This final article completes our coverage from Sioux Falls, South Dakota of the D-League Showcase tracking the progress of the NBA send-downs and potential call-ups. Part two of day three tracks the last two games of the showcase, featuring big outings from Jared Reiner
, Jose Juan Barea
, Pooh Jeter
, but beyond all, Quemont Greer
s 40 point effort. 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. D-League Showcase, Day Three, part one. Game Three: Sioux Falls Skyforce 117 Fort Worth Flyers 107Jared Reiner, 6-11, Center, Sioux Falls Skyforce, 1982
21 points, 8 rebounds, 0 assists, 4 turnovers, 9-13 FG, 3-5 FT, 28 minutesJonathan Givony
One of the more pleasant surprises of the final day of the showcase was former Iowa walk-on Jared Reiner
. Having one pretty non-descript full NBA season under his belt with the Chicago Bulls, Reiner looks to be progressing nicely from the player we remember him being coming out of college and in summer league. He had 17 points and 8 rebounds in the first game here, and then showed that that was no fluke by putting up an even more impressive performance in the second and final game of the showcase.
Reiner came out with a bang right off the block, knocking down a series of pretty mid-range jumpers from all over the floor, ranging from 14 to 18 feet out and everywhere in between. Hes a pretty mobile big guy with great hands and terrific shoulders to continue to add weight to his frame, and hes very intelligent moving off the ball and placing himself in the right spot to use his excellent touch to finish smoothly. He scored a series of baskets by setting a solid pick and then spotting up after popping out or rolling all the way to the basket for a catch and layup. He also put the ball on the floor with his left hand and a very quick first step, and was also very active hitting the glass and trying to mix things up. The international scouts and GMs we spoke to surely looked very impressed with his efforts, and the NBA scouts in attendance nodded and scribbled accordingly with every shot he knocked down. Hes not an outstanding rebounder or interior defender, but hes clearly very smart and plays pretty hard, so he gets the job done. Regardless of whether he gets called up by the NBA or not, hell have the opportunity to make plenty of money for himself wherever he decides to play next season. Vincent Grier, 6-5, Shooting Guard, Sioux Falls Skyforce, 1983
19 points, 10 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 turnovers, 8-18 FG, 0-1 3P, 3-5 FTJonathan Givony
After criticizing Grier in his first game for what we thought was a somewhat selfish performance, its only fair to come back today and talk about the way he changed his style of play for game two. Rather than force the issue, Grier was extremely unselfish in the first half in particular, making the extra pass, finding the open man, and taking some very good shots. He showed his athleticism slashing to the basket and finishing in transition, and hit the offensive glass extremely hard on his way to a double-double. Grier is a slashing machine basically, featuring an awesome first step and a great sense for finding holes in the defense to exploit for an acrobatic finish. He can pull-up off the dribble from 16 feet or in, but is not as effective outside of that range. He brings great energy to the table and can play outstanding defense thanks to his terrific combination of strength, length and quickness. Jeremy Richardson, 6-7, SG/SF, Fort Worth Flyers, 1984
20 points, 1 rebound, 1 assist, 3 turnovers, 9-16 FG, 2-6 3P, 0-0 FT, 42 minutesJonathan Givony
Capping off a terrific showing in Sioux Falls and likely displaying more upside than any other wing player in the D-League, Jeremy Richardson
has come a long ways from a very limited Division II swingman at Delta State. D-League Senior Coordinator of Basketball Operations Brandon Barnett told us that Richardson has a body like Rawle Marshall
, and a game like Rip Hamilton, and after taking him in twice this past week, that comparison seems spot on.
