I decided to put this together as a look at what fringe players that played in the D-League last season have a shot at the NBA. I included some of the assigned players, but most players that were assigned will probably stick with their team this year as well, thus already knowing what this season has in store for them.
This has been updated through this afternoons games. So far, just three players from the D-League last year have been released, and some have looked good in their teams preseason action. Continue on to see updated information and stats.
Patrick O'Bryant - The Notorious P.O.B. will likely stick with the Celtics and be Kendrick Perkins primary backup. After playing in just 40 games over his first two seasons with the Golden State Warriors, he's still got a lot of room to improve. We all know a lot of room to improve means, currently, he's not very good. Coming out of Bradley, most of us probably could have guessed that. However, without the expectations and lottery contract, he may be able to slowly grow into the Celtic's offense, as it's a slower pace than Nellieball (which he never really got to play in, as he spent more time looking average with the Bakersfield Jam) O'Bryant had a good first game as a member of the Celtic's. Against the Sixers, he had 10 points, 8 boards, and 3 blocks in 25 minutes of action in a starting role. O'Bryant started the following game as well, scoring 12 points and grabbing 5 boards and a block in 28 minutes of action. In his 3rd game as a Celtic's starter, he played 23 minutes, scoring 8 points and grabbing 6 rebounds along with blocking a shot, though he committed 3 turnovers.
Gabe Pruitt - Pruitt looked good in the D-League last year, and will more than likely split time in Orem again this year with rookie addition J.R. Giddens. The C's have seven players that play either the 1 or the 2 on their roster with guaranteed contracts, so Pruitt probably won't see a lot of playing time in the NBA unless the Celtic's show their age and start having injury problems.
Pruitt scored 2 points in 11 minutes off the bench in the C's first preseason game. Pruitt once again underachieved in the Celtic's 2nd game, scoring 2 points in 16 minutes. Pruitt played 20 minutes in the Celtics third game of the preseason, scoring 8 points and stealing the ball 4 times.
Shannon Brown - Shannon Brown is one of four guys fighting for the 14th and 15th spot on Larry Brown's roster, along with Andre Brown, Marcus Williams, and Donnell Taylor. I'm guessing that the Bobcats will go with Marcus Williams and one of the other Brown's. Shannon could easily make ESPN's Bill Simmons' "Lindsey Hunter All-Stars" for sounding like he should be on the cover of SI's next swimsuit issue instead of the end of Larry Brown's bench. He played well at the D-League showcase last year, was included in the Chicago-Cleveland team swap, and scores well when getting over 20 minutes a game. For some reason however, he never really gets those minutes he needs, and his line usually ends up looking like his April 13th game against the Magic -- 0-4, 1 TO in 4 minutes. He's a volume shooter so he'll fire up the shots, but he's lucky when they come down through the basket. Hopefully Larry Brown is just looking for someone that actually wants to cheer on the bench in Charlotte, as Shannon's media day picture shows how happy he is to be there:
Brown scored 9 points in 12 minutes on 4-of-7 shooting in his Bobcats debut. He followed that up with 20 minutes of playing time, grabbing 5 boards and scoring 4 points on a 2-for-5 shooting night.
Jermareo Davidson - Davidson, who apparently is the only person in the world named Jermareo according to ShamSports, is a lot like the other young Charlotte bigs not named Sean May (May seems to be injury prone and does not need to add any weight, to put it nice). He is extremely raw, but very long and athletic, which seems to be what the Bobcats are currently looking for in draft picks, as Ryan Hollins and Alexis Ajinca also fit into that mold. I was going to assume he will once again spend some time in Sioux Falls, but Charlotte's got very few bigs, and either Davidson, Ajinca, or Hollins could all play a key role off of the bench as the backup 4/5, especially if May isn't completely healthy.
Davidson went 0-for-2 from the field and the line, finishing the first preseason game with 2 fouls and a block in 9 minutes of action. In their next game, he had 2 points and a block in about 7 minutes of action, that turned the ball over 3 times.
Marcus Williams - Williams has a lot of tattoos. Probably as many tattoos as players with the name as him. He played well with the Austin Toros last year, between call ups wih the Spurs (with which he played 1 game), and the Clippers, whom he played with for about the last month of the season. He also played with the Clippers in Vegas for Summer League, leading the team in scoring the last two games, but apparently didn't show them enough to get another shot this year, as they instead brought in Curtis Sumpter and David Noel to fill out their roster at the swingman spot. Williams is an NBA talent, and will eventually stick with a team, though I'm not sure it will be the Bobcats.
Williams played 5 minutes, collecting 2 rebounds in his Bobcats debut. He wasn't able to distinguish himself their next game either, scoring 2 points and grabbing a board in 6 minutes of action.
