How did the Fort Wayne Mad Ants do last season?
Though the Mad Ants' brand (that of the sole standing independent team left in the D-League) may truly be a dying breed, they managed to stay relevant last season by winning an NBA D-League title. How's that for proving one's worth?
D-League staple Ron Howard won co-MVP. Conner Henry was awarded Coach of the Year. It was undoubtedly the organization's best season in its history. The caveat, to D-League life, is that as the people in the league succeed, they are more prepared to move on to greener pastures.
How will they be this season?
Ron Howard is at home with a newborn baby. The likes of Trey McKinney Jones, Tony Mitchell, and Matt Bouldin have all ventured overseas. Even key assistant coach Steve Gansey has departed, cashing in on his success for a promoted post with the Canton Charge.
Coach Henry is back in town, hoping to lead a new band of young guns to similar success. It won't be easy, as it may take a few weeks for this group to truly gel.
Who is the most likely call-up?
Opting to draft according to proven talent rather than potential upside, earlier this month, the Mad Ants selected Andre Emmett as one of their top picks. At 32 years old, the guard may not be able to promise an NBA team many years of greatness, but he could undoubtedly fill in during a much needed pinch.
Due to his already evident offensive prowess, the vet could undoubtedly emerge as one of the minor league's top leading scorers.
Who is the most likely assignee?
With up to thirteen teams able to assign any combination of young guns to the Mad Ants over the course of a season, it's nearly impossible to predict exactly who may come venturing out to Fort Wayne.
What can be assured, however, is that the team's fans will be treated to a healthy helping of NBA talent on a nightly basis.
Will the D-League's new affiliate program work out?
Things figure to get a little crowded in Fort Wayne. It'll be interesting to see if such an arrangement works, but if it doesn't, how quickly will the league pick up the pieces and make changes for next season?