NBA Development League Call-Up Rankings Version 7.0

I don't care if this is the fifth time I've used it - I'm using this picture until he gets called up.

Yesterday I teased in my random story about me playing video games that I'd attempt to put a face to players in the D-League that you're eventually going to want to know about.   The first step in that process, though, is keeping you familiar with a group of players you should already know about.

So, without further adieu, I bring you the seventh version of the General D-League Bloggers Of The World's Randy Livingston Memorial On The Edge Call-Up Rankings Presented By The Fizz Cup (I'm still looking for a sponsor)!

 

Randy Livingston Memorial "On The Edge" Call-Up Rankings

 Player w/ link

to season stats


Jon L

(RU)


Matt Moore

(HP)


Scott Schroeder

(RU)


Steve Weinman

(D-League Digest)

Composite

Rankings

Mike Harris 1 1 2 1 1
Morris Almond 4 5 4 2 2 (tie)
Alexander Johnson 2 7 1 5 2 (tie)
Will Conroy 3 3 3 9 4
Dwayne Jones 5 6 5 4 5
Rod Benson 6 8 6 6 6
Cartier Martin 9 NR 9 3 7
Antonio Anderson NR 2 10 10 8
Cedric Jackson 7 9 NR 7 9
Trey Johnson 8 10 7 NR 10

1. Mike Harris, Rio Grande Valley Vipers (27.1 ppg, 10.5 rpg, 58% FG) - It shouldn't come as a surprise that Mike Harris is once again at the top of the list - he's simply been dominant during D-League play - 36 points on 14-of-19 shooting and 17 rebounds against the Reno Bighorns in his most recent game.  I ranked him second not because he's the second best player in the D-League or because I'm a rebel and didn't want to be like everyone else, but because I think NBA teams still aren't sure how to use a 6-foot-6, 235 pound comboish-forward.  My advice: Just put him on the court and let him be 'D-League scrappy.' You won't be mad.

2. (tie) Morris Almond, Maine Red Claws (24.7 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 51% FG, 42% 3pt) - I attended his game last night, hoping to be astounded after I found out that in his first seven games in March, Almond was averaging 23.6 points and 6.3 rebounds while shooting 58% from the field and 51% from 3-point land. Wow.  Unfortunately, he matched-up against former D-League defensive player of the year Renaldo Major, which led to a sub-par game from Almond.  Almond shot well enough (5-of-11 FG's, 1-for-3 3's, 5-of-8 FT's for 16 points), but he turned the ball over five times and looked completely out of sync.  He also didn't look great on defense, but that's never been a strong point and, ultimately, what's keeping him out of the NBA right now.  Still, I refuse to base his call-up status on one game, and the numbers really tell a great story.  As much as the preceding paragraph makes it seem as though he's undeserving of this spot in the rankings, he definitely is - teams can always use a scorer off the bench.

2. (tie) Alexander Johnson, Sioux Falls Skyforce (22.6 ppg, 11.2 rpg, 56% FG) - Everything I think you need to know about Johnson can be read here.  Considering his recent tryout with the Milwaukee Bucks (they still haven't made a decision yet), I think he's fairly close to getting an NBA call-up - whether it's with the Bucks or another team, though, is still up in the air.  The one thing I'd like to hammer home is that the majority of his production in the D-League is while off the bench (he's started just seven of his 19 games) - this, to me, is really what gives him a leg up.  He's going to have to come off the bench in the NBA, so knowing that he's capable of doing so well off the bench in the D-League is quite promising.  

4. Will Conroy, Rio Grande Valley Vipers (15.4 ppg, 10.4 apg, 6.1 rpg, 52% FG, 40% 3pt) - I'd be interested to find out why Weinman ranked him as low as he did (9th compared to everyone else ranking him 3rd), but that's probably a story for another day.  For now, I'll just point out that he's the point guard on the best offense ever in the D-League and, well, look at his averages.  What else do you want out of the guy?

5. Dwayne Jones, Austin Toros (17.2 ppg, 16.0 rpg, 1.8 bpg, 61% FG) - I've written about Jones so much this season that I really don't know what to say about him anymore.  Weinman, who ranked Jones highest, says it was "more out of respect for his bonkers D-League production than anything else. Still not sure I totally understand why he hasn't gotten a shot this year."  I'm not sure why he hasn't received a call-up either, but I have my guesses.  What it comes out to is that Jones is a rebounding specialist who isn't going to hurt you on defense, but can't score on offense.  And yes, I realize that his 17+ points on 61% shooting probably makes me sound like a fool saying that.  You have to watch him to actually understand what I'm saying.