Elton Brown - Elton Brown, an anthropology(!?) major out of Virgina, has been a beast for the Colorado 14ers, playing with them in the 2006-07 season and the majority of the 2007-08 season. In his D-League career, Elton Brown has averaged 19 points and 10.5 rebounds, and also added a block per game last season. Brown has never looked to be in great shape (though has a great big frame), and I'd assume he's more like 6'7" or 6'8", but he plays and rebounds like a legit 7 footer. He does well getting into position for rebounds and has a decent array of post moves on the offensive end. Brown played for the Nuggets Vegas Summer League team and averaged 13 points and 10 boards a contest. It'd make sense for the Bulls to give the guy his first shot in the NBA, as he brings heart and passion, not to mention a decent low-post game, to a team that lacks these qualities. Also, when I talk about the Elton Brown that came out of Virginia a couple years ago, I'm talking about this Elton Brown: Not this Elton Brown, who, according to interview he did with Matt over at Ridiculous Upside, is his cousin:
Brown was an unimpressive 0-for-3 with 2 boards in 8 minutes of play in his first chance with the Bulls. In his second chance, he made both of his field goal attempts and went 1-for-2 from the line, along with pulling down 2 boards in 7 minutes of action.
Demetris Nichols - Nichols is a 6'8 swingman out of Syracuse University. Thus far, since being drafted in the 2nd round last year, his career looks like this:
1. Drafted by Portland 2. Traded on draft day to New York. 3. Released by Knicks before the season after not wanting to go overseas for the season. 4. Signed by Cleveland. 5. Released by the Cavaliers after they were able re-sign Anderson Varejao. 6. Signed by Chicago. 7. Sent to the Iowa Energy. 8. Recalled by Chicago. 9. Sent back to Iowa 10. Recalled by Chicago.
He's been around. He played 14 games in two separate stints with the Energy, averaging 19 points and making about 1/3 of his 3-point attempts, which is his strength. Nichols doesn't go to the rack much, and this didn't change in the D-League as he primarily shot jump shots and hung out on the perimeter. He hasn't really shown much in his short career, but he will more than likely stick with the Bulls this season.
Nichols got 13 minutes of playing time in the first preseason game for the Bulls, and judging by the box score (not televised..), seems to have played fairly well. He went 3-for-5, though missed his only 3-point attempt. Nichols was not as effective the following game however. He missed all 3 of his shot attempts, 2 from beyond the arc, though he did block 2 shots in his quarter of action.
Cedric Simmons - Simmons will make the team, and, just like last year, no will probably know. He scored 4 points in 19 minutes over seven games with the Bulls after being included in the Bulls-Cavs midseason swap. In the D-League, where he played both with Rio Grande Valley and Iowa, he averaged 13 points and 6 rebounds, looking overly average for a player on NBA assignment. His offensive game is non-existant, and the Bulls have a lot more invested in big-men stoppers Tyrus Thomas and Joakim Noah to give Simmons a shot as a defensive specialist.
Simmons got the least amount of playing time of any of the Bulls in their first game of the season, under 5 minutes, and contributed to the box with a board and a block with no shot attempts. Same story in the second game, as he played just under 4 minutes, missing both his shot attempts and picking up a foul.
Darius Washington Jr. - Washington is an interesting prospect, though unless some sort of trade happens, the Bulls guard logjam is just going to be too much to overcome. Washington is probably best known for missing two out of three free throws as a freshman with Memphis, down by 2 and shooting 3 FT's without any time on the clock and everyone else off of the the court. After his sophomore season, Washington signed with an agent, but went undrafted and spent the season with Greece. Last season, he caught on with the Spurs, but averaged just 3 points in 18 games around a stint being assigned to the Toros. He played outstanding with the Toros, averaging 25 points, 8 boards and 5 assists, though he also turned the ball over almost 6 times a game. He was then called up to cover for a Tony Parker injury, was released after that. From there, he went overseas to finish the season, and my guess is if someone doesn't pick him up out of Bulls camp, he will head across the ocean again, for at least part of this season.
Washington played well for the Bulls opening night, shooting 4-of -7, including 2-for-3 from beyond the arc. He also made 4 of his 6 free throw's and contributed a couple of steals while tying a couple other Bulls with a team-high 14 points in 14 minutes. Washington wasn't quite as effective in the 2nd game, playing almost a full quarter of action, but shot just 1-for-3 with 4 fouls and 2 turnovers.
Lance Allred - Allred was called up midseason last year by the Cav's, and though he only played in 3 games, the Cav's coaches said he was smart and made the playoff roster, where he played the Jack Haley, wave the towel on the bench role. It's unlikely that he'll make the Cav's team this year, but don't be surprised if he is called up from the D-League once again this year. Teams like players that will have a positive attitude to fill out the last guy off the bench role, and with Allred's smarts. He's currently writing 2 novels, along with an autobiography detailing his earlier life issues, as he was raised in a cult and has an 80% hearing loss, becoming the first legally deaf player in the league. He also has the hustle/reddish hair/goofiness of a Luke Schenscher, which is an added bonus. If I had to pick any 3 7-footers with names starting with L, past or present, to go to lunch with, their names would be: Lance Allred, Luke Schenscher, and Luc Longley.
After playing 4 minutes and going 0-for-1 from the field with a block and turnover, Allred was released on October 9th in the first round of the Cav's preseason cuts.
