With the month of March just days away, teams in both the NBA and D-League are getting themselves poised for that official final push towards the postseason.
Crunch time is upon us, so it's key that teams ready themselves by making whatever tweaks are necessary to ensure that they stand their best chance at competing. With this in mind, there were a bevy of moves that involved the D-League on Monday, including some that are sure to have ramifications on both leagues as teams eye the road ahead. Let's take a look at some of the latest acquisitions.
The Rockets reman one of the most active franchises with regard to utilizing the D-League. Houston has been seen sending top young guns like Terrence Jones and Donatas Montiejunas back and forth between the NBA and the minors to ensure they get the most on the court reps as possible. Players like Patrick Beverly and Scott Machado (the latter has since been waived and signed full-time to the RGV Vipers) have seemingly been signed in the past by Houston simply so they could spend the majority of their time in Rio Grande Valley. And most recently, a player like Greg Smith has plucked right from the D-League to sign with Houston straight from the minors. Now, another big man follows in his foot-steps.
Ohlbrecht has gone from being Germany's top prized prospect since Dirk Nowitzki to now the most recent NBA call-up. The big man has looked good for the Vipers all season long. He displays decent range for a player his size, but also knows how to get inside and cash in on pick and roll opportunities. His efficiency has led him to the top of the leader board in league field-goal percentage, and he's a more than capable rebounder as well, standing as a double-double threat every night. His recent NBADL All-Star selection may have been the icing on the cake the Rockets' needed to sign him to his new multi-year contract.
Maine Red Claws and Sioux Falls Skyforce Swap Key Role Players
After starting the season 5-0, the Skyforce experienced quite a few ups and downs through the first half of the NBADL. But the acquisition of Donald Sloan gave his new team the biggest of boosts as he led them back towards the top of their division. A candidate for the M.V.P trophy, Sloan was undeniably also a shoe-in for the Impact Player award as well. That is, if he had stayed in the D-League.
The guard moved on to greener pastures after securing a contract overseas. Just as he filled a massive void, he also opened one up by departing for China. Needless to say, after watching Sloan strut his stuff so effectively, being led by an efficient floor general is key to Sioux Falls' success.
That must've made it an easy decision to go after NBA veteran Andre Barrett. The point guard took the D-League by storm when he arrived in the month of January, averaging 11.8 assists per contest. Though his shooting percentages have been impeccable this month, Barrett has seen his minutes decrease quite a bit. This new opportunity in Sioux Falls should certainly give way to a starting gig, where the vet will be able to run the show for a team in need of an on the court leader once again.
Of course, to get something good, you often have to give something just as valuable up. To reel in Barrett, the Skyforce had to part with sixth man Mark Tyndale, one of the organization's favorite players. The Skyforce were also involved in a less star-studded four-team deal Monday that saw them acquire Seth Tarver.
Currently ranked as the number two overall minor league prospect by NBADLeague.com, Jerome Jordan has looked like a man among boys all season long. His steady defensive efforts make him an easy candidate for Defensive Player of the Year, but frankly, he's been able to excel on the offensive end as well. He's a physical player who isn't afraid to throw his body inside and fight his way to the hoop.
He's played well for Reno since joining them prior to the NBADL Showcase, but the D-Fenders couldn't help but be intrigued by his prowess after watching he and Courtney Fortson team up as a two-man tandem during All-Star Weekend last week. The duo had great chemistry on the pick and roll all game long.
The pair's on the court display during the star-studded game, coupled with the Lakers' pressing need for a big man, probably made it an easy decision for the D-Fenders to bring Jordan aboard for a closer look. Having spent his rookie campaign with the Knicks last year, Jordan was coached by current Lakers' head coach Mike D'Antoni.