Now in the year 2014, approximately 30% of all NBA players have D-League experience.It's undeniable that some of the more notable players in The Association today (see the likes of Jeremy Lin, Danny Green, and Chris Andersen) have risen up through the ranks of the minor league in recent years. Thus, it's becoming more and more important for fans and big league personnel alike to pay special attention to the talent in the D-League after all.
The NBADL's most promising of prospects strut their stuff each and every night in hopes of getting noticed, catching the eye of an NBA executive, and perhaps earning that oh so coveted big league call-up soon after.
Of course, whereas such D-League athletes hope to catch on with NBA teams for the longterm, there's no doubt any one of them would relish an opportunity to prove themselves regardless, should an NBA team be hit with an injury bug and need someone to fill in instead.
Needless to say, this is one of the more crucial periods for NBA teams to start thinking ahead. Ten-day contracts can now be signed, allowing teams to take a chance and perhaps have a peek at those most intriguing young guns who may be able to step in and help a squad, as many head towards postseason runs.
Taking all of this (and more) into consideration, the RidiculousUpside.com staff (featuring Keith Schlosser, Scott Rafferty, and Dakota Schmidt) is to proud to introduce our Prospect Pyramid, where we rank the minor league's top players at each position.
Without further adieu, here are the small forwards.
1) Devin Ebanks, Texas Legends: A former Laker, Ebanks has been taking the D-League by storm this season. Not only able to do all the dirty work, the young gun has shown a surprising level of assertiveness as well as a new found confidence on the offensive end.
2013-14 Stats: 24.7 points (44% from the field, 35% from deep), 1.8 assists, 9.7 rebounds, and 1.1 steals
2) Reggie Williams, Tulsa 66ers: Williams is a well known NBA vet who's been known to score in bunches off the bench. But are the other facets of his game balanced enough to propel him back to the Association?
2013-14 Stats: 21.4 points (47% from the field, 34% from deep), 4.3 assists, 4.9 rebounds, and 2.1 steals
3) Othyus Jeffers, Iowa Energy: Jeffers is one of the most versatile swingmen in all of the D-League. But is his age something that holds him back from getting a call-up over that of his younger counterparts?
2013-14 Stats: 20.5 points (50% from the field, 27% from deep), 10.8 rebounds, 3.3 assists, and 2.2 steals
4) Chris Johnson, Rio Grande Valley Vipers: Johnson is one of the more efficient offensive players in the D-League, so it's a wonder why he hasn't received more call-up consideration this season.
2013-14 Stats: 19.4 points (47% from the field, 37% from deep), 2.5 assists, 6.8 rebounds, 1.6 steals, and 1.0 blocks
5) Romero Osby, Maine Red Claws: Osby is a versatile forward with a mixed bag of tricks in his arsenal. A D-League rookie, this young gun will only continue to refine his skills.
2013-14 Stats: 16.2 points (45% from the field, 42% from deep), 1.4 assists, 6.4 rebounds, and 0.7 steals
6) James Southerland, Los Angeles D-Fenders: Like Daniels, Southerland is the type of sharpshooter who could easily find his niche on any number of NBA teams. Still a youngster, the undrafted guard will only continue to polish the rest of his game in anticipation of catching on with another NBA team following his release from the Bobcats.
2013-14 Stats: 12.6 points (45% from the field, 32% from deep), 0.7 assists, 7.8 rebounds, and 0.9 steals, and 1.7 blocks
7) Justin Brownlee, Erie BayHawks: Always one known to do the dirty work, this muscular forward cracks our list due to his string of strong offensive performances for the surging BayHawks.
2013-14 Stats: 11.2 points (49% from the field, 33% from deep), 2.6 assists, 6.5 rebounds, and 1.3 steals