Last season, Rio Grande Valley Vipers head coach Nevada Smith's run and gun offense was not only unique, but the talk of the entire minor league, too.
Such a style employed an offensive flow that never seemed to stop. The Houston Rockets' affiliate would often run their (shocked and subsequently out of breath) opponents out of the gym rather easily.
A player who happened to thrive in this new system was none other than the sharpshooting Troy Daniels. The guard led the charge, and quickly became recognized for his own individual impressive prowess from long range.
Many on the NBA level became increasingly intrigued with Daniels. Perhaps sensing the writing was on the wall for a call-up sooner rather than later, the Rockets themselves called the young gun up and signed him to the NBA squad. But luckily for the D-League, the minor league continued to benefit from his services, even long after he signed his big league contract in late February.
Houston assigned Daniels to RGV on multiple occasions as the season concluded. All in all, he still managed to appear in 48 total minor league games when it was all said and done. Clearly a successful product of Coach Smith's system, the sharpshooter shattered the D-League's previous three-point field goal record, knocking down a total of 240 before emerging as a Rockets' postseason hero not long after.
Fast-forward to the early goings of the 2014-15 campaign, and Bighorns' guard Brady Heslip is already hot on the trail to break the previously eye-popping record set by Daniels just a few months ago.
Having appeared in nine games thus far, Heslip has knocked down an astonishing 68 daggers from long range. For those keeping track, that's 7.6 three-point field goals at a 54% clip. By season's end last year, Daniels had finished with a 40% clip after knocking down 5 shots from deep per contest.
Like Daniels did last season, Heslip too is emerging as a key cog in an ever unique system. Reno is employing new head coach David Arseneault Jr.'s Grinnell-flavored offense.
Needless to say, Heslip has plenty of time to break the record. But if his recent efficiency is any indication, he's not likely to need all of it. Should such a trend continue, the guard would need just 23 more games to break the record. It would take him a total of just 32 games to make D-League history. This would be just 67% of the time it took Daniels to cement his own respective legacy. Of course, if Heslip proves to slow things down and/or chooses to take his time with the record, he'll need to hit (just) 4.2 shots per contest from deep to surpass Daniels' mark, should he end up appearing in all 50 games.
Whether or not he ultimately receives the opportunity to do so remains to be seen. Of course, as he garners such attention and recognition for his impressive play, NBA teams continue to take notice and consider calling him up.
Daniels had an unique opportunity to continue draining shots from deep in the minor league, even after he went on to sign his NBA contract. It'll be interesting to see what the future holds for Heslip in that regard.