As we reach the dawn of the upcoming NBADL 2013-14 season, the road to redemption for former Oklahoma City Thunder forward DeAndre Liggins is about to begin. He'll put on a Sioux Falls jersey and attempt to follow the same path as so many other D-League alumni.
One of the potential trailblazers for Liggins's redemption tale could be former Skyforce guard Andrew Goudelock. Similarly to Liggins, Goudelock was a preseason cut who tried to work his way back to the NBA by way of the D-League. Of course, Goudelock immediately turned into one of the top scorers in the D-League, which led to his nomination as NBADL M.V.P., and a late season call-up by the Lakers.
While Goudelock entertained the D-League masses with his superb offensive ability, Liggins will look to make his mark as a perimeter stopper. In a recent interview with RidiculousUpside.com, Liggins asserted that he models his overall approach to the game after Memphis Grizzlies guard Tony Allen. "My overall goal by going to the D-League is to play good defense, be unselfish, be a good kid and work hard," Liggins said as he shrugged off the Goudelock comparison.
Even though Liggins shied away from that Goudelock comparison, it's clear that he's going to do whatever it takes to make his way back to the NBA, with either the Miami Heat (Skyforce's NBA affiliate) or any of the 29 other NBA franchises. When asked what he'd be able to bring to a potential NBA team, Liggins mentioned his ability to be a lockdown defender, while also bringing about his skills as an overall offensive distributor.
When Liggins was waived by Oklahoma City in mid-September, he had the opportunity to take a potentially more lucrative offer to overseas, but decided to stick in the U.S and enter the D-League draft. "I honestly thought that it was the best way for me to try to work my way back to the NBA," Liggins said when asked about his decision.
"I just wanted to stay in the US and the D-League to continue to develop my overall game," the young gun added. Another contributing factor to DeAndre's decision to return to the NBADL was his past experience with the Tulsa 66ers, where he played a majority of the 2012-13 season. "I was more familiar with the D-League than overseas because of my work with Tulsa and the 66ers." Liggins stated.
As the season continues to draw closer, Liggins and over 250 other D-Leaguers will use this great platform in hopes of working their way to the NBA. While Liggins may be a little bit closer to that overall goal than the great majority of players in the league, that shouldn't take away from the challenges he will face on a nightly basis. Just like his basketball role-model Tony Allen, Liggins will have to use grit and determination if he wants to have an opportunity to make his way back into the NBA spotlight.