Following his rookie year with the Los Angeles Lakers, Andrew Goudelock entered his name in the 2012 NBA D-League Draft. Selected as the number two overall pick last year, the combo guard quickly rose to minor league stardom, shining for both the Sioux Falls Skyforce and (after a respective trade) the Rio Grande Valley Vipers.
Right in time for the NBA playoffs, Goudelock was called up by the Lakers to fill in for the injured Kobe Bryant during the most crucial of times. In addition to already having a familiarity with the team's personnel, it certainly didn't hurt that Goudelock's stellar season had resulted in the D-League's Most Valuable Player award.
So when a brand new band of young guns entered their names into this season's draft earlier this month, it wasn't out of the question to wonder whether one (or even more) of such players would soon be emerging as an M.V.P. candidate this coming year. Taking all of that into consideration, perhaps DeAndre Liggins will rise up as this season's Andrew Goudelock.
Formerly of the Oklahoma City Thunder, Liggins was waived by OKC earlier this fall, only to be drafted by the Miami Heat affiliated Skyforce with the seventh overall pick in the 2013 D-League Draft. Having drafted Goudelock last year as well, perhaps Sioux Falls has efficient radar when it comes to drafting M.V.P.-like talents. But unlike the former, Liggins is no stranger to the NBADL.
An active utilizer of the D-League via their affiliated Tulsa 66ers, the Thunder assigned Liggins to the minor league a total of ten different times last season. Without many minutes with the big league club to be had, it was Tulsa where Liggins began to soar instead.
Surprisingly a triple-double threat anytime he'd hit the NBADL hardwood, Liggins averaged 11.6 points, 7 rebounds, and 4.3 assists through 19 games. Even better, the 25 year old shot 45% from the field and 46% from downtown. A steady defender, Liggins also logged1.7 steals per contest as he continued to play well against the minor league competition. He went on to put up similar numbers in a short postseason stint as well.
Whereas Goudelock could pour in the points with ease on his way to overwhelming opposing defenders, Liggins is more of a stat-sheet stuffer. Able to play multiple positions and defend an array of different ones too, it's safe to say the young gun has all the potential in the world to continue displaying such a varied skill set through his numbers and impact on any forthcoming Skyforce success.
Should he spend a decent amount of time in the D-League, Liggins likely won't waste any of it before emerging as a minor league M.V.P. candidate.