With the recent call ups of Mustafa Shakur, Chris Johnson and Garrett Temple, it seems as if call-up season is in full swing in the NBA. This got me thinking (as do most things) about how to turn this happy news into a post. Here's my opinion on which D-League Star each and every NBA team should call up this season.
Boston Celtics: Oliver Lafayette, Fort Wayne Mad Ants. Big O has been on the team before (last year's playoff roster, even!), and he would help with their lack of backcourt depth that isn't Avery Bradley.
(Very Obvious) Alternative: Antoine Walker, Idaho Stampede.
New York Knicks: Courtney Sims, Iowa Energy. No playoff team should be starting Ronny Turiaf at Center in good conscience. Unless the playoffs in question are the "Crazy Man Beard Playoffs".
Alternative: Literally any other big man.
Philadelphia 76ers: Sean Williams, Texas Legends. He seems to have temporarily conquered his crazy (formally speaking, his Cranial Insanotosis) and should probably be an NBA-er based on his talent alone. Philly needs another big man to counteract all the terrible that Spencer Hawes brings, and they don't seem like to like Marreese Speights anymore.
Alternative: Just play Craig Brackins and Speights more. Also trade Elton Brand.
New Jersey Nets: Shane Edwards, New Mexico Thunderbirds. The Nets currently have a LOT of wing players. Unfortunately, none of them can do much of anything. Travis Outlaw can score, Sasha Vujacic and Anthony Morrow can shoot, Stephen Graham can stand around and point at people. Shane Edwards can do things. Call him up.
Alternative: Jerel McNeal, Rio Grande Valley Vipers.
Toronto Raptors: Trey Johnson, Bakersfield Jam. They just called him up last night.
Alternative: Keep Sundiata Gaines.
Chicago Bulls: Othyus Jeffers, Iowa Energy. He plays for your (supposed) affiliate. He plays shooting guard. He does everything imaginable better than Keith Bogans. This is a slam dunk (he does that, too).
Alternative: Jeremy Wise, Bakersfield Jam.
Indiana Pacers: Orien Greene, Utah Flash. Sure, he's sort of an older version of Lance Stephenson (who you should send to the Mad Ants already). But, c'mon, are you really going to keep playing Brandon Rush and Dahntay Jones all the time?
Alternative: Play Brandon Rush and Dahntay Jones all the time.
Milwaukee Bucks: Garrett Temple, Erie BayHawks. This is a nice choice.
Alternative: Rod Wilmont, Fort Wayne Mad Ants.
Detroit Pistons: Walker Russell Jr., Fort Wayne Mad Ants. Tracy McGrady has done an admirable job at point guard, but no one is fearing a T-Mac/Stuckey/Will Bynum rotation.
Alternative: Courtney Sims, Iowa Energy.
Cleveland Cavaliers: I really don't know what there is to be done. Trade Antawn Jamison and pray you can get Kyrie Irving or Perry Jones? I really don't know. Let's just say JamesOn Curry, because at least he'll be fun to watch.
Alternative: A Time Machine.
Miami Heat: Courtney Sims, Iowa Energy. You might be sensing a pattern, here. C Sims should have been an NBA-er years ago. Joel Anthony might win an NBA title this season. Courtney Sims is better than one hundred Joel Anthonys.
Alternative: BOOM THO SMASH (Not in the D-League, I know. We're all still sad about it.)
Atlanta Hawks: Ivan Johnson, Erie BayHawks. You need some help a small forward, since you don't seem to like Marvin Williams there and I don't like Josh Smith (as a 3).
Alternative: Othyus Jeffers, Iowa Energy.
Orlando Magic: Patrick Sullivan, Rio Grande Valley Vipers. While he's really not any bigger than Brandon Bass or Ryan Anderson, Sullivan IS good enough to steal some minutes at the 5.
Alternative: Marcus Cousin, Austin Toros.
Charlotte Bobcats: Marvin Phillips, Fort Wayne Mad Ants. With the soul-destroying news that Tyrus Thomas will be out 8 weeks, you could sure use another dynamic rebounder/energy guy, and Marvin plays harder than anyone else in the D-League.
Alternative: Lance Thomas, Austin Toros.
Washington Wizards: Mustafa Shakur, Rio Grande Valley Vipers. Staf seems to have stabilized the Wizards' backcourt rotation, and will hopefully get signed for the remainder of the season soon.
