In the coming week, March Madness will capture the attention of the entire nation. Teams and individual player performances will stand out and become memorable moments for basketball fans across the country. Last year's tournament was another exciting installment , and some of the players who made it special yet again have spent time in the NBA D-League this season.
With the new CBA rules, NBA teams have taken full advantage of their capability to assign their highly touted rookies an unlimited number of times to the NBA D-League. These players are gaining valuable minutes at a pace similar to the NBA level by playing in the NBA D-League. The reward of developing a player in this manner, will likely help teams bring along talent at a much quicker rate as opposed to them riding the bench, and participating primarily in practices.
With that said, some of the key players who helped guide their teams in last season's NCAA tournament, have experienced NBA D-League assignments in their rookie season this year. A number of these players are thought to be the future of their franchises, and each of their NBA teams are taking full advantage of their ability to help groom their game with calculated stints in the NBADL. Here are some of the top players from the 2012 NCAA tournament who have spent time in the NBA D-League this season.
Doron Lamb - Fort Wayne Mad Ants
After earning All-Tournament Team honors last season with the Kentucky Wildcats, Lamb has spent part of this rookie campaign with the Fort Wayne Mad Ants. In last year's tournament, Lamb averaged 16.5 points, 1.8 rebounds and 1.2 assists en route to the National Championship title.
After being drafted by the Milwaukee Bucks and playing in 23 games with the team, Lamb was involved in a multi-player trade that sent J.J. Redick to Milwaukee from Orlando. Lamb's NBA averages have been minimal in his first season, but the combo guard did play well during his 6 games in the NBA D-League. Lamb averaged 10.3 points, 3.3 rebounds, and 2.5 assists with the Fort Wayne Mad Ants. Lamb has been assigned twice the D-League so far this season.
Tyshawn Taylor - Springfield Armor
Along with Lamb, Taylor was a member of the All-Tournament Team after helping Kansas reach the Championship game. Taylor was incredible in the tournament last year, and showcased his versatility on the floor by establishing impressive averages in the Jayhawks' six game run. Taylor averaged 12.8 points, 4.8 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 2.2 steals in 34.0 minutes.
Taylor has seen action in 32 games for the Brooklyn Nets this season, but in his 5 games with the Springfield Armor, Taylor has been stellar. In each contest, Taylor has eclipsed 20 points, and has averaged 25.4 points, 4.2 rebounds, 7.6 assists, and 1.2 steals per game. The Armor are 2-3 with Taylor in their lineup.
Quincy Acy - Bakersfield Jam
Acy led Baylor to a four game run in last year's tournament and posted impressive numbers while doing so. The 6-7, 225 pound forward, averaged 13.2 points and 9.0 rebounds in 28.8 minutes. The big man was a matchup nightmare for opposing teams, and made Baylor an entertaining team to watch during the tournament.
After being drafted by the Toronto Raptors in the second round, Acy has since played in 20 games for the Raptors and is averaging 3.0 points, and 1.8 rebounds in 7.7 minutes. However, Acy's totals as a member of the Bakersfield Jam have been noteworthy. In 9 games for the Jam, Acy has averaged 13.3 points, and 7.6 rebounds. The Jam are 6-3 when Acy has logged minutes for the club.
Perry Jones III - Tulsa 66ers
Acy's partner in crime last season with Baylor, Jones also put up solid totals during their tournament run. In 30.0 minutes, Jones averaged 10.0 points, and 7.0 rebounds. He was a tremendous piece in their run to the Elite Eight.
Jones has been assigned to the Tulsa 66ers a number of times this season by the Oklahoma City Thunder. During his 14 games with the 66ers, Jones has started in every contest and averaged 14.8 points, and 6.9 rebounds per game. The Thunder's first round draft selection has been able to enjoy plenty of minutes as a result of his assignments in the D-League this season.
Darius Johnson-Odom - Los Angeles D-Fenders
Johnson-Odom was a fantastic player for Marquette in their tournament run last year. As a senior, Johnson-Odom averaged 17.0 points, 3.7 rebounds and 2.3 assists in 38.0 minutes. Johnson-Odom and teammate Jae Crowder, were among the top-15 players in scoring average for last year's NCAA tournament.
The draft rights to Johnson-Odom were acquired by the Lakers after Dallas selected the guard in the second round. While DJO was a member of the Lakers, he spent most of his time with their NBA D-League affiliate, the L.A. D-Fenders. During that time, Johnson-Odom averaged 20.6 points, 5.0 rebounds and 5.3 assists in 39.8 minutes. Since leaving the Lakers, Johnson-Odom signed a contract overseas with Russian powerhouse Spartak SPB.
Terrence Jones - Rio Grande Valley Vipers
Jones was apart of John Calipari's impressive ensemble that wound up winning it all last season. As a member of Calipari's talent-filled team, Jones held his own, and averaged 11.5 points and 8.2 rebounds in 32.2 minutes. Along with teammate Darius Miller (who has played 11 games with the Iowa Energy), Jones and his other Wildcat teammates left their mark on last season's tournament.
The Portland, Oregon born, 6-9, 252 forward was selected in the first round by the Houston Rockets, and as seen before by Houston, Jones has spent some of his rookie season with their D-League affiliate. While playing for the Vipers, Jones has dominated. He has averaged 18.4 points, and 9.3 rebounds and started in all but two of his 17 games with the club.