Marvin Phillips finished off the 2011-12 NBA D-League season known as one of the most efficient rebounders to grace the minor league hardwood over the last few seasons.
But with each new year and basketball season comes new opportunities for aspiring NBA athletes. Thus, Phillips found himself venturing to Canada to play for the London Lightning for the 2012-13 season.
As fate would have it, the forward took the NBL by storm, deservedly earning the fitting award of "Newcomer of the Year." Phillips averaged 14 points (on 45% both from the field and long range---the latter being a league-leading stat line), 7.6 rebounds, and 1.4 steals through 38 contests.
But the big man's success didn't simply come to an end when the regular season came to a close. He only seemed to flourish as the pressure mounted. Phillips not only emerged as the NBL's All-Star Game M.V.P. (the game took place following the regular season), but also came up in the clutch during the postseason as well. He also rose above to lead the Lightning to an NBL championship win after averaging 19.5 points and 8 rebounds in the clinching series.
For his efforts, Phillips was subsequently named M.V.P. of the NBL Canada Finals. Such an achievement marks the second consecutive championship win for the Lightning, who are led by former Knicks star Michael Ray Richardson as head coach. Phillips' teammate, former NBA veteran Rodney Buford, won the league's "Sixth Man of the Year" award as well.
By all accounts, Phillips had a very strong season. While logging minutes the past few years in the NBA D-League, Phillips was most known for his gritty effort, assertive physicality, and efficient rebounding. Though there's nothing wrong with garnering a reputation as a player who likes to get inside and do all the "dirty" work, the forward had always aimed for more.
As he closed out his most recent season in the minors with the Erie BayHawks, Phillips had been working to also assert himself as a big man who could be trusted on the offensive end too. Developing his ability to step out a bit and knock down jumpers to keep defenses honest, the forward had been steadily emerging as someone who enjoyed hitting mid-range jumpers as well as those from deep every now and then too. His consistent (and league-leading) percentage from long range in Canada this past season only proves that he not only has been working to get better and meet certain individual goals, but also that he's been surpassing them as well.
Such an impressive season overseas only suggests that there are more positive things on the horizon for a player like Phillips as he enters the basketball offseason.