Projected Opening Night Starting Five
Point Guard: Marcus Paige
Shooting Guard: Tyrone Wallace
Small Forward: Quincy Ford
Power Forward: JJ O’Brien
Center: Henry Sims
How Did They Do Last Year?
Last season this team was played in Boise, Idaho and were known as the Idaho Stampede. During that final season in Idaho, the team sludged their way through the entire year as they finished with a 20-30 record. Those struggles were due to the team’s lackluster offense that averaged only 102.2 points per game, 17th lowest in the entire NBADL. Although the team featured strong front-court weapons including Jeff Ayres, J.J. O’Brien and Tibor Pleiss, Idaho didn’t have much in the way of back-court firepower. Probably their most consistent offensive weapon was 6’1 guard Corey Hawks who averaged 13.7 points on 46% from the field and 41% from beyond the arc.
How Will They Do This Year?
After having a lackluster backcourt in the prior season, the SLC Stars will be entering their inaugural season with a vastly improved unit. That unit includes former college standouts Tyrone Wallace and Marcus Paige, alongside NBADL veteran Jermaine Taylor.
Back in mid-October, we wrote a pretty in-depth piece on Marcus Paige’s all-around game and what to expect with him in the D-League. Meanwhile, Paige should be aligned next to 6’6 Tyrone Wallace, who spent his time at California basically working as the team’s point guard. As he transitions to the D-League, he should establish himself as an elite defensive weapon that can work as their main facilitator.
Playing alongside that duo should be Northeastern alum Quincy Food, a 6’7 forward that can basically do it all on both ends of the court. Offensively, Ford is a pretty solid perimeter jumper (35% from beyond the arc as a senior), on-ball cutter or offensive rebounder (1.5 offensive boards per game). On the other end of the court, he stands as a bit of a ball-hawk in the way that he averaged 1.5 steals per game.
Although the guards and small forward spot will be led by rookies, the Stars’ front-court will feature players that D-league fans should be used to. The first name is J.J O’Brien, who spent the prior season with the Idaho Stampede. Like Ford, O’Brien is a do-it-all forward that can contribute in a variety of different ways that includes a pretty perimeter jumper. Alongside O’Brien will be Henry Sims, a veteran 6’10 big that has spent the last few seasons transferring between the NBADL and NBA.
Who Is Most Likely Called Up?
The most likely member of the Stars to be called-up would be Marcus Paige. Like previously mentioned, we did a pretty in-depth piece on Paige in mid-September. Below is a few paragraphs on what makes him such an intriguing D-League and viable call-up candidate:
Most Likely Assignee?
This question might’ve already been answered by the Jazz assigning rookie big Joel Bolomboy to the Stars on November 3rd. Although the team brought Bolomboy back in the following day, it still seems that he’ll be spending much of time in the NBA D-League. Currently, Bolomboy sits fourth in the team’s power forward depth chart, behind Derrick Favors, Trey Lyles and Boris Diaw. That predicament should force the Jazz to send him down to the Stars in a way to give him some additional playing time.
Will The SLC Stars Finish The Season At or Above .500?
The reasoning behind this question lies with the team’s prior reign as the Idaho Stampede. In the team’s final seven seasons in Idaho, the Stampede was only able to even get to a .500 record once during the 2009-10 season. After that, the Stampede struggled through the slums of the NBA D-League as they had six straight seasons where they finished well below .500.
That should be better in their new era in Salt Lake City, as they feature a pretty strong unit that features a mix of D-League veterans and former college standouts. Although a lot can happen over the next six months, whether it would be call-ups or playing getting more lucrative overseas deals, the current Stars unit has a pretty good chance of getting to and even eclipsing a .500 record. That optimism should excite many new NBADL fans in Salt Lake City.