Where Are They Now? Tracking Down the NBA D-League's Top Players From Last Season

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

In another record breaking season that saw 36 call-ups to the NBA, the same old story proved to be the case in the D-League: many of the top prospects have gone overseas in the pursuit of a better living.

Since the D-League established itself in 2001, there have been a total 306 call-ups to the NBA, some of which have led to long-term, guaranteed contracts. However, while the league continues to grow by leaps and bounds, there is something that remains a big problem: year after year, many of the top prospects leave the D-League in pursuit of a better salary overseas.

In a previous article on RidiculousUpside.com, it was revealed that D-League players are faced with three possible contracts: $13,000, $19,000 and $24,000. Seeing as those are all tough salaries to make a good living off of, there is no wonder why we continue to see extremely talented players put their NBA dreams on the back burners and head to the likes of Europe and Asia in the short-run.

Unfortunately, this trend won't end anytime soon because, as you'll see from the table below based on the experts' list, many of the top prospects from last season aren't currently on NBA rosters; they are either free agents or have signed a contract with a foreign team.

Name 2012-2013 Team Statistics 2013-2014 Team
Lester Hudson Austin Toros 18.2 PPG, 43.7% FG, 42.7% 3PT, 5.1 RPG, 3.6 APG, 2.4 SPG. Free Agent
Jeremy Tyler Santa Cruz Warriors 17.4 PPG, 54.9% FG, 8.8 RPG, 1.0 APG, 0.8 SPG, 0.3 BPG. New York Knicks
Travis Leslie Santa Cruz Warriors 15.4 PPG, 49.5% FG, 36.4% 3PT, 6.9 RPG, 2.1 APG, 1.7 SPG. JSF Nanterre (France)
Jermaine Taylor Maine Red Claws 24.4 PPG, 48.7% FG, 36.4% 3PT, 3.4 RPG, 1.9 APG, 2.5 SPG. Free Agent
Hilton Armstrong Santa Cruz Warriors 13.4 PPG, 62.8% FG, 6.8 RPG, 2.2 BPG, 1.0 SPG. Free Agent
Glen Rice, Jr. Rio Grande Valley Vipers 13.0 PPG, 49.1% FG, 38.5% 3PT, 6.2 RPG, 1.9 APG, 0.9 SPG. Washington Wizards
D.J. Kennedy Erie Bayhawks, Rio Grande Valley Vipers 16.6 PPG, 43.9% FG, 35.6% 3PT, 7.7 RPG, 5.1 APG, 1.6 SPG. Dallas Mavericks
Samardo Samuels Canton Charge, Reno Bighorns 19.8 PPG, 48.8% FG, 10.3 RPG, 2.0 APG, 1.1 BPG. EA7 Milan (Italy)
Chris Wright Maine Red Claws 18.3 PPG, 51.4 % FG, 9.2 RPG, 2.0 APG, 1.6 SPG, 1.5 BPG. Toronto Raptors
Chris Wright Iowa Energy 16.1 PPG, 44.0% FG, 30.5% 3PT, 6.8 APG, 4.1 RPG, 1.6 SPG. Free Agent
Jerome Jordan Erie Bayhawks, L.A. D-Fenders 12.4 PPG, 61.4% FG, 7.6 RPG, 0.8 APG, 2.0 BPG. Virtus Bologna (Italy)
Josh Selby Reno Bighorns, Canton Charge, Maine Red Claws 14.4 PPG, 39.2% FG, 27.1% 3PT, 4.7 RPG, 3.8 APG, 0.9 SPG. Free Agent
Courtney Fortson L.A. D-Fenders 17.8 PPG, 39.8% FG, 35.5% 3PT, 7.1 APG, 5.0 RPG, 2.0 SPG. Avtodor Saratov (Russia)
Lazar Hayward L.A. D-Fenders 15.9 PPG, 50.6% FG, 41.7% 3PT, 8.0 RPG, 2.2 APG, 0.9 SPG. Free Agent
Rick Jackson Austin Toros 10.8 PPG, 52.2% FG, 10.0 RPG, 1.1 APG, 1.3 BPG, 1.0 SPG. Gilboa Galil (Israel)
Arinze Onuaku Canton Charge 12.6 PPG, 56.4% FG, 9.5 RPG, 0.7 APG, 0.9 BPG, 0.6 SPG. New Orleans Pelicans
Tony Mitchell Fort Wayne Mad Ants 21.9 PPG, 42.2% FG, 31.7% 3PT, 6.4 RPG, 2.7 APG, 1.4 SPG. Talk N' Tell Tropang Texters (Philippines)
Delonte West Texas Legends 10.3 PPG, 35.1% FG, 20.0% 3PT, 4.4 APG, 3.8 RPG, 2.2 SPG. Free Agent
Willie Reed Austin Toros 12.3 PPG, 49.6% FG, 8.1 RPG, 1.4 APG, 0.9 SPG, 0.8 BPG. Memphis Grizzlies
Demetris Nochols Sioux Falls Skyforce 18.7 PPG, 46.7% FG, 36.2% 3PT, 5.4 RPG, 2.3 APG, 1.4 SPG, 0.8 BPG. Krasnye Krylia (Russia)
Damion James Bakersfield Jam 15.8 PPG, 41.2% FG, 26.0% 3PT, 8.2 RPG, 1.8 APG, 1.4 SPG, 1.1 BPG. Denver Nuggets
Sean Singletary Texas Legends 13.0 PPG, 42.0% FG, 36.9% 3PT, 5.6 APG, 4.3 RPG, 1.7 SPG. Telenet Oostende (Belgium)
Chris Roberts Texas Legends, Austin Toros 14.4 PPG, 43.6% FG, 32.3% 3PT, 4.2 RPG, 2.3 APG, 1.0 SPG. Juve Caserta (Italy)
Elijah Millsap L.A. D-Fenders 17.4 PPG, 41.7% FG, 34.9% 3PT, 6.1 RPG, 3.6 APG, 2.0 SPG. Free Agent
Ben Uzoh Springfield Armor 12.6 PPG, 40.9% FG, 27.9% 3PT, 5.2 APG, 4.2 RPG, 1.3 SPG. Free Agent
Rasual Butler Tulsa 66ers 17.8 PPG, 42.3% FG, 34.7% 3PT, 5.1 RPG, 1.5 APG, 1.4 BPG, 0.7 SPG. Indiana Pacers
Darington Hobson

