The second day of the D-League Showcase didn't begin nearly as swimmingly as the first day began. There was only one type of muffin at the hotel's continental breakfast, my taxi took about 10 minutes longer than planned to arrive to take me to the arena and, once I got there, my computer decided it didn't want to boot up until I got frustrated and left it to die between D-League.com's Matt Brennan and Steve Weinman of D-League Digest. Then, magically, it worked and all was right again.
Since I didn't take good notes for the games like I did yesterday (aka, I didn't tweet), I'm not going to be able to supply you with the barrage of randomness like I did yesterday. I will, still, give you my Day 2 D-League Showcase team.
PG - Mustafa Shakur. Tulsa's Mustafa Shakur is not related to Tupac Shakur, as far as I know. Still, after disappearing midway through the first half, Shakur came back from the dead in the fourth quarter, scoring seven of his teams final nine points to help them edge the Utah Flash 99-96. Shakur shook off a bad first half in which finished with six points, three assists and three turnovers to finish with 24 points and nine assists in 35 minutes of action. Shakur, who looks like he could be stopped if you make him go left, has a much-improved jump shot from what I remember. Definitely looks like a player that could come in for an NBA team and not hurt them as a back-up point guard.
SG - Morris Almond. If I have to remind you, Mo Nuts is NBA quality and of course he played like it again tonight. He benefitted a bit from being defended by Romel Beck the majority of the game instead of Dakota's sixth man, Renaldo Major, an obviously better defender. Either way, his scoring ability is obviously NBA quality. Unfortunately, he's not a good defender and doesn't bring much else to the table. If a team is looking for a quick boost of offense off the bench though, there aren't many better options. On the night, Almond finished with 34 points, two rebounds and zero assists. Still, according to Draft Express's Jonathan Givony, Almond is being looked at by the Denver Nuggets.
SF - Romel Beck. He plays the same position as Mo Almond, but was listed as a forward in the box score, so he's getting the nod here. Beck, most notable for the Kobe Crossover, is possibly the best offensive player in the D-League. If only he had a jump shot with range. He's wiry-long and athletic with a myriad of moves to get to the bucket. He doesn't love contact, but who does? He's also a defensive liability (see Almond, Morris), but hey, wow, he's great at getting buckets. Tonight, he finished with
1,000 39 points on 19 shots. Yee!
PF - D.J. White. I know it's probably not fair that a current NBA player is the best at his position in the D-League, but in reality, all five of these players would be NBA players, given the right situation. White's just a presence. Big, strong, physical and not afraid to make a poster out of any D-League player that tries blocking his dunk (Sorry, Jordan Brady). White finished his game with 17 points and 11 boards in 41 minutes, but seemed so much more impressive. Like I said, he has a presence - at least in the D-League.
C - Raymond Sykes. Sykes thoroughly impressed me. Matching up with the Charlotte Bobcats Alexis Ajinca, he gave up what looked to be six inches in height and an extra four in length (though Sykes did make up for it with 'length of hair'). Being the only big man on an injury-depleted Skyforce roster (Greg Stiemsma is out with an injury), Sykes showed up to play, finishing with 19 points and eight boards. Ajinca had 21 points and five boards, but he wasn't impressive.
Also, I'd like to note that Austin looked terrible. Dwayne Jones might be dead.