As the NBA season comes to a close, the likes of Damion James (Spurs) and James Southerland (Pelicans) have been among those to receive last minute NBA call-ups. It's a huge accomplishment for any D-League athlete to earn themselves such a promotion, regardless of how early or late in the season it comes.
That said, not many have waited more patiently than Melvin Ely.
A well known NBA veteran, Ely has taken to the D-League over the past two seasons in hopes of earning another shot. Donning a Texas Legends' uniform, the big man averaged 15.8 points (on 61% from the field), 5.5 boards, and 1.4 blocks through 41 games over this most recent campaign.
With the Legends failing to earn themselves a postseason bid, Ely hasn't been as busy, but it's safe to say his schedule a bit more in the days to come. The New Orleans Hornets have signed the vet for the rest of the season.
For what it's worth, Ely has been one of the minor league's best centers. Though he'll turn 36 years old in May, Ely actively keeps up with (and matches up quite nicely, in fact) with some of the D-League's other prevalent youngsters.
As a proven vet of eight seasons in The Association, what you see is often what you get when it comes to Ely. He's a very physical big man who knows how to use his body down in the low post, whether that's on the defensive end to pester opposing scorers, or to assert his way inside for easy buckets on offense.
It's likely that his noted physicality and toughness will be looked upon as the most necessary attributes to any success he's poised to have in New Orleans. Still, it should also be noted that Ely has displayed an increased finesse (and/or at the very least, a controlled confident calmness) on the offensive end since hitting the D-League hardwood as well.