Many players use the D-League to help them prove they have the multiple tools necessary to make it as an NBA athlete. With so many otherwise proven stars in The Association, an aspiring player often takes advantage of of the minor league to show he's capable of doing all of the little and gritty things that complement a team nicely.
Being willing and able to do all of the dirty work is often a big selling point when it comes to proving one can contribute something to an NBA squad.
But for others, an opportunity in the NBADL is sometimes about displaying pure and utter dominance. And that's exactly what three-year NBA veteran Chris Douglas-Roberts began to do on Monday evening.
It makes sense for aspiring players to use the D-League as a stage to simply strut their stuff. If they're able to accomplish certain things on the minor league hardwood, there's a chance they could do more of the same in the NBA. All they look for is a chance to prove it somewhere.
Douglas-Roberts' situation is rather different, however. Already with a taste of that big league life, the guard's strategy should be instead to completely dominate his competition, further proving he doesn't belong in the minors for very long.
"Domination" is perhaps a conservative way of summarizing CDR's impressive efforts in his first preseason game on November 19th. Donning a Texas Legends uniform (NBA affiliate of the Mavericks), the guard man-handled and manipulated the opposing Santa Cruz Warriors' defense.
And wouldn't you know it, Douglas-Roberts did so by displaying an array of the same skills that made him a solid NBA role-player and spot-starter. In the video below (with highlights from his spectacular debut), the guard can be seen doing what he does best on the basketball court. A true slasher, CDR attacked the basket and drove to the hole again and again with ease. He moved well without the ball, spreading the floor and getting easy shots. What's more, the guard also drew a bevy of double-teams, but was able to kick the ball out to his teammates too.
He finished with an astonishing 49 points, and also added 8 assists and 7 rebounds. Despite his performance, the Warriors still came away with a triple-overtime victory.
Just how long will Douglas-Roberts be in the D-League? Only time will tell, but the longer an NBA team fails to pick up on his proven big league abilities, the worse off they'll be for sleeping on him.
With his near triple-double, the three-year veteran is in good company. A more notable NBA-worthy player to actually achieve a triple-double of his own was, who else, but Jeremy Lin. The point guard scored 28 points, grabbed 12 rebounds, and dished out 11 assists in a January 20th Erie BayHawks victory, before getting called back up by the Knicks and becoming a national phenomenon.
So should the NBA nation strap themselves in for CDR-sanity? Perhaps not, but it's clear Douglas-Roberts deserves a second look sooner than later. Able to score in bunches, the guard can do so in various ways and help a team off the bench. Only 25 years old, the skillful player hasn't even begun to hit his prime yet.
With a combination of proven skill and upside for what's to come, it's only a matter of time before a team comes calling to cash in on some of Douglas-Roberts' untapped potential as a contributor to an NBA ball-club.