The 2013 NBA D-League Draft took place Friday night, opening up the door for over 100 basketball hopefuls to strut their stuff in minor league training camp as they look to prove their worth in the coming weeks.
A selection in the draft grants such players nothing more than simply an opportunity to compete in camp and hope to earn a spot of their own. That said, there was a plethora of young talent available. The player pool was filled with an interesting mix of former NBA players, past college stars, apparent YouTube sensations, etc. Whereas some still have to go to the end of the earth to prove they're deserving of a look from the D-League teams, others will likely emerge as potential starters and/or key role players for their new squads.
With all of this in mind, let's a take a look at some of the top headlines that came from the draft after it was all said and done.
1) The Tulsa 66ers Select Grant Jerrett With the First Overall Pick
After acquiring the first pick in the draft from the Iowa Energy on Thursday, the 66ers used it to make sure a past Oklahoma City Thunder prospect remains in the fold.
OKC traded for Grant Jerrett, who was drafted by the Portland Trail Blazers with the 40th overall selection in this past summer's NBA Draft. That said, the big man failed to sign a deal with the Thunder soon after. The Arizona's product was in the D-League player pool on Friday, which meant although OKC owns his rights, he technically could have been drafted by any other D-League team besides the 66ers.
By securing the first pick, the Thunder (via their minor league affiliate) not only are able to retain Jerrett's NBA rights, but they'll be able to monitor his progress closer to home in the meantime. Because of this unique situation, the Thunder are the only big league team that can call Jerrett up to The Association this coming season.
2) 12 Year NBA Veteran Ricky Davis Drafted By the Erie BayHawks in Sixth Round
With the 93rd pick in the 2013 NBA D-League Draft, the Erie BayHawks selected veteran Ricky Davis. Such a statement isn't one the 34 year old likely believed he would hear following twelve seasons in The Association. That said, the swingman who averaged 20.6 points per contest for the Cavaliers in 2002-03 will now use the minor league as his road back to the NBA.
After participating in a free agent mini-camp with the Knicks back in September, Davis was leapfrogged by a handful of other competitors for a spot in the team's training camp last month. Nevertheless, the organization appears open enough to giving him a shot and/or helping him out via a chance with Erie. It'll be interesting to see, should Davis start to play really well, if the Knicks will be inclined to let loose one of their young guns (like Chris Smith) to make room for the veteran swingman later on in the season.
3) YouTube Star Makes the Jump From High School to the NBA D-League
Despite initially committing to Seton Hall for the upcoming season, high school basketball star and YouTube sensation Aquille Carr looked to instead jumpstart his professional career by declaring for the D-League Draft.
When the dust cleared on Friday night, Carr stood tall as one of three players selected by the Delaware 87ers who are yet to have declared for the NBA Draft. The guard undoubtedly hopes that a season in the NBADL against some serious and/or more worthwhile competition will help him prove his worth and up his NBA Draft stock come next summer.
4) Open Tryout Players Prove Worthy of Another Look from D-League Teams
This past offseason, RidiculousUpside.com attended and observed three D-League open tryout sessions-- two in New York City (one being a national tryout organized by the league, and another by the Erie BayHawks), and a third in Atlanta (held by the Bakersfield Jam). Spending a few days truly trying to assess the talent on display, it's easy to tell there are plenty of worthwhile players found hitting the hardwood.
Should an NBADL team like a prospect enough, attending an open tryout can turn into one of the easiest ways to earn a D-League contract. Of course, this often results in either a) draft eligibility or b) a protected/automatic training camp invite.
In a player pool filled with more than 180 players, many of such players were those who went through the open tryout sessions this offseason. When such prospects aren't already well known, it's best they let their play do the talking for them. Based on how many of these players were selected on Friday night, it's a given that plenty of the open tryout participants impressed these past few months.
5) Sioux Falls Skyforce Select Two NBA Veterans In Top 10
Sometimes the fun of following an NBA D-League Draft is seeing which teams will take a chance on intriguing prospects who could prove to be the stars of tomorrow. In other cases, it's often just as fun to find out which past NBA players will earn themselves a second chance via the minor league instead.
Despite being back-to-back NBA champions, the Miami Heat are not ones to turn their heads on development, nor ones to ignore the various avenues to find unlikely contributors for the big league club. Perhaps with that in mind, the D-League affiliated Sioux Falls Skyforce drafted both Quincy Douby and DeAndre Liggins in the top ten (picks) of Friday night's draft.
Douby was obviously last seen playing for the Sacramento Kings, and Liggins spent plenty of time with the Tulsa 66ers last season via some assignments by the Thunder.
For the full official board with all selections from Friday night's NBA D-League Draft, click here.