D-League Showcase Recap

Unless you suffer from a crippling and compulsive addiction to basketball (in which case…Hi, my name is Mike and I’m a hoopsaholic), you probably had no clue that the NBA’s D-League Showcase was going on this week in Reno, Nevada. The point of the expo is that the D-League rounds up all its teams to play in one place during a condensed period of time, so that NBA scouts can scour the minors for bodies to help round out their rosters, while enjoying the added bonus of avoiding a trip to Sioux Falls or Canton (only in the D-League can Reno be considered a desirable destination).

We’ve been slightly (read: totally) negligent here in covering the showcase because we’ve got, you know, jobs and wives and what not, and I think it’s safe to assume that: a) 70% of the hits on this site come from the Knicks Bricks writers checking to see if anyone has posted anything new and b) the other 30% don’t give a shit about the D-League. Having said that, we figure it’s better late than never. As I wrote earlier this week, the Knicks may want to consider using their newly acquired D-League affiliate, the Erie Bayhawks, to get some of their young pieces some burn, and using the rest of the D-League to round out the roster in the meantime. Assuming the Knicks need two things on the roster as it is presently composed, size and consistent 3-point shooting from the guards, let’s take a look at some of the D-League players who might have drawn the Knicks’ attention this week:

BIGS:

Chris Daniels – (Erie Bayhaws: 7’0″, 27 years old, Texas A&M- Corpus Christi): Season Statistics: 17.1 PPG, 9.6 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 2.2 blocks, 0.3 steals, 53%/44%/69% (FG/3PT/FT).

Showcase numbers: 18.0 points, 9.0 rebounds, 2.0 blocks, 57% FG (13-23), 4-6 3PTM.

Knicks Bricks favorite Daniels had a rough start in the first game of the showcase against Idaho. He got in foul trouble, which meant he floated around the outside.  As a result, he knocked down some deep shots (3-3 3PTM), but couldn’t get a rebound (6 total) or block a shot (zero) to save his life. His performance against Austin was much better, notching 17 points and 12 boards.

Honestly, Daniels is exactly what the Knicks need. He has size and the ability to stretch the floor, shooting 44% from behind the arc. I have only googled him in passing, so there must be some story in which he killed an entire troop of girl scouts by bludgeoning them with kittens who also died while wearing a German SS uniform and screaming “Death to America”, because I can’t think of a good reason why he hasn’t already been called up to an NBA team.

Jarrid Famous – (Fort Wayne Mad Ants: 6’11”, 23 years old, South Florida): Season Statistics: 14.5 PPG, 9.7 rebounds, 0.7 assists, 0.4 blocks, 0.7 steals, 50% FG.

Showcase numbers: 12.0 points, 7.5 rebounds, 0.5 assists, 0 blocks, 1.0 steals, 42% FG (11-26)

Perhaps it’s the total lack of consistency that keeps guys who are almost 7 feet tall in the D-League and out of the NBA. In the first game of the Showcase, the former South Florida standout dropped 20 and 9 on the Bakersfield Jam (real name) and followed that up with a Cat Poop Burrito (name of his line, not a D-League franchise) with 4 points and 6 rebounds against Tulsa. Famous was a late waive from the Pacers roster and has had a decent season in the D-League, but the inability for a guy his size (0.6 BPG) to protect the rim is disconcerting.

Greg Smith – (Rio Grand Valley Vipers: 6’10”, 21 years old, Fresno State): Season Statistics: 14.7 PPG, 8.4 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 1.6 blocks, 1.1 steals, 66%/0%/54%.

Showcase numbers: 12.0 points, 9.0 rebounds, 1.0 assists, 0.0 blocks, 1.0 steals, 55% FG (11-20).

Solid, but unspectacular play from Smith at the Showcase Showdown. The lack of blocks this week are an anomaly, as he seems to be active on the defensive end, averaging over a steal and a block per game. Most intriguing is Smith’s youth (he just turned 21 on Sunday), suggesting he might be a malleable big guy with a reasonably high ceiling that can be had on the cheap.

LITTLES:

Blake Ahearn – (Reno Bighorns: 6’3″, 27 years old, Missouri State): Season Statistics: 25.2 PPG, 2.6 rebounds, 6.5 assists, 0.2 blocks, 1.4 steals, 46%/38%/96%.

Showcase numbers: 23.5 points, 2.0 rebounds, 9.0 assists, 0 blocks, 3.0 steals, 50% FG (16-32), 5-13 3PTM.

Ahearn was a man possessed during the Showcase. More specifically, he was man possessed by the gripping and horrifying reality that that this is his 5th D-League season and he’s drifting into Crash Davis territory. But he can handle the ball, make some passes, and has range (40% D-League 3PT, and 41% college 3PT). Could be a younger, cheaper Mike Bibby. Of course he loses points for a total dearth of sad, fading cross tattoos.

Justin Dentmon – (Austin Toros: 6’0″, 26 years old, Washington): Season Statistics: 23.6 PPG, 4.0 rebounds, 4.9 assists, 0.1 blocks, 2.1 steals, 50%/42%/90%.

Showcase numbers: 26.5 points, 2.5 rebounds, 6.5 assists, 0 blocks, 1.5 steals, 54% FG (20-37), 2-7 3PTM.

Dentmon is a diminutive guard from Washington who doesn’t pick up a ton of assists and has an itchy trigger figure. Remind you of anyone, Knicks fans? He does have one elite skill: shooting. He’s coming in at 43% over his D-League career, which would likely put in the top 10 in the big leagues. When filling out the very end an NBA roster, having a player who can do one thing extremely well is valuable.

Edwin Ubiles – (Dakota Wizards: 6’6″, 25 years old, Siena): Season Statistics: 20.1 PPG, 6.3 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 0.6 blocks, 1.6 steals, 48%/36%/69%.

Showcase numbers: 18.5 points, 3.0 rebounds, 4.5 assists, 0 blocks, 2.0 steals, 45% FG (14-31), 1-7 3PTM.

New York Metro Area sports fans might remember Ubiles from his career at Siena, helping the Saints win tournament games in back-to-back years. He was a late cut from the Warriors’ training camp and has played well since being denied a taste of the NBA. He’s rangy and has good size and could be a nice piece for the Knicks if they ever realize that Renaldo Balkman should never get minutes. Ubiles can do everything Balkman can do for less money, but with a modicum of offensive skill.

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