How did the Legends do last season?
The Legends finished last season just under the .500 mark at 24-26 and unfortunately missed the playoffs. Though the Legends didn't make the playoffs they still had plenty of talent as P.J. Hairston was a first round NBA draft pick and three other players are now playing professionally overseas. Texas played a fun brand of basketball as they were fourth in the league in points per game at 112.6 and this season they are banking on that brand producing more wins.
How good can they be?
The Legends have a load of talent this season with Renaldo Balkman, Bernard James, Damion James, Doron Lamb, and Eric Griffin. All of them -- among others on the roster -- have NBA experience and I can't see a scenario where they finish with less than 28 or 29 wins this year, which would almost certainly place them in the playoffs. Eduardo Najera is starting to settle in and recently added Nick Van Exel as an associate head coach along with DeSagana Diop and Fred House as player development coaches, so the leadership is definitely there for this franchise.
Most likely call-up?
Bernard James gets the nod from me here. He has already played 76 games in the NBA -- all with the Mavericks -- over the last two seasons and I think he was just an unfortunate NBA casualty due to not enough roster spots. James played one game with the Legends last season and posted 38 points and 18 rebounds, and though this is an extremely small sample size, it's clear that James is an NBA talent and just needs the opportunity to prove it.
Most intriguing potential assignee?
Only one name belongs here...Ricky Ledo. Ledo has gained a cult following among Mavs' fans and basketball fans alike. He's still only 22-years-old and only appeared in 11 games for Dallas last year, and he's yet to see any playing time for them in the 2014-15 season. At 6'7 Ledo has the size of a small forward but plays shooting guard so mismatches will be his forte if he plays in the D-League. He played in 39 games for the Legends last season averaging 13.3 points and 5.9 rebounds with shooting splits of 42/33/71 so there is certainly room for improvement and development. Ridiculous Upside provided a full breakdown of Ledo's game a couple of months ago.
Can Renaldo Balkman make it back to The Association?
Balkman was a first round selection by the New York Knicks in the 2006 NBA Draft (20th overall). He never really took off in his NBA career but he has six years experience and 221 games in The Association. He last played in the NBA during the 2011-12 season with the Knicks where he only appeared in 14 games averaging 3.0 points and 1.9 rebounds a night.
Since that time he's played professionally in Puerto Rico (also played for their National team), Venezuela, Mexico, and the Philippines in hopes for an NBA return one day. This season is most likely do or die for Balkman as he's now 30-years-old and while that isn't old necessarily, the window to get another shot is dwindling. Balkman is the type of player I expect to excel in the D-League. At 6'8 he has size and athleticism to play small forward or even power forward if needed and he will certainly score 15-18 points a night. It's the other, lesser noticed, skills that will get Balkman a look from one of the big clubs. He's got to show more assertiveness on the defensive end to show that he can be a complete role player for a team in need.