Good morning, RU crew. I'm covering for Jon L today, so if this night in review isn't as filled with Simpson's references as usual, deal with it. I'm also just highlighting individual players because, after a look at our viewership, most people don't care if Fort Wayne fell behind 22-6 and never recovered.
Reno Bighorns 109, Bakersfield 88
- Desmon Farmer is good at basketball. Ridiculously good. Also, he has some upside. Before we look at what he did yesterday, let's look at what he's done in the past. The 28 year-old off-guard has played in the NBA in parts of two different seasons (most recently with the San Antonio Spurs last year). When he's not in the NBA, however, Farmer's playing (mostly) in the D-League, totaling 118 games over the past four seasons. This season, Farmer's averaging 26 points per game, the fourth highest in the D-League. His scoring, however, isn't what the NBA is looking for, which is why yesterday's game was probably great for his call-up outlook.
- Farmer's shot wasn't falling (7-of-17 from the field), so he took on the ball-handling duties because regular point guard Russell Robinson's shot was falling (we'll get to that later). Primarily handling the rock, Farmer finished with 20 points, 11 boards and 10 assists, the first triple-double in the D-League this season, while turning the ball over just twice and only going to his left. Yo, NBA (except Donnie Walsh because we're fighting), call this man up!
- Rod Benson picked up a DNP because, according to the announcers, he's got some food poisoning issues. Hopefully he didn't contract swine flu. Update: He apparently does not have swine flu.
- Russell Robinson, who nearly, inexplicably, made the Cleveland Cavaliers roster this season, has developed a jump shot - or at least a spot where he can hit jumper's from. The 6-foot guard from Kansas spotted up in the exact same spot for, I think, all but one of his five 3-pointer's. R-Squared (sweet nickname, no?) led the team with 21 points and also dished five assists, but his five turnovers probably cancelled that out.
- Apparently this is the week that the Milwaukee Bucks don't look ridiculous for deciding Marcus Hubbard and Mark Tyndale deserved camp invites. Tyndale exploded for 31 Saturday and yesterday marked Hubbard's coming out party, picking up 19 points and 18 rebounds. As soon as I find a position for him and don't have to worry about why he's been cut or traded by two separate D-League teams, I'm ready to sing his praises a bit more.
- Bakersfield is a point guard, a decent big man, and a couple of perimeter players away from competing. Seriously. They're bad.
Sioux Falls Skyforce 110, Fort Wayne Mad Ants 100 (Link includes "Highlights")
- Reggie Williams was a late scratch, due to food poisoning. Williams leads the Skyforce with 26.4 points per game, including 27 in a nine point loss the previous night. Fort Wayne play-by-play man Bill Hazen said Williams would probably be healthy by Tuesday, so our Wednesday call-up rankings shouldn't be affected by the groin of Williams.
- Joe Krabbenhoft took Williams' spot in the starting lineup and, surprisingly, picked up exactly where Williams left off the night before, scoring 28 to go along with eight boards and four assists. The 6'7" forward isn't quite the scorer Williams is, but he did work on Ryan Ayers, torching him on his way to the basket for a decent amount of his points.
- If you combined Raymond Sykes and Greg Stiemsma, you'd have the ugliest player in the D-League an amazing defensive, rebounding big man with almost no offensive skill. Actually, even separate, that's what they amount to - if Stiemsma could work on his offense just enough to hit the gimme's, he'd be NBA bound with his size. Sykes, while more raw than Stiemsma, brings a huge amount of energy and athleticism, which is fun to watch, if not good for anything else.
- Remember when Rob Kurz used to be a good shooter? Well, he shot 0-for-7 yesterday, which isn't really what I was hoping to see. The former NBA big man was averaging 16 and 12 through five games, including shooting a ridiculous 56% from beyond the arc, but the 6'9" stretch big just didn't have it on the offensive end. He did pick up 12 boards and two blocks, but Fort Wayne really could've used his offense.
- Ron Howard should never settle for a jump shot. Howard finished with 32 points, including 14 off drives to the hoop and another 15 from the charity stripe. That's 29 of his points off non-jumpers. Howard, who is one of the better perimeter defenders in the D-League, needs to stick to driving to the lane and playing hard-nosed defense if he wants his first call-up, after coming close the past two summers. Jumper's are never going to be his calling card.