6. Rod Benson, Reno Bighorns (14.1 ppg, 9.5 rpg, 52% FG, 2.0 bpg, 1.4 spg) - In Benson's last game, he had 21 points, 14 rebounds and seven blocks.  Notice all three of those are multiples of seven. Lucky number seven!  Three 7's!  It's all coming together baby.  Anything is possible.  

7. Cartier Martin, Iowa Energy (16.5 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 46% FG, 44% 3pt) - Really, I should have let Weinman do this write up since he was highest on Martin.  Honestly, though, everyone but Weinman is probably underrating him.  Consider as great as he is on defense (he's great) and as well as he sometimes scores and you have yourself a pretty good call-up.  Unfortunately, he's not been very consistent on the offensive end - his point totals this month are 14, 37, 7, 19, 17, 26 and 12.  Regardless, he puts forth a lot of effort and is known around the NBA (called up last season to Charlotte, this season to Golden State), meaning he's probably on the short list for a few teams if they need a wing from the D-League.

8. Antonio Anderson, Rio Grande Valley Vipers (15.0 ppg, 5.9 assists, 4.0 rpg, 47% FG, 25% 3pt) - Matt Moore really loves him - "Time with the Thunder? Check. Youth? Check. Athletic? Check. Don't be a stranger, y'all. Good enough for RGV is good enough for a call-up."  I mean, that's true and all, but young athletes aren't exactly a rarity.  He's the third best player on his D-League team, and even though it's an awesome D-League team, I don't think he's better than Martin, whom I ranked ninth.  Anderson is a very good defender, but is just as inconsistent as Martin on offense and without the range.

9. Cedric Jackson, Erie BayHawks (16.0 ppg, 7.5 apg, 5.2 rpg, 42% FG, 28% 3pt, 2.1 spg) - I didn't rank Jackson this week, even though he just came off of a 10-day with the Spurs, has already played 20 days with the Cavaliers and had 22 points and 11 assists in his last game after not even being at the arena to start the first quarter.  Maybe I'm crazy, maybe I'm blind, but I just don't consider him one of the 10 mist likely players to be called up this week.  He's excellent on defense, but he's not a pass-first point guard and he's not a shooter.  Seemingly, one of those things would have to change/improve for him to get a call-up, but it hasn't hurt him yet.  So this isn't all negative, I will not that he's one of the better defenders from the point guard spot, he's young, he's hungry and he does drive to the basket very strong.

10. Trey Johnson, Bakersfield Jam (19.4 ppg, 7.9 apg, 46% FG) -  At 6-foot-6, with his ability to score and distribute, there's an NBA job somewhere out there for him - especially since he didn't look terrible in his two opportunities with the Cleveland Cavaliers last season.  As DraftExpress notes, he also looked good in Vegas for the D-League Select team, which can't hurt being as it was in front of every NBA team against (mostly) NBA-caliber players.  He's shooting terribly from beyond the arc, however, which is one thing he'll need to improve on if he hopes to get a call-up this season.

To round it out (i.e. tell you guys that were ranked individually, but not collectively):

  • Moore ranked Alade Aminu as his fourth best prospect with his explanation being "Aminu has upside and will provide info on his brother for the draft. Throw in a great frame and you've got a good call-up prospect."  Well, I guess if he'll tell you everything you need to know about his brother, why not call him up?  I'd say because he's not ready and there are players that have worked harder longer, but to each his own.
  • Jon L ranked Donell Taylor at the 10 spot.  Taylor's a former NBA player and is averaging 20.9 points, 6.5 rebounds and four assists per game for the Idaho Stampede, so Jon L is justified, I just like other players.
  • Speaking of other players I like... myself and Weinman ranked Rob Kurz eighth, but nobody else ranked him, which made me one of these.  Why is this sad?  Because Kurz is averaged freakin' 17.1 points, 9.9 rebounds and 1.4 blocks while shooting 50% from the field and 43% from beyond the arc.  I made my case for Kurz, in long form, here.
  • Marcus Williams is probably going to be near the top of the list next week.  Have to see him play in at least one game before we rank him though, which explains his absence.

As always, I'd like to point out that since I (Scott Schroeder) compile the rankings, I also get to defend my thoughts while the rest of the panel is kind of left out to dry.  With that in mind, I may be wrong, but I doubt it.

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