I think. Or at least he's gotten close. That's what I get from this item written by Jerry Zgoda at the Star Tribune:
The Los Angeles franchise in the NBA Development League played a game before Friday's Lakers-Wolves game. That preliminary game featured Longar Longar, the power forward who played his high-school ball at Rochester, Minn., John Marshall and who the Wolves summoned for a pre-draft workout last summer after he played four seasons at Oklahoma.
Asked if his team has come close to signing a D League player this season to compensate for their lack of healthy bodies, McHale shook his head no and said, "Sioux Falls, that's the closest we've come." The Sioux Falls Skyforce is the Wolves' affiilate in the D League. The Wolves' have had a full 15-man roster all season, even though Friday night three of those players were out injured.
I, as you're well aware, would be a strong advocate of this. Since the Wolves are obviously trying to get the first pick in the draft, why not take a look at some talent in the D-League. While I wouldn't normally advocate making a whole team of D-Leaguer's, it would be fun to see how they do. Since the Skyforce have ten players, I'd say the Wolves keep Al Jefferson, Corey Brewer, Rodney Carney, Randy Foye, and Kevin Love, add the 10 Skyforce players, and let's see how it pans out. Maybe they'll be able to get an injury exception for Jefferson and Brewer, in which I'd say they keep Craig Smith around too.
This works out on all fronts. Sioux Falls gets local legend Mike Miller, Minnesota presumably gets the best chances to win the lottery, and you and I get to see how the D-League would fare against the NBA teams. I'm fairly certain this team wouldn't do much worse than the pathetic performance against the Lakers I watched the Wolves turn in last night.
Sioux Falls has an excellent coach in Nate Tibbetts, who helped coach their Summer League team down in Vegas last season. They also have Tony Fritz, whose resume includes this gem:
Fritz has coached several players that went on to the NBA including: Raja Bell, Mitchell Butler, Anthony Carter, Tremaine Fowlkes, Anthony Goldwire, Art Long, Anthony Miller, Darrick Martin and Ronny Turiaf.
If he contributed to Mitchell Butler, Tremaine Fowlkes, and Art Long's NBA careers, you know he's doing something right. They also employ a coaching intern, whom I can't find a name for, though I believe it's Tanner something. Regardless, this is my application to intern with them next season. (Fellas, seriously. I'll even help Mr. Brett Hansen out when you don't need me, at least with inputting names into the online box score.) They also have these guys:
Frank Williams, a first round pick by the Nuggets in 2002 that's played in 63 NBA games, Williams is averaging 23 points since the all-star break, including a 10-for-17 3-point shooting clinic he put against Iowa on his way to 39 points.
Kasib Powell, the D-League MVP last season, but finished the season with the Miami Heat when they tried doing something similar to this. Powell averaged 7.6 points and four rebounds in 11 games with the Heat, including a 3-game outburst in the middle when he averaged 14.7 points and five boards. Since returning from a recent injury, he's come off the bench the last four games to average 18.8 points in 23.3 minutes.
Bobby Jones, who had approximately 63 call-ups last season, has played with 61 (again, approximate) NBA teams, playing 91 games with seven starts over the past two seasons. He's a great defender, he's young, and is currently averaging 16 points and 8.3 boards for the Skyforce.
CJ Giles may also be able to make some noise for the Wolves, as he has potential. Loads and loads and loads and loads of potential. Seriously, at least four loads. Enough potential to play on the Lakers this preseason. He's also playing alright in the D-League, averaging 12 points, 8.3 rebounds, and 2.2 blocks in nine games as a starter. However, the D-Fenders never really understood him, so he was just recently acquired by Sioux Falls.
All four have a future in the NBA, so I like that McHale wants to give them that opportunity together.
P.S. 5'4" David Bailey would also be fun to watch in the NBA.