On Sunday afternoon, the NBADL held their annual NBA D-League draft where all 22 teams had the opportunity to pick the players that could hopefully lead them to playoff prominence. Although there’s a gigantic amount of uncertainty that faces the upcoming season, we thought it would fun to look back at Sunday’s NBADL Draft and give grades on how D-League team did. Today, we’re going to start out by taking a look at the Western Conference squads. Tomorrow, contributor Francis Adu will examine the draft performances of the Eastern Conference teams. Without further adu, let’s get to grading:
Austin Spurs: Maurice Bolden, Danny Stewart, Charles Garcia, Kevin Anderson, Alexis Wangmeme
Even prior to the NBADL Draft, the Austin Spurs seemed to have most of their opening day rotation in place with affiliate talent or players that are returning to the team. At that point, the likes of Livio Jean-Charles, Ryan Arciadiacano, Pato Garino, Demetri McCamey and Jarell Eddie were on their way to the team. Alongside that, Austin could depend on the big league club possibly bringing in young talent like Bryn Forbes, Davis Bertans and Dejounte Murray.
With those prospects already in place, the Spurs basically utilized Sunday’s draft to fill out their rotation. Every player that the Spurs picked on Sunday are veterans that have spent the last few seasons playing with various overseas teams. For example, 6’10 forward Maurice Bolden has spent the last few seasons playing in the Canadian NBL, where he showed himself as a solid stretch four. Likewise, 6’7 forward Danny Stewart is a 24-year-old player who spent the last two seasons flourishing in Argentina.
Although these players are the flashiest names picked in Sunday’s draft, they should still play a significant role in the Austin Spurs. While we might currently downplay their potential, one of those guys could end up being the next Jonathon Simmons. Because as we all know, the Spurs are an elite team when it comes to snagging those diamonds in the rough.
Iowa Energy: Quinton Chievous, Marqueze Coleman, Omar Reed, DeAngelo Riley and Aaron Brown.
Like Austin, the Iowa Energy had a solid core in place with affiliate talents or players returning to the team. Despite that, the team utilized the draft to snag snag a quartet of solid wing talent. That crop of talent is led by former Hampton forward Quinton Chievous, who excelled during his two seasons with the team. He capped off that Hampton stint by averaging 17 points and 10.7 rebounds per game, which allowed him to be on the All-MEAC First Team.
After Chievous, the Energy picked up a solid shooting guard in former Nevada guard Marqueze Coleman. During his time with the Wolfpack, Coleman displayed himself as a player that can contribute on both ends of the floor. Offensively, Coleman is an athletic wing that can attack the paint and also facilitater. That knack as a facilitator is backed up by him averaging 3.26 assists per game during his senior year. On the other end of the floor, Coleman stood as a bit of a ball hawk, averaging 1.2 steals per game.
Even after that duo, the Energy bolstered their back-court by bringing in D-League vet Omar Reed and former Boston College guard Aaron Brown. Reed is entering his 4th D-League season, where he had his best success as a member of the Maine Red Claws. Meanwhile, Brown is a Boston College alum that averaged 15.1 points and 3.2 assists per game on 41% from the field during his senior season.
OKC Blue: Alex Hamilton (traded to Santa Cruz for Xavier Henry), Anthony Beane (traded to Austin for Bryce Cotton), Charles Mann, Karrington Ward.
From the start of the NBADL draft to the end of Sunday night, the OKC Blue had a plan that involved snagging the best possible players, even if they’re not draft prospects or even currently not in the United States. Coming into Sunday afternoon with the 3rd and 26th overall picks, the Blue knew that they had some assets that would intrigue any of the 21 other NBADL franchises. That intrigue was even uplifted by the team picking two of the draft’s more intriguing prospects in Alex Hamilton and Anthony Beane.
With those two assets, the Blue were able to snag the D-League rights of two NBA alums in Xavier Henry and Bryce Cotton. The addition of Henry makes sense, as he’s a solid wing that should be starting the season in the NBA D-League. However, OKC acquiring Cotton’s D-League rights is more intriguing due to him not even being in the United States. Currently, Cotton is playing with Anadolu Efes of the Euroleague.
Among the players that the Blue are actually planning on keeping, both Charles Mann and Karrington Ward stand as solid prospects that could fit within their rotation. Mann is a do-it-all wing that can shine as a facilitator, perimeter shooter and as a solid perimeter defender. Meanwhile, Ward is a forward that shined during his time at Eastern Michigan. During his senior season, Ward averaged 12. 5 points and 6.5 rebounds on 42% from the field.
RGV Vipers: TJ Price and Reggis Onwukamuche (traded to Erie for Markus Kennedy and Shane Richards), Ameen Tanksley and Jamaal Samuel.
In a similar way to OKC, the RGV Vipers were very busy throughout Sunday making moves to solidify their training camp roster. That started out when they made a deal with the Erie Bayhawks where they dealt 17th overall pick TJ Price and mid-3rd round pick Reggis Onwukamuche to the Erie Bayhawks for 23rd overall pick Markus Kennedy and 24th overall pick Shane Richards.