Ronald Dupree - Dupree started the season in Detroit, though played in just one game before being waived after the two-for-one Nazr Mohammed for Primoz Brezec and Walt Hermann trade with the Bobcats. Dupree then ended up in Tulsa, 3 years after his first D-League assignment in Huntsville in the 2003-04 season. He played well in Tulsa, averaging 17 points and 6 boards, starting just 2 of his 9 games. From Tulsa, he got a 10-day contract with the Supersonics, after Eddie Gill's 10-day was up and Damien Wilkins was injured. With Seattle, he played 5 games, though didn't have much of an impact. He's got a good chance to catch on with the Cav's, as he's got experience and is a slashing 3, which would work well coming off of a bench full of bigs and spot-up shooters.
Dupree played the entire 4th quarter for the Cav's against Toronto, scoring 5 points. In his 2nd game with the Cav's, he scored 9 points and grabbed 2 steals in 17 minutes of playing time.
Cheyne Gadson - Gadson has toiled in all of the various American minor leagues since coming out of Oklahoma State in 2003, from the NBDL, to the USBL, to the ABA, to the WBA, back to the USBL, then the CBA, and has now been back in the D-League for the last two seasons. He has been a good, not great, combo guard in the D-League, which is why his signing to the overloaded Mavericks doesn't really make sense to me. They've got 14 guaranteed contracts, and he's battling with Reyshawn Terry, Jajuan Smith, Charles Rhodes, and James Singleton to possibly be the 15th man. Problem is, the Mavericks already have 3 point guards, J-Kidd, Jose Juan Barea, and Keith McLeod, with guaranteed deals, meaning it wouldn't make sense to really carry a 4th point guard, as there will be plenty available if an injury perhaps occurs this season. My guess is Gadson will end up in the D-League again this year and hope that he performed well enough in camp this fall that they see him as the best available when it happens.
Gadson played four minutes in Dallas' preseason opener, contributing just an assist with no shot attempts. In their second game, in 6 minutes of action, he missed both of his shots from the field, but made 2 free throws and added 2 assists. Gadson had 3 points and 3 assists in 10 minutes of action in the Mavericks 3rd preseason game.
Mateen Cleaves - Everyone knows Cleaves story. The Most Outstanding Player with Michigan State in 2000, got drafted 14th overall by the hometown Pistons that year. Never really lived up to the college hype, bounced around the NBA a few years, headed overseas a few years, and has played well in parts of four seasons in the D-League, mostly with the Bakersfield Jam, though never got called up as planned. In his D-League career, he's averaged 16 points and 7.5 assists over 90 games. This year, it looks like he's got a good shot at sticking with the Nuggets, at least early, as Chucky Atkins has to get knee surgery and will miss the first couple of weeks of the regular season.
Cleaves missed his only shot and added a turnover in his 3 minutes of action during the Nuggets first game. Cleaves played FORTY-TWO minutes in the Nuggets next game, scoring 12 points while Anthony Carter came out of the game just 6 minutes in to it.
Nick Fazekas - Fazekas didn't play great in Tulsa last year. Though he contributed 19 points and 10 boards, he often times looked slow on defense and lackadaisical on offense. On the bright side, Fazekas was the Colorado player of the year his senior year of high school, so he's got the local boy comes home story going for him. He's also nearly 7' on a team that features no true centers, with Steven Hunter the only guy that could be considered a center. The Nuggets have just 4 bigs on their roster with guaranteed contracts (Hunter, Kenyon Martin, Nene, and Chris Andersen) , but 13 guaranteed contracts. Already having to deal with the luxury cap, the Nuggets could opt to sign Fazekas over fellow non-guaranteed forward Juwan Howard, as his veteran minimum is nearly double Fazekas due to years in the league. Between Fazekas, Howard, and Clemson rookie James Mays, expect one of them to stick. The biggest things Fazekas lacks are that he doesn't really play in the post and is slow on defense, which are two things the Nuggets don't need. Fazekas is getting paid this year no matter what, due the Mavericks releasing him to make that J-Kidd deal go through last season. If he gets cut, he'll still make over $700,000 from that contract. Because of this, if he gets cut, he may as well play in the D-League again this season, as his previous contract alleviates any need for him to go overseas and be out of the NBA scouts eyes.
Fazekas got in the game for just barely a minute and made his only shot attempt in his first game with the hometown Nuggets, and followed that up by not playing in the Nuggets next game.
Dahntay Jones - Jones secured a guaranteed deal out of the Summer League, so he shouldn't have too much to worry about during training camp. Jones came in toward the end of the season and played well with Fort Wayne, averaging 24 points shooting 52% from the field.
Jones played well in his first game with the Nuggets, getting to the line 7 times and making all 7, finishing the game with 11 points and 4 boards in 23 minutes of action. Jones got the start the next game for the Nuggets with Allen Iverson and Carmelo Anthony out with "injuries". He scored 8 points and grabbed 3 boards in his first start of the preseason.