- Kyle McAlarney is white. Actually, between Fort Wayne and Sioux Falls, I'm sure this game led the league in white dudes on the court at the same time (seven players and three of the four coaches, if you're keeping track). I bring this up not because I love white people, but because Kyle McAlarney was recently featured on ESPN's Outside the Lines for being white, and we've never linked to it previously. Anyway, back to the subject at hand: McAlarney shot 7-of-10 from the field, scored 17 points and didn't excel on defense.
- Indiana alum Rod Wilmont is a catalyst. Of all Fort Wayne's players, he seems to be the only one that wants to do something with the ball when he gets it. That doesn't mean good things always happen (6-of-15 from the field), but at least he's trying. Wilmont finished with 20 points.
- I hate to compare Joey Meyer to Jaren Jackson (and I'm guessing President Potter won't like it either), but both, for whatever reason, seem to have an affinity for jerking Sean Sonderleiter's minutes around. Whatever Anthony Kent does in practice to prove he deserves more playing time doesn't translate to the games, and yesterday was no different. Kent started, had four fouls, three turnovers and two points in 25 minutes. Sonderleiter got 13 minutes off the bench and finished with six points and seven boards.
Los Angeles D-Fenders 123, Idaho Stampede 112
- Gabe Pruitt is probably call-up worthy. The second round pick of the Boston Celtics in 2007 looked great in the D-Fender's offense, making eight of his 11 attempts from the field and shooting 10-of-15 from the line to finish with 26 points. He filled out the rest of the box score nicely as well, grabbing nine boards and adding six assists and three steals during his 44 minutes of court time.
- Diamon Simpson gives me the Lou Amundson vibe. I'm not sure if that's good, bad or ugly, but that's what I'm going with. Simpson finished with 17 points, eight boards, three blocks and a steal, filling the box score sufficiently. He's only 6'7", but in the D-League they have him playing a bit at the 5, which probably isn't going to be ideal for him in the NBA (unless he's guarding Chuck Hayes). On both of his offensive boards, he went back up strong and got to the line (though once he got to the line, he hit just 7-for-12). In both games I've watched of Simpson, I've been impressed, so kudos.
- Ryan Forehan-Kelly had 21 and Dar Tucker had 20, but neither does enough things well to really impress me. I apologize to each of their respective fan bases.
- Anthony Tolliver has got to be the next person to get a call-up (Note: If the NBA keeps going the Jonathan Bender route, replace AT with Chocolate Thunder Darryl Dawkins). The 6'9" Tolliver continued to be a sniper, hitting 6-of-10 from beyond the arc to finish with 28 points on the day. He picked up seven boards as well, but that was kind of negated by his five turnovers (which are more a result of the Idaho offense than anything). He can play inside and outside on offense, does the little things on defense and generally seems to care - which isn't, unfortunately, a given in the D-League.
- Sundiata Gaines, I have no idea what to do with you. Another day, another 25 points off the bench in just 29 minutes. I really want to believe that he can make this translate to the NBA, but it just seems so unlikely. In the D-League, he gets to the basket so easily, gets fouled, gets to the line, rinse, wash and repeat. He also dished out seven assists, but his five turnovers and eight missed free-throw's probably nullify the assists. Regardless, the NBA's not looking for starters, it's looking for guys that can come in and play off the bench, and he's doing exactly that.
- Cedric Simmons is becoming polished. He actually looks more NBA ready now than he did when he was in the NBA. Showed off a nice hook shot at one point, and the rest of his 15 points didn't come all that difficult either. His defense was on point as well, but I kind of expected that when matching up against Michael Fey, Boo Jackson and Diamon Simpson.
Maine Red Claws 87, Tulsa 66ers 82
Full disclosure, I only watched about three minutes of this game due to no live stats and something crazy going on with the audio. And there's no recap and nobody really stood out that I enjoy talking about (sorry, Mustafa), so we'll make this one quick.
- This game featured Byron Mullens, Alexis Ajinca, Steven Hill and DeVon Hardin. That's roughly 28 feet of untapped potential.
- Mario West didn't play. I don't know why. There should be a box score that says DNP-SOMETHING rather than that he just played 0 minutes. I assume he's good enough to play in front of Mike Williams.
- Tony Bobbitt was ejected. In my secret over/under's for everything D-League related, I had Bobbitt going crazy in his fifth game, but he lasted until his 6th. Good job to all of you who took the over.
- The Red Claws arena(?) looks nice and cozy. And has big windows that defeat the dimming of the lights during starting line-ups.
- Fine. Mustafa Shakur had 21 points, seven assists, six steals, four rebounds, four fouls, four turnovers and a blocked shot. I still don't think he's a point guard.
- If you're looking for more, check out JFoss's recap.