So, we're about 18 days, 22 hours, 34 minutes, and 47 seconds until the D-League season starts (Thanks, D-League.com!) Anyway, let's look at each teams roster post-draft to better evaluate how each team drafted. I should really wait to do this tomorrow in case some trades went down that we didn't catch, but I'll update this to reflect that if they happen. Also, quick note, every center able to be drafted, was drafted. Dear Mr. Alpert, I think we need to sign more 5's for next year!
This might be something you print out and read when you have about two hours to kill... Went a little longer than planned, but all good stuff, I guarantee it. If you don't think so, E-Mail me (Check my profile) and I will promptly get you a refund.
Tulsa, with the number one overall pick, picked Chris Richard. Like many teams, it looks like they aren't too concerned with having a center, preferring to go with two big forwards in Richard and Ryan Humphrey, a first round pick of the Jazz in 2002. From there, it looks like returning guard Russell Carter will play at the point, Jeremy Kelly at the 2, and Terrell Everett at the 3. I expect Chris Ellis (returning) and Mikheil Berishvili to also be guaranteed spots, with the rest up in the air. With whoever comes back in the trade of Keith Closs, that player could leave just one spot open for the rest of the players, depending on what the 66ers are getting in return.
Colorado, where is Elton Brown? Where is Eddie Gill? I assume at least Eddie will join them soon. If not, it looks like they'll be led by the tandem of James Mays (Great pick considering he was one of the last cuts of neighboring Denver!) and Josh Davis at the 3 and 4, with random fillers in between. If both Elton and Eddie come back, WATCH OUT! The 14ers drafted two of the better point guards in the draft in Marlon Parmer and John Gilchrist, along with rookie Trey Gilder, a skinny 6'9 post, these are my picks to most likely make the team. It looks like Joe Dabbert, who I'm fairly sure his middle name is Barry, as it rings so well, will play the center for them. I'm not sure why he was allocated to them, as he didn't go to school in Colorado, nor has he ever played for them, but being allocated a decent 5 is always good! I'm also fairly certain Eric Osmundson makes the team, as he's my favorite player ever out of UPenn and has played with them the past two seasons. Jamar Brown, a local guy out of Colorado State also will more than likely make it, being a big in this league not so full of bigs.
Idaho looks strong, as they have been since entering the D-League. Coach Gates always seems to put together a good team, and this year shouldn't be any different. They brought Randy Livingston off the court and onto the coaching staff, though his replacement is the very capable, and more than likely redshirt-rookie, Jamaal Tatum, their first round pick last year. They also return Air Georgia Brent Petway and were allocated former BSU Broncos Coby Karl and Reggie Larry. With first round pick and former Bobcat Jermareo Davidson, this team has a chance of repeating. Add in Ernest Scott, who played 40 games with the Stampede last season, big-man Anthony Coleman, and rookie guard Lanny Smith, and this is one of the top teams in the D-League.
Sioux Falls is VERY VERY VERY strong. Wow. Veteran leadership? Check. Point guard Frank Williams played parts of 3 seasons in the NBA and averaged 16 points with the Skyforce two seasons ago. NBA talent? Check! Bobby Jones has played for approximately 47 teams over the last two seasons. Size? You betcha! 7-1 Frankenstein-like Chris Alexander was the last cut of the Thunder in October and averaged 12 and 12 last season for the Skyforce. Good wings? Two of them! First round pick Gary Forbes and returning Carl Elliott are both all around players that will fill in and do everything that the aforementioned players don't. Add in draft picks Michael Adams (who isn't good, but is big!), Keith Brumbaugh (averaged 35 points, 8 boards, 6 assists last season in college), Ty Morrison, a 6'8 rookie combo forward, and either rookie Gary Ervin (Arkansas) or the vet Brock Gillespie, and this will be a team to reckon with.
Bakersfield, do I think even you guys have a strong team? Yes, I sure do! Wait, even when your top 3 players are returning from a season where you finished 11-39?!? Scary, but yes, and not just because Gates Roth and Deane Martin are running the show. Mateen "I'm Not Cryin" Cleaves at the point, Jeff Trepagnier at the 2, Derrick Byars at the 3, Richard Hendrix at the 4, and Nick Lewis at the 5, and this team is scary. Factor in Justin Reed returning in about a month and Trey Lewis coming off the bench, and this team will be 7-deep solid! Terrance Thomas, who played with Fort Worth a couple seasons ago, and David Berghoefer, a soft big man who averaged 11 and 11 over in Germany last year should also make the rotation.