With the additions of Kennedy and Richards, the Vipers completed one of the best D-League drafts in the entire league. In this draft, the Vipers grabbed four players that could potentially play a significant role in the team during the upcoming season.
First off, Kennedy is a very versatile offensive weapon that can contribute through various post-ups, on-ball cuts, mid-range jumpers and even facilitating. Speaking of versatile, the 6’5 Richards averaged 17 points and 3.8 rebounds per game on 39% from the field and 36% from beyond the arc.
Their acquisition of versatile players continue with former Hofstra alum Ameen Tanksley. Like Richards, Tanksley is a 6’5 wing that shined during his senior season by averaging 15.8 points and 5.3 rebounds per game on 42% from the field and 36% from beyond the arc. Although he might not currently be on the level of that trio, Samuel is a 6’9 forward that shot 38% from beyond the arc.
Sioux Falls Skyforce: Ike Nwamu, Marcus Posley, DeAndre Mathieu, Ryan Bowie, Aly Ahmed
Although I mentioned that the RGV Vipers arguably had the best draft of Sunday, the Skyforce were right behind them. Like RGV, the Skyforce spent the NBADL draft just bolstering their rotation by adding a handful of solid prospects that can each pay a pivotal role with the defending D-League champs.
Nwamu is a UNLV alum that thrives as a solid perimeter shooter (shot 37% from 3 during his college career) with insane hops. Even before the D-League season begins, Nwamu might already stand as a potential NBADL Dunk Contest participant.
Meanwhile, St. Bonaventure alum Marcus Posely is a dynamic offensive weapon that can contribute in a variety of different ways. That versatility allowed him to average 19.6 points on 42% from the field and 36% from beyond the arc. Another RGV guard to keep an eye on is former Minnesota guard DeAndre Mathieu, who shined as a solid facilitator with the GOlden Gophers, as he maintained a 2.65 Ast/TO ratio during his senior season.
RGV’s final two picks, Ryan Bowie and Aly Ahmed, were players that both shined with smaller mid-majors. Bowie is a score-first point guard that shined during his time at UT-San Antonio. During his senior year, Bowie is a 6’9 alum from UC-Santa Barbara that ranked 40th on our D-League draft big board.
Texas Legends: Keith Hornsby, Uchechi Ogbonna, Bryson Fonville, David Allen
To be honest, Keith Hornsby currently stands as the only player in this quartet that will probably play a significant role with the team. While i may be wrong, Hornsby is the only player that stands as someone that could contribute in a major way. That’s due to Hornsby standing as a pretty stout two-way threat during his time at LSU, as he did a great job as an on-ball defender and perimeter shooter. That perimeter shooting prowess is seen by him shooting 41% from beyond the arc during his rookie year.
Outside of Hornsby, the rest of the Legends draft picks are going to struggle to make it on their rotation. Ogbonna is an alum of Daemen University, a small Division II school in New York. With that team, he stood as a pretty solid rebounding wing, as the 6’6 Ogbonna averaged 11.9 points and 8 rebounds per game during his senior season. Same can be said about Catholic University alum Bryson Fonville, as he averaged 18.5 points, 7 assists and 1.6 steals per game on 49% from the field and 44% from beyond the arc. It’ll be intriguing to see if Fonville can transition those skills to be a part of the Legends roster.
Last but not least, David Allen is technically a 6’2 Georgetown alum. The reason why I added in that “technically” is that he only played a total of 41 minutes during his entire college career.
Los Angeles D-Fenders: Gerald Beverly, Wally Ellenson, Jerome Seagers, Dii’jon Jordan. Kourtlin Robinson (acquired from the Reno Bighorns)
Like some other NBADL squads, the LA D-Fenders basically utilized the D-League Draft to bolster their already solid rotation that features Josh Magette, Vander Blue, Justin Harper, Julian Jacobs, Travis Wear and Roscoe Smith. Despite that, the team still made some pretty solid additions through the D-League Draft.
With their initial pick, the D-Fenders acquired Daemen alum Gerald Beverly, an athletic 6’7 wing that averaged 20 points, 12 rebounds and 3.5 blocks per game on 60% from the field. Following that, the team picked Marquette alum Wally Ellenson, a 6’6 wing that’s the older brother of current Pistons rookie Henry Ellenson.
After that Ellenson pick, the D-Fenders drafted UNLV alum Jerome Seagers and former Campbellville Dii’jon Jordan. Seagers is a 6’1 guard that was a pretty solid facilitator during his time with UNLV, as he maintained a 2.1 assist/turnover ratio. Meanwhile, Jordan is a player with a pretty diverse skill-set, which you can see in the video below.
The D-Fenders more intriguing prospect might be the player that they acquired in a deal with the Reno Bighorns. As we mentioned in our NBA D-League Draft big board, Robinson is a pretty stellar perimeter shooter that shot 44% from beyond the arc during his lone season at Southern Mississippi.
Northern Arizona Suns: Michael Bryson, Mikh McKinney, Greg Mays, Ralph Sampson III
In their first season in Northern Arizona, the Suns did a good job of utilizing the NBADL Draft to create a solid rotation. At this point, it wouldn’t seem too far-fetched to think that each of Northern Arizona’s draft picks could play a significant role with the team.
