Though NBA Summer League is officially behind us, the grind for potential and current D-Leaguers never truly stops during the offseason.
This was evident on Thursday night in New York City, as a slew of minor league athletes hit the hardwood at Basketball City, where RBA Sports hosted a private workout in front of NBA, D-League, and international scouts.
In the midst of some active five-on-five competition, George Beamon emerged as a staring attraction. The guard, who led the Oklahoma City Blue in steals on multiple occasions last season before eventually catching on with the Texas Legends, was pesky on defense as expected. But moreover, he also turned up the heat offensively. Beamon was assertive and confident throughout competition, able to pick his spots effectively and shoot well from around the perimeter. He had a good read on his defenders and knew when to drive to the basket, or instead, pull back for long-range jumpers.
Playing alongside Beamon was former 66ers' guard Isaiah Wilkerson, who averaged 8.7 points for Tulsa during the 2013-14 season. Over the course of his professional career, Wilkerson has continued to build up his strength. While he boasts a scorer's mentality as a one, Wilkerson's physicality allows him to get the best of various mismatches as he attacks the basket and goes at opposing defenders. He and Beamon appeared to balance each other well, creating a strong one-two punch.
And while the likes of Beamon and Wilkerson have both performed well during D-League competition before, someone else who finally appeared to look the part once again was Dami Sapara. A former Los Angeles D-Fenders draft selection, Sapara was as bouncy as ever. He's still very athletic and hasn't appeared to miss a beat. Sapara is still hungry for a shot, perhaps in the D-League, as evidenced by his passionate play and an uncanny ability to vocally lead his respective group. He was loud throughout, which seemed to throw off and distract opposing players. Sapara has never been the best shooter, but on Thursday, he made up for it with some unique ball-handling. Having him to run the floor allowed his team's shooters to play off the ball and spread the floor. Placing a wing in this position was very triangle-like.
Whereas Sapara was able to use his athleticism well to his advantage, Chu Maduabum was able to feature his size and strength. The 6'9", 235 pounder played the role of big man on Thursday, asserting himself down low and getting his way in the post. The forward, whose NBA Draft rights are held by the 76ers following a February trade, also displayed a nice passing ability after drawing double-teams under the basket.
Other athletes strutting their stuff included Canton Charge forward Steve Weingarten, international vet Brian Addison, up and coming Fordham guard Bryan Smith, and former D-League forward Jamine Peterson, who once scored 40 points in an NBADL game.
Weingarten shot well as a stretch four, proving he very well could fit nicely in a system overseas, Addison was as consistent as ever, shooting well from long-range. Smith, too, shot well, but also played solid defense on some of the workout's more notable players.