Fort Wayne, I really hope you do well. Bringing back Ron Howard, fresh off a preseason campaign with the Bucks, along with Walker Russell, a strong backcourt is imminent. The front court, however, is suspect. If first round pick Coleman Collins is as careless on the court as he is when driving, you're in trouble (Just kidding Mad Ants! Hopefully we're still friends!). If I learned I was going to be a Mad Ant, I'd be excited too. I like Torree Morris too, mostly because he's 6-10 in a division that includes Courtney Sims, Chris Alexander, and hopefully, for Erie's sake, a big man from the Cavs. Anthony Kyle is fun to watch and should make the team as the backup point guard he's destined to be. Shawn Hawkins should also be a good player for the Ants. Eric Smith, who I believe was referred to exclusively as "Spider" on all of your radio broadcasts last season (New radio guy for the Mad Ants this year for anyone that wasn't a fan of them last year!), should also be consistent off the bench.
Erie, I'm sorry, but I'm just not a fan of your drafts. First, you inexplicably drafted Idaho assistant coach Randy Livingston in the expansion draft, among about 7 other guys that had no plans to play in the D-League this season and Jeff Hagen. Then, in this draft, you take the enigmatic Erik Daniels a combo forward, when it was fairly clear that a big man was in your NEEDS column after the only guy you picked up in the expansion draft, Jackie Manuel, plays the same position. In the second round, you took Taj McCullough, a Winthrop grad and combo forward. You also bring in Manuel. By my count, that's three guys who are best suited to play the 3, and are also your three top players. You never did draft anyone taller than 6'8. Hopefully Cleveland really likes your pick up of Vernon Hamilton, who was in Cavs camp this preseason, and sends JJ Hickson or Darnell Jackson down to help. Jawad Williams is also a possibility, but I'd assume they'd rather cut him then assign him to the D-League, as he's nothing special to develop. They did draft two of the greater names in the draft though in Cliff Clinkscales and Xavier Whipple, so hats off to you, Erie Bayhawks.
Anaheim, I like your team. Good first three picks in NBA vet Tierre Brown, Flight White, and rookie Roy Bright (Another Delaware State guy, just former D-League stud Jeremy Richardson). Good returnees in Mario Boggan and Mike Efevberha. Good allocated guys in Cedric Bozeman, Noel Felix, and T.J. Cummings, son of Terry (Be careful googling him.. NSFW!). Also, good job drafting four bigs! I hope that was due in part to the genius of new assistant Paul Mokeski, as pictured here in his younger days (Courtesy of The Sports Hernia Blog):
Utah had a decent draft. Bringing in Dontell Jefferson, bring back Brian Jackson, and drafting a couple legit rookies in Gavin Grant and Bennet Davis will help. If Kevin Kruger decides to come back to the D-League, this team is solid. If not, hopefully Utah and Boston help out, as your bench looks weak. Marcus Malone, how did you drop to the tenth round? Please prove me wrong in camp, as I thought you looked good down in Vegas.
Reno, big ups. Like what you did in the expansion draft. Damone Brown, Tony Gipson, Andre Patterson, Jesse Smith, and Jamaal Smith are all solid players that can contribute. In the regular draft, not so much. Antonio Meeking, who, as Matt pointed out, apparently added an inch and dropped 30 pounds, though I highly doubt this. Russell Robinson will be able to run your offense, but don't expect points out of him, as I would assume another Kansas alum, Dakota Wizards GM Tom Wagganer, could beat him at a game of PIG. Sung-Yoon BANG! should be solid, but unspectacular, as seasoning in Korea couldn't have helped him much since averaging 12 points with the Roanoke DAZZLE a few years ago.
Dakota Wizards, you're good, but guard heavy. With Mo Baker and Blake Ahearn, they've got to have one of the best backcourts in the league, if not the best. Renaldo Major will be returning from heart surgery and if he can return to his Defensive Player of the Year and First Team All D-League, he'll more than likely earn another call-up. The trade for Denham Brown will be excellent insurance if Renaldo isn't completely ready, and if he is ready, Brown will be one of the top guys coming off the bench in the league. That's four guys with NBA experience. Add Will Frisby, who was a beast last year when he got the minutes, and if he can stay out of foul trouble, he'll get the minutes, and Quemont Greer, who was with the Wizards two years ago when he averaged 17 points and 6 boards during the championship season, and the returnees are good. Then we get to Marcus Hubbard, the last cut of the Hawks this season (Peachtree Hoops wasn't big on him), will more than likely be one of the top athletes in the league and hopefully improves his basketball IQ. The Wizards are lacking on a center, but between Aaron Spears or Brad Stricker and possible NBA assignee Hamed Haddadi, they'll have the size to compete. Don't rule out a return of Too Much Rod Benson, either, who is averaging just 10 minutes and 2 points per game overseas while I assume he is getting paid a bit more than his production warrants.
