Though the NBA D-League may not go on to produce any scoring kings, the minor league system is continuously praised for discovering and developing prospects who can make an impact by doing all of the little things.
A big thing minor leaguers are often recognized for, however, is helping their respective teams earn victories. Often times, many call-ups come from the winning teams of NBADL, simply because it's easy to see the type of impact they have.
That said, if a player's squad is on stuck on a losing streak, he may very well not be a good cause. It's very possible that a few diamond in the rough prospects are be buried on a losing squad. That doesn't mean such a player wouldn't be able to prosper elsewhere and contribute something positive to a winning environment.
With that in mind, a couple of players (both with Big Apple collegiate roots) emerged to stand out despite donning a uniform for a team that experienced a loss during day one of the 2013 NBA D-League Showcase.
Demetris Nichols of Syracuse University has been a solid contributor for the Sioux Falls Skyforce all season long. He has played alongside a bevy of other talented players (including the recently traded Andrew Goudelock), but has still managed to make his presence felt, averaging 16.8 points and 1.6 steals per game heading into Showcase play.
Since spending time overseas after failing to catch on with a couple of teams during training camp in recent seasons, the forward is attempting to use the D-League as his bridge back into The Association once and for all. By trading Goudelock last week, Sioux Falls may have in fact helped Nichols' cause. Making him a more central point of the team's offense will certainly put the forward in an even more positive light.
In day one of the Showcase, Nichols proved he could efficiently take on the burden of being his team's new resident go-to-guy. The Syracuse alum led his team with 22 points, while shooting 9 of 15 from the floor. Nichols' aggressiveness and success around the floor should be commended, though his team couldn't overcome a more balanced team effort by the Jam on Monday.
St. John's own Sean Evans has been muscling his way around the D-League thus far in the 2012-13 season. The Stampede may not have found a receipt for consistent success just yet, but Evans' hounding and pounding nature on the glass is proving he has what it takes to crash the boards effectively for an NBA team.
In his team's loss to the Texas Legends on Monday, Evans managed to stay on point with his near double-double figures on the year. In addition to grabbing 8 rebounds, the big man also scored 12 points. Though he couldn't quite get his shot to fall (after making just 3 of 10 shots), Evans poured in the points by using his physicality to draw fouls and capitalize from the charity stripe. Consider him a little bit of an offensively gifted Chuck Hayes.
Despite their respective teams' losses during day one of the Showcase, both Demetris Nichols and Sean Evans have been making moves recently to prove they have something to give NBA teams.