While eight of the 17 D-League teams duke it out for playoff seeding, the rest find themselves without much to play for with 16 days remaining on the 2013-2014 schedule. However, despite having no chance of making it to the post-season, there is still something that is worth fighting for on an individual level: a call-up.
Last season, six players got a call-up in the month of April, right when the season was drawing to a close, which put them in uniform for the NBA's playoffs. One of those players was the Springfield Amor's Willie Reed, who got a chance with the Memphis Grizzlies after spending the entire year in the D-League. While Reed was waived by the club after five pre-season games, he's walking proof that teams are still on the lookout for players who could help them come playoff time.
In a similar fashion to how he performed last season, Reed has improved on a month-by-month basis and he's saved his best for last. So far in the month of March, he's averaging 22.6 points, 13.4 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per contest, all way up from his season averages. He's posted five consecutive double-doubles, and has led the Armor to a 3-2 record, which, considering that they're 18-23 on the season, is not bad. And last night, they had another good win, this time over the Erie BayHawks, and Reed led the way. In 45 minutes, he scored 26 points on 12-for-19 shooting from the floor. He grabbed 13 rebounds, blocked two shots and poked away two steals.
|Name||Minutes||Points||FG||FT||Offensive Rebounds||Defensive Rebounds||Blocks||Steals||Turnovers||+/-|
With Reed, you know what you're going to get. He's a great rebounder for his size, he has some polished moves down on the low block and he always finds himself at the top of the league in blocked shots. But more than anything, he works hard, which is something you don't see in every big man who fancies their chances in the D-League.
Over the last two season's, he has improved greatly and while he's far from a finished product, he is hungry for an opportunity to get on the big stage. For proof, look no further than the "#CallWillieUp" campaign he started on Twitter last season. While we have no idea in knowing if it played a part in him getting a shot with the Grizzlies, it sure made him stand out from the crowd by building up a devoted community on twitter. To no surprise, he has continued the campaign this season and has even taken it a step further by printing it on t-shirts and sweaters.
The Armor only have nine games remaining on their schedule and their hopes of making the playoffs are all but over. Nevertheless, with the way Willie Reed is playing, some more good news could be on the horizon. The Philadelphia 76ers signed guard Darius Johnson-Odom to a 10-day contract yesterday and Reed could be following in his footsteps.