Photo: Dave Eggen/NBAE/Getty Images
The Portland Trail Blazers have signed former NBA Development League players Raymond Sykes and Dwayne Mitchell as well as Dwight Lewis, a rookie out of Southern Cal, for their training camp roster which opens next week. Joe Freeman, from the Oregonian, also reports that the Blazers have signed Oregon State guard Seth Tarver.
Though the Blazers already have 16 players under contract going into the season, it makes sense that they'd like to be familiar with a few of the younger players on the free agent market just in case the injury big happens to bite again - as it did last year numerous times.
The Development League's new allocation system allows for each D-League team to acquire the rights to 3 players cut from their affiliate's training camp. With the Blazers bringing these guys into camp, assuming that they are cut and interested in playing in the D-League, they will be automatically be assigned to the Idaho Stampede instead of going through the draft/waiver process and potentially ending up on another D-League team.
As far as players invited, it's an eclectic mix and could include one more big man before all is said and done from what I've been able to gather.
Sykes, a 6-foot-9 power forward out of Clemson, played for the D-League's Sioux Falls Skyforce last season where he averaged 10.5 points, 4.7 rebounds and 1.1 blocks per game while as the team's primary backup at both the power forward and center spots behind future NBA call-ups Alexander Johnson and Greg Stiemsma.
The 24-year-old Sykes is primarily known as a finisher (see number four here as well as a decent array of Clemson highlights on youtube), an energy guy and a shot blocker, though his defense occasionally leaves a bit to be desired when he looks to help weakside.
Mitchell, a 6-foot-5 wing from Louisiana-Lafayette, played two seasons in the D-League before heading off to Israel to play last season Hapoel Holon where he averaged 16.1 points while hitting just 8-of-39 from beyond the arc. The 28-year-old was then a late addition to the San Antonio Spurs' Vegas Summer League roster where his defining statistic was the 2.5 steals per game he grabbed - not that Summer League is devoid of sloppy play, but he's typically good for a couple of steals per game when not driving full-bore toward the basket. His signing was first reported by Jorge Sierra of HoopsHype.
Last, but not least, is Dwight Lewis who spent the Vegas Summer League with the Houston Rockets. Lewis, a 6-foot-5 guard, has good size and can get hot from beyond the arc. He was also known for his defensive prowess while at USC, though I vividly remember him getting beat several times for the Rockets' Summer League team. This makes sense, too, as Draft Express wrote last year that "Lewis was a standout defender on a very good defensive team last year, though he will likely run into some trouble at the next level. As we have said before, he is a hard worker and able to cover multiple perimeter positions at the college level."