Among his D-League peers, Quinn Cook has one of the larger caches of popularity and name recognition. After all, since Coach K took the helm in Cameron Indoor, it’s been rare for a leading player on a Duke Blue Devils squad to go unrecognized. That goes doubly when such a player was one of the stars of a Duke national championship team as Cook was. However, in nearing on two seasons as a Canton Charge player in the NBADL, Cook may have proven his talent warrants even more eyeballs.
The afro-coifed scorer gave the definitive performance thus far of his young pro career on Wednesday, December 7th when Cook cooked the Texas Legends for a 49 point, 5 rebound, 11 assist masterwork in a 134-128 home victory. The 49 points set a Charge franchise record for most points in a single game, a record coincidentally held by Manny Harris who produced 31 points for the opposing Legends side this game.
Cook’s performance demonstrated the great strides he has made as a playmaking ballhandler since he exited Duke’s campus. Often regarded as a very good shooter and not much more, Cook tormented the Legends defense with hesitation dribbles and changes of speed that often left fouling the only recourse to prevent complete disaster.
Those fouls added up to Cook earning 16 free throw attempts for his deeds, many of which iced the game for the Charge in crunch-time. On the possessions the Legends could avoid fouling, Cook peppered the net with pull-up jumpers from range or took advantage of any time his Charge teammates freed themselves of their defenders for a potential layup or dunk.
While the game against the Legends is certainly a career highlight, far be it anyone should call it a fluke. Last season as a rookie, Cook earned himself Rookie of the Year and All-Star honors as well as a spot on the All-NBA D-League Third Team after leading a playoff semifinalist Canton Charge roster in scoring with 19.6 points per game. With the 49 point game in tow, Cook in the 2016-17 season is averaging 25.6 points per game with 41% from three on over 6 attempts per game and a True Shooting Percentage surpassing 59%.
It seems safe to determine Cook has officially entered the conversation for being the best guard of the D-League season along with Spencer Dinwiddie, Gary Payton II, Josh Magette, and Isaiah Taylor. It also seems safe to determine Cook isn’t done giving trying to give enough stellar offense to render the conversation moot. Hopefully for Quinn, his terrific D-League stint has given the parent Cavaliers organization some intrigue into using him to help fill the Cavs’ still-present backup guard void. With Cook’s track record shooting the basketball, even a team as accomplished as the Cavaliers could use someone who can make open jumpers from beyond the arc at will.