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Randy Livingston Memorial "On The Edge" Call-Up Rankings

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<strong>Dontell Jefferson</strong>, the 6'5" point guard, can dunk, as learned here by Reno's Marcus Hubbard. (Photo by Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE)
Dontell Jefferson, the 6'5" point guard, can dunk, as learned here by Reno's Marcus Hubbard. (Photo by Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE)

As you can see, we've collaborated with the top D-League blogger's in the universe (read: all that would answer my e-mail's) to come up with the top 10 players that are deserving of an NBA call-up.  While 10-day contract's aren't able to be handed out until January 5th, there's typically two or three call-up's before that date, which is why we've put our heads together to bring you this list.  As you'll remember last season, we alternated this type of post with a more specific list like this one.  More than likely, I'll put one of those together as well, just because it serves a different sort of purpose.  

Anyway, continue on to see the list and a breakdown of each of the top 10 players, an early holiday gift to all of our loyal readers from the D-League blogging contingent!

Livingston Memorial "On The Edge" Call-Up Rankings

 Player w/ link

to season stats

Jon L


Matt Moore

(Hardwood Paroxysm)

Scott Schroeder


Steve Weinman

(D-League Digest)



Dontell Jefferson 3 3 1 2 1
Anthony Tolliver 1 8 2 1 2
Morris Almond 4 2 3 3 2
Rod Benson 2 1 5 5 4
Desmon Farmer 8 4 4 4 5
Carlos Powell 5 5 7 6 6
Mike Harris 6 10 6 10 7
Sundiata Gaines 7 9 8 8 8
Alonzo Gee 10 6 NR 7 9
Dwayne Jones NR 7 10 NR 10
Reggie Williams 9 NR NR 9 NR
Cedric Simmons NR NR 9 NR NR

(If I were to round out a top 15, I'd include Cartier Martin, Ron Howard and Romel Beck

1. Dontell Jefferson, Utah Flash (20.5 ppg, 6 apg, 5.1 rpg, 1.6 spg, 47% FG) - Jefferson should be the poster child for the NBA Development League because I don't think there's been a player that's gotten consistently better like Jefferson has.  Consider his D-League draft bio as a rookie back in 2006: to go from averaging 3.2 points and 4.4 assists in college to an call-up to the Bobcats last season is amazing.  Having watched a couple of Flash games this year, he may have even gotten better.  While his calling card will always be his defense and decision making, the 6'5" point guard is showing some impressive scoring ability this year as well. (Scott Schroeder)

2a. Anthony Tolliver, Idaho Stampede (20.7 ppg, 9.9 rpg, 47% FG, 43% 3pt) - I can't find a word more descriptive of Tolliver's performance than "everywhere." At 6-foot-9 and 240 pounds, Tolliver is a large man, even by basketball standards. But the threes he takes aren't typical of the 21st century pseudo-bigs who hang around the perimeter waiting for kickouts.  To borrow the type of term Walt Frazier enjoys using, I can remember few other occasions when a player seems as omnipresent as AT - sprinting to the sideline to snare long rebounds from unsuspecting guards and fighting his way to loose balls amidst the pack inside as well. Defensively, more of the same. One second, Tolliver's jumping out to double a guard on a high screen-and-roll; the next, waiting at the rim to provide help on penetration or swat a shot out of vicinity of the basket.  (Steve Weinman, D-League Digest)

2b. Morris Almond, Springfield Armor (33 ppg, 6 rpg, 49% FG) - Morris Almond is mostly known for his scoring, and it's true that putting the ball in the basket remains his best skill. He also does so fairly efficiently, getting to the free-throw line at a decent rate. Almond greatly improved his rebounding while in the NBA, though, jumping from just under two boards per-36 minutes as a rookie to around five last season. Almond wasn't able to crack Utah's
rotation but got some offseason looks from the Knicks (Summer League) and Magic (training camp). The one thing that might hold him back is, well, his back. He had some problems with it last year and teams might worry that they'll return, I suppose. He's not as athletic as some of his peers, but he has a very nice midrange game and so far in career has kept working to improve. What sounds bad about that? (Jon L)

