Dear NBA General Managers,
Today, I'd like to go over a few more guys that deserve a call-up, even though you all have a done a fine job over the past two weeks of deciding to look to the D-League for some help. My main concern is this: If you guys don't look to the D-League, and instead look at players that have had their shot(s) and blew it, we're going to keep losing players overseas. This month, we've lost Charles Gaines, Coby Karl, Smush Parker, Alton Ford, and Andre Brown, among others. All of these guys, save for maybe Alton Ford, would have been suitable NBA pick-ups, and certainly have more upside than guys like Austin Croshere and Fred Jones, who've recently picked up 10-day contracts.
First on my list is going to Walker Russell, Jr., AKA, according to ShamSports, "I made the Knicks training camp roster only because my dad is a scout there." This, at the time, was probably true, because a kid that averages six points and four assists in 15 games, shooting less than 35% from the field in the D-League probably doesn't deserve an NBA camp invite. For some reason however, since then, he has went off! Russell is averaging 18 points and 12 assists in nearly 40 minutes of action for the Mad Ants! That he hasn't been called-up is almost as big of a traveshamockery as the time last season when Too Much Rod Benson averaged his double-doubles, including that big 28 point, 28 rebound game, and still didn't get a callup! In the month of January, Russell is averaging 19 points, 13 assists, and 2.4 steals, playing over 40 minutes per game! Tell us, NBA GM's, why isn't he called-up yet?
Next, let's talk about Will Conroy. Here's a guy that's played well in the D-League, but hasn't really had his chance in the NBA. He can score, though not really shoot, and is a great floor general that will 'D' up. Certainly someone could use him as at least a 3rd point guard. This season, Conroy is averaging 25 points, eight assists, and five rebounds, to go with two steals. He also apparently has unlimited stamina, as he's AVERAGING 45.5 MINUTES PER GAME!
A third point guard I'm going to have you look at is Dontell Jefferson. Jefferson's numbers aren't outstanding, 18, 5 and 5, but he's a floor general, a leader, that learned from one of the best point guards in the D-League the past two seasons in Maurice Baker, and now has a bit more upside. When needed, he's the best player on the floor, though this season he's been playing along side JR Giddens, Billy Walker, and Kyrylo Fesenko from the NBA, so he's just had to lead the team, and he's done that very well. When he needs to take over however, he will. In his most recent game, an overtime victory over Walker Russell Junior's Fort Wayne Mad Ants, Jefferson had 38 points, five assists, making 15 of his 27 attempts, and putting in 14 of Utah's final 15 points in the fourth quarter to force overtime!
If you're looking for a swingman, I'd say you should be looking at Marcus Williams. The good one, not the Golden State one. Williams is averaging 21 points, seven boards, and four assists, on a stacked Austin team that included Andre Brown and Charles Gaines until recently, and still includes Malik Hairston. Now that Williams is becoming more of a focal point, I'm sure his numbers will only go up. In his last game, and first without Andre Brown, Williams scored 34 points, grabbed 12 rebounds, and dished six assists. I'm not really seeing the downside on this kid.
Now, on to the big men. My first choice is going to be Richard Hendrix, the 2nd round pick out of Alabama and current Dakota Wizard. Though he's not the most consistent player, when he's on, he's on, and when he's not, he's still a big man with a good body and RIDICULOUS upside. He had 25 boards in a New Years Eve game against Erie -- that's a lot! Also, over his past three games, he's averaging 17 points and 14 rebounds. A young kid who is going to work in the post and grab the boards certainly should get a look this season.
Chris Hunter is going to be my darkhorse pick. A teammate of current Phoenix Sun Courtney Sims in college, Hunter is doing work right now in the D-League. Hunter is currently averaging 17.6 points and 10 boards a game (4 offensive), shooting an efficient 55% from the field. Over his past four games, he's averaged 20 points, 10.5 boards and a block, playing less than three quarters per game. His best game of the season was Courtney Sims last in the D-League, when he matched up against his fellow Michigan alum. In that game, Hunter scored 23 points and grabbed 18 boards in 33 minutes of action. Talk about efficient!
Also, NBA GM's, if you don't like those picks, I've got a few that I'll mention in passing that probably deserve a break. If you're looking for a shooter, pick up Dakota's Blake Ahearn. Thinking about a veteran point, why not Dakota's Maurice Baker or Colorado's Eddie Gill? Looking for a defensive specialist on the wing that can play the Scottie Pippen/Stephen Jackson point-forward role, go with Renaldo Major. If you need lots of scoring and some high-flying dunks, James White is your man. Pick up Othyus Jeffers, just to make me happy.