Each and every year, D-League players work their tails off during NBA training camp, only to get jettisoned to the minor league as affiliate players. The hard work continues as they keep up and aim to make their marks as quality players. Others look to complete similar tasks as they bolster their basketball resume (potentially for an overseas stint next season) after earning their D-League keep in open tryouts and other related opportunities.
The pressure is on, but this is especially true during the D-League Showcase. NBA scouts and executives can be found all around, hoping to spot a player or two who can make a difference and/or seamlessly fit right into their organization. All the hard work that these aforementioned players have been putting in over the last two plus months leads up to this.
But unfortunately, some don't get that chance. The fact of the matter is that with ten day contracts now eligible to be dished out by NBA teams, there's more flexibility to offer chances on an NBA roster, and there's no doubt the Showcase itself is the best place to prove you're deserving as a player. With that in mind, returning D-League players and/or out of work NBA vets come to town and join teams as they look to strut their stuff once again. While certain minor league teams have a roster spot to offer, others don't. This leaves fringe players out in the cold after making a commitment, while the veterans come in sitting pretty. It's the nature of the business, as there are casualties each and every season this time of year.
But the good news is that a handful of past favorite D-League standouts happen to return after a brief stint overseas or taking time to rehab in the near months that passed. It's also a chance to see how certain NBA veterans may stack up, and if they have anything left in the tank (just ask NBA veterans like Mike James and Dexter Pittman, who have made a living in recent seasons off earning midseason NBA gigs after impressing at the Showcase).
With this mind, the likes of Ryan Gomes, Pierre Jackson, Nick Johnson, and the recently waived 76ers forward Christian Wood have either already joined D-League teams, or are in fact poised to do so. There's no doubt that this is the opportune time, and they know it full well. It wouldn't be surprising to see other familiar faces turn up as well.
It's a great chance for them (like all others) to be seen yet again, but it sometimes proves to be costly for the outgoing athletes.