Cheikh Samb - Samb has always baffled me, because for some reason, he tucks his jersey into his shorts. Not his basketball shorts, but his compression shorts. Watch this season, as he'll more than likely get some playing time, as Detroit's going to want to watch and see if he'll ever develop into whatever it is he's destined for. At 7'1, 195 pounds, he should probably add at least 20-30 pounds to his frame to be able to play in the post. He did show off a decent touch when he was in Bismarck last season playing for Fort Wayne, and was good in the post when matched up with Rod Benson, whom he took the lead from for skinniest legs below the kneecap. Against Kevin Lyde however, he basically stood behind him and fouled when Lyde would work for positioning on his way to the hoop. With Fort Wayne last year, he played 20 games, averaging 10 points, 7 boards, and 4 blocks. Expect similar results this year, as the Pistons will more than likely once again send him down all 3 available times to let him keep getting work. It looks to me like he's probably the 5th or 6th guy on their depth chart in the 4/5 spot.
Samb was a DNP-Coaches Decision in both of the Pistons first two preseason games. In their 3rd game, Samb got in, making his only field goal attempt in 5 minutes of action, while being charged with 2 turnovers. He once again didn't make it on the court in the Wizards fourth preseason game.
Golden State Warriors
C.J. Watson - Watson was called up last year to be the primary backup to Baron Davis, as the injury prone Davis was averaging about 40 minutes a game, which undoubtedly would have led to trouble. This year, with Monta Ellis out with a moped injury, Watson will likely be the primary backup to Marcus Williams (Not the Marcus Williams already talked about). He won't be back in the D-League, at least not this year, but he'll also never be able to average anything close to what he did in his few months in the D-League. With the RGV Vipers, he averaged 26 points, 6 assists, and 5 rebounds a game.
Watson started in the Warriors 1st preseason game, scoring 6 points in 18 minutes. In the Warriors 2nd game however, Watson didn't see the floor. In the Warriors third game of the preseason, Watson came off the bench to score 9 points and 2 dish 2 assists in 16 minutes of playing time.
Aaron Brooks - Brooks played well this Summer in Summer League, and with Bobby Jackson returning to the Kings, he will be the primary backup to Skip to My Lou Rafer Alston. Brooks is listed at 6'0 but is probably more like 5'9. He's a quick point guard and played well in the D-League last year while on loan to the Rio Grande Valley for about a week. He averaged 23 points, 5.5 boards, and 5 assists a game.
Brooks played 25 minutes in the Rockets preseason opener, scoring 13 points to go with 5 assists, though shot just 4-for-11 from the field. His 2nd game wasn't much more efficient as he shot just 3-for-11 for 7 points, adding an assist in his 24 minutes of action. In the Rockets third game of the preseason, he shot 3-for-8 from the field, missing all 4 of his 3-point attempts. He was able to contribute 4 assists to go along with 9 points in his 24 minutes on the court.
Marcus Campbell - He's played in the D-League the last 3 years and been serviceable, coming on strong with Anaheim after being cut by Idaho 5 games into the season. With Anaheim, he played 38 games, started 31, and averaged 14 points, 9.5 boards, and a block. Looking at the Rockets roster, Campbell could stick with them if they're looking for a center as insurance in case Dikembe doesn't come back. They could do a lot worse then a 26 year old that's improved every season. Also, an excerpt from Rod Benson's D-League Awards last year:
The Best Chicken Noodle Soup Dance Award: Marcus Campbell. At every home game we play, Chicken Noodle Soup comes on as we emerge from the locker room. The other team, having not heard that song in ages, always feels compelled to halt their warm-up and give a little chicken noodle. Campbell, at 7-foot-1, 280 lbs., had the best, most enthusiastic performance.
Campbell was released from the Rockets October 6th due to the team going into a regimen geared toward the regular season.
D.J. Strawberry - Strawberry played 5 games with the T-Birds last year, averaging 32 points on 52% from the field. He was traded from the Suns to the Rockets for Sean Singletary, though I'm not sure why. Regardless, he will more than likely not make the team, as his contract is guaranteed and 9 guards are in camp. He will more than likely play in the NBA this year as he could develop into a good defensive stopper, though it may take some time in the D-League to show what he can do. If he plays in the D-League, and keeps up his averages from his 5 game stint last year, expect it once again to be a pretty short stint.
Strawberry played 3 minutes in the Rockets opener, missing his only shot attempt, an errant 3 pointer. He didn't see the floor in their 2nd game. The Rockets 3rd game wasn't much better for Strawberry. Though he got 20 minutes of playing time, he scored just 2 points and picked up 3 fouls and turned the ball over 3 times.
Josh McRoberts - McRoberts played in the D-League with the champions, the Idaho Stampede, as the SIXTH man, starting just 2 of the 15 games he played. I'm not sure if that attests to how deep Idaho was, or if McRoberts really isn't that good. He averaged 8 points and 6 rebounds, but shot horribly. He made just 2 of the 13 3-point shots he attempted. Regardless, there's not much of a possibility of him making the team as Austin Croshere will make it over him, and if the Tinsley for Steven Hunter and Chucky Atkins from Denver trade ever goes through, that will add even more problems for McRoberts. Look for him to maybe try going overseas this season, as it seems that the chicks here aren't all that proud of him:
McRoberts got 15 minutes of action (probably more than he did with the girl pictured above) in the Pacers first preseason game, scoring 4 points and collecting 2 rebounds. In their second game, he again got 15 minutes of action, scoring 6 points and grabbing 3 boards.
