D-League Draft: A Second Look

Now that some time has passed and I've had a chance to look over all of the picks, I thought I'd lay down some more thoughts about how each team did.  I'll try to make this as brief as I can, because there are 16 teams, but I'll also try to give a pretty good picture of how the teams look heading into training camp.  Also, just as a warning, I'm going to be here for most of the weekend, so posting might be a little light.  I'll try to catch any big news, of course, but hopefully this and last night's first impressions and the OSLB comments should be enough draft coverage to tide you over for a few days.  Anyway, on with the teams.  The key picks are listed followed by the round in which they were drafted, below the jump:

Albuquerque Thunderbirds
Key picks: Carlos Powell (1), Chad Toppert (2),  Erek Hansen (3), Shagari Alleyne (5), Garrison Carr (7)

The Thunderbirds had a pretty solid all-around draft, picking up centers (Hansen and Alleyne), some three-point shooting (Toppert and Carr) and, of course, the best player in the draft (Powell).  Powell's a prime call-up candidate, so they shouldn't count on him being around for very long.  I'm a bit intrigued by their pick of J'Nathan Bullock (6), who was a two-sport star in college and was even signed by the New York Jets as a tight end a few years ago, though he never played with the team.  He's athletic, a good offensive rebounder and was able to get to the free-throw line (and convert once there) in college, so he might be able to replace some of what Powell gives them should a call-up come.  Yaroslav Korolev (4) is also here, and to be honest I have no idea how he'll do.

Austin Toros
Key picks: Alonzo Gee (1), Russell Carter (2), Lewis Clinch (3), Ira Brown (4), Quemont Greer (6)

The Gee pick shouldn't be (and wasn't) a surprise, as the Spurs have been keeping an eye on him and inviting him to Summer League.  Carter steadily improved over his time at Notre Dame, and he was an all-Big East selection his senior year.  Clinch is a decent shooter, but played point guard in college.  I assume they're going to mold him into more of a straight two-guard, since the team already has Curtis Jerrells and Squeaky Johnson (and probably Marcus Wililams) around to run the point.   Brown is a Texas native and was actually a baseball player for about four years, having been drafted by the Royals in 2001, before developing shoulder problems and going back to basketball.  He was a good JuCo player before transferring to Gonzaga.  The Toros drafted a few centers towards the end (Augustine Okosun (7) and D'Mond Grismore (8), although Grismore is just 6'6"), but expect them to run a lot again this season.

Bakersfield Jam
Key picks: Amara Sy (1), Reece Gaines (2), Anthony Goods (3), Jared Newson (4) Lance Hurdle (5)

The Jam focused on perimeter players last night, as seven of their eight picks are all between 6'1" and 6'7", and only one of the taller guys is a post player (Ramon Dyer, from the seventh round).  The second round feels a little high for Gaines, but he has good size and is athletic, and he was good in college, I suppose.  Goods was a three-year starter at Stanford (and is from California, so he's local) and was a decent three-point shooter there.  Hurdle is athletic, but in college he was a point guard who didn't distribute the ball particularly well.  Bakersfield drafted him mainly for his defense, I think, although the team didn't have any notable point guards allocated to it and the other small guard they drafted, Stephen McDowell (8), averaged less than two assists per 36 minutes in college, so their offense may get stuck at times this season.

Dakota Wizards
Key picks: Curtis Withers (1), Doug Thomas (2), Marcus Dove (3) D'Lancy Carter (4), Rashad Powell (7)

Dakota went the other way from Bakersfield and focused on guys with size, drafting five players 6'7" or taller.  Withers was a first team all-Conference USA and first team all-Atlantic 10 in college.  Coach Rory White compared him to Ben Wallace (hi Scott!) but with better offense (which means any offense, really).  Thomas is another strong rebounder and shot-blocker.  Carter is an athletic center whose rebounding was a bit inconsistent in college, but the talent is there.  I think I mentioned this in the OSLB, but Powell was an all-conference defender in college, and Dove is another strong front-court defender.  Between Withers, Thomas, and returning players David Monds, David Bell, Mo Baker and Renaldo Major, the Wizards should be one of the better-rebounding teams in the D-League.

