Kurt Looby has been under the radar for the majority of the season here at Ridiculous Upside. Walker Russell hasn't been given the love he deserves from myself (though Jon L and Ben Renz both love him). Both players have proven that they deserve a lot more credit than what I've given them after monster games yesterday.
Looby, the 6'10" rookie out of Iowa, wasn't projected to be an impressive player out of Iowa. In fact, in December he played 12 games and averaged 2.7 points, 3.8 boards and just over a block per game. Last month, he averaged 9.5 points, 12.7 boards and 3.3 blocks per game. Last night though, he had the most impressive triple-double that one can have: 14 points, 22 boards and 11 freakin' blocks. This guy deserves a Summer League look.
Russell has struggled from the field, but wow, has he dished assists this season. Last night, he had 15 assists in the game, but that's not what impressed me - he's had six games with more than that this season. Russell now has 491 assists, breaking Randy Livingston's record of 488 two seasons ago. This is impressive.
Continue on for some bullets!
First, a couple quick bullets:
- Duane Rankin put together a pretty good story on salary in the D-League. Lots of good perspectives, but they do have options overseas. I know, I'm very pro-D-League, but this is getting old. Knowing that the majority of these players could get paid much more than they do in the D-League but without the constant NBA looks, they obviously want to play in the D-League. I don't think the salaries will change until more players go overseas for the money. Fortunately, for most, it's not all about the money. As the late great Biggie Smalls once said - Mo' money, mo' problems.
- Dime Magazine has an interesting hope that the D-League could become more minor league baseball-ish, including expansion of the rosters toward the end of the season. I didn't agree with it, so I asked Jon what he thought:
Expanding the rosters seems like a decent idea, except (to steal from that 48 minutes piece) you still have coaches who'd think Jacque Vaughn should get playing time over whomever comes up from the D-League. Having the NBA teams take players solely from their affiliates is the ideal situation, but at this point in the way that system works I'm not sure it makes sense yet. There's also an uneven talent distribution, so teams like Austin or Colorado who each have at least four guys who could conceivably play in the NBA, see only one or two of them get called up, and teams like Tulsa who don't really have anyone outside of the players who get sent down from the NBA anyway.