Los Angeles Clippers
Dontell Jefferson - Jefferson is a good player that has played the majority of his professional career with the Dakota Wizards and more than likely, will end up in Bismarck again this season. The Clippers have Baron Davis, Jason Hart (guaranteed contract), and Mike Taylor (Draft Pick, formerly of the D-League, who we'll get to shorty). At the 2 guard, they have Cuttino Mobley, Eric Gordon, and Ricky Davis. That's 7 guys in front of Jefferson, all with contracts already in place. Even so, Jefferson may still get a look with the Clippers at some point this season if he plays weill in camp, as Davis has always had injury problems and Eric Gordon has been hurt more than healthy since coming out of Indiana. Nonetheless, the Clippers have 14 guys under contract, and I don't think Jefferson will be their 15th, if they choose to have one. Jefferson is probably best suited as a slashing 2 guard, but can also play efficiently at the point. Last year with the Wizards, before heading overseas, he played well doing both, as he started the season at the 2 guard, then moved over to the point guard when Maurice Baker went overseas. He averaged 17 points, 5 assists, and 5 boards, starting 29 of his 33 games. More than likely, I see him heading back to Dakota, playing for awhile, and if the NBA doesn't come calling he'll more than likely head overseas.
In Jefferson's first game as a Clipper, he played 4 minutes, dishing 2 assists and 2 steals with no shot attempts or turnovers.
Jelani McCoy - McCoy is an NBA vet and has a decent chance at making the squad, as he's a proven commodity with experience in the league and can be used as an insurance policy if Camby goes down. I can't find out if Paul Davis' contract is guaranteed, but I'm assuming McCoy will out play him in camp, so if it's not, McCoy will more than likely get the nod. Last year, McCoy played with the other LA team when he wasn't playing for the 14ers. McCoy's averages of 11 points, 8 boards, and a couple blocks are probably what he could do in the NBA with playing time. I would assume he's got the best chance of the Clippers training camp fodder to actually make the team, considering his size and experience.
McCoy got 4 minutes of playing time, making his only shot attempt, though went just 1-for-3 at the line.
Los Angeles Lakers
Dwayne Mitchell - Mitchell is a freakish athlete with a great motor, pretty much what everyone is looking for these days. His biggest problem is that he can't shoot the ball all that great. He is playing against Brandon Heath, CJ Giles, Joe Crawford, Koby Karl, and Josh Powell for the 14th and 15th spots on the roster. Karl played alright last year, the team is familiar with him, and assumedly he knows the Triangle Offense, so I would give one of the spots to him. Josh Powell then has the inside edge on the 15th spot, as his contract guarantees him $200,000. This doesn't bode well for Mitchell. It's probably in his best interest to try out the D-League again this season, as he played well in Summer League and his numbers in the D-League last year were good (20 points, 6 boards). If he doesn't get the call-up, he can do the same thing as last year and head overseas after the Showcase.
After not playing in the first game of the preseason for the Lakers, Mitchell was released on October 8th, the first cut of Lakers camp.
Brent Petway - Petway is an interesting training camp invite. Air Georgia, whose dunking abilities are well known, didn't get much playing time with the Grizzlies in Summer League. Officially it says he didn't play at all, but I interned down there and seem to remember that they had him and Aaron Pettway mixed up on the box score at some point. Regardless, if you get a couple CD-DNP's in Summer League, your chances aren't good to get on with the team. Petway did. It might have something to do with him treating every warm up as a dunk contest, though I can't really justify anything. Last year, he started about half of the Idaho Stampede's games (Does this mean he's better than McRoberts, thus the Grizzlies used this intellect to decide to pick him up?), but averaged a paltry 7 points and 4 boards, playing about 24 minutes a game. I don't see him making the team, and I'm not sure where he goes from here. Maybe he and James "Flight" White can find a league overseas and have an amazing dunk contest at it's All-Star game.
Brent played 4 minutes in the preseason opener, making his only shot attempt and contributed a block, but also grabbed 3 fouls in the 4:18 that he was in the game. Much like Summer League however, Petway was a DNP-CD in the Grizzlies next two preseason games.
Ron Howard - Howard is presumably nicknamed Opie, a reference I picked up this year from the Andy Griffith show apparently. I don't know much else about him, but he's got that going for him I guess. Howard was decidedly average with the Mad Ants last year, averaging 11 points and little else. It would seem he's fighting for the last spot in camp with Matt Freije (Bismarck Native), TJ Cummings (Son of Terry), and Kevin Kruger (Son of Lon). They've got 3 point guards, so that probably eliminates Kruger (more on him later). Cummings (don't google him) and Freije are both bigs, where the Bucks are lacking. Besides Bogut, they've got Malik Allen, Francisco Elson, Dan Gadzuric, and Charlie Villanueva. I'm not sure whether any of the 4 really fit, but since Howard is the least basketball talented of the four, I'm going to assume he'll probably play another season as a Mad Ant.