Richardson was absolutely fantastic today coming off screens, knocking down at least four mid-range jumpers off curls. He creates terrific separation from his matchup almost immediately as he catches the ball, and has the athleticism to elevate high off the ground and get his shot off with a high release point. He was money in the bank from this area all game long, and even went further back to knock down two NBA range 3-pointers for good measure. He didnt force a thing all game long, letting the game come to him and being a valuable cog in Fort Worths half-court set offense. Defensively, hes skinny, but plays very hard, using his outstanding length and very solid quickness to stay in front of his matchup and disrupt as much as he can, although hes prone to being pushed around at times. Trying to create his own shot is where Richardson struggles the most at this point in his career, possessing a fairly shaky handle that betrayed him on a couple of occasions and led to turnovers. Hes improved in this area thanks to the hard work hes put in with John Lucas
and his D-league coaching staff, but still has plenty of room to go in this area. Considering the type of attitude he has, though, coupled with the fact that hes still only 22 and is only now starting to play against high-level competition, there is plenty of room for optimism. Leaving the bar/restaurant area of the hotel at around midnight last night, we caught Richardson finishing up a late-night workout at the gym. That should tell you a little something about his work ethic. Jose Juan Barea, 5-11, Point Guard, Dallas Mavericks (Fort Worth Flyers)
21 points, 8 assists, 4 rebounds, 5 turnovers, 9/16 fg, 2/3 3pfg Mike Schmidt
After sitting on the bench and learning from guys like Jason Terry
and Devin Harris
, Barea received his first significant minutes of the season for the Fort Worth Flyers today, only hours after landing in Sioux Falls and without the benefit of knowing any of his teams plays. Barea had a good overall game, though it still wasn't enough to come out with a win. Since Barea had just arrived, it was clear that he was not fully familiar with the sets that the team ran, but the fact that he did manage to have the impact that he had tells you a little bit about his outstanding basketball instincts. This unfamiliarity with his teammates led to a lot of high pick and rolls, where he was given the chance to create something off the dribble. Barea responded, scoring points in a variety of different ways. He was able to penetrate with ease, and finished over much taller players near the basket by using a series of fakes and dribble moves. He can make these shots off balance, and it was very exciting thing to watch. Barea also displayed the ability to shoot from the perimeter. His most impressive shot of the game came in the final second of the first quarter, when he pulled up off the dribble in transition and drained a three as time expired. Barea has the tools to be a good floor general as well, creating a lot of nice looks with cross-court passes to open players. Barea sees the entire floor, and it makes him a very good creator in the half court. Barea lacks ideal size for an NBA point guard, but today he displayed the potential to be a good backup to have in the NBA. Stephen Graham, 6-7, Small Forward, Sioux Falls Skyforce
14 points, 3 assists, 2 rebounds, 4/10 fg, 6/6 ftMike Schmidt
Graham struggled throughout much of the game, but came alive in the fourth quarter and helped lead the Skyforce to the victory. He still struggles to shoot the outside shot, but displayed his finishing ability in transition near the basket. Graham scored a lot of his points by running the floor, and also created on some drives where he was able to get to the line. He can convert free throws at a good rate, and uses his strength very well off the dribble. Graham was most valuable for the Skyforce on the defensive end. He had a key steal late in the game, and was able to pass the ball off to a teammate for an easy layup after the steal. Graham has a lot of the tools you look for in an NBA small forward. He needs to improve his outside shot, but he can produce in a number of other areas well enough to compensate for this. Amir Johnson, 6-9, Small Forward, Detroit Pistons (Sioux Falls Skyforce)
14 points, 7 rebounds, 2 blocks, 5/8 fg, 4/4 ft Mike Schmidt
Johnson played very well today, and has improved a lot since the beginning of last year when he entered the league out of high school. He has all the physical characteristics you look for in an NBA power forward, including an excellent frame and an explosive vertical leap. Johnson scored most of his points today within 10 feet of the basket. He has good hands, and can catch nearly any pass thrown to him inside thanks to his activity level and athleticism. He caught a botched alley-oop attempt today, and converted a reverse dunk after coming down with the ball and going back up. Johnson has some nice moves in the paint with his back to the basket including a developing hook shot. His touch will need to continue to improve inside, but this will come with more repetition. Outside the paint, Johnson still has a long way to go. He can't really create any type of offense away from the basket, but he will make the occasional spot-up jumper. Johnson grabbed 7 rebounds today, but only played 7 minutes. Speculation around the arena was that Johnson will be called back up by the Pistons later this week.
