Open tryouts are taking place and will continue to in the coming weeks for NBA D-League teams across the country. Coaches and personnel for these teams will put hopeful hoopsters from varied backgrounds through a series of conditioning drills and tests, as well as simulated games, to determine if any of the attendees have what it takes to play at the D-League level.
The ultimate goal for coaches is to find that special player, a diamond in the rough. A player who may have slipped through the cracks, or perhaps a physical presence that has tremendous upside and is in need of some coaching assistance to help him reach it.
When 7'5" Will Foster appeared at an open tryout for the Idaho Stampede, the team must have figured Foster had the potential to be a nice piece for their roster. Maybe they let the big man develop his game while helping out the team. Ultimately, the experiment did not work, but you can't blame the Stampede for giving him a shot.
When the relocated Santa Cruzhold their open tryouts (Oct.7 and Oct. 14), they will be searching for undiscovered talent in arguably one of the nation's best basketball communities. The Bay Area will be the backdrop as the team looks to find local talent to add to their roster for the upcoming inaugural season. The Warriors are pinning their hopes of finding a player like the reigning "Defensive Player of the Year," Stefhon Hannah. Hannah, a noted open tryout discovery, is the type of skill player that can be found. Take the jump to find out the science behind finding a diamond in the rough like the aforementioned Hannah.
Coaches look to test open tryout attendees' physical fitness immediately, as they can use it as a measurement of how serious the players are about playing professional basketball at this level. Having the proper fitness level is huge. If players that are competing at an open tryout had the talent and skills to possibly play in the NBA, they likely wouldn't have to be working out at a D-League open tryout. Thus, having excellent fitness is a must for any player looking to play in the D-League alongside future and past NBA players.
The little things matter. Passing, and being able to pick up on set plays quickly can boost the likelihood of a player making it on a D-League roster out of an open tryout. "Glue guys" are often a label given to players that possess these skills. If you're not great at one thing, it's best to be very good at multiple things. Finding guys who can help coaches achieve success in their set plays throughout the season is an attribute that surely can land a guy on a roster out of an open tryout.
Lastly, if defense wins championships, than it can absolutely get you noticed in a D-League open tryout and possibly onto a roster. In a league where players seem more inclined to portray their offensive skills rather than what they can do on the defensive end, finding a guy who can downright defend at an open tryout would be a true luxury for any coach in the D-League. Hannah is great example of how a defensively minded player can shine in the D-League.
These are some of the tools and attributes that coaches will be searching for in the bevy of open tryouts taking place now and in the coming weeks. The diamonds are out there, and the NBA D-League's open tryouts are one of the many reasons why the D-League is the best opportunity for players to get recognized and ultimately play in the NBA.