Starting off with UC Santa Barbara alum Michael Bryson, a solid two-way guard that put up 10 points, 6.4 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game on 48% from the field and 38% from beyond the arc. As you can see in the film below, Bryson is an outstanding perimeter weapon as he displays phenomenal range on his jumper.
Another solid incoming Suns guard is Sacramento State alum Mikh McKinney, who was arguably one of the best mid-major players during the 2014-15 season. During that season, the 6’1 McKinney absolutely shined by putting up 19.2 points, 4.9 assists and 2.4 steals per game on 51% from the field and 43% from beyond the arc on 4.7 attempts per game.
With their final two picks, the Suns tried to bolster their front-court by bringing on Greg Mays and Ralph Sampson Jr. Mays is a former UW-Green Bay forward that is a solid 6’9 player that can quickly go down the court, has solid hops and exhibits a solid mid-range jumper. Alongside him, Sampson Jr. has been a fixture of the NBADL over the past few yrs, spending time.
Reno Bighorns: Will Davis, Tyron Criswell, Montigo Alford, Anthony January (from a trade with LA)
At this point, we should all know how the Reno Bighorns work and how they go about filling out their roster by picking out players that can work in a fast-paced offense. On Sunday the Bighorns did a pretty fantastic job of utilizing the draft to snag those kind of players.
Starting off, the Bighorns picked 6’10 forward Will Davis, who averaged 12.9 points and 7 rebounds per game during his senior season at UC-Irvine. As you can see in the clip below, Davis is a great rim-runner that attacks the rim with ruthless aggression.
After spending their first pick on a front-court playmaker, the Bighorns used their following two picks to snag two back-court threats: Tyron Criswell and Montigo Alford. Despite standing 6’4, Criswell plays above his height as the Nevada alum has his most success inside the paint, whether it’s as a cutter or offensive rebounder. In regards to that second skill, Criswell averaged 2.4 offensive boards per game. On the other hand, Alford is a 5’9 guard that also plays above the rim, as he utilizes his 45 inch vertical to throw down some tremendous dunks.
Salt Lake City Stars: Jaylen Bland, Jarelle Reischel, Evrik Gary (from Raptors 905), Carl Ona-Embo
While Reno used the NBADL Draft to grab the most athletic players, the SLC Stars utilized Sunday to fill up on perimeter shooters. Each member of SLC’s quartet of draft picks have been solid perimeter threats over their respective careers. An example of that is seen with UC-Riverside alum Jaylen Bland. During his senior season, Bland averaged 16 points per game on 39% from the field and 40% from beyond the arc on 8.8 perimeter attempts per game.
Transitioning over to Eastern Kentucky alum Jarelle Reischel, who stands as a pretty solid all-around forward. The 6’7 Reischel is a pretty dynamic on-ball cutter that can score at the rim and also shoot from beyond the arc.
Both Evrik Gary and Carl Ona-Embo are two players that have been spending the last few seasons playing ball in Europe. Evrik Gary is a 6’3 guard that shot better than 42% from beyond the arc during his time in Luxemberg and Bulgaria. Meanwhile, Ona-Embo is a 6’1 guard that has had success with Antibes, Poitiers Basket and Cholet Basket, some of the more significant European teams.
Santa Cruz Warriors: Jaleel Roberts, Alex Hamilton (acquired from OKC), LaDontae Henton, Keith Steffeck, Rasean Simpson, Amere May Jr.
In very typical Santa Cruz Warriors fashion, they spent Sunday just bolstering their already solid rotation. That started by finding a way to grab both Jaleel Roberts and Alex Hamilton, the 2nd and 3rd overall pick in the NBADL Draft. Roberts is a 7-footer that spent the pre-season with the Milwaukee Bucks. Prior to that, Roberts was a big at UC-Riverside where he averaged 7 points, 5 rebounds and 2.6 blocks per game on 61% from the field in only 19.3 minutes per game.
Meanwhile, the Warriors did not throw away their shot when they snagged Alex Hamilton in a deal with the OKC Blue. What Santa Cruz acquired in Hamilton is a 6’4 point guard that averaged 19.8 points on 50% from the field while also maintaining 1.97 Ast/TO ratio during his senior year.
Finishing off the 1st round, the Warriors acquired Providence alum LaDontae Henton. As we mentioned in our NBADL Draft big board, Henton is a wing that has had plenty of success, whether he’s in Providence or the Philippines.
Following that trio, the Warriors spent the rest of their draft by snagging a few players from smaller schools. To quicken things up, we’re going to break down those players in Twitter-style in 140 characters or less.
Keith Steffeck: 27-year-old 6’9 forward that has had plenty of success in Luxemberg and the Czech Republic.
Rasean Simpson: Former Morgan State guard that appears to be more of a defensive-minded guard. Averaged 1.4 steals per game as a senior.
Amere May Jr: Delaware State alum that stands out as a solid score-first player. Averaged 21.1 points on 42% from field and 39% from 3.