Game Four: Colorado 14ers 126- Dakota Wizards 116Louis Amundson, 6-8, Power Forward, Colorado, 1982
12 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals, 1 block, 1 turnover, 6-8 FG, 24 minutesJonathan Givony
After taking in Louis Amundson
twice over the past few days, its beginning to become clear why his production has been surprisingly inconsistent in the D-League thus far. To start off the game, it looked like Amundson might end up with a triple double, possibly by half-time with the way he was playing initially. He put the ball on the floor beautifully with his left hand and delivered a terrific pass (a theme for him tonight) to frontcourt mate Elton Brown
, and then leaked out in transition on the very next play and showed his athleticism in transition. He moved off the ball and attacked the rim relentlessly, and also used his quickness and high activity level on the offensive glass. Defensively he was outstanding, showing great lateral quickness and getting his hands on plenty of balls for steals, deflections and one outstanding block, getting in his mans face constantly and being a true pest at all times. He also had one very nice move in the post where he spun off his man extremely quickly and instantaneously elevated off too feet for an athletic two-handed finish.
The problem with Amundsons performance is that is came almost entirely in spurts. He brings tremendous energy over a few minutes, and then gets very quiet for extended stretches. It would have been very nice to see him get more playing time in a game like this, and there is a sense that this might be one of the reasons his production has been inconsistent thus far. From his first quarter performance tonight there would be no doubt that hes one of the best prospects in the entire league, and certainly a guy who can carve out a role for himself on someones team as an outstanding energy guy to bring off the bench for a few minutes at a time. From what we were told by league sources, he is very close to getting a call-up actually, and we could see some activity on this front over the next week or so. Quemont Greer, 6-7, SF/PF, Dakota Wizards, 1982
40 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 turnover, 16-27 FG, 2-4 3P, 6-8 FTJonathan Givony
Easily the most impressive performance on the Showcase, statistically if not otherwise, was Quemont Greer
s ridiculous 40-point effort in the very last game of the third day. Greer was unconscious all night long, hitting shots from everywhere on the floor and on anyone that tried to guard him. The only thing that managed to stand in his way on one occasion was the rim as he somewhat shockingly missed an open dunk, but even then he followed up on his attempt and put back the offensive rebound.
Greers combination of strength and skill make him one of the biggest mismatch threats here, and Colorado absolutely could not find someone who could even attempt to slow him down. Greer scored with his back to the basket, off 3-pointers, from mid-range, off the dribble, and everywhere in-between. He used his body extremely well to spin off his man looking for the hoop, and displayed an extremely soft touch kissing the ball off the glass with plenty of finesse. Greer has terrific hands and very nice ball-handling skills for a power forward, even if he is anything but quick. He went either left or right and finished in a variety of ways, using floaters and all kinds of other crafty tricks.
