clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Five D-Leaguers To Watch For At The NBADL Showcase

Contributor Francis Adu breaks down the five prospects that D-League fans should look out for at the upcoming D-League Showcase.

Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

At approximately the halfway point of the 2016-17 NBA Developmental League season, it is of course now time for the annual NBADL Showcase to begin on January 18th. The NBADL Showcase presents all 22 Developmental League teams conveniently in one location to play two NBADL regular season games in front of all 30 NBA teams’ scouts. This year, the Showcase will take place in the Raptors 905’s home in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada from January 18th to January 22nd.

The NBADL Showcase will manage to have 14 of the 22 scheduled games to be broadcasted nationally & live on ESPNU and NBATV during the five-day period. On average, about 4 or 5 NBADL standouts have used the Showcase to immediately get signed by a NBA team within the following couple of weeks. The NBADL Showcase is a marquee event not to be missed, indeed. Below will be a few NBADL players who, with encouraging performances at the Showcase, can make an immediate impact on a NBA roster in the following weeks.

Quinn Cook, G, Canton Charge: One must admire the way Cook has maintained his efficiency from last year almost across the boar, despite his not unsubstantial increase in responsibility. Cook’s True Shooting %, Assist %, and Total Rebound % this season are all within 0.2% of their statuses last year. Cook has countered a dip in his three-point shooting success with a proportional leap in frequency to getting to the line. Cook’s 25 points per game year has not been Canton going to last resorts to scrape up offense but Cook demonstrating officially that he can be a lead ballhandler on a pro team.

Possible Destinations: Cavaliers, Pistons, Nets, Rockets, Bulls

Marcus Georges-Hunt, G/F, Maine Red Claws: The commodity NBA teams never can get enough is a perimeter wing that can both shoot threes and defend the perimeter solidly. If a NBA team already has 3 players who can do both tasks, a fourth player will never be seen as surplus. The desire for the 3-and-D wing has grown strong enough to spur NBA teams to take chances on players who even hint at being capable of the role. This is where Marcus Georges-Hunt comes in. At 225 lb. with a 6’9” wingspan, MGH may have just enough length & strength to adequately hold up against most NBA wings in spite of not being a great athlete. The rookie has mostly spiked interest though by shooting 38% from 3 on around 4 attempts a game this NBADL mostly underwhelming results from beyond the arc. MGH bolsters any skill developments with his willing and smart ball movement that makes him an extra boon to volume scoring teammates.

Possible Destinations: Basically every team with a roster spot, most notably lottery teams willing to take time to develop him

Gary Payton II, G, Rio Grande Vipers: Glove Jr. still hasn’t found his consistency with his jumper with a paltry 29% from 3 on a healthy 5 attempts per game. However, that hasn’t prevented him from big performances such as a 51 point explosion on December 3rd. Better yet, Payton knows his jumpshot weakness and has only attempted 16 shots between 5 feet and the three point arc all season. Instead, Payton focuses all his energy on getting to the rim where he’s scoring at a dominant rate of 70% from the field. Payton’s athleticism still makes him a terrier on the defensive end and on any fastbreak opportunity. He’s limited but the skills GPII did display in his senior season at Oregon State have more than translated excellently in the Developmental League. A team looking for a cheap, diet Eric Bledsoe could fall in love with GPII during the Showcase.

Possible Destinations: Cavaliers, Magic, Wizards, Rockets, Kings

Keith Benson, C, Sioux Falls SkyForce: After returning to the NBADL last season with the SkyForce, Benson has displayed a scoring aptitude never previously hinted at before. Benson this year averages a monster 20.5 points per game on a 61% True Shooting Percentage. Even more impressively, Benson has expanded his offensive skillset to include an useful midrange jumper which has fallen 48% of the time from 15 to 19 feet. All of that combined with his already established rim-protecting prowess gives the 28 year old a right to be considered the NBADL MVP thus far this season. The NBA is currently infamously flooded with bigmen at the moment but a rim protector who can offer some positives offensively remains in high demand. If Benson proves to the scouts in person that his immense progress will not be waning soon & he especially entices the scouts with his burgeoning shot from distance, Benson might be the most coveted NBADL call-up by next week.

Possible Destinations: Blazers, Clippers, Wizards, Nets, Celtics

Alex Poythress, F, Fort Wayne Mad Ants: Poythress has fallen off the radar since his freshman year at Kentucky after serious injury issues & Calipari talent influxes. However, his rookie season as a Fort Wayne Mad Ant should be enough to rectify his anonymity in NBA scouts’ minds. Poythress is enjoying his first season as a high-usage offensive focal point since high school and riding the usage by bullying in the paint his way to 19.4 points per game on 61% True Shooting Percentage. Even more encouraging is his athleticism seems back to its pre-injury days and the 6’7” forward currently is 5th in the entire NBADL in Block Percentage. Poythress’s defense still needs some progress in terms of avoiding fouls and overall constraint, but it now seems like primetime for a NBA team to take a shot on a former highly regarded prospect.

Possible Destinations: Wizards, Pelicans, Hornets, Nets, Knicks