The NBA Development League is going to see plenty of changes over the next five days as their parent clubs open up training camp for the first time ever in the middle of the minor league's season, but we have all week to talk about that. Instead, it seems like as good of time as any to look back on the first two weeks of D-League basketball on this beautiful, blizzardy Monday morning.
The biggest development of the weekend probably has to do with the Maine Red Claws. The team picked up its first victory in four tries as they defeated the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, 99-91, while holding Cameron Jones to just six points and three turnovers. Kenny Hayes led the Claws with 32 points in the victory while Corey Allmond led the Mad Ants with 26 points in defeat.
The Red Claws did suffer a loss on Sunday, though, it just didn't register in the loss column. Dave Leitao's team lost J.R. Reynolds, the point he also coached while at the helm of the Virginia Cavaliers, to an overseas job. Reynolds scored 25 points in the Red Claws season opener, but the veteran guard will play the remainder of the season with BCM Gravelines in France.
Before we get to the rest of today's stories, we're still taking submissions for our next D-League player blogger (Click here for details).
Another big story that came out over the weekend was that Brian Butch has accepted a training camp invitation from the New Orleans Hornets. It was a formality that the 7-footer would be in training camp somewhere, but the big man didn't follow up on that news with a good showing during Sunday's game as he made just one of his 10 field goal attempts in a 23-point loss to the Rio Grande Valley Vipers.
Speaking of Butch, there were numerous players that didn't play quite as impressively this weekend as they had over their first few games of the season. For the most part that won't be a problem, but considering not everyone had a training camp invite locked up, every last game before Friday will be scrutinized as players attempt to move one step closer to the NBA.
And now for some other interesting stories from the weekend:
"A lot of people might think, you know, five years in the D-League? But I'm excited. I'm excited to be playing basketball," Squeaky says.
Q: What is the top objective of a coach in the D-League? Is it winning games, developing players or something else?
Coach Mo: Well, I think in the D-League there is no No. 1 objective because there are so many difficulties in coaching. No. 1, you want to win games. No. 2, you want to get your players better and prepared for the next level and teach them the right way to play. No. 3, a lot of guys aren't happy to be here because they'd rather be overseas making money or playing in the NBA, so that creates some difficulties.
There's no telling when that will happen again as the Sioux Falls roster could lose 4-5 players this week with NBA training camps set to open next Friday. Media reports indicate NBA teams can contact free agents beginning Monday.
"We're going to have to make some moves - I really don't know," McHone said. "The (available player) pool is so bad, the pool is so weak that if we lose four guys and I have to go to the pool to get four guys - I just don't know what we're going to do."
At 5'6, and considerably one of the smallest in stature amongst players in both the NBA and the NBA D-League, Hill proves that it's not the size of the player, but rather what that player does when they have a ball in their hand. On a basketball court, Hill has been known to be a force to reckon with. With his David vs. Goliath approach, he uses mental prowess mixed with elite basketball skills, to bring down any opponent for victorious results.