RGV, not so sure about you guys. First, I really wish you would have dropped the E in Grande, or decided to pronounce it GronDay. Your best returner is Trent Strickland, and though he averaged 13 points last season, they weren't memorable. Allocated guys Kendall Dartez, who has averaged 6 points and 4 boards in 40 D-League games, and Alton Ford, a guy with forgettable NBA experiences who is a lot like Antonio Meeking, are nothing special. Your draftees are better, and include Smush Parker, who fell to the twelfth pick, and Delonte Holland, who I think should be a good D-League player. I'm also looking forward to seeing what Alpha Bangura (Two guys were drafted with bang in their last name) can do in the D-League, as he's been stateside in the minors for awhile.
LA, you surprised me with your first round pick of Jasper Johnson. I can't give a review of him, because I know NOTHING about him, though hear he was a good pick. Keith Butler is really big, which goes a long way in this draft, and therefore a solid 2nd round pick. The rest of your draft, not too much stands out. Your returning player, Darren Cooper, not exciting. Your allocated guys, however, are quite good. Joe Crawford, Lakers last cut, stud. Brandon Heath, another Lakers cut, should be good. Patrick Sanders, the rookie, should play well. Your local tryout guys are all D-League caliber, which is amazing, as I would have thought they would be in the player pool, rather than needing to go the way of the local tryout, especially since two have been drafted before -- Rashid Byrd, AKA Rashid Hartwick, AKA Seven and Sum Change and Ryan Forehan-Kelly.
Albuquerque, led by Coach Coffino, got the steal of the draft when David Noel dropped to the 12 spot. They're also in contention for best backcourt in the draft, returning Will Conroy and Cheyne Gadson, as they both have NBA talent. Cory Underwood, a former street baller, also returns after joining the Sixers preseason roster for a bit. They drafted quite solid as well, bringing in David Monds, Waki Williams (Never seen him play, but with a name like Waki...), another long 4, and Kris Clack, who played with Austin a couple seasons ago. They also brought in Eddie Robinson, who made 10 million dollars for NOT playing with the Bulls, as they bought out his contract, presumably because he was more focused on his acting career, being the lead in Juwanna Mann.
Iowa should be solid. They return Dwayne Mitchell, who left to go overseas mid-season last year and was with the Lakers this preseason, and Courtney Sims, one of the top big men in the league. Aristide "The Ostrich Riding Dawg" Sawadago was also apparently a big returner for them, as one team (I'll leave them anonymous) tried to draft him. Curtis Stinson, a journeyman D-Leaguer who has played 50 games for five teams over the past two years, also returns. In the first round, they drafted Cartier Martin, who sounds more like an alcoholic beverage than a D-League player, and followed that up with Larry AKA "Elias" or "Old Man" Ayuso, and then Othyus Jeffers, who will turn heads in the D-League. They also drafted Oregon State rookie Marcel Jones, who is also apparently pretty good, as another team tried drafting him later.
Austin, I'm glad you got the last pick, otherwise, you'd be a lot scarier than you already are. Returning Marcus Williams (Legitimate NBA player, not computer-steling-already-NBA-player-with-Golde-State-Marcus-Williams), and bringing in Charles Gaines and Malik Hairston, this teams 2,3,4 spots are probably the best in the D-League. Add Squeaky Johnson and first round pick and this team is solid everywhere but the 5 spot, which is probably why they grabbed 6'10 Mohammed Abukar in the 2nd round. They also got "Better Than" Ezra Williams and Michael Sturns, who were both good pickups in the 3rd and 5th rounds. Add in the possible allocation of Ian Mahinmi, and wow.
I'll let Matt rebuttal, as I'm sure we differ, but I'm ranking the great 8 heading into camp:
1. Dakota -- Six returners, 4 guys with NBA experience, going to be great.
2. Austin -- If they get Mahinmi again, pencil them in for the championship.
3. Albuquerque -- Great backcourt, great front court, great team.
4. Idaho -- Won't fall off much from championship season.
5. Sioux Falls -- Scary back court, scary (and scary looking) front court.
6. Anaheim -- LOTS of NBA talent here.
7. Bakersfield -- Legit starting 5.
8. LA/Reno -- LA built from nothing getting lucky with allocations, Reno built from nothing using the expansion draft.