As former All-Americans and Conference Players of the Year, both Chris Douglas-Roberts and Josh Childress had high expectations placed upon them as they entered the NBA. After Childress was selected with the 6th overall pick in the 2004 NBA Draft that focus intensified even further.
While both of these college standouts both their respective chances in the NBA, they currently find themselves together in the NBA D-League with the Texas Legends. Each signed around one month ago, they have shown, despite the fact that they may not have lived up to initial expectations, that they are ready for the next opportunity that may come their way at the next level.
Douglas-Roberts, now 29-years old and a veteran of six NBA seasons, signed a two-year, un-guaranteed deal with the New Orleans Pelicans during the offseason but was released halfway through the preseason. He had gone untouched by teams up until late February and after signing with the D-League, the Legends brought him aboard.
It was a bit of a different path for Childress, now 32 years of age, as after some lucrative deals in both the NBA and Italy, he had been playing in Australia since 2014. Injuries had hampered him along the way, but he had continued to show the same talent that had made him a top pick over a decade ago. After his season came to an end, he made the decision to come back to play in the United States for the first time since 2013, when he was also with the New Orleans Pelicans.
Their respective roads to the D-League may have different both in their routes and length, but Douglas-Roberts and Childress both share the same goal: get back into the NBA. Throughout their first month with the Legends, they have shown that they may be capable of doing just that.
Douglas-Roberts has been the recipient of a bit more playing time and he has put it to good use. Though his jump-shot can be a bit funky, it has been nothing less than effective through his first 12 games. He's scoring 19.5 points per game on .514/.343/.923 shooting from the field and he has brought the same defensive intensity that has earned him NBA contracts over the years.
As he has had time to adjust to the league, Douglas-Roberts has been improving. Through his last five games, specifically, his scoring average has approached 25 points per game and he's shooting nearly 50% from three-point range. With 3-and-D players being so coveted in today's NBA, Douglas-Roberts stint with the Legends has to have gone a long way in proving to NBA teams that he can still contribute at a high level.
As for Childress, he's a bit different from the last time that most fans have seen him. While he still sports his popular 'fro, he has brought it on the defensive side in each of the six appearances that he's made throughout the year. He broke both of his hands in Australia late last year (at separate times), so he may still be working back from that, but it hasn't shown in his production on the court.
He ranks second in Defensive Rating amongst players on the Legends and he has managed to chip in with 11.7 points per game on .467/.333/.725 shooting and 6.2 rebounds. He's not going to be the type of player that lights up the scoreboard on any given night, but he's able to do a little bit of everything and the progress that he's made on the defensive end over the years has been especially promising.
While the D-League has been known as a haven for young players to get their chance and develop, teammates Douglas-Roberts and Childress are proof that it's also a place where veterans can re-establish themselves without the bright lights of the NBA. If their first months with the Texas Legends are any sign of what's to come, both of them may be back where they started before long.