Erie BayHawks
Key picks: Alade Aminu (trade), Donell Taylor (1), John Bryant (2), Martin Zeno (3), Derrick Mercer (4), Jeff Skemp (6)

The Taylor pick makes a little more sense in light of the Aminu trade, which I also like.  Erie already had three-point shooting with Ivan Harris, and what they really needed was someone in the middle who was actually, you know, supposed to be in the middle.  They got three of those players in Aminu, Bryant and Skemp, and they're different types of players.  Bryant is more polished with a nice touch around the rim, but not particularly athletic or in shape.  Aminu, on the other hand, is almost nothing but athleticism.  He showed some talent in college but also came off the bench most of the time, so it will be the BayHawks' staff's job to mold that talent.  He got both a Summer League and a training camp invite this year, so NBA teams are watching him.  Skemp is a little more athletic than Bryant but similarly polished (polished being a relative term, as this is the D-League after all), as he made 63 percent of his field goals in his senior year of college and was a Division III All-American.  Taylor is a decent perimeter defender with a few years' NBA experience.  Mercer can run the point and shoot three-pointers.  Zeno is a pretty good rebounder for a 6'5" guard.  I wasn't crazy about this draft last night, but looking at it again combined with who they're bringing back, Erie put themselves in good shape (that's not a John Bryant joke).

Fort Wayne Mad Ants
Key picks: Rob Kurz (trade), Frank Tolbert (2), Jamelle Cornley (3), Booker Woodfox (4), AJ Ratliff (8)

The Mad Ants came into the draft needing a point guard and ended up with: a 6'9" three-point shooter (Kurz); a solid-rebounding shooting guard (Tolbert), a scoring swingman (Cornley), another three-point shooter (Woodfox) and a perimeter defender (Ratliff).  In abstraction many of those guys are solid picks, but who's going to pass the ball?  Kurz being around means Chris Hunter can play center full-time and use his mid-range game to flummox defenders who don't do well outside of the post (ahem, Dwayne Jones).  I can only assume they're going to use Kyle McAlarney at point guard, even though he's more of a shooter and his assist numbers in college weren't great.

Idaho Stampede
Key picks: Sundiata Gaines (1), Dar Tucker (2), Delonte Holland (3), Mike Gansey (6), Bryson McKenzie (7)

A lot of what I said last night still applies.  I'm not sure about the Tucker pick in the second round, especially since there were plenty of similarly-athletic-but-more-consistent players available, but Gaines, Holland and Gansey all should fit well into Bob MacKinnon's offense.  TJ Cummings (4) is a D-League vet, but his numbers have pretty steadily declined over the last few years.  Vince Oliver (8) increased his field goal percentage every year at UC-Davis, so that's something.  This may end up as more of a mixed bag than I thought last night.

Iowa Energy
Key picks: Rashad Anderson (1), Pat Carroll (2), Sean Barnette (3), Joah Tucker (5), Russell Hicks (7)

With a very good big man (Anthony Tolliver) and a good point guard (Curtis Stinson) already in the fold, the Energy focused on finding slashers and three-point shooters.  Anderson was their best pick all night (no surprise, since he was their first-rounder) as the leading scorer in the top Italian basketball division last year.  Carroll was a very good three-point shooter in college, and he'll probably get a lot of space to shoot for Iowa between Anderson and Tolliver.  Marcus Walker (8) lead his college conference in per-game scoring while at Colorado State.  Barnette also shot the ball last year, but in France.  Russell Hicks has good size for a center (7'0", 260), but he was an inconsistent rebounder in college.

LA D-Fenders
Key picks: Deron Washington (1), Jeremy Wise (3), Charlie Parker (6), Travis Pinick (8)

I'm not a huge fan of LA's draft.  Washington should be excellent, of course, while Wise is a talented scorer and Parker is solid, but other than that...well, for example Christopher Hayes (4) never shot better than 38 percent in college (not on threes, overall), so I'm not sure that was a great pick in the fourth round.  I haven't seen anything about his defense, but I hope it's good.  Travis Pinick could be interesting, as he was a pretty efficient scorer, and as a Yalie he should be able to pick up the Triangle alright, but overall it seems like there were several instances of better players being available than who the D-Fenders drafted.

Maine Red Claws
Key picks: Paul Harris (1), Darnell Lazare (2), Frank Young (3), Gary Ervin (4), Scooter McFadgon (5)

Harris was being talked up before the draft (yes, including by me), and he's an athletic swingman and talented defender who just needs to figure out the whole scoring thing.  Ervin may have been a slight reach, as teams didn't seem to be falling over themselves to draft D-League vet PGs, but he should be a solid backup for Will Blalock.  Lazare was an overall efficient scorer in Europe last season, though it appears he occasionally got the outside shooting bug even though he's not very good at it.  Young was all-Big East as a senior.  Overall nothing really jumps out at me about Maine's draft, just a collection of solid picks.

