With the month of April less than two weeks away, the conclusion of the NBA D-League season is upon us. The quest for the ultimate postseason prize will begin shortly after, but the playoff hunt is already heating up. That said, a few eliminated teams have already found themselves coming up short this season.
So where do these teams go from here? Once NBA teams are out of contention, they'll often be seen playing their young guns more often, whether it be to coincidentally earn better draft position, or focus more heavily on developing their guys for future competition.
Though in the NBA D-League it may be a tad different, the various teams' plans for the next weeks may nevertheless still be intertwined with those of many NBA affiliates.
While the Springfield Armor are technically not one of the three teams (the Iowa Energy, Reno Bighorns, and Idaho Stampede) already eliminated, they've as of late provided teams that are with a great example of what to do in lieu of being competitive.
Springfield is currently five games behind the Sioux Falls Skyforce with just nine games remaining. Whether they do enough to break into the playoffs or not, the Armor have shown that they are helping their NBA affiliate Nets keep an eye on the future.
Since acquiring Syracuse alum and former Celtics rookie Kris Joseph, the swingman has emerged as the NBADL's number four overall prospect. With more playing time and an elevated role, he's embraced being the team's star.
What's interesting about the arrival of Joseph to Springfield, however, has been the massive type of positive impact that he has had on his new teammates. Perhaps his strong play has been enough to elevate and motivate some other Armor players.
Willie Reed has also seen a recent boost in playing time, and has enjoyed stepping up as Joseph's running mate. The versatile forward was most recently named the D-League's Top Performer of the Week.The two have worked wonders together, leading their squad to a 6-4 record over the last ten games.
Since rejecting a D-League assignment stint and being released by the Dallas Mavericks, Dominique Jones has also joined the fold in Springfield. If the team is able to string together some even more momentum (enough to propel them into the postseason), then so be it. That would certainly be a positive. That said, if they still fall short, at least these next few weeks will have given the Nets the opportunity to utilize Springfield effectively to observe three players their curious about bringing aboard during Summer League and/or training camp.
Regardless of what happens, the Armor is attempting to make the best out of their situation. There's no reason why the teams already out of contention cannot (and won't prove to) do the same.