Last season, the D-League saw an array of NBA veterans join the minor league in hopes of proving they still had something left in their basketball tank. Former all-stars, past 20 point per game scorers, and even veterans of over a decade all donned NBADL uniforms during the 2011-12 campaign. Among some of the more notable players to hit the hardwood were Antoine Walker, Mike James, Antonio Daniels, Ricky Davis, and even two-time NBA Finals participant Greg Ostertag.
Fast-forward to this season, and the new campaign has so far been all about the young guns. There are a bevy of up and coming prospects aiming to prove that their fresh legs can provide NBA teams with a necessary boost off the bench. Still, as these prospects continue to make headlines in the early goings of the season, NBA fans can still find a few veterans sprinkled across the D-League as they each try to make their mark.
Here's a look at five of the more notable players with NBA experience now logging minutes in the NBADL.
1) Chris Douglas-Roberts, Texas Legends
One of the more explosive offensive players to hit the D-League circuit, Chris Douglas-Roberts is perhaps the most likely NBA vet in the minors to eventually receive a call-up. After previously serving as a key contributor to the Bucks' bench in 2010-11, CDR's last success in The Association is not too far behind him. Able to manipulate opposing defenses by driving to the hoop or closing in for pull-up jumpers, the guard also knows when/how to dish it out when his shot is contested.
So far, the three-year NBA vet has used these same skills to dominate in the NBADL. He's averaged 24.4 points, 5.3 rebounds, 4.1 assists, and 1.9 steals per contest, all the while helping the Legends to an early 5-2 record.
2) Orien Greene, Los Angeles D-Fenders
No stranger to the D-League, Orien Greene has spent parts of the last four seasons in the minors. After helping the D-Fenders reach the NBADL Finals last season, the guard is back for more, and he's off to a strong start. Averaging the best numbers of his D-League career, Greene is so far logging 18.5 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 2.7 steals through six contests.
An NBA vet of four seasons as well, the point guard is now 30 years old. With some younger and more agile options to be had for NBA teams in the minors right now, perhaps a call-up for Greene is less likely. That said, he is now more determined as ever, especially after witnessing just how special of a platform the NBADL can provide for veterans looking to break back into The Association.
3) Jamario Moon, Los Angeles D-Fenders
Perhaps the inspiration for a player like Chris Copeland to make his NBA debut at the age of 28, Jamario Moon's rookie campaign began in 2007-08, when he himself was already 27 years old.
Moon made his mark with Raptors, averaging 8.5 points (on 49% from the field), 6.2 rebounds, and 1.4 blocks per game. After making the 2008 NBA All-Rookie Second Team, the versatile forward bounced around the league a bit, playing key minutes for contending teams like the Heat and Cavaliers over the years.
But after using the NBADL to originally claw his way into The Association, Moon has since returned. Undoubtedly using his experience and defensive know-how to pester young opponents, the now 32 year old is among the league leaders in both blocks (3.2) and steals (3.0) per game. Should a team be in need of a defensive boost off the bench come the later months of the season, they could very well come calling Moon's number.
4) Troy Hudson, Sioux Falls Skyforce
NBA floor general turned rapper Troy Hudson has the most experience out of anyone in this bunch. A veteran of 11 seasons, the guard made his mark as a starter for a contending Minnesota Timberwolves squad that otherwise starred the likes of Kevin Garnett, Latrell Sprewell, and Wally Szczerbiak.
After the Timberwolves helped facilitate his deal with its minor-league affiliate Skyforce, Hudson is hoping to follow in the footsteps of Mike James, who last season parlayed a stint with the Erie BayHawks into a backup gig with the Eastern Conference-leading Chicago Bulls.
Hudson is so far doing a decent job of, at the very least, proving his skills haven't escaped him. While helping the Skyforce to a 5-1 record, the NBA vet is averaging 15.8 points (on 46% from the field) and 3 assists per contest.
5) Luther Head, Austin Toros
Also a longtime NBA pro, Luther Head has spent six seasons in The Association. Whereas many of his veteran counterparts playing in the D-League this season have thrived in starting roles, Head has had to make his mark in other ways.
With the Spurs sending Cory Joseph up and down between San Antonio and the minor league affiliate on quite the frequent basis, Head has failed to break into the team's starting lineup. That said, the guard is has still managed to average 12.5 points and shoot 50% from off the bench.
Head's different role could turn out to be a blessing in disguise, as it could help him furthermore prove to NBA squads he still has what it takes to provide a boost off the pine. Able to defend well and score in bunches, Head's most recent NBA season came in 2010-11.