Santa Cruz Warriors

9.2 PPG, 39.1% FG, 32.8% 3PT, 6.0 RPG, 4.2 APG, 0.9 SPG. Free Agent
Tyler Honeycutt Reno Bighorns, Rio Grande Valley Vipers 10.5 PPG, 48.8% FG, 40.6% 3PT, 7.3 RPG, 1.5 APG, 2.1 SPG, 1.2 BPG. Ironi Nes-Ziona (Israel)
Ron Howard Fort Wayne Mad Ants 19.1 PPG, 45.9% FG, 27.8% 3PT, 4.7 APG, 4.1 RPG, 1.4 SPG. Indiana Pacers
Justin Dentmon Austin Toros, Texas Legends 22.9 PPG, 41.8% FG, 36.2% 3PT, 3.9 RPG, 3.8 APG, 1.4 SPG.

Zalgiris Kaunas (Lithuania)

While nine of the D-League's top prospects landed NBA contracts this off-season, all but two - Glen Rice Jr. and Jeremy Tyler - are non-guaranteed or training camp invites only. And seeing as most NBA teams have the majority of their rosters already set, the likelihood of the aforementioned players getting a highly coveted guaranteed contract are quite slim.

With more NBA teams establishing single affiliations, it is only solidifying the D-League's reputation as a farming system where young, inexperienced players are given a chance to hone their craft. After all, out of the 180 players drafted between 2010-2012, 46 percent of them have spent time in the NBA's minor league, most of whom have been on assignment not as a punishment, yet as an opportunity to adjust to the pro game.

With success stories such as Cory Joseph, Danny Green and Donatas Motiejunas, the days of high draft picks spending time in the D-League are just getting started. While this will only help them develop into the types of players their NBA teams have in mind for them, it'll make it harder for D-League players to make their NBA dreams come true. If that's the case, the trend of D-League players being one-and-done (similar to what we are used to seeing at the collegiate level) may continue to grow, which could hurt the competitiveness of the league in the long run.

The obvious solution is to offer more lucrative contracts, as the combination of that as well as the opportunity to play in front of NBA executives night in, night out will help keep many of the top prospects around. However, because about only half of the D-League's franchises are only now making a profit, it's unlikely that salary increases are the first job on the agenda.

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