Alternative: Someone to take Andray Blatche's minutes.
Oklahoma City Thunder: Jermareo Davidson, Idaho Stampede. Not sure if I'd call Jermareo a legit Center, but then again, I wouldn't call anyone else OKC has one, either.
Alternative: Call up Cole Aldrich or Latavious Williams. Latavious isn't a 5, but he is Latavious Williams.
Utah Jazz: Darnell Lazare, Fort Wayne Mad Ants. Lazare can play the pick and roll. He can also rebound a little. Jerry Sloan would like him at least as much as he likes Jeremy Evans.
Alternative: Elijah Millsap, Tulsa 66ers.
Denver Nuggets: Mario West, Maine Red Claws. While the last thing the Nuggets need is another shoot-first guard, they do need someone to take the attention off the (Melo) drama. Mario West is very good at drawing attention.
Alternative: Curtis Stinson, Iowa Energy.
Portland Trail Blazers: Chris Johnson, Dakota Wizards. Pretty much a young Marcus Camby physically.
Alternative: The Phoenix Suns training staff.
Minnesota Timberwolves: Chris Lofton, Iowa Energy. I apologize for the ignorance, but does Minnesota have ANY backcourt players that can hit a three? Wayne Ellington doesn't count.
Alternative: Booker Woodfox, Texas Legends.
Los Angeles Lakers: DeShawn Sims, Maine Red Claws. Andrew Bynum's return makes frontcourt depth less of a priority (and besides, the Lakers are the tallest team in history), but they could still use another forward with some scoring touch.
Alternative: Corey Allmond, Fort Wayne Mad Ants.
Phoenix Suns: Zabian Dowdell, Tulsa 66ers. They liked him enough to make him the season's first call up.
Alternative: Scottie Reynolds, Springfield Armor.
Golden State Warriors: Joe Alexander, Texas Legends. The Warriors always need more athletes. But Joe Alexander has transitioned from a lost cause at small forward to an actual prospect at the four. I can understand teams' apprehension but Joe has been really good this year.
Alternative: Raymond Sykes, Sioux Falls Skyforce.
Los Angeles Clippers: Marqus Blakely, Iowa Energy. They had him on the squad during training camp and they need some consistency at the small forward position. Not saying he'll provide that, but at least he's another candidate to compete in the Clips nightly dunk competition.
Alternative: Antoine Walker, Idaho Stampede.
Sacramento Kings: Marcus Cousin, Austin Toros. The Kings are pretty terrible, and they need point guards more than big men, but come on. You can't tell me you wouldn't want to see this guy and DeMarcus Cousins play together?
Alternative: Tweety Carter, Tulsa 66ers.
San Antonio Spurs: Larry Owens, Tulsa 66ers. I'm glad they already did this, because I couldn't name a flaw with this team as currently constructed.
Alternative: Courtney Sims?
New Orleans Hornets: Roderick Wilmont, Fort Wayne Mad Ants. Their insistence on playing Willie Green confuses me, especially with the superior Marcus Thornton on the roster. Hot Rod can shoot and he can create. He'd look pretty nice next to Chris Paul (although everyone does).
Alternative: Luke Jackson, Idaho Stampede.
Dallas Mavericks: Patrick Ewing Jr, Reno Bighorns. As their recent "let's sign every small forward that people thought was awesome in 2003*" campaign should tell you, the Mavs need a small forward. Pat Jr has kind of sucked in the NBA, but he can at least pretend to be Caron Butler a whole hell of a lot better than Sasha Pavlovic can.
Alternative: Anthony Mason, Sioux Falls Skyforce.
*I don't actually think anyone thought Sasha Pavlovic was awesome in 2003.
Memphis Grizzlies: Antonio Daniels, Texas Legends. Greivis Vasquez is terrible. Antonio Daniels is not nearly as terrible. I know he was never a good point man, but he could still play the 2 as well. You can never have too much backcourt depth.
Alternative: Josh Bostic, New Mexico Thunderbirds.
Houston Rockets: Jeff Adrien, Rio Grande Valley Vipers. The Rockets need frontcourt help. Jeff plays for your affiliate. I know you have a lot of fours, but Jeff Adrien needs to be in the NBA. Plus I was holding him out for a special occasion.
Alternative: Jeff Adrien. There is no alternative.
You are the wind beneath my wings, Jeff Adrien.-