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2015-16 NBA D-League Season Preview: Maine Red Claws

RidiculousUpside.com helps basketball fans preview the 2015-16 NBA D-League season with its overview of the Maine Red Claws.

Craig Mitchelldyer-USA TODAY Sports

How did Maine do last season?

Led by eventual M.V.P. and Rookie of the Year Tim Frazier and first-time D-League head coach Scott Morrison, the Red Claws achieved a league-tying best record of 35-15. Such achievements obviously led to an NBA call-up for Frazier, and a Coach of the Year award for Morrison. An early exit in the playoffs last season, however, will likely led to an increased hunger this season.

How will they do this season?

Frazier's absence will obviously leave a void, but there's no denying that ball movement was the Red Claws' friend last season. They team has great spacing and continuous movement with and without the ball. Coach Morrison and the Celtics' affiliated philosophy relies upon pushing the tempo, but still taking the time to be smart about finding the right players in the right places. They should benefit from multiple contributions from a number of athletes, a la a very balanced effort.

Who is the most likely call-up?

Ralph Sampson III is one of the club's few returning players, but he may not be around for too long. Sampson III improved as last season progressed, not only improving on the offensive end, but further understanding how to use his body and respective physicality to his advantage. At 6'11" and 250 pounds, he's a relatively rare commodity with regard to talent D-League players. Capable big men aren't in the league for long, but perhaps this prospect all have to wait until January when ten-day contracts are eligible to be signed with NBA teams.

Most likely assignee?

The likes of James Young and Jordan Mickey have already been assigned to Maine at different points in the young season, but Young is certainly someone who can continue benefitting from minor league team. The minutes simply aren't there yet with Boston, but should Young continue to shine bright in Maine while on assignment, he'll force his way into the big league rotation, especially on a younger squad like the Celtics.

Will Omari Johnson garner NBA consideration?

The returning Johnson went very much under the radar last season. A skillful three-point shooter with solid rebounding ability, Johnson can certainly hold his own as a stretch four in the D-League. Will such versatility catch more eyes on the NBA level this season? As somewhat of a guy who contributes by doing all of the little things, Johnson would arguably fit in more so on the big league level than he does in the D-League. He stands out in so many subtle ways.