Reno Bighorns
Key picks: Desmon Farmer (1), Haminn Quaintance (2), Terry Martin (4)

I feel bad for the teams towards the end of the alphabet, because when I write these sorts of pieces and promise to make them short (see above) they end up not being short, and by the time I get around Reno I'm annoyed that it's not done and I just want to get it over with.  So maybe next time I'll do it in reverse order.  Anyway, Reno picked up some pretty good scorers in Farmer, who got an NBA look last season, Quantance, who's very efficient, and Martin, who's a good perimeter shooter.  They also needed a big man to back up Rod Benson and Cezary Trybanski, and they got one in Ronald Allen (8), I'm just not sure Allen is all that good.

Rio Grande Valley Vipers
Key picks: Antonio Anderson (1), Jonathan Wallace (2), Jamarcus Ellis (3), Kenny Dawkins (5), DeAngelo Alexander (8)

Anderson's a terrific defender, the kind that Houston likes.  Wallace should fill the Vipers' need for a three-point shooter.  Ellis could be a pretty good D-League player, as he was a JuCo All-American and later solid all-around player for Indiana (University).  Keep your eye on point guard Kenny Dawkins, who the Rockets (and Mavericks) worked out this summer, and who was an all-conference player in college.  DeAngelo Alexander has a lot of talent, but he hasn't translated it into much success thus far.

Sioux Falls Skyforce
Key picks: Raymond Sykes (1), Pete Campbell (2), Reggie Williams (3), Leemire Goldwire (4), Lawrence McKenzie (8)

The Skyforce drafted a lot of scoring last night.  Sykes is an extremely athletic power forward who's mostly known for his dunking.  Reggie Williams led the nation in scoring more than once (I think it was twice) playing at VMI, and while he's not all that athletic he's smart, efficient and has figured out how to score creatively.  Campbell, Goldwire and McKenzie were all good three-point shooters in college (and in Bulgaria for Goldwire), and Goldwire has gotten some NBA attention the last few years.  Nate Miles (6) bounced around high schools and was kicked out of UConn, but the talent and scoring ability is there.  Sioux Falls didn't big men, which seems like a lot of trust to be placing in Greg Stiemsma.

Springfield Armor
Key picks: JamesOn Curry (1), Major Wingate (2), James Cripe (3), Craig Austrie (4)

JamesOn Curry is a very good scorer, but he might be better suited to play two-guard rather than run the point.  Wingate and Cripe (3) are both athletic centers ,  but Cripe in particular was a poor rebounder in college.  Craig Austrie was pretty bad offensively at UConn, but he's a decent perimeter defender.  I can't say I'm all that impressed with Springfield's draft.  Prove me wrong, Moltar!

Tulsa 66ers
Key picks
: Latavious Williams (1), Mustafa Shakur (2), Cecil Brown (3), Keena Young (6), Adam McCoy (7)

Williams is the obvious draw here, because he's the first player to go right from high school to the D-League.  Nate Tibbetts is a young coach but already has a pretty good track record when it comes to developing players, and the fact that Oklahoma City is so directly involved with the team means that Williams likely will have more development resources at his disposal than he would playing in, say, Bakersfield.  That said, he's a power forward on a team that returns and also drafted several power forwards.  He likely won't get a ton of playing time, but he'll be working in practice and earning some of that humility that some people think can only be had in Europe.  Shakur helps fill their need for backcourt scoring, and he's a veteran of the European leagues.  Brown was an okay three-point shooter in Europe and in college, and McCoy was an even better one in JuCo and at North Texas.  Young was a fairly efficient scorer at BYU and a pretty good rebounder for his size.  One thing I didn't see the 66ers draft was a point guard, which they kind of need. 

Utah Flash
Key picks: Garrett Siler (1), Orien Greene (2), Kevin Goffney (3), Jason Richards (4), Alain LaRoche (7)

I'm already on record as liking this draft a lot, but at the risk of repeating myself...I like this draft a lot.  They got solid talent and a good balance of skills.  Siler was probably the best center/big man available, and while his conditioning needs to improve he's very skilled around the rim, and several NBA teams took notice of him in Summer League and training camp.  With Siler, Luke Nevill and arguably James Lang (plus Bennet Davis), Utah could have a monster frontcourt this season.  Orien Greene has several years' worth of NBA experience, even if that experience wasn't very good.  The talent should still be there, but even if he falters, Richard was a top-notch assist man in college and should do well in Utah's offense replacing Kevin Kruger.  I really like the late pick of LaRoche, who's an incredibly efficient scorer.  Utah has some wing players who can score, so the fact that Goffney occasionally struggles with that shouldn't be a huge deal, and he's a very good rebounder for his size.

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