Greer was also extremely active throughout the game, hitting the offensive glass extremely hard and even diving on the ground for a loose ball on one occasion. 7 of his 8 rebounds came on the offensive end, and this might tell you a little bit about his rebounding ability at the forward position, which has been pretty average this season. Defensively he doesnt excel at all either, possessing below average athleticism and looking like he could stand to lose 15-20 pounds or so without missing a beat. His 3-point shot was on tonight, but for the most part this season, it hasnt. Despite likely breaking a D-League showcase record with his 40 point performance, its still very difficult to ever envision Greer making an NBA team, as hes hopelessly stuck between positions and hasnt shown any commitment at all to getting into real basketball shape. He was cut from both international teams hes played for so far, one in the Philippines and one in Venezuela.PJ Tucker, 6-5, SF/PF, Toronto Raptors (Colorado), 1985
9 points, 0 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 fouls, 4-6 FG, 24 minutesJonathan Givony
As an NBA send-down, we feel somewhat obligated to write something about the way Tucker played in Sioux Falls
if there were only anything noteworthy to say. For the most part Tucker was invisible in his time on the floor, not looking part of Colorados offense at all and generally struggling to integrate himself into the team on this, his 7th game in uniform. He had a couple of mid-range jumpers and thats about it. The energy was not there at all from him and he didnt even really attempt to contribute in other areas. He seemed to mope an awful lot and direct his criticism towards his outstanding point guard Pooh Jeter
, who did everything humanly possible to get all of his teammates involved. This was a disappointing performance from a player we really liked in college, but already started to become concerned about following his summer league performance in Las Vegas. Hopefully hell bounce back.Von Wafer, 6-6, Shooting Guard, Colorado 14ers, 1985
22 points, 4 assists, 3 rebounds, 6/14 fg, 4/7 3pfg, 6/6 ftMike Schmidt
Wafer displayed fantastic all-around athletic ability today on both ends of the court. On one possession, Wafer blocked a shot, and took the ball the other way in transition. He went up for what would have been a monster one handed dunk, but was flagrantly fouled on the play. Wafer has a lightning quick first step, and can get to the basket whenever he wants to. He displayed the ability to do it from either side of the court, and he controls his body well before finishing inside. In terms of three point shooting, Wafer displayed great ability today. He releases the ball very quickly, and his elevation makes the three point shot unblockable. Wafer shoots it better when he is set, but can make some shots off the dribble as well. There are a few areas Wafer can still improve to further impress NBA scouts. Right now everything he does is either from the three point line or at the basket. He will need to learn to develop some type of in-between game in-between in order to become a regular rotation player in the NBA. Wafer made some fantastic passes off the dribble today, but generally tries to be too flashy with everything he does. If he could concentrate on using these abilities for the benefit of his teammates, it could make him that much better as a player. Wafer has been player great all season long for the 14ers, and has done nearly everything possible to impress the NBA decision makers in attendance. Pooh Jeter, 5-10, Point Guard, Colorado 14ers, 1983
19 points, 8 assists, 7 turnovers, 5/10 fg, 9/9 ftMike Schmidt
As was the case with yesterday, Jeter displayed the ability to make his teammates better, and control the tempo of a game. He knew exactly when to push the ball in transition, and when to slow it down and look for a good shot in the half court. Jeter did make a few mistakes in terms of turning the ball over in traffic, but he generally seems to be fine as a decision maker and floor general. When Colorado struggled to score in the third quarter, Jeter decided to step up and shoulder the load. He scored 17 points in the third quarter, and did so in every imaginable way. He is deadly from mid-range when he steps back and takes the 14-18 foot jumper. He made three of these shots in a row, and none of the players on Dakota could come close to guarding it. Jeter also scored on drives inside where he finished and earned trips to the free throw line. He can finish at any number of angles off the backboard, and is very deceptive when it comes to deciding when to finish. He keeps the player guarding him second guessing, and this allows Jeter to draw the contact and gives him a chance to finish. Jeter's outburst put the game out of reach for the Dakota Wizards. Jeter's play was very impressive in all aspects. He lacks the ideal size for an NBA point guard, but is amazingly fast getting up and down the court. Jeter has done everything possible here in Sioux Falls to earn a contract with an NBA team, and it is just a matter of the right opportunity opening up. NBA scouts around us opined all game long that he has looked like the best point guard in the D-League in his two games here in Sioux Falls. James Maye, 6-7, Small Forward, Dakota Wizards, 1981
25 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 9/18 fg, 4/8 3pfg, 3/3 ft Mike Schmidt
Maye struggled with his shot early in the game, and started out 1/6 from the field. He bounced back and played well, however, though his 25 points weren't enough for Dakota to pull out a victory. Maye is streaky from the three point line, but shoots a good set shot. He creates a lot of his own shots from mid-range off the dribble, and can use the 12 foot bank jumper very effectively. For Maye to be more effective at creating his own shot, he will need to become much more creative with the way he finishes and attempts to draw contact in the paint. He still kind of has the 'power forward in a small forward's body' feel to his game, but he has worked hard to develop his game on the perimeter. Maye has consistently produced for Dakota this season, but he will make good money somewhere if he doesn't receive an NBA call-up.