Howard played in the first Bucks preseason game, though didn't see the floor in the second. He's played 9 minutes, going 0-for-1, a three point attempt and 1-for-2 at the line, without contributing anything else to the box score. In the Bucks third preseason game, Howard played about 10 minutes, scoring 5 points and dishing 2 assists. Howard didn't make it into the Bucks 4th preseason game.
Kevin Kruger - Kruger is good. Watching March Madness last year, I loved him. 2nd favorite player in that tourney, besides Winthrop's Torrell Martin. He can also play. Last year, for the Flash, he averaged 13 points and had 7 assists. Not great numbers, but when you look at the Flash's lineup, besides Mo Almond, the team consisted of one of the least talented D-League lineups. Nonetheless, with Luke Ridnour, Ramon Sessions, Tyronn Lue, and Charlie Bell ahead of him, he's probably best off coming back to the D-League and showing what he can do.
Kruger played well in his first preseason game as a Buck, making his only shot, a 3-point attempt, and hitting all 5 of his free-throw attempts, as well as adding 3 assists. In the second game of the preseason however, Coach Scott Skiles played just 10 guys, with Kruger not being one of them. In their 3rd game, Kruger played 9 minutes, missing his only attempt while grabbing a board, without getting an assist. Kruger continued his game on, game off, not getting into the 4th game of the preseason for the Bucks.
Blake Ahearn - Ahearn is my favorite fringe player of all this season. He's hard working, he's awkward (Calf socks, Blake?), he's a shorter, 48 times better shooting Luke Schenscher. Since Blake never partook in the Bismarck nightlife (not consisting of much), I really wish they would have had someone follow him around when he was up with Miami last year. Possibly, besides Lance Allred, one of the most boring players in the NBA last year, except Allred was in Cleveland, giving Ahearn the edge playing in Miami. Anyway, it looks as though the Wolves are deciding between the wily vet, Kevin Ollie, or the sharpshooting new guy, Ahearn. Looking at the TWolves roster, they could use some veteran leadership, but they could also use a clutch shooter like Ahearn. If Ahearn doesn't get the nod, expect him to come back to North Dakota, where he will probably exceed his 20 point per game season average from last year since he didn't start the first few months of the season.
Ahearn has played in one of the two TWolves games thus far, scoring 4 points in 8 minutes with nothing else. His main competition, Kevin Ollie has played one game as well this preseason, going 0-for-1 in three minutes of playing time.
New Jersey Nets
Eddie Gill - Eddie Gill is a veteran NBA player, and excellent definition of the term journeyman. A good player, though there must be some reason for him never sticking with anyone for too long. After attending three of Utah's different colleges, finally coming out of Weber State, he was drafted by 3 different teams, none of wihch were in the NBA, but rather a team from the ABA, CBA, and IBL. He went to camp his rookie season with the Orlando Magic, but was cut right before the season started. From there he went to the IBL, and then to the ABA. While with the Kansas City Nights in the ABA, he got his first call-up, to the Nets, where he spent 2 ten-day's before heading over Italy. The last seven seasons have been just about as crazy, save for 2004-06, where he played two full seasons with the Indiana Pacers. Last year, after being the first overall pick to the Colorado 14ers, he was called up before the D-League season even started to to the Nets. He played with them the first 13 games of the season before joining the 14ers. With the 14ers, Gill averaged 18 points and 9 assists, along with 2 steals a game. This season, he's looking to start out with the Nets rather than start out the D-League season being called up by the Nets, and he might have a chance too. The Nets need a third point guard, and he's played with them and knows their system well. If he doesn't make the Nets, he'll more than likely hang out in the D-League before getting another call-up.
Gill played 21 minutes in the Nets first game of the pre-season, scoring 14 points to go along with 3 steals. Gill played just 7 minutes in the 2nd game of the Nets preseason, contributing 2 assists, but also losing the ball twice, with no shot attempts.
Brian Hamilton - There's a good chance you don't know much about Hamilton. Me neither. After doing my research, I learned that he led the D-League in steals last year with 3.2 per game. He prides himself on his defense, and would be a great story for the D-League, going from an open tryout with the Flash to an NBA player in just one season. To learn more about Hamilton, check out this story over at D-League.com.
Hamilton didn't make it into the Nets first game. In his first action as an NBA player, albeit in the preseason, Hamilton played 7 minutes, missed both of his shots from the field and went just 1-for-2 from the line. He did grab 3 rebounds and blocked a shot on the defensive end.
Julius Hodge - Hodge was a first round pick for the Denver Nuggets just three years ago out of North Carolina State. He also was assigned to the Nuggets affiliate at the time, the Austin Toros, for the month of February. In April of his rookie year, while driving home from the club, Hodge was shot, (I think in the butt, but not sure where else..) coming about 5 minutes from death. The following season, he was still under contract with the Nuggets, but spent the majority of his time in Broomfield with the 14ers, until the Nuggets traded Hodge to the Bucks in January. Since then, he's bounced around in the D-League, playing for Idaho and Albuquerque, along with playing in Australia and Italy before coming back to the D-League to play with Albuquerque for the last part of the D-League season. He can play, but I don't think he'll beat out Gill for the third point guard spot, which looks to be their most pressing need.
