***This preview was written by new RidiculousUpside.com contributor Brendan Owens***
How did the Bighorns do last season?
Bringing his up-tempo "Grinnell System" to Reno, first-year head coach David Arseneault Jr. led the Bighorns to a 7th place finish in the Western Conference after a 20-30 record. The team shattered offensive records while averaging a league best 133 points per game, but the core of that offensive production needs to be replaced for the upcoming 2015-16 season.
How will Reno do this year?
Longtime Sacramento King and NBA All-Star Peja Stojaković, who was named the Bighorns' general manager during the summer, had a full workload as he needed to offset the losses of Ra'Shad James, Tajuan Porter, David Stockton, and David Wear. Additionally, the recent trade of Sim Bhullar to the Raptors905, means fans in Reno will see very little roster continuity this season compared to last.
The King's invited both Marshall Henderson and Vince Hunter to training camp, offering small guaranteed contracts with the goal the duo become key affiliate players in Reno this season. Henderson, the 6-2 sharpshooter is solid from the line (college career 85%) and made 267 three-point shots in two-seasons at Ole Miss. He averaged 18 points and was the MVP of the 2014-15 Arab Club Championship as a rookie in Qatar. For a team that heavily relies on the three, the Bighorns average 46 attempts per game and nearly 39% of their total offense comes behind the arc, Henderson should have a comfortable role with upside in this offense
Receiving the rights to Ricky Ledo in the Buller trade gives Reno an offensive option when playing in the half-court. The volume scorer finished last season with the Knicks, after scoring 14ppg and shooting 43% from the field in 65 games during his two seasons with the Texas Legends. The team will rely on steady-handed Sundiata Gaines as a primary ball-handler. He is an NBA veteran that is one of just two returning players to Reno, along with Reggie Hearn, and has logged over 1300 minutes with 4 teams in the association. Still only 29, Gaines could use his experience to lead this group and play his way onto an NBA roster as dependable depth in someone's backcourt. The roster also includes Mark Tyndale, who was drafted in the 3rd round of this year's D-League draft after playing the two seasons in Israel, as well as former Delaware 87er forward Elijah Pittman and former LA Defenders point guard Josiah Turner.
Most likely call-up?
Hunter is an ultra-athletic 6-8 forward who went undrafted out of UTEP, and brings a nice combination of athleticism, mixed with power and strength. He plays with energy on both ends of the floor, is efficient around the basket, and factor in his 6-11 wingspan and still only just 21 years-old, he is a prospect scouts will monitor. Look for him to thrive on the offensive glass, as coach Arsenault and newly hired assistant coach Gene Cross continue developing his shooting range and teaching him the pro game.
Most intriguing assignee?
After an All-Star season in Erie last season, Seth Curry was rewarded with a guaranteed two-year contract from the Kings. To date, he has seen limited action in 4 of 8 games with the parent club, so we ask is there any chance we see the younger Curry exploding for 50 points with the Bighorns at some point this season?
Who else will stand out?
Will skilled small forward Duje Dukan, an undrafted rookie out of Wisconsin, get the opportunity to repeat his impressive summer league play with the Bighorns at some point this season? Eric Moreland, a 6-10 forward who played 7 games with Reno last season, might also have an appearance but is currently needed in Sacramento.