Thursday night probably didn't go as planned for two of the more high-profile players in the NBA Development League as they embarked on the first step of their NBA comeback. Former NBA starters Ricky Davis and Greg Ostertag both played in their first career D-League games, but neither was able to make much of an impact.
Ostertag became the oldest player in the D-League when he joined the Texas Legends earlier in the week and, in a move that wasn't at all surprising, the 38-year-old looked that way when he took the court for the D-League affiliate of the Dallas Mavericks. The longtime center for the Utah Jazz scored just two points in 17 minutes of court time while fouling four times to almost offset the 11 rebounds he hauled in for the losing team.
It's obvious that Ostertag plans to play his way in to shape over the next two weeks leading up to the make-or-break D-League Showcase, but as the picture at left shows, he isn't exactly in shape as of yet. His conditioning was most apparent when getting beat in the paint -- the fouls he picked up came as a result of this -- but there were numerous times when the Legends pushed the ball up court only to find themselves going 4-on-5 as Ostertag lumbered his way back on the offensive end.
Davis, on the other hand, looked in shape as he debuted for his Maine Red Claws. Unfortunately he still needs to shake off some rust, however, as he gets acclimated with his new teammates in the D-League. The veteran scorer who averaged over 20 points per game in the NBA last decade was held to just six points on 3-of-8 shooting in 25 minutes off the bench.
In a surprising turn of events, Davis seemed to be looking for his teammates too often in Thursday night's debut. Known as a scorer throughout his career, Davis had three passing attempts turn into turnovers when it seemed he should have been able to create for himself against the competition. The veteran guard did have four assists, too, but his turnovers weren't necessary as he seemed to be trying too hard to force passes as an attempt to show the NBA his other abilities.
Lucky for both players, they essentially have until Jan. 9 to get in basketball shape and develop some chemistry as that's when representatives from all 30 teams will head to Reno for the annual D-League Showcase.