NBA journeyman D.J. Mbenga made D-League headlines last month when it was announced he would be joining the Dallas Mavericks for training camp. Though he'd be vying for reserve minutes, the big man also reportedly agreed to join the Mavs' D-League affiliate, the Texas Legends, should the NBA team ultimately decide to let him loose.
Earlier this week, Dallas did in fact waive Mbenga, but also sent a young promising prospect packing along with him.
Tu Holloway signed with the Mavericks at the end of September, only to be let go by the team only but nearly a week later.
The Long Island, New York native, and former Xavier guard is a young gun with a great deal of potential. Holloway worked out for a number of NBA squads (including hometown favorites like the Knicks and Nets) leading up to June's NBA rookie draft. Despite the hype surrounding him, Holloway ultimately went undrafted.
The guard signed with the Raptors to log some minutes during Summer League in Las Vegas before going on to sign with the Mavs. The decision by Dallas brass to only keep Holloway around for a short period of time could be very telling.
While some teams may prefer to keep young talent aboard through camp to push their veterans, other teams are solely focused on filling roster spots. As Holloway was cut rather quickly, perhaps Dallas didn't believe Holloway had the chops to play at such a competitive level yet. With the guard having gone undrafted, is it possible the majority of NBA teams believe the Xavier alum needs time to develop?
For younger players first coming off strong impressive showings during their college careers, the allure of a more lucrative contract overseas may appeal to them more than any other opportunity. That said, if Holloway is truly dedicated to making it to the NBA as soon as possible, the D-League has often proven to be the best place to showcase your talents worthy of the next level.
Given the guard's past accomplishments (he was named "Player of the Year" in the Atlantic 10 for 2011), he's certainly got enough skills. He's a small floor general who though he likes shooting the long ball, could go a long way if he furthers his court vision. With NBA teams already keeping a close eye on Holloway throughout the draft, summer league, and training camp, the chance to break into The Association may only be a D-League stint away.
If he signs a deal overseas, it may prove difficult to return stateside so soon. Should he lace his sneakers up for an NBADL squad, however, the Xavier guard will be as close to the NBA spotlight as he can possibly be. It'll be interesting to see what's ultimately in store for Holloway as the weeks progress towards the season.