Heading into NBA Summer League in Las Vegas, Jonathan Simmons was set to strut his stuff for the Brooklyn Nets over the next week and a half.
For many D-League alumni, the well attended summer session in the desert proves to be a platform for them to get noticed once and for all. And while Simmons will no longer have that opportunity, it's for a very good reason.
Instead of letting him prove his worth to the other NBA executives set to be in attendance, the San Antonio Spurs came to realize what they may have already been privy to while Simmons was playing for the affiliated Austin Spurs. Appearing in all fifty contests last season, the guard averaged an efficient 15.1 points on 49% from the field and 40% from deep. Simmons followed up a solid regular season campaign with an even more dominant postseason.
His continued success didn't end there, however. Simmons emerged as one of the most notable standouts at the NBA D-League Elite Mini-Camp back in May.
"I think Simmons really solidified himself as one of the best players in the league," D-League coach Gene Cross told RidiculousUpside.com following the camp.
Perhaps the Spurs took notice early on. Or maybe the pressure of having other big league executives realize for themselves presented a threat to San Antonio that another team would scoop him instead.
Either way, the guard has now earned himself a two-year deal with the title contender, the first of which is reportedly fully guaranteed.
It should come as no surprise that the Spurs, one of the more esteemed organizations in basketball, if not all of sports, understands how to utilize their D-League affiliate to the fullest. It's one thing to remain a contender, much like they continue to, but they also keep an eye on development.
At 25 years old, Simmons is a little bit older than the league's average prospect. He isn't an everyday prospect, however. The type of experience he amassed in the D-League will not only be evident in a more polished skill-set, but an added maturity level as well.