This past weekend, our own Gino Pilato noted that the Austin Toros are poised to rise up as the toast of the D-League town once again. The Spurs' assignment of Cory Joseph to the minor league affiliate will pair him up with former NBADL M.V.P. Justin Dentmon for the second straight season.
With the duo forming one of the league's best backcourts, it's safe to say the Toros look quite strong at the guard positions. With even more depth there as you look across their roster, it makes sense for the squad to play a bit of small-ball. In their first preseason matchup this month, Austin did just that, inserting Kyle Weaver into the starting lineup alongside the formidable pair.
With the Spurs' committed to developing Joseph, and Dentmon's past accomplishments speaking for themselves, a man who has fallen a bit under the radar in Austin is NBA veteran Luther Head.
A six year vet, Head joined the Toros mid-way through last season, after playing with the Kings in 2010-11. The guard was set to play in Israel after signing a deal this past summer, but instead opted out to stay stateside and return to Austin.
Most players with NBA experience are celebrated down in the D-League. A select few even go on to becoming starring attractions, albeit not too long, as they succeed in earning that oh so coveted call-up from a big league team.
But does Head have sufficient enough of an opportunity to try to achieve the same success? With the Toros' relationship with the Spurs as strong as it comes between a minor league team and its parent squad, it's clear San Antonio's objective is developing young talent to eventually help the contender out a bit.
Thus, it would be logical that younger players with more potential upside are favored in such an organization. Helping a player like Joseph (who plays the same position as Head) grow seems likely to be higher on their priority list.
What's more, Head is only less than two years removed from the NBA. Though more relevancy sometimes helps other NBADLers' chances a bit, the hype surrounding an older player attempting to prove there's more left in his basketball tank may also warrant more attention.
What you see from Head always seemed to be what you got. An undersized guard, the Illinois product had the ability to score in bunches and provide his team with a scoring boost, but not much else. A capable defender, Head was never much of a playmaker during his NBA career. Turning 30 years old next week, Head averaged 8.2 points, but only shot 42% from the field through 382 contests in The Association.
With all this mind, will the smaller swingman still have an opportunity to shine in the D-League? Despite scoring 13 points in 20 minutes during the Toros' first preseason game, it may be difficult for Head to consistently make his necessary mark from off the pine. Perhaps his visible ceiling of potential will discourage others from taking another look at him.
After turning down more lucrative deals overseas, it'll be interesting to see if Head can do enough not to be overshadowed in Austin, and catch the eye of an NBA executive or two.