In a Friday night game at the Dr. Pepper Arena in Frisco, the Texas Legends increased their winning streak to four games with a huge 146-114 win over the Grand Rapids Drive. Texas’ victory came from a diverse array of players as the Legends had five players score 15+ points and three that put up 20+ points. Although most folks came away impressed with the play of the Legends’ great frontcourt duo of Johnathan Motley and Jameel Warney, who put up 26 and 23 points respectively, the real leader of the pack was veteran guard Donald Sloan.
In 34 minutes, Sloan tied his career-high with 34 points on an extremely efficient 12-15 from the field and 9-10 from beyond the arc. In addition to that, he dished out nine assists and pulled down 5 rebounds, which pushed him to be a solid all-around presence. However, his work as a dominating scoring threat is what really helped push the Legends to an blowout victory over the Drive.
For someone that hasn’t shot better than 37% from beyond the arc in a league that wasn’t in China, seeing Sloan nail nine perimeter jumpers in a single night was really a sight to behold. The confidence that he displayed in launching transition or off-the-dribble 3’s is something that we really don’t see in the G League.
Guys like Antonio Blakeney, Quinn Cook or even Trey Davis have gone off this season, but none of them had the kind of perimeter onslaught that Sloan displayed on Friday night. Again, I’d like to remind you that this performance was coming from a player that was shooting 30% from beyond the arc before he stepped onto the court against Grand Rapids.
Sloan’s past inconsistencies as a shooter essentially means that Friday night was more of an extreme aberration than anything else. Unless he recently got bit by a radioactive spider with Xavier Silas’ DNA, the 30-year-old guard will be looked more as a pass-first slasher than a knockdown shooter.
Within that role, he’s actually pretty solid as his 6’3 frame allows