Kelley L Cox-US PRESSWIRE
A couple of NBA prospects have emerged as early offensive stars in the D-League this season. But as he eyes an eventual return to Sacramento, Kings' forward Tyler Honeycutt is using the NBADL to develop other facets of his game.
In the early goings of the D-League season, the likes of NBA rookies Jeremy Lamb (Tulsa 66ers via the Thunder) and Orlando Johnson (Fort Wayne Mad Ants via the Pacers) have not just simply graced the NBADL hardwood, but are also putting forth dominant efforts for their teams' respective affiliates.
Prospects like Lamb and Johnson have realized early success by emerging as scoring leaders, becoming stars on the offensive end as they average well over 20 points per game.
The Kings' Tyler Honeycutt doesn't quite own the same offensive prowess that some of his fellow assignees have put on display thus for. But luckily for the former UCLA stud, he's making strides and finding other ways to turn heads himself.
After playing sparingly in just 15 contests during his rookie campaign last season, Honeycutt's further development was stunted by a series of stress fractures throughout the summer and fall. Unable to gain meaningful experience during Summer League or training camp, Sacramento opted to assign the forward to the Reno Bighorns to start the season.
Whereas players like Lamb and even Scott Machado have been plucked to and from the NBA and NBADL on almost a daily basis thus far, Honeycutt has been in Reno for the long haul. It's been there where he's been able to begin bouncing back from a less than overwhelming year.
Honeycutt is certainly no offensive superstar in the minor leagues. His 53% shooting percentage from the field (entering Monday) is quite deceiving. Though he's been able to pour in the points on occasion (he's thus far had two 17+ point efforts), the sophomore has also been seen falling short on that side of the floor as well. He's struggled shooting the basketball in a couple of games, displaying a non-existent effort just as often.
Consistency will ultimately be what defines success for Honeycutt. That's something he's clearly still in search of when it comes to scoring the basketball. But luckily, he's been consistently doing just about everything else.
At 6'8" and just 188 pounds, it is easy to understand why Honeycutt may not be expected to be that much of a physical player. Ironically enough, however, he knows just how to prove doubters wrong. An effective rebounder, the UCLA product likes to hit the glass and use his lengthy frame to pull down the boards. Whether it be on the offensive or defensive end, Honeycutt finds himself in contention for a rebound after every possession.
A slimmer figure, Honeycutt's extra bit of speed and agility helps him chase down and contain some of the taller and more imposing forwards in the NBADL as well. In addition to averaging 10 boards per contest as of Monday, the Kings' young prospect was also among the league leaders in steals (3.0) and blocks (1.2) per game.
The NBA is a league dominated by a bevy of star talents, now more than ever. As these stars continue to make headlines, it's important teams find other players, who can step in to put forth a gritty effort each and every night, to fill out the roster.
Though when he eventually returns to Sacramento, Honeycutt won't be paired up with the LeBron James' or Kevin Durant's of the league, he'll still come back to town ready to contribute in an array of different ways. Able to do all of the little things with ease, the forward is doing his best to insure he soon fits in well with his NBA squad.