The D-League Showcase is an excellent opportunity for prospects to put their talents on display for NBA teams, in hopes of earning a 10-day contract. It's also an opportunity to play in front of overseas scouts, where lucrative deals can also be made. Read on to learn more about the day one match-ups and which players to keep an eye on with the Showcase set to begin on Monday.
Rio Grande Valley Vipers vs. Los Angeles D-Fenders, 10am PST
What to watch for: This game will be a battle of assignment players. The Houston Rockets assigned Terrence Jones to the Vipers, and he's thus far averaging 20 points and 15 rebounds per contest. The D-Fenders have Darius Johnson-Odom (21 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists per game), on loan from the Lakers. He can score from anywhere on the floor, and is sure to challenge the RGV defense.
Player to watch: Courtney Fortson is one of the best facilitators in the D-League. Among fellow points guards, he ranks third in the league in scoring, with 19 points per game, third in the league in rebounding with 5 per game, second in assists with 6 per game, and fourth in steals with 1.6 per contest.
With NBA experience to his own credit, Fortson has caught the eye of big league executives in the past, and is capable of having a break-out game at the Showcase.
Other notable players: Andrew Goudelock, Vernon Macklin, Tim Ohlbrecht, Jamario Moon, and Oriene Green
Idaho Stampede vs. Texas Legends, 12:45pm PST
What to watch for: Idaho has struggled this season, but did show some signs of improvement against Reno this past weekend. The addition of Solomon Alabi gave them an inside presence that has helped spread the floor and create scoring opportunities. That being said, the Legends have a lot of offensive weapons and could simply run away with this game.
Player to watch: Mike James stole the show at the D-League Showcase last season, only to soon sign a deal with the Chicago Bulls. A notable NBA veteran and champion, the guard is out to prove he can still score the basketball effectively yet again this go around.
Other notable players: Durrell Summers, Solomon Alabi, Darius Rice, and Sean Singletary
Sioux Falls Skyforce vs. Bakersfield Jam, 3:30pm PST
What to watch for: The Skyforce have a talented crew that was recently augmented by adding Arnett Moultrie and Dexter Pittman, on assignment from the NBA. Bakersfield is led by NBA veterans Damon James and Renaldo Major, who are both capable of putting up big numbers. This will be the game of the day, as both teams are well matched and stacked with talent.
Player to watch: With the recent addition of Donald Sloan, the Skyforce have added a solid point guard with NBA experience. Last year, Sloan put up 20 points per contest in the D-League and earned a call-up from the Cleveland Cavaliers. He's back in the NBADL and should put on a great show for the scouts during the Showcase.
Other notable players: Damian Saunders, Mychel Thompson, Damion James, Renaldo Major, and Brian Butch
Reno Bighorns vs. Springfield Armor, 7pm PST
What to watch for: The interesting back court battle between Ben Uzoh and Walker Russell Jr. could make this game fun. However, Reno has struggled early on in the season, even with Tony Wroten on assignment from the Memphis Grizzlies and Kevin Murphy on assignment from Utah. Springfield is also on a recent slide without James Mays crashing the boards. If he is back for the Showcase, however, Springfield will have an edge in this game.
Player to watch: Jerome Jordan is averaging nearly a double-double per contest and is getting better as the season progresses. At 7-feet tall, Jordan is true center who has the skills to get back to The Association. James Mays will be a true test of his abilities. Whoever gets the best of this matchup should see a 10-day contract in their future.
Other notable players: Ben Uzoh, James Mays, Walker Russell Jr., Darnell Jackson