Bakersfield Jam 102, Albuquerque Thunderbirds 97 (Box Score)
- I'm going to start this off by saying that I don't give enough love to Brian Butch. When he was here in Bismarck, he played very well for about 15 minutes, but didn't impress me in the rest of his time on the floor. The only other chance I've had to see him live, at the D-League Showcase, he had a 30 point game and a 10 point game. It's tough to sing a guy's praises when when he's been so inconsistent everytime I've watched him in real life. That said, he had 30 points and 24 rebounds last night while shooting 10-of-20 from the floor and 3-of-5 from beyond the arc. He missed six of his 13 attempts at the free-throw line, but just the fact that he was able to get to the line more than he's ever been is definitely progress. At least part of his success in this game can be attributed to the match-up (Kurt Looby's a good defender, but he's not able to defend on the perimeter), but if Butch could consistently put it all together like he did last night, he'll make himself some money - NBA money if the defense comes along with it.
- I don't think I've professed this to you, but I think my favorite under-the-radar player in the D-League is Will Daniels. He's probably not on track to be in the NBA next season, but his talent is intriguing - plus I always love the players that suffer from not having a true position (think Mike Harris, add the ability to put the ball on the floor, but take away the other bells and whistles). He's not great on defense and his 3-point shot release is crazily inefficient, but he flat out knows how to score. I think it's because he's deceptively quick, but he beats his defender with regularity and finishes well at the rack. Anyway, in less than 20 minutes off the bench last night, Daniels had 24 points.
- Jeremy Wise didn't have a great night from the field (4-of-12), but he finished with 13 points and eight assists while turning the ball over just once. D-League Digest compared him to a more athletic Brandon Jennings but without the jumpshot, which I think is a bit too much, but I do like him if he's able to mature and be put in the right situation.
- I miss Blake Ahearn. I'm not sure who the guy is that shot 1-of-10 from the field last night was, but it didn't seem like it was the Ahearn I've come to know and love. He did have 12 assists, which is always nice, but if he's going to make it back to the NBA, he's going to have to bring the assists AND the buckets to make up for his other deficiencies.
- According to Albuquerque's Carlos Powell's Twitter account, he played his last game in the D-League last night and is likely heading to China. While that's unfortunate, he probably did everything he could in the D-League (consistent, fill the box score, be good at basketball) and hadn't received a call-up yet and when that happens, take the money and run. He did go out in style, though, scoring 18 points, grabbing 11 boards and dishing eight assists. I recorded myself singing a song for him.
- Keith McLeod is back. Actually, it looks like he's played three games this month, but I hadn't watched them and therefore they didn't exist. Anyway, last night he had 21 points, 13 assists and five turnovers. As of now, I'm going to attribute his turnovers to a bit of what we in the business call ring rust - He's turned the ball over 17 times in three since returning from what basically amounted to a nearly two month hiatus due to injury, but before that was averaging right around two per game.
- Chad Toppert and Shane Edwards are potentially two of the more likable players to watch in the D-League - Toppert a white kid with a 3-point stroke (this isn't meant to be racist, so I apologize if it is) and Edwards a long athletic leaper that likes to throw it down. Both will see more playing time with Powell gone.
Iowa Energy 120, Reno Bighorns 116 (Box Score)
- I didn't watch this game, so let's make it quick:
- Curtis Stinson is really good at throwing alley-oops.
- Iowa is really good at winning.
Rod Benson had 19 points and 17 boards in 30 minutes of action but didn't make it in the highlights, which happens quite a bit, unfortunately. I don't like to bring up conspiracy theories, but if I were into that sort of thing, I'd challenge you to find a more marketable player in any league that gets as little promotion as Benson does. I'm a bit of a Benson homer, true, but it's dumbfounding how well the league ignores him. Even in his last big home game that I recapped, he went unmentioned in the highlights. Couple that with not naming his as a replacement for the D-League all-star game and I think I have a legitimate gripe. [Editor's Note: This may or may not have been brought to you due to the fact that Jon L has recently decided that I don't give Benson enough credit.]
- This is the first Desmon Farmer game I've been in charge of recapping since he all but threatened to beat me up. That said, I'll not comment anything on his game except to let you know the facts: he shot 6-of-18 from the field and had eight turnovers on his way to 20 points. He also made it into a lot of highlights. While we're on the issue of no respect, I'd like to point out that this D-League montage spells his name wrong multiple times and the most recent D-League.com Prospect Watch doesn't include Farmer. Thank gosh myself and Farmer squashed our beef (notice I ranked him on our latest call-up list) because it seems he now has bigger fish to fry. :-)