The NBA D-League has produced some of the more notable, clutch, and popular role players in The Association over the years.
Former Skyforce and 66ers' guard Gary Forbes knows that all too well, as he too experienced NBA success after spending time in the minors. After spending time in the NBADL and overseas, Forbes emerged as a key role player on a playoff contending Denver Nuggets squad in 2010-11. Shooting 45% from the field, the guard averaged 5.2 points off the bench, but was also called upon to start 11 contests.
After using other platforms to prove his worth, Forbes was realizing special success on a team that counted on him to help them make noise in the postseason. He parlayed his success in Denver into another contract with the Toronto Raptors the following season. Trying to find a rhythm during what was a lockout-shortened NBA campaign, Forbes averaged 6.6 points through 48 contests last season.
In true journeyman fashion, despite doing enough to show he could contribute to two NBA squads, Forbes saw his basketball journey take him to yet another big league city. The guard found himself a new place to strut his stuff and caught on with the Houston Rockets for training camp.
Always with a savvy ability to score the basketball, Forbes averaged 7 points off the bench in five preseason games for Houston. That said, he didn't do it in a very efficient rate, only shooting 34% from the field.
Players struggle all the time in preseason play as they aim to shake that offseason rust off. It happens. But after failing to put his best foot forward, Forbes found himself as the odd man out when the Rockets' faced a log-jam at the guard position following the James Harden trade. The Brooklyn, New York native was waived by the team at the end of last month.
After doing enough to prove he has what it takes to be a contributor on an NBA bench, the D-League may not be the best place for the 27 year old to log minutes while he waits things out. Instead, Forbes' agent told HoopsHype that the guard will be taking his talents to China this season.
As players waited for the lockout to end last season, an array of talented veterans ventured out to China to play ball. J.R. Smith, Kenyon Martin, and Aaron Brooks were among those who spent a few months with Chinese squads. As such players learned, the CBA is quite the competitive league.
And to make sure it maintains that competitive edge, the CBA pays for more talented players. NBA players who head to play in China often cash in on more lucrative contracts than they normally would playing elsewhere overseas.
Instead of waiting things out and hoping for an NBA to catch on to his skills, Forbes will join former NBA players like Al Thornton and Peter John Ramos on the Zhejiang Guangsha Lions.
But alas, NBA fans may not have seen the last of the NBADL alum this season. He'll be returning to the states come February (when his season ends), and can only hope a big league squad will be in need of a little late season boost to their bench.
Returning from a stint in the competitive CBA, Forbes will undoubtedly be well-seasoned and ready to provide such an injection of extra energy if necessary.