How did the Idaho Stampede do last season?
The Idaho Stampede had one of the most exciting backcourts in the D-League last season. Their starting point guard Dee Bost was a walking triple-double and he was complimented in the backcourt by Pierre Jackson, who led the league in scoring. At the midpoint of the season, they also acquired Kevin Murphy, who developed into the best small forward in the D-League by the year's end.
That trio, though, failed to blend that talent into many wins.
On the season, the Stampede won just 24 games, placing them last in the West Division. While it was their most successful season in three years, it wasn't good enough to lead them back to the playoffs, a place they haven't been since 2008-2009.
How will they be this season?
The pressure is on the Stampede's coaching staff to fill the void that is now left in Jackson and Bost's absence. They know what they'll get out of Kevin Murphy, but they're hoping Tre Bussey and Jack Cooley can pick up the rest of the scoring slack. It's a tall order to fill, and for them to make it back to the playoffs a lot will have to go their way.
Who is the most likely call-up?
This is Kevin Murphy's third stint in the D-League. His first came as a member of the Utah Jazz, when he was a rookie. He was then traded to the Golden State Warriors and waived in the summer of 2013. He spent the first few months of the 2013-2014 season in France with Strasbourgh IG, but left the team to join the Reno Bighorns at the start of the new year. Now he's the star player for the Stampede, and he'll be looking to prove that he can get it done without Bost and Jackson.
A repeat performance of last season could be what does the trick for Murphy, as he looks to make it back to the NBA.
Who is the most likely assignee?
Rodney Hood, the Utah Jazz's 23rd pick in this year's draft, is off to a rough start this season. In six games, he has scored 24 points on 31 shot attempts. He's shooting just 25.8 percent from the field and 26.3 percent from three. To make matters worse, he's also dealing with plantar fasciitis and was even forced to sit out his first game on November 9th.
If Hood has to sit out more games or fails to get into a rhythm offensively, the former Blue Devil could find himself on assignment in Idaho. The Jazz have already assigned Toure' Murry to the Stampede. They wont hesitate to do the same for someone else if necessary.
Will it be a fairy tale ending for Kevin Murphy?
The Utah Jazz drafted Kevin Murphy with the 47th pick in the 2012 and then signed him to a free agent contract on August 27th this offseason. They subsequently waived him on October 10th, but the Jazz are clearly interested in the 6-foot-5 swingman.
Now that the Jazz are affiliated with the Stampede, Murphy's chances of sticking with them on a guaranteed contract are magnified. He was one of the best prospects in the D-League last season, averaging 25.5 points on 48.4 percent shooting from the field, and the Jazz could use some more depth at the wings. It seems like a call-up is inevitable this season for Murphy but his eyes will be set on scoring a guaranteed contract.
Will the third time be the charm? Only time will tell.