Sean Evans and Rick Jackson now in the NBADL, honed their double-double skills in the Big East - Chris Trotman
The level of talent in the NBA D-League has arguably never been higher, and in that mix of skilled players lies a handful of powerful big men who seemingly chalk up doubles-doubles on a nightly basis. Players who can efficiently supply both points and rebounds for teams are considered luxuries, and NBA teams looking to fill that void should look no further than the NBA D-League for potential help.
Eight players in the NBA D-League have recorded 10 or more double-doubles through the first half of the season thus far. The ability to score 10-plus points and grab 10-plus rebounds is a luxury that any NBA team can appreciate, and the NBA D-League has an impressive group of players who can achieve this feat on any given night. In a historically guard heavy league, these hard-nosed, lunch pale toting players standout as their services are truly valued by their respective teams.
However, many of the top double-double machines in the NBA D-League fall into the dreaded "tweener" category for NBA teams. To any fan, these guys appear to be anything but small. Yet, in the NBA there is a distinct definition between power forwards and centers, and size can be an issue despite a player's production. At any rate, it is extremely difficult to overlook the numbers that some of these guys are putting up, and as the season progresses don't be surprised if one of these rebounding forces receives a Call-Up.
Luke Harangody and James Mays lead the NBA D-League with 13 total double-doubles and both guys are listed as 6-8, 230-plus pounds. David Lee and Zach Randolph are currently ranked number 1 and 2 in the NBA for double-doubles and are both listed at 6-9, 240-plus pounds. Does the one inch and 10-20 pound size difference between the two similarly-styled players matter that much to NBA scouts and executives? Or given the opportunity, would one of the top double-double producing players in the D-League thrive in an NBA setting?
RidiculousUpside.com had the opportunity to catch up with one of the D-League's top double-double producers in Sean Evans. Evans leads the Idaho Stampede in total rebounds (238) by a large margin, and has been a staple in the Stampede's front court all season.
The big man played his college ball for St. John's in the Big East, where rebounding and hard-nosed play is commonly found. Evans is a solid 6-8, 250 pounds and establishes position on the low block as well as anyone in the NBA D-League. When asked if Evans considers himself a power forward or a center, he emphatically said, "Power forward for sure, I definitely think of myself as a power forward."
Evans is averaging just shy of a double-double on the season with 13.2 points and 9.5 rebounds per game. Against the Bakersfield Jam where another double-double aficionado, Brian Butch (11 total double-doubles) has helped lead the top-ranked team in the NBADL, Evans enjoyed his best performance of the year scoring 32 points and grabbing 22 rebounds in 38 minutes.
Evans spent time playing professionally in Germany for BG Gottingen, and he averaged 9.2 points and 6.5 rebounds in 30 games. When asked if he thought that the talent-level in the NBA D-League was similar to what he experienced in Europe, Evans commented, "the talent-level and competition in Europe is very similar, I had the opportunity to play in EuroChallenge against some of the best players, I'd even give a slight edge to Europe as far as the level of competition." Apparently, Evans' boxing out skills and ability to cash in on put-backs transferred across international basketball boundaries as well.
Now as a member of the Idaho Stampede, and under first year head coach Mike Peck, Evans claims his double-double services are counted on night in and night out, "We don't discuss it, but I know he (Peck) expects it from me, I've been doing it all season and I feel we have an understanding about it." Evans has certainly delivered as of late in supplying the Stampede with scoring and rebounds. In 6 of their last 7 games, the forward has eclipsed 10 points and 10 rebounds.
Evans encountered another fellow double-double threat in the NBA D-League during his collegiate career. Rick Jackson, who played his college ball at Syracuse can now be found dominating the glass for the Austin Toros. Jackson is coming off yet another impressive double-double performance as he tallied 18 points and 17 rebounds in a win over in-state rival the Texas Legends on Wednesday.
Jackson, along with Evans, are joined by Arinze Onuaku (Canton Charge), DaJuan Summers (Maine Red Claws) and D.J. Kennedy (Erie BayHawks) as players who have notched 10 or more doubles-doubles this season in addition to the aforementioned Harangody, Mays, and Butch. This list of players have the undeniable services of providing interior excellence that NBA teams should be taking notice of. As this season progresses, look for any of these guys to earn a Call-Up and bring their talents to the next level.