Playing for the NBA D-League's Select Team during Summer League in Las Vegas is undoubtedly an unique opportunity. Though such athletes may not have the benefits of NBA executives watching their every move up close, what they'll gain is invaluable experience while receiving more playing time as they represent the minor league.
NBA teams are arguably more likely to take a chance on some of the younger prospects during Summer League. Because of this, the D-League seems to reap the benefits of scooping up some of the "older" but more talented players who may fall under the radar. Of course, a great long-time example of this is Ron Howard, who at 31 years old will represent the D-League Select Team yet again, despite recently being crowned the league's co-M.V.P. for this past season.
Keeping an eye on Howard throughout the watch should always be considered a given necessity, but who else is more likely to step up alongside him throughout the week?
A good guess may be none other than Tre Kelley, the 29 year old point guard who joins the D-League Select Team after quite an impressive campaign with the Sioux Falls Skyforce this past year.
After coming over in a trade with the Austin Toros, Kelley quickly rose to the challenge of leading the way for his new team. When all was said and done, the guard finished with strong averages of 18.2 points (on 47% from the field and 44% from deep), 5.1 assists, and 1.4 steals per contest.
But the solid numbers don't necessarily tell the whole story for Kelley, nor do they do him complete justice, either. The veteran carries himself with a certain confidence unknown to many players strutting their stuff in the D-League. He displays that ultimate hunger necessary, not only to compete, but to win. Kelley often makes bold choices on the court, but just as often happens to back them up with steady play. He keeps defenses on their toes while running the floor, and is an absolute hound when pestering his opponents defensively himself.
Truth be told, Kelley is arguably the complete package for an up and coming player. Of course, the caveat to his situation is that he isn't exactly "up and coming" at 29 years of age. Still, experience often pays, and the type Kelley has gained over his years playing professionally would undoubtedly aid him in making smart decisions on the NBA hardwood.
Kelley's overwhelming level of confidence can sometimes come across with an attitude, but perhaps this simply further confirms the fire he has within. Sometimes it's good to play with a chip on one's shoulder.
With that in mind, it's likely Kelley will emerge and succeed over the course of the week-plus in Las Vegas. He certainly won't be one to back down from the challenges that other NBA talents are poised to present along the way.
Instead, perhaps Kelley will rise up as one of the team's stars. To provide him with an assist along the way, Sioux Falls assistant Sean Rooks (who the guard developed a strong relationship with last season) is serving in a similar capacity on the D-League Select Team as well.