4. Rod Benson, Reno Bighorns (16.8 ppg, 9.2 rpg, 2.4 bpg, 2.2 spg, 53% FG) - Benson's almost a volume rebounder, if there is such a thing. His DRR if he were to ever get a stinkin' flyer would be insane. All you're looking for is quality minutes and you know he'll give you that. He's added frame as he's gotten older and it's not like he's lost in terms of positioning. He's got a high basketball IQ. What's the downside here? The only thing I can figure at this point is that he peed on Adam Silver's rug at some point. And it tied the room together. (Matt Moore, Hardwood Paroxysm)

5. Desmon Farmer, Reno Bighorns (25 ppg, 6.7 apg, 5.5 rpg, 5.17 TO/g (doh!)) - Look, I get the push against guys from the D-League that aren't great at defense. I do. I appreciate that. And I certainly understand the turnover concern. But Farmer has been on summer league teams. He's been in camps. He's done his time. And he fills up the sheet when he's on the floor. He's had cups of coffee with San Antonio and the Pacers and the Sonics. But the Spurs never have room for anyone, and the rest were before the league had experienced success at the NBA-level. He's got potential to be a solid end-of-the-bench contributor with the possibility of a great fill-in in case of injury. (Matt Moore)

6. Carlos Powell, Albuquerque Thunderbirds (21.8 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 4 apg, 50% FG) - Carlos Powell, like Farmer, is he what he is - a big, polished wing that can put his head down and get to the hoop with ease.  Powell has an affinity for scoring right around 25 points per game to go along with a handful of assists and rebounds a piece every where he plays.  While he's obviously not going to put those numbers up in the NBA, he's a veteran scorer that has what it takes to succeed in the big leagues. (Scott Schroeder)

7. Mike Harris, Rio Grande Valley Vipers (26 ppg, 7 rpg, 59% FG, 45% 3pt) -  Harris is currently third in the league in per-game scoring, amidst guys who are more likely to come to mind like Mo Almond, Reggie Williams, Desmon Farmer and Sundiata Gaines. He's making 45 percent of his three-pointers and averaging 10 rebounds per 48 minutes. So basically, he's good. The Rockets obviously like him, having retained him off of their Summer League team, but any other teams jealous of Houston's glut of 6'6" combo forward action too can get in on it by calling Harris up. He's been playing mostly inside next to Joey Dorsey, which helps, but he's also pretty athletic and has worked on his shot enough where he can play some small forward as well. (Jon L)

8. Sundiata Gaines, Idaho Stampede (25.4 ppg, 7.7 apg, 5.3 rpg, 56% FG, 2 spg - has started 1 of 7 games) - That's right, a (mostly) D-League reserve made our call-up rankings. Gaines is that good (and also Bob MacKinnon's bench usually plays a lot). A combo guard in college, Gaines has been playing more point in Idaho, and he's been one of the best in the league so far. He's second in the league in assists, both per-game and per-48 minutes, fourth in the league in scoring, and perhaps most impressive is the fact that he's averaging just three turnovers in that fast-paced MacKinnon offense. Gaines isn't the biggest point guard around, but he's really, really, talented, and his game should speak enough for itself for him to get some consideration. (Jon L)

9. Alonzo Gee, Austin Toros (20.5 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 55% FG) - You can't really take Gee in the Virtual Scout Game. I mean, he's a rookie, playing in a power system that rewards players of his ilk. And he's not really MVP worthy, despite being second in Pts+Reb+As, since he plays alongside the double-double machine Dwayne Jones and Curtis Jerrells. But if you're looking for top-level production that you could sign and immediately send back down? Gee would be a fantastic option for farming. You know, if anyone had managed to do that effectively. Thanks for ruining that dream, Ian Mahinmi.  (Matt Moore)

10. Dwayne Jones, Austin Toros (18 ppg, 13.3 rpg, 2.2 bpg, 66% FG) - Jones has clearly been working on his post moves in the offseason, and while they're still not great, he looks a lot more fluid executing them. In addition to the spin move he "had" last year he's added one where he goes underneath the basket and lays it in from the other side, which was pretty effective.  And, just so we're clear, his numbers have been helped tremendously by being matched up with Kevin Pittsnogle in five of his ten games. (Jon L)