How did the Springfield Armor do last season?
The Springfield Armor finished the 2013-2014 season with the third best record in the East Division, but much of that had to do with them competing in the D-League's weakest division. Only the Fort Wayne Mad Ants and Canton Charge finished with .500 records. The other four teams (including the Armor) fell below that threshold, putting them out of the playoff race.
Darius Johnson-Odom led the team in 2013-2014 with 22.0 points per game, and parlayed that into a 10-day contract with the Philadelphia 76ers. After not re-signing a deal, Johnson-Odom elected to go overseas, where he joined Pallacanestro Cantu in Italy. The Armor's star power forward Willie Reed, who was a member of the All-Defensive Second Team last season, has also moved on to greener pastures, joining Hapoel Eilat in Israel this offseason.
How good can the Drive be?
With the first pick in the 2014 draft, the Drive selected reigning D-League Rookie of the Year Robert Covington. However, Covington is no longer with the team after having signed a four-year deal with the Philadelphia 76ers.
Such is life in the D-League.
The Drive made the right move by drafting Covington with the first pick. He was the best and most NBA-ready player on the board. But in most cases, a player of Covington's calibre is the one who has the most chance to be called-up to the NBA, and that comes as a huge blow to the Drive's season.
Although they had a successful draft, picking players like Ben Hansbrough, Omondi Amoke and Shaun Pruitt, losing Covington greatly hampers their chances of competing for a playoff birth in their inaugural season as the Detroit Pistons' affiliate.
Who is the most likely call-up?
After the Philadelphia 76ers waived Hasheem Thabeet this offseason, the Detroit Pistons quickly scooped him up and signed him to a non-guaranteed training camp deal. While they cut ties with him before the season started, Thabeet turned down offers overseas to stay close to the Pistons and play for the Drive. There seems to be a mutual interest between the two.
Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe are the two who currently headline the center position for the Pistons. Following them, though, is Joel Anthony -- the only remaining big on the roster. Should any of the three get injured at some point this season, the defensive-minded Thabeet could be called-up on a 10-day contract. If he proves he can fit in their system and help them in their areas of weakness, there's a chance he finds himself back in the NBA on a guaranteed deal.
Who is the most intriguing assignee?
Tony Mitchell, the 37th pick in the 2013 draft, is yet to register a single minute in his sophomore season with the Pistons. It wouldn't be a surprise to see him on assignment in the D-League again soon.
In 2013-2014, Mitchell spent 11 games with the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, averaging 7.6 points, 7.7 rebounds and 1.1 blocks per game. While he didn't put up any eye-popping numbers, his opportunities were squandered by playing for a team that had multiple affiliations. With the Pistons now being the sole affiliate, though, Mitchell would take on a much bigger role if he were to play in the D-League again.
Is this the end of the road for Hasheem Thabeet?
The NBA market has dried out for Hasheem Thabeet. Once the Philadelphia 76ers waived him this offseason, he was a free agent for nearly a month before the Detroit Pistons signed him to on training camp contract.
Thabeet is 27 years old now and his five years in the NBA have been severely underwhelming. This summer, he entertained the idea of going overseas before joining the Drive. He clearly has his eyes set on making another stint in the NBA, but if he fails to impress in the D-League this season the allure of making more money overseas may be too much for Thabeet to turn down.