There are a multitude of stories to follow coming into the 2014-15 D-League season, but one that always seems to catch attention of fans is how NBA assignees perform when sent to their big league club's respective D-League affiliate. Opening night saw six assigned players earn playing time for four separate D-League clubs. While having an NBA player on one's roster for a short period might seem to be an astronomical advantage, that's not always the case. On Friday night, the Santa Cruz Warriors stood tall as the sole team featuring an NBA assignee (or two) to come away with a victory.
T.J. Warren earns our Top Assignee of the Night.
T.J. Warren - Bakersfield Jam - Phoenix Suns
Warren was the 14th overall pick in this year's NBA Draft by the Phoenix Suns, and while he was successful in summer league and got some time in preseason, he hasn't had the opportunity with the big club just yet, hence, the assignment to the Jam for opening night. Warren has one quantifiable skill coming into the NBA as a rookie; he can flat out score the basketball. He averaged 24.9 points a game last year for NC State while shooting a blistering 52.5 percent as well.
Friday night Warren was the best player on the court for either team. He got his shot whenever he wanted and didn't have to force anything at all. He was able to score on mid-post face-ups, on drives to the basket, and he showed his range by making a few 3-pointers as well. All in all he finished with 40 points, six rebounds and three assists while shooting 16-27 from the field (including three 3-pointers) and 5-5 from the charity stripe. It's going to be tough for the Suns to find Warren minutes with Gerald Green and P.J. Tucker holding down the small forward spot, however Warren is definitely ready to contribute on the offensive end of the court.
Other NBA Assignee Performances:
Justin Holiday (SC Warriors/GS Warriors) -- 26 points, six rebounds and four assists; 9-20 FGs (5-11 from three; 3-5 FT)
Ognjen Kuzmic (SC Warriors/GS Warriors) -- Six points, 14 rebounds and two blocks; 2-8 FGs (2-2 FT)
Eric Moreland (Reno Bighorns/Sacramento Kings) -- 14 points and 14 rebounds; 6-11 FGs (2-5 FT)
Tyler Ennis (Bakersfield Jam/Phoenix Suns) -- 25 points, six rebounds and five assists; 11-23 FGs (1-5 from three; 2-2 FT)
Toure Murry (Idaho Stampede/Utah Jazz) -- Seven points and five rebounds; 2-9 FGs (0-2 from three; 3-4 FT)