After years of covering call-ups and all other things D-League, Scott Schroeder got a call-up of his own. He traded in the media table for a front office desk and now serves as the Director of Basketball Operations for the Sioux Falls Skyforce.
Although he is the first to say he's received too much credit for the teams early success (6-2 as of Monday), his scouting ability and immense minor league basketball knowledge has helped to build a talented Skyforce roster.
RidiculousUpside.com caught up with its former editor and got the scoop on his new position, life in the D-League, and why it is always a great day to be a member of the Skyforce. To read all about it, continue on below.
Q: "Director of Basketball Operations" can take on a lot different meanings, depending on the team. What are your day-to-day responsibilities in your role with Sioux Falls?
A: When Coach Abelson hired me, he put me in charge of off-the-court basketball operations. I get the players where they need to go, make sure they get paid, and even rebound for the team during practice.
Keeping an eye on the D-League player pool and informing Coach Abelson about available players is a big part as well. I also write up scouting reports on our players and opposing teams that are used by the coaching staff and our affiliated NBA teams.
Q: Every player in the D-League is working hard to get that opportunity to play in the NBA. While these call-ups are great for the players, they can deplete a roster. How are you preparing for this very real possibility?
We've tried to build a really deep team. Our depth is going to be important as it allows us to fill spots from within when call-ups happen so we're hoping that we just have enough talent on our roster to allow us to not miss too much of a beat when it comes to our guys getting onto the next level.
Q: The buzz this year is that this is the most talented crop of prospects the NBA D-League has ever seem. You've been scouting teams for a number of weeks now, what are your thoughts on this?
A: It seems impossible to think that each year the D-League talent level can continue to increase, but with the high number of assignments, it seems like it has.
Everyone in the D-League is playing for their lives. Every week, we are facing stronger teams.
A few games back it was Tulsa with three assigned players (Jeremy Lamb, Daniel Orton, and Perry Jones III). Then we faced a talented Erie team followed by Texas - a team that features Chris Douglas-Roberts. This week we play the Austin Toros, who are led by reigning D-League MVP Justin Dentmon. There's just a ton of talent in our league.
Q: Given the large amount of talent in the D-League, what can make a prospect stand out to NBA scouts and personnel?
A: It's all about one big NBA skill and a bunch of little things. Whether it's shot-blocking, three-point shooting, or defense a player must be able to come in and perform at a very high level. They're really looking for someone to come in for five minutes a game and fill a specific role very well.
I talk to NBA scouts every week and what they really want to know about are the little things. Does a guy work hard in practice? Is he coachable? How does he act in the locker room? What does he do off-the-court?
Q: What principles do you follow when building out a roster?
A: We are about developing players in a winning environment here in Sioux Falls. When 80% of the NBA call-ups come from winning D-League teams, getting the ‘W' becomes most important to everyone. We are not looking for ten players to bring solely to develop into a certain skillset because we think winning games will teach guys how to become more NBA-ready so that they'll come in and know how to play the right way and do the little things to help their new team win as well.
We've built a team that gets out and runs the floor. Our offense flows from solid defense. With guys like Nichols and Tyndale playing great defense, we get opportunities for transition points and easy buckets. We want high scoring games. That's the kind of basketball that we like to play.
Q: I'm sure you're still very much aware of the media side of the D-League. What are some of the storylines that you've noticed that are not getting covered?
A: There are a lot of talented players out there and a lot of great stories, but these days I try to focus on the Skyforce.