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Writer Roundtable: Rapid Reaction to NBA D-League Opening Weekend

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RidiculousUpside.com provides its readers with a writer roundtable, highlighting and analyzing some of the most important things from opening weekend of the NBA D-League season.

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Which prospect has impressed you the most?

Scott Rafferty (@crabdribbles): Hassan Whiteside gets my vote, mainly for what he did in the Iowa Energy's season opener. In 35 minutes, he scored 30 points on 15-18 shooting, pulled down 22 rebounds, and blocked eight shots. He came back down to earth in their next game, finishing with 12 points, nine rebounds and four blocks, but it still helped the Energy walk away with a win.

Drew Corrigan (@dcorrigan50): I'd have to go with Ronald Roberts in Delaware or Brady Heslip for the Reno Bighorns. Roberts had 16 points and 19 boards in Delware's triple-OT victory against Canton, impressingly playing 45 minutes. He's a freak athlete that should thrive in the D-League. On the other hand, Brady Heslip is known as a shooter and proved that in his debut, hitting 11 threes. It'll be hard for him to keep that up, but he did shoot 24 times in 24 minutes, so this is something to monitor going forward.

Chris Reichert (@Chris_Reichert): James Michael-McAdoo started the season with a bang for Santa Cruz. The team went 1-1 after a tough loss on Saturday night, but McAdoo was stellar in both contests. In game one, he came off the bench for 24 points and eight rebounds, and then, was thrusted into the starting lineup for game two where he responded with 20 points, 10 rebounds, five assists and six blocks. It's a very small sample size, but he's played within himself so far,  and looks like a guy with a chip on his shoulder after going undrafted this year.

Which team has looked the best in the early going?

Rafferty: The Erie BayHawks, who are just one of seven undefeated teams remaining after opening weekend. Peyton Siva and Seth Curry will both play with chips on their shoulders all season long and, they have looked great together in the early going.

Corrigan: The Erie BayHawks have started 2-0 with two consecutive victories over the Idaho Stampede. In their last games, seven players scored in double-figures, while Seth Curry had 26 points (4-8 from three) and Peyton Siva had 15 points and 14 assists. These two could be a deadly combination to watch early on.

Reichert: My vote here goes to the Texas Legends. They traveled west for a two-game road trip and came away with quality wins over Bakersfield and the LA D-Fenders on back-to-back nights. They are really interesting to watch, because they have a load of NBA experience on their roster with Bernard James, Mike James, Damion JamesDoron Lamb, Eric Griffin and Renaldo Balkman. While all of these players are striving to get another shot in The Association, they have shown great chemistry so far and their offense is clicking. They sit second in scoring and third in assists after the first two games.

Which assignee has caught your eye?

Rafferty: T.J. Warren. In his first D-League assignment, he played against the Texas Legends in the Bakersfield Jam's season opener and then suited up against the Grand Rapids Drive the following night. Back-to-backs are tough at any level, but Warren blew away the competition, averaging 36.0 points on some efficient shooting numbers. He looked like a man amongst boys in both games.

Corrigan: T.J. Warren probably caught everyone's eye with his 40-point and 36-point performances this weekend, but the man passing him the rock, Tyler Ennis, has caught my eye. He's averaging 22 points and 7.5 assists in two games, running the offense well for Bakersfield. Ennis had a nice game against Grand Rapids on Saturday, notching 25 points and even knocked down 3-of-4 from three-point range.

Reichert: T.J. Warren is an offensive blitzkrieg. If he plays enough games in the D-League to qualify, he will lead the league in scoring. He's on another level offensively, and through the first two games is averaging 36 points, six rebounds and three steals with shooting splits of .609/.462/.714. He's a bit of a throwback style-wise because he dominates the mid-range, and in today's NBA we just don't see that very often. He has the ability to go outside as well (6-13 from deep) and he's getting to the free throw line seven times per night.  Should the Suns not have room for him in their rotation, he will continue to wreak havoc on D-League defenders.

Which player is under the most pressure to perform this season?

Rafferty: If feels like Hasheem Thabeet always has something to prove, even though he's a 27-year-old who has already spent five lacklusters seasons in the NBA. We know what he brings to the table, and it isn't much. The free agent market dried up for him this offseason and he was lucky the Detroit Pistons gave him a chance when they did. He hasn't gotten off to a particularly great start with the Grand Rapids Drive (12.5 points, 8.0 rebounds, 2.5 blocks per game), but we'll see if that'll change as the season progresses.

Corrigan: The player under the most pressure in my mind is Hasheem Thabeet. He's already in the running with Kwame Brown for the biggest bust in NBA Draft history and he literally only has this D-League season to try and prove that he can be something of worth. He's been sitting on NBA benches long enough and now is the time to prove he can be a serviceable player in the NBADL.

Reichert: It might sound strange, but I'm going with Seth Curry. He's won in the eyes of the fans, but now he has to show NBA brass that he's worthy of a call-up. Curry is more than a 3-point specialist and he's shown that to be true during his time in the league, but he's got to take his game to another level not only in terms of scoring but his all-around game has to be top notch to impress an NBA franchise. Sure, he's young and has more time than some other guys trying to make it, but the pressure is high due to the expectations that have been laid upon him.

Who will be called-up first?

Rafferty: The Minnesota Timberwolves are reportedly looking to trade Corey Brewer, so a spot might open up on the roster soon. If that happens, they could very well go after Brady Heslip, who they signed to a training camp deal and eventually waived this offseason. He has gotten off to an outrageous start with the Reno Bighorns (39.0 points in 27.0 minutes per game on 55.6 percent shooting from three), and there's a good chance the Timberwolves have been keeping tabs on him.

Corrigan: Seth Curry.  His permanent call-up to the NBA has been long overdue. He's 7-of-16 from three in his first two games and has scored over 20 points in both games. He's No. 3 on the NBA D-League's Prospect Watch and could move up to No. 1 on that ladder with Robert Covington being signed by the Philadelphia 76ers.

Reichert: My early money is on James Michael-McAdoo. This kid can play. He's played well, and aside from the monstrous numbers, has been fluid in his motion and looks like an NBA talent. A team in The Association is going to notice his high motor and sign him to get a closer look with their club.