This past week for the D-League has been one of the more exciting/eventful in recent history. Starting with the D.J Kennedy to RGV trade, the recent performances of Justin Holiday and Tornike Shengalia, and of course, the seven players that have recently been called up to the NBA. How will all these latest happenings impact effected D-League teams in the coming weeks?
Travis Leslie and the Santa Cruz Warriors
Earlier Friday afternoon, Travis Leslie was reportedly called up from the Warriors to the Utah Jazz. Forced to cut a player shortly to make room for Leslie, it appears as though they'll either drop Raja Bell or Kevin Murphy, who D-League fans should recognize from his time with the Reno Bighorns earlier this season. Leslie will add a solid perimeter defender and a solid but yet athletic wing to the Jazz. He was a key piece to a Santa Cruz team that is currently the fourth seed in the league. Now, Leslie's going to be tough to replace; he was one of the favorites for D-League MVP with 16.4 PPG, 7.4 RPG and 1.8 SPG.
The main replacement option for the Warriors appears to be 6'4 guard Cameron Jones of Northern Arizona. Jones has been a solid guard this season. He doesn't have the overall quickness and athleticism as Leslie (not a lot of players do). Jones is also a rock solid offensive player by averaging around 12.3 PPG on 46% shooting. He can shoot the occasional three ball, but he excels with his mid-range shot and his ability to go to the free throw line.
Henry Sims and the Erie BayHawks
Sims was probably the most productive front court player in the entire D-League during his time with the Erie BayHawks, where he averaged 17 PPG, 9.0 RPG and 1.5 BPG. That production, coupled with the lack of a real backup center to Robin Lopez, is the main reason why the Hornets signed him to a 10 day contract. But how does that effect the BayHawks? Erie's currently sitting at the eighth seed in the playoff race, but basically transformed the team earlier this week when they traded Kennedy.
The BayHawks are no longer built around one star player, as they were with Kennedy and Sims, but rather now around a group of solid players. Two of those solid players are forwards Kyle Goldcamp and Erik Daniels, who will get more exposure and playing time with Sims in New Orleans.
Daniels is that wily veteran who's played in nearly every country possible in his 9 year pro career, but has made his biggest impact while playing with Erie. He's is the leading scorer in BayHawks history, yet has found himself off of the bench for the majority of the season.
While Daniels is more of a SF/PF, the 6'10 Kyle Goldcamp is definitely the top candidate to take the minute of the newly departed Henry SIms. Kyle Goldcamp has started in 18 of Erie's 30 games but has only averaged around 22 minutes. In the limited amount of time that Goldcamp has played, he's shown that he's a solid rebounder with a soft touch around the basket.
Maalik Wayns and the Rio Grande Valley Vipers
Now, this situation is different than most that I've already discussed in this article for the simple fact that Wayns really hasn't played much with the Vipers. He recently started to play more minutes with the team, but still came off of the bench as a role player. Such a role makes the timing of his call-up rather strange. The Clippers, of course, do have solid guards like Chauncey Billups, Chris Paul and Eric Bledsoe, but both Paul and Billups have been battling injury issues. Perhaps the team's curiosity for another guard makes sense as they look to a fill a void.
Wayans' call-up to LA couldn't really come at a worse time for RGV, because it occurred on the same day the team happened to trade former Rockets guard Scott Machado to Santa Cruz.
While the lose of two point guards could be killer to a team, the Vipers are one of the only teams that could survive it simply because of their depth. Recently, the team has been starting both Glen Rice Jr. and Andrew Goudelock (who are not exactly point guards per say) at the guard positions. Both are both great scoring threats who have led the team to the 2nd best record in the D-League.
Shelvin Mack and the Maine Red Claws
The Red Claws should be used to Shelvin Mack leaving the team, because he's already done it twice this year. But they'll be doing it this time without the security blanket known as Andre Barrett, who's now with the Skyforce.
Maine is an extremely deep team, but though they have Chris Wright, Micah Downs, DaJuan Summers and occasionally Feb Melo in front court, they're still pretty weak in the back-court. The back-court currently features Mark Tyndale and Jeremiah Rivers, who are each solid players in their own right, but neither have really shown much in their time in the D-League.
Malcolm Thomas and the LA D-Fenders
Malcolm Thomas was just recently acquired by the D-Fenders, on the 5th but is already on his way out as he was just signed to a 10 day contract by the Golden State Warriors. On paper, the D-Fenders seem like a solid team, especially in the SG/SF position with the likes of Jamario Moon, Elijah Milsap, and Lazar Hayward, who are all solid players in their own right, so maybe they won't miss Thomas all too much, even though he's a fine player. They've managed to cope without him merely all season long beforehand.
Terrel Harris and the Erie BayHawks
Now, even though Harris technnically left the D-League as a member of the Bayhawks, he didn't actually play a minute with the team due to the fact that he was just acquired in the D.J Kennedy trade. The former NBA champion guard was a role player with RGV after being waived by Miami, but was a pretty solid forward who was a great defender and relatively good three point shooter.
Just like with Malcolm Thomas and LA, the BayHawks won't really have much issues with replacing Harris, even though he was a big part of the Kennedy trade. The one reason why the team shouldn't really miss Harris is because the BayHawks already feature some solid wing players like Demonte Harper, Cory Higgins and Tirrell Baines.
The big prospect out of those three has to be Higgins, because he played parts of two seasons with the Charlotte Bobcats. While Higgins isn't primed to even be a D-League star, he is a solid defender who's a good scoring threat.
Though both Harper and Baines have been solid role players with Erie, they've also been stuck on the bench when Kennedy was in town. They should see bigger minutes with him gone. Harper's an NBADL rookie, while Baines was a huge part of the team last year, when he averaged 15.4 points in 30 games.