Not every D-Leaguer is going to get their shot at the NBA, but some opportunities, like Ronald Roberts (above) to the Lakers, make more sense than others. Here are four players in the NBADL right now who could fill necessary voids for big league teams.
The Lakers have been woeful this season in front-court scoring. They are ranked dead last in the NBA, in scoring from within 10 feet, with only 17.2 made field goals per game. The team's rebounding efforts haven't been outstanding either; Los Angeles is 19th in the league with 43 rebounds per game. Part of that stems from Kobe Bryant's farewell tour/shoot-a-thon, but front-court personnel has been a major issue. Larry Nance Jr., Roy Hibbert, and Julius Randle have not proven to be reliable options down low. A young player, straight out of the D-League, with something to prove may inject life into the group. Raptors 905 forward Ronald Roberts could be that player. This season, Roberts has averaged 12.3 rebounds and 18.7 points per game. Roberts has NBA double-double potential --- he just needs the right situation where he'll get a chance to play.
Josh Magette, LA D-Fenders to Sacramento Kings
Rajon Rondo is having a great year, currently the only point guard in the NBA averaging a double-double (11.7 points, 11.7 assists. Rondo is freakishly athletic, but the real thing that sets him apart is his ability to anticipate plays before they happen, both on offense and defense. Magette has been a joy to watch this year. He currently leads the D-League in assists (8.5 per game) and steals (2.7 per game) and plays with the same type of anticipation that makes Rondo great. Magette has a chance to play in the NBA, but he could really benefit from learning behind someone like Rondo and taking those intangible skills to the next level.
Vander Blue, LA D-Fenders to Philadelphia 76ers
Vander Blue doesn't have a skill that stands out as elite above the rest, but that doesn't mean he shouldn't get a chance to prove his scoring ability can translate to the highest level. The most logical proving ground for Blue is with the Philadelphia 76ers. Nik Stauskas has been a serviceable shooting guard so far this year, but Blue should be able to contribute immediately and see significant minutes. With very little pressure (or chance) to win right now, Blue will have the audition he needs. The jury is certainly out on his NBA viability, but Blue needs a situation where he can freely create offensively, and the 76ers can provide that.
Coron Williams, Maine Red Claws to Minnesota Timberwolves
Williams is the least likely player on this list to get called up by an NBA team. In his first year playing professionally in the U.S., he's only seeing 11.3 minutes per game for the Maine Red Claws. But in limited action, Williams is proving that he's a reliable shooter, hitting over 47% of his shots from long range. This consistency doesn't come as a surprise, given that he shot over 40% from beyond the three point line in four college seasons at Robert Morris and Wake Forest.
In the D-League, Williams is a shooter off the bench, which is exactly the type of player the Minnesota Timberwolves need. Minnesota currently has the worst three-point shooting in the NBA with only 5.1 made threes per game. A player like Williams on the bench does two things: he gives Minnesota an option in short shot clock / late game situations, while also giving a young player a specific and defined role they can own and grow into.