Two First Team Selections, Blake Ahearn (L) and Courtney Sims pose with the All-Star Game MVP.
Yesterday, we weren't so sure about the D-League's official announcement, so we decided to put our own together. I might be biased, but I think we put comparable (slightly better) teams together. Let us know what you think!
|2008-09 ALL-NBA DEVELOPMENT LEAGUE FIRST TEAM|
|Guard||Dontell Jefferson*||Utah Flash|
|Guard||Blake Ahearn||Dakota Wizards|
|Forward||Marcus Williams||Austin Toros|
|Forward||Josh Davis||Colorado 14ers|
|Center||Courtney Sims*||Iowa Energy|
|2008-09 ALL-NBA DEVELOPMENT LEAGUE SECOND TEAM|
|Guard||Walker Russell||Fort Wayne Mad Ants|
|Guard||Trey Johnson||Bakersfield Jam|
|Forward||James White*||Anaheim Arsenal|
|Forward||Richard Hendrix||Dakota Wizards|
|Center||Chris Hunter||Fort Wayne Mad Ants|
2008-09 ALL-NBA DEVELOPMENT LEAGUE THIRD TEAM
|Guard||Eddie Gill||Colorado 14ers|
|Guard||Dominique Coleman||Colorado 14ers|
|Forward||Ron Howard||Fort Wayne Mad Ants|
|Forward||Renaldo Major||Dakota Wizards|
|Center||Lance Allred||Idaho Stampede|
* = Currently on NBA roster
For the most part, we set these up the way a D-League team would - with one point guard, 2-guard, small forward, power forward and center - the only real position change we made was moving Major to the power forward on the third team, which has been done this season. I can't say any of us really disagreed too much, but Othyus Jeffers was very difficult for me to not include. No one had Will Conroy or Erik Daniels any higher than Honorable Mention - numbers deserving? Yes, but some definite flaws we outlined yesterday.
Continue on for our reasoning, just so there's no doubt!
Dontell Jefferson, PG, Utah- Jefferson is an amazing defender and slasher. Not only that, but he held Utah together as their point guard, even when the Celtics and Jazz were rotating players in and out like crazy. He was recently signed for the season by the Bobcats, showing that his ranking is definitely justified.
Blake Ahearn, SG, Dakota - At this point you know what you're getting from Ahearn - excellent three-point shooting, a league-leading free-throw percentage for a player that gets to the line quite a bit, decent turnover numbers, but fewer assists than you'd like to see. He's also been with the Spurs this season and ended with the Heat last season.
Marcus Williams, SF, Austin - It astounds me he hasn't had a look this season. I don't know what else to say about him. I'll defer to Jon's post about the last Austin game he watched and this post by Tim Varner over at 48 Minutes. He ended last season with the Clippers.
Josh Davis, PF, Colorado - We've been over it, time and time and time again. Just go to his page on SBNation and start reading if you're new here. If not, just know that I love his defense, his toughness and his versatility, among other things.
Courtney Sims, C, Iowa - Sims was named the D-League MVP yesterday, which shows his worth. Here's a link to the MVP post I put up yesterday, which justifies this pick, and then some. He's currently with the Knicks and spent time with the Phoenix Suns earlier in the season.
Walker Russell, Jr., PG, Fort Wayne - As the Nightmare Ant's Boss himself said so eloquently in the comments yesterday: Walker leads the league in assists, set an all time single season assists mark (with two more games to go, no less), and shares the league lead in both double-doubles and triple doubles. Boom. Roasted.
Trey Johnson, SG, Bakersfield - This is the first player that wasn't unanimously voted in, but I think he did what was needed to earn this spot. Johnson's had two call-up's with Cleveland this season, but didn't get any burn. The versatile Johnson has gotten quite a few looks throughout his short career, and I expect he'll get at least one more this season. The 6'6" dude that play's the 2/1/3 is averaging 20.4 points and 4.5 assists, shooting 46% from the field and 42% from beyond the arc.
James White, SF, Anaheim - He really improved his game this year, shooting about 55% on field goals, including and improved 36.8% percent from long-range, making just under 86% of his free throws and improving his defensive play. Now with Houston for the season, he really surprised a lot of people this season. His dunk contest showing didn't hurt.
Richard Hendrix, PF, Dakota - Hendrix is a beast. He's barely 22, he's built like a linebacker, he's smart (graduated in three years at 'Bama), and he was Golden State's second round pick this season. For some reason, however, he just can't get a look! This season, averaging just 31 minutes per game, he's dropping 14.2 points and grabbing 11.5 boards, shooting 56% from the field. He's also been improving on his range, which is random, but a bonus - he's made 7-of-14 from beyond the arc!
Chris Hunter, C, Fort Wayne - He's decent defensively, but he's a handful on the offensive end. He can connect from all over the court, coming in just a hair behind guys like Josh Davis and Blake Ahearn in per-minute scoring and shooting 55.1% while doing it. He also holds onto the ball well, which is key for a big man.
Eddie Gill, PG, Colorado - He's an NBA-caliber player. He's already been through a couple of 10-day's with Milwaukee this season - Gill is the savvy veteran that will be able to be a stop-gap back-up point for a contending team. Gill is averaging 15.1 points and 8.7 assists in 35 D-League games this season. He's also the point guard of one of the D-League's best offense and best team, record wise.
Dominique Coleman, SG, Colorado - Jon L: I know he's one of my guys, but Coleman leads the league in steals per 48 minutes, his 3Pt% is 6th among guards he ranks 12th among guards in assists per 48 minutes as a shooting guard. He also gets a decent amount of blocks. I had a hard time finding a lot of players who do as much as he does as well. The main area he could improve on is his FT% at just .702, but even that figure is still better than Will Conroy's.
Ron Howard, SG, Fort Wayne - Ron is scoring 18.8 points per game (13th best in the league and better than many on the D-League's list), shooting 50% from the field (better than many on that list, as well), and also playing some of the best defense in the D-League. I think an outstanding year for a two guard, and it deserved recognition (he wasn't even Honorable Mention).
Renaldo Major, SF, Dakota - 'Naldo just does a lot of things right. Really, he's an amazing story, coming off of open heart surgery last season. He's the Wizards defensive stopper and is undoubtedly the heart of the team. He comes up clutch when the Wizards need him and has been playing solid defense on the opponent's best player all season long.
Lance Allred, C, Idaho - Allred should be in the NBA this season. He was screwed out of a spot in Cleveland, which made him come back to the D-League. He was then moved to third option on his D-League team after Jermareo Davidson and Coby Karl were assigned to Idaho. Still, he's persevered. He's showing range. He's stepping up as a leader. He's a feel-good story (Still waiting for my copy to review, Lance) I like him.
These are the top 5 guys that just missed the list: Derrick Byars, Bakersfield; Othyus Jeffers, Iowa; Jawad Williams, RGV; Mo Baker, Dakota; Dwayne Jones, Austin.