With the NBA D-League playoffs underway, it's also officially award-season in the minor league. And while we at RidiculousUpside.com believe that only full-time D-Leaguers should be considered eligible for such awards, there's no denying that a handful of NBA players on assignment used the NBADL to make strides in their own respective development and played really well as the season progressed.
Taking that into consideration, we're excited to reveal the site's first-ever "All-NBADL Assignee team, for the 2014-15 campaign. Continue reading below for the deserving selections.
Point Guard: Archie Goodwin, Bakersfield Jam
This was Goodwin's second season spending some time in the NBA D-League, and there's no doubt he took the league by storm. The Suns' guard led the way for the affiliated the Bakersfield Jam as they won the first ever D-League Showcase cup back in January. There's no denying that such a similar stretch provided the Jam with a spark and the confidence necessary to continue on and propel into the postseason. Through ten contests, Goodwin averaged 22.6 points, 6.5 rebounds, 2 assists, and 1.8 steals.
Shooting Guard: James Young, Maine Red Claws
Like Goodwin, Young is another Kentucky alum who hit the D-League hardwood. As the Celtics surprisingly emerged as a playoff contender in the Eastern Conference this season, minutes became difficult to come by for the guard, who has only appeared in thirty games. As a result, Young suited up for the affiliated Red Claws and certainly played a role into the team's league-tying best 35-15 record. He averaged 21.5 points (on 46% from the field and 44% from deep), 4.8 rebounds, and 1.5 steals through seventeen games.
Small forward: Kyle Anderson, Austin Spurs
Arguably the M.V.P. of this assignee bunch, Anderson led the way for parts of the season as Austin clinched its division. A previous Player of the Month award winner in the D-League, Anderson has made plenty of strides while emerging as a true stat-sheet stuffing talent. One of just three minor leaguers to rank in the top 25 league-leaders for both steals and blocks, the forward averaged 21.4 points, 8.7 rebounds, 4.8 assists, nearly 2 steals, and 1.5 blocks through twenty-six games.
Power Forward: Clint Capela, Rio Grande Valley Vipers
Should the D-League opt to award an NBA assignee with its Rookie of the Year honor (Robert Covington of RGV/Houston won it last season), Capela could give the Spurs' Anderson a run for his money. Embracing his opportunity with plenty of enthusiasm, the forward anchored the Vipers' defense by averaging just a shade under 3 blocks per contest and 9.7 rebounds per game. Working efficiently in RGV's high-octane offense, Capela also logged 16.1 points on 60% from the field through 38 appearances.
Center: Ognjen Kuzmic, Santa Cruz Warriors
If the D-League was solely focused on awarding its Most Improved Player to prospects who have returned for a second season, Kuzmic would be a deserving candidate. Averaging a double-double of 12.8 points and 12 rebounds to go along with just under 2 blocks through 29 games, the big man has looked much more assertive on the offensive end during his sophomore go-around in the minor league.
Sixth Man: Dwight Powell, Texas Legends
Though Powell didn't appear in as many contests as some of his front-court counterparts, he was still downright dominant whenever he threw on a minor league uniform. In two different stints (with D-League affiliates of both the Celtics and Mavericks) the young gun displayed many things one would desire from an up and coming big man. The ever physical and certainly assertive Powell averaged 21.5 points, 10.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists, and 1.1 blocks through twelve games.