapt to doing this in just a couple of games. On the offensive end, he struggled to create his shot out of the post. On one move, he faked right and did a spin back to the left before missing on a hook. He was able to tip in his own rebound, but the defensive player effected Augustine's shot because he has a pattern of going left. When facing the basket, he missed his few looks today, but they all had a chance to go in. He won't be blowing the league away with his offense anytime soon, but he isn't terrible in this area either. Defensively, Augustine did a solid job bodying up and contesting shots. Many players in the D-League don't understand when to body up on a player and when to go for a block, but Augustine has a good knowledge of this. Each NBA player needs to have a stand-out skill where they stand out, and for Augustine, rebounding can develop into that skill. He gained a lot of valuable experience playing 4 years in college, and he is giving himself a chance to stick in the NBA with his play this season.

Will Conroy, 6-4, Point Guard, Tulsa 66ers, 1982
5 points, 5 assists, 4 rebounds, 2/9 fg, 0/3 3pfg

Mike Schmidt

Conroy had his worst D-League game of the season at one of the worst times possible. He has been one of the best players in the league all season long, but was unable to get anything going on either end of the floor today. He still created a lot of looks for his teammates in the half court, but turned the ball over more often than usual. His decision making is usually the best part of his game, but there were a few times where he drove into the paint with no place to go. Conroy made some spectacular passes in transition, including a no-look pass all the way across the court. He attempted to prove that he could shoot the jumper today on a few occasions, with no success. His stroke looks pretty good, and he has a high release on his shot, but they were either too short or too long throughout the game today. When attacking the hoop, Conroy created some nice scoring looks for himself, but barely missed on many attempts in the lane. Defensively, he was beat off the dribble too many times by Anaheim's smaller and quicker guards. Late in the game, Tulsa was down by double digits, but cut the lead to 5 with Conroy on the bench. He re-entered the game with around 5 minutes left, and was unable to keep the momentum going. Despite the fact that he had a really bad game here, Conroy should not be slipping at all in the eyes of NBA scouts. He has been one of the best and most consistent producers in the D-league this season, and one game cannot take this away from him. If Conroy can bounce back and continue to lead the league in assists, it would be absurd if he didn't get a chance in the NBA this season.

Desmon Farmer, 6-5, Shooting Guard, Tulsa 66ers, 1981
8 points, 7 assists, 3 rebounds, 4/12 fg, 0/5 3pfg

Mike Schmidt

As was the case with Conroy, Famer didn't produce anywhere close to what he was capable of today. He was able to get set on a number of three point shots, but they just weren't falling for him throughout the day. Farmer realized this, and started slashing to the basket more, with mixed results. He was unable to get his own shots to fall, and only shot 25% today in the process. He did create a lot of great looks for his teammates, however, and displayed the ability to help a team even when he can't score. Farmer was able to get to the line on a few inside drives as well. He still brought the same energy to the game on both ends of the floor that he brought yesterday, and his defense was solid throughout the game. Despite playing poorly for the first three quarters, he was probably the main factor in Tulsa's late comeback along with Alan Anderson. He clearly has the skill level to play in the NBA, and should be one of the first guys called by a team looking for a veteran shooting guard.

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