Saying Hello to New Teammates, Saying Goodbye to the D-League?

Bill Walker and a few others are unlikely to play in the D-League again.

Scott already has touched on the trade that sent the Milwaukee Bucks/Fort Wayne Mad Ants' Joe Alexander to Chicago, but I was really struck by how many of yesterday's deals involved players that we here at RU are familiar with - Alexander, Joey Dorsey, J.R. Giddens and Bill Walker all got traded at the deadline.  And what's more, they all went to teams with sporadic-to-non-existent records of using the D-League, meaning that we could have seen the last of all of them (they're also all in their second seasons, and not D-League eligible next year).  I thought it would be interesting to look at each player's situation:

Bill Walker - Almost a mirror of J.R. Giddens's development, Walker is shooting slightly worse this season but rebounding better.  He's still a pretty good three-point shooter, at least in the D-League (he hasn't attempted very many for the Celtics).  He's cut his fouls in the NBA almost in half while picking up more rebounds and assists.  Walker is very talented, he just hasn't always been consistent.  This season he has games of six points and nine rebounds and 33 points and one rebound.  With him and Giddens, the Knicks probably don't care at this point whether he develops or not, but he might be able to contribute a little more.

Joey Dorsey - Headed to the Kings as part of "the Kevin Martin trade," with the exception of Kelly Dwyer's, Dorsey has been an afterthought in most of the trade analysis I've read (if "afterthought" means "not mentioned").  It really doesn't have to be that way.  As Dwyer points out, Dorsey can contribute even on a team with as many big men as Sacramento has now.  He was averaging about 15 points, 13 rebounds and 1.4 blocks with the Vipers this season, and done well in some NBA minutes, too.  Dorsey probably didn't need much more development other than free-throw shooting and general consistency; that's good, because aside from sending Donte Greene down for five games last season, the Kings have been the kind of team that picks up a 33-year old Ime Udoka rather than use the D-League.

J.R. Giddens - I usually refer to him as the J.R. Giddens Rebounding Machine because of his fantastic rebounding numbers for a shooting guard.  His rebounding in the D-League actually has gone down a bit this season, but that drop has come with overall better play; his field goal, three-point and free-throw percentages are all up this season, while his fouls and turnovers are down (though admittedly he's only played in a handful of games this season).  He's still not a great jump-shooter but he scores well inside and it will be interesting to see whether his new coach Mike D'Antoni takes advantage of Giddens's unique skill-set.  The Knicks have been much more likely to call guys up than send them down over the last few seasons, so Giddens probably won't have another opportunity to work on his game in the D-League.

Joe Alexander - I feel like Alexander's write up should just be the "wah wah" tuba sting.  Not because he's bad, although he kind of is that, but because going to play in the D-League was probably the best thing for his career this year, and now that's probably gone.  Alexander still has a lot to work on, but his coaches in Fort Wayne are strong teachers and some real progress could've been made by the end of the season.  And he's not entirely without skill - he's a decent rebounder (but yes, still could improve) and had a really nice move against Reno where he cut to the basket and was at the rim before anyone could react.  Chicago has called up Chris Richard this year and had Derrick Byars on their roster (very) early in the season, but other than that the best way to describe their D-League involvement is "indifferent."  Oh wait, Iowa had a "Bulls Night" earlier this season starring Bennie the Bull.  So there's that.  If I was Alexander's agent (and I'm not) I would strongly recommend that he consider playing in the D-League again next season and try to improve his reputation and work his way back into the NBA in 2012.

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