With the 2013-14 NBA D-League season now just weeks away, all seventeen minor league teams pulled out their big boards and assessed the talent level available during Friday night's draft.
Over 100 players were selected in all (through eight rounds), but the harsh reality is many (if not most) of such draftees won't make it past training camp. Though a chance to compete in camp is guaranteed, not much else is from there on out. The bevy of young guns will have to hit the hardwood aggressively this month, aiming to prove they have what it takes to compete for a D-League team throughout the season.
That said, let's take a look at some of the more fascinating selections with the most intriguing talent from each round of Friday night's NBADL Draft. (You can see full draft results here.)
Round One: Clearly the round with the most attractive talent available, D-League teams aren't exactly forced to grasp for straws in round one. Even so, certain selections were more attention-worthy than others.
Following some time in China's competitive CBA, three-year NBA veteran Quincy Douby returns to the states hoping to jumpstart his career in The Association back up. Selected by the Sioux Falls Skyforce (affiliate of the Miami Heat) with the third overall pick, one has to wonder if the guard will eventually end up in a Heat uniform towards the end of the season if he impresses their minor league staff enough.
Attracted more by potential than proven skill, the Austin Toros (affiliate of the San Antonio Spurs) selected Kyle Hunt with the twelfth overall pick. Hunt is a big man with a very unique skill set, able to mix physicality and finesse quite well. Defensively, he can muscle up with the best of them. Offensively, the Kevin Durant-like forward can put the ball on the floor, dribble, and pull up to let it rain from all around the perimeter.
Round Two: Abdul Gaddy and Chase Tapley were selected consecutively at 11th and 12th in the second round by the Iowa Energy and Tulsa 66ers, respectively. Coincidentally enough, they stand tall together as the two more promising picks from this round.
Fresh off a training camp stint with the Charlotte Bobcats, Gaddy is a crafty point guard who may be asked to handle the floor general duties for the since departed NBADL All-Star Chris Wright (he's currently playing overseas) as Iowa looks to turn things around this season.
On the other hand, Tapley is a guard who can pour in the points and apply steady defensive pressure on his opponents. In Tulsa, the young gun will be given the opportunity the hone the rest of his skills in a great development system headed by the Oklahoma City Thunder. Tapley earned some national exposure earlier in the summer heading into the NBA Draft, but was not selected.
Round Three: The draft's middle rounds were filled with intriguing and/or eye-popping selections. Of course, the most notable pick of round three was Aquille Carr, the YouTube sensation and former Seton Hall commit who will instead look to kick off his professional career in the D-League with Delaware 87ers.
Syracuse fan-favorite Scoop Jardine (66ers), FAU scoring spark plug Greg Gantt (Toros), and the ever athletic Orion Outerbridge (Warriors) all represented solid picks as well. That said, there was one player who stood out (and much taller) than not only any other pick in just round three, but the entire draft.
Imagine the marketing and/or promotional possibilities, should 7'8" Paul Sturgess stick with the Springfield Armor following camp. The big man was previously with the Harlem Globetrotters.
Round Four: The fourth round was another one filled with notable selections. Cousin of Pelicans' star Anthony Davis Keith Chamberlain (Toros), former Hofstra guard Mike Moore (BayHawks), and Sacramento Kings' Summer Leaguer Kyle Randall (Mad Ants) will all be interesting names to follow throughout camp.
Even so, this round still has three more interesting players to make note of moving forward.
IBL Most Valuable Player Chehales Tapscott (Red Claws) surely hopes his skills will translate well as he makes this long-coveted jump to the D-League. High-flying forward Jamine Peterson (Skyforce) is already an NBADL alum, with high scoring games of both 40 and 35 points each to his own credit. Lastly, John Allen's new team (Legends) can certainly assured his fundamentals are steady and sound, following high praise from Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski.
Round Five: As we continue further down the later rounds of the draft, the talent level available and upside for potential sensibly dwindles, albeit, just a bit. That said, there's one player whose name needs no help jumping off the page in a draft full of otherwise unknown (yet up and coming) prospects.
That would be none other than former Hawks guard and three-year NBA veteran Salim Stoudamire (Mad Ants). Similarly to Douby, the 31 year old is returning to the states hoping to pick things up right where he left off, following some time overseas.
Stoudamire owns an 8 points per game average through 157 contests in The Association.
Now 34 years old, Davis is a twelve year NBA veteran with a boatload of experiences (both of the positive and negative natures) to his name. A bit of a wild card, Erie picks up the guard after he worked out for their parent club, the Knicks, this past September. Clearly someone who is used to pouring in the points with ease, it'll be interesting to watch and see if the past 20 point per game NBA scorer still has some of that prowess left in his tank.
On the other hand, Ellis has worked hard in hopes of gaining a fraction of the notoriety Davis still owns. A former Bakersfield Jam training camp participant, the young gun proved to be a total stud this offseason, standing out in multiple open tryouts with D-League teams. He now enters a fantastic development opportunity with the NBADL champion defending Vipers.
Round Seven: It's worth noting that teams have the option of forfeiting their scheduled picks in the latter two rounds of the draft, if so desired. Still, the state of California collectively picked up two of the more fun prospects still remaining on the board.
Like Ellis, Dami Sapara (D-Fenders) strutted his stuff and used his startling athleticism on his way to soaring to new heights via the open tryout circuit. Clearly, such an effort has paid off.
On the other hand, Kiwi Gardner (Warriors) will hope to capitalize on some recent YouTube fame (similarly to Carr), while making his mark in Santa Cruz during camp.
Round Eight: Contrary to popular belief, there were even a couple of notable names still to be found as the draft entered its final round.
JR Inman (87ers) of Rutgers University's game is filled with finesse, and he's often compared to NBA veteran Cliff Robinson. Ronnie Aguilar (Jam) is a veteran of Lakers training camp, and will now return to Bakersfield for a second time out at their respective camp as well.