The 2011 NBA Playoffs, particularly the Chicago Bulls vs. Miami Heat in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals (Thanks, Reggie Miller!), have been exciting enough to all but leave any sort of D-League news in the dust. However, your loyal blogmaster is still able to still keep things interesting this evening as C.J. Watson is a former NBA Development League call-up and doing cool things in the Playoffs!
Watson, after a rookie year that was split between playing in Italy and Greece following a solid four-year career with the Tennessee Volunteers, was selected with the fifth pick in the 2007 NBA D-League Draft by the Rio Grande Valley Vipers (after such NBA luminaries as Eddie Gill and Darvin Ham).
With the Vipers, Watson averaged an impressive 26.3 points, 5.8 assists and 5.4 rebounds while shooting 40 percent from beyond the arc and just barely missing the 50-40-90 club by making only 89 percent of his free-throw attempts. After just 16 games in the D-League, Watson was called up by the Golden State Warriors and the rest -- as they say -- is history.
Fast forward three years and Watson's in the Bulls playoff rotation, albeit at the end of it, and doing big things like assisting on the biggest dunk of the NBA Playoffs when he dished it to Taj Gibson for this posterization of Dwyane Wade:
Watson's box score impact otherwise wasn't anything amazing as he finished with just three points (via a dagger three-pointer) and five assists in the Bulls 103-82 victory in Game 1 at the United Center, but it was enough to make your's truly to remember to link this video from a couple of weeks ago:
Pretty inspiring stuff, eh? D-League hooah!