Hodge didn't get into the Nets first preseason game. In Hodge's first action with the Nets, he didn't impress. He went 0-for-6 from the field, two of those being 3-pointers, and turned the ball over 4 times in 10 minutes. He did add four rebounds as a positive.
New Orleans Hornets
Courtney Sims - Matt did an interview over on At The Hive where they wondered about Courtney Sims, and he broke him down wonderfully, so in lieu of a paragraph or two, just click on the link.
Sims didn't play in the first game of the preseason for New Orleans. In the Hornets second game, Sims saw 8 minutes of action, scoring 5 points and contributing a blocked shot. In the Hornets 3rd preseason game, he missed his only shot, seeing the floor for less than 4 minutes.
Oklahoma City Thunder
Chris Alexander - Alexander, according to Rodrique Zsorryon Benson, is award worthy:
The Dr. Frankenstein Monster Award: Chris Alexander. More for looks than skill, although he does play pretty big too.
Alexander is kind of an ogre, but he can play. He averaged 11 and 11 last season, along with 2 blocks a game. He doesn't have much of a shot to make the Thunder as it seems that they'll sign John Lucas III, the other training camp addition to be the teams 3rd string point guard, and they already have 7-foot projects on the bench with Robert Swift and Mohammed Saer Sene. According to USBasket, he is signed for the Phillipines this season, though I wouldn't be surprised to see him back in the D-League as he is consistently improving.
Alexander played 6 minutes in OKC's first preseason game, looking good with 5 points and 4 rebounds, though he didn't crack the lineup in their 2nd game. In their 3rd game, Alexander played 7 minutes and grabbed 3 boards with an assist, without taking a shot.
Jeremy Richardson - Richardson has played well in parts of the last two seasons in the D-League when not being employed by the NBA. Playing in Fort Worth two seasons ago and Fort Wayne last season, he earned quite a few call-ups, but has yet to receive a guaranteed contract. In that time, he has averaged 20 points a game, 25 last season, and was named the D-League All-Star Game MVP. If he makes the Magic, it will be his fifth team in 34 games, having already played with Atlanta (two stints), Portland, Memphis, and Seattle.
Richardson didn't play in the Magics first preseason game. In the 2nd preseason game, Richardson played 12 minutes, missing all 4 shots from the field. He did make both free-throws he attempted and also pulled down 2 rebounds. In their next game, against CSKA Moscow, he shot 3-for-5 in his 8 minutes of action.
Antywane Robinson - I wouldn't mind using his name for my first child, male or female, and I'll just pronounce it different. He averaged 18 points and 6 boards with Sioux Falls last season before going overseas, where he played in France. He's battling Jared Reiner, who has an excellent blog, for the final spot in Sixers' camp, provided they carry 15. I'm going to give Reiner the edge, as he has previous NBA experience, and is a big in the style of Jason Smith, who is out with a torn ACL suffered in Summer League.
Antywane played played 2 minutes in the Sixers first preseason game, without contributing anything to the box score. Reiner got a DNP-CD. In the 2nd game, Robinson played 10 minutes, missing both of his shot attempts. Neither or Reiner, his main competition, played in the 3rd game for the Sixers.
Trey Johnson - Johnson, a rookie last year, was a tremendous scorer in college out of Jackson State University, averaging a 2nd best in the NCAA 27 points per game for the season, upping that to 32 points per game against ranked opponents. Out of Jackson State, he played with the Hornets before being their last cut in preseason. While many thought he'd be a first round pick in the D-League with good rookies in high demand, though he instead decided to go overseas for a few months. In January, he came back to the States, where he was acquired by the Bakersfield Jam. With Bakersfield, coming into a crowded back court that included Mateen Cleaves, Andre Barrett, and Scooter McFagdon (Terrible first and last names, by the way), he started just one of the 24 games that he played in. He averaged 12 points, 4 assists, and 3 boards, shooting better than 45% from the field. If the Suns weren't so afraid of getting buried further by the luxury tax, he wouldn't be a bad player to keep on the bench until an injury occurs to somebody in the backcourt, namely Raja Bell or Grant Hill.
Johnson didn't play in the Suns first two games of the preseason.
Luke Jackson - Jackson appears to be the favorite over Steven Hill to land the Blazers final playoff spot. Steven Hill was loved at Summer League, having a legion of fans cheering anytime he did anything, but if Jackson's 3-ball is on, the fans might love him even more. Jackson has bounced all around the NBA, but he's always shown a sharp 3-point shot. If this is falling this preseason, he may very well be the guy to get the final spot to open up the post for Greg Oden, LaMarcus Aldridge and company. Jackson is probably best known for being the guy that put his fingers up a big girls nose at the end of Rod Benson's "Boom Got Them Dos" video.
Jackson didn't play in the Blazers first game of the preseason. In their 2nd preseason game, Jackson played 16 minutes, scoring 7 points and adding 3 boards on 2-of-6 shooting, though he made his only 3-point attempt. Jackson followed that up with 2 points in 5 minutes of action against the Hawks. Somehow, Jackson got the start for the injury-depleted Blazers in their 4th game of the preseason, though he didn't impress, shooting 2-of-8 from the field, missing 3 shots beyond the arc. He did get 38 minutes of playing time though, and minus the shooting, contributed well, grabbing 7 boards and dishing 3 assists.
Jamaal Tatum - Tatum is listed as a D-League player, even though he's never actually played in a D-League game. A former Saluki, he was the 4th overall draft pick in the D-League's draft last season, but hurt his ankle and was never able to return.
Tatum played 3 minutes opening night in Blazers camp, missing his only shot and adding an assist. He was a DNP in the Blazers next game, then got in for 10 minutes against the Hawks, scoring 2 points and grabbing 3 boards and dishing an assist. In the Blazers 4th game, Tatum logged 3 minutes of action, missing his shot attempt, but dishing an assist.
Noel Felix - Felix, a 6'9" forward from Fresno State, started in the CBA with the Yakama Sun Kings in the 2005-06 season, then was called-up with the Sonics in March for the remainder of the season. From there, he went overseas to play with Maccabi Tel-Aviv before coming back to the states last season with the Anaheim Arsenal. With the Arsenal, he played just 11 games, starting only 7 of them, averaging 7.5 points and 4 rebounds a game before heading back overseas to play for Hapoel Jerusalem overseas. With all of the project big men in Sacramento, I don't expect Noel to make the team, so he will more than likely head back overseas.
Felix played 2 minutes in the Kings first round game, though didn't do anything to make the box score. He didn't make it into the Kings 2nd preseason game. In the Kings 3rd preseason game, he grabbed a board and had a turnover in 2 1/2 minutes of action.
Bobby Jones - Jones is a defensive stopper out of Washington who played with Brandon Roy. Since playing for years at UW, he's had roughly 700 different basketball contracts in the past two years. Here's a synopsis: Jones was drafted by the (1)Timberwolves but traded on draft day to the (2)76ers. With the Sixers for rougly a year and 3 months, he was traded along with Steven Hunter to the (3)Nuggets in September 2007. He "played" with the Nuggets through December, but was cut January 6th. Four days later, Jones signed with the (4)Memphis Grizzlies. After two ten-day's with the Grizzlies, he came to the D-League and started with the (5)Sioux Falls Skyforce on February 9th. After playing with the Skyforce for almost 2 and a half weeks, he was called up to the (6)Houston Rockets on February 26th. On March 12, after taking a six day break, he got another 10-day with (7)Miami, though got cut a day before his contract was up, on the 21st. He then re-signed with the (8)Skyforce before getting called-up again by the (9) Spurs on April Fools day. After his 10-day with the Spurs was up, he signed with the (10) Nuggets again for the remainder of the season. After being with the same team for over 3 months, he was traded to (11)New York with Taurean Green for Renaldo Balkman. One day later, he got released. Then, two weeks later, he signed with (12)Miami again, though they cut him ten days later. He's been with the (13)Kings since the first of October, and as history shows, it probably won't be for long.
In Jones first game with the Kings, he played 9 and a half minutes, grabbing three boards and missing his only shot attempt. Jones didn't play in the Kings 2nd or 3rd game of the preseason.
Kevin Lyde - Lyde is in his second straight Jazz preseason camp. He's gone from the Wizards D-League team to the Jazz, back to the Wizards, now with the Jazz, and wouldn't surprise me if he ends up with the Wizards again this season. Lyde is a big body, though came back to the Wizards in much better shape than he was the year before. A healthy Lyde has actually got a decent chance of making the Jazz, as he's a semi-polished big man that bang down low, something the Jazz have been lacking the last couple years. He can't be much worse than their current options, Jarron Collins, Kyrylo Fesenko and Kosta Koufos, the latter two whom I actually think he is better than. Considering the other options for the last man to make it include Britton Johnson or Gerry McNamara, I'm going to give Lyde the edge if they decide to keep 15. Lyde played 15 minutes in the first game of the preseason for the Jazz, scoring 7 points to go along with 2 blocked shots. In their 2nd game, he got just 5 minutes of action, converting his only shot attempt and adding 2 boards. Lyde's playing time came to a halt in the 3rd game, where he didn't see the court.
DerMarr Johnson - I'm not sure if it's necessarily been proven that the sweeter the name, the better shot you have at joining a training camp roster, but with the additions of Antywane and DerMarr, I might be getting close. DerMarr is a good player, don't get me wrong, but he is rather immature for the league right now in my opinion, and his brushes with law are well-documented. It seems he is battling the more experienced Linton Johnson for the 15th spot, and the only thing that I like more about DerMarr than Linton is that Johnson also raps under the moniker Boss Slim.
DerMarr played 17 minutes in his preseason debut for the Wizards, going 3-for-9 from the field, scoring 9 points, grabbing 3 boards, 2 steals, and a block. His second game with the Wizards, he scored 11 points, had 3 boards, 2 steals, and 2 blocks. Linton Johnson, after struggling in the first game in limited minutes, had 5 points and 8 rebounds on 2-for-7 shooting in the second game of the preseason for the Wizards. Johnson struggled in his 3rd game as a Wizard, shooting just 1-for-8 from the field, including missing all 5 of his 3-point attempts.