With the start of the NBA regular season all but less than two weeks away, teams are beginning to trim down their rosters, letting loose many roster hopefuls who were invited to training camp.
As the players who didn't make the cut with their respective NBA squads look for their next promising opportunity, the D-League just may have the answer. The NBADL announced Wednesday that they will be holding their draft on Friday, November 2nd.
Though some NBA teams will choose to "protect" the prospects they cut for their own D-League affiliate, those not protected (and also those who did not participate in training camp), have the option of declaring for the D-League draft, where all minor league teams will be ready and able to provide them with a steady place to develop and hopefully, eventually get noticed.
With the draft officially on its way, let's take a look at a few noteworthy prospects who are likely to be thrust into the draft player pool next month.
1) Tony Taylor Jr, point guard out of George Washington University
A young gun with tremendous upside, Taylor Jr., a Sleepy Hollow, New York native, quickly got the attention of some NBA teams this summer after going undrafted. In addition to participating in a group workout during which he was scouted by the Knicks, Nets, and Grizzlies, Taylor Jr.'s hometown squad (the Knickerbockers) also brought him for a couple of private sessions.
A strong guard, the GWU alum is a quick and pestering defender. Though he's been know to shoot well from deep on each corner, Taylor Jr. is also an efficient and savvy floor general. He uses his speed to run the floor, and knows where and how to find his teammates in the rights spots again and again. His maturity level is high, and that certainly attributes to his court vision.
2) Matt Dickey, point guard out of UNC Asheville
Dickey is certainly a guard who likes to shoot the basketball, but undoubtedly has the range necessary to back up such desire. Able to knock down jumpers from all around the gym, Dickey can let it rain from downtown or pull up for a shot worth two points as well. Not afraid to drive through the lane, the guard can also finish at the basket with explosiveness.
On the defensive end, Dickey likes to apply pressure to his opponents, staying on top of them while he chases down a loose ball for a steal. The guard is scheduled to work out for a couple of NBA squads, but also most recently strutted his stuff in front of Bakersfield Jam brass as he looks ahead to the D-League Draft.
3) Phil Jones, forward/center out of UNC Charlotte
Coming off an impressive campaign in Thailand during which he averaged 19.6 points, 11.7 rebounds, and 3.1 blocks, Jones was part of the Timberwolves' training camp roster over the last month. Though he can muscle his way around with his defensive prowess, able to grab rebounds and swat away shot attempts, Jones also has a shooting skill set unique for a player his size.
Jones has an array of offensive moves, including a jumper that extends behind the arc. What's more, the 6'11" big man knows his way around the low-post. He has the skills, and now a stint in the D-League may be just what he needs to further prove he can utilize them in the toughest of competitive stages.
4) Rashad Bishop, shooting guard/small forward out of University of Cincinnati
Though he's not one to dish out flashy passes or throw down skyrocketing slam dunks, Bishop does quite a few of the other things most NBA teams are looking for from a guard in their rotation. A fundamentally sound player, Bishop can sink the long-range jumper and keeps up with opposing players on defense. Spacing is key to his success, as if he's able to keep moving and spread the floor, his teammates are almost certain to find him for an open shot he's capable of knocking down.
Bishop has been very active in trying to get noticed by NBA and NBADL executives over the last few months. In addition to participating in the same group workout as Taylor Jr. that netted him a look from the Knicks, Nets and Grizzlies, the guard also took part in a recent free agent camp held by the Bucks. Looking forward to using the D-League as his newest stage, Bishop worked out in front of Erie BayHawks brass in New York City last month.
5) Kahlil McDonald, combo guard out of Western Kentucky
Perhaps one of the more versatile players out of this bunch, McDonald can do many things on the basketball court. Though in college he was more of a shooting guard, McDonald also shows signs of a slick and savvy floor general. He can run the ball quickly up the floor, and efficiently hit teammates with passes as they gun towards the hoop.
The WKU alum has impressive court vision, and he's a smart player who knows how to implement what's he thinking on the hardwood before an opposing player figures it out. McDonald displayed these same instincts while participating with Bishop in the recent Erie BayHawks workout. The guard (along with Bishop) was among the top standouts of the day.
6) Travis George, power forward, D-League alum
George is the sole player in this bunch with prior NBADL experience. But although he did appear in a couple games with the Austin Toros, most of his success last season came while playing in Thailand. Prepared to enter the D-League Draft next month for another shot in the minors, George is yet another player with a bevy of tools necessary of ultimately reaching The Association.
The forward is a physical player who likes to crash the boards and use his strength to distract opposing players. A skillful shot-blocker, George knows how to use his muscle to overwhelm opponents inside. On the flip side, the D-League alum's good hands also help him on the offensive end. He puts the ball on the floor effectively for a frontline player, only to help him finish for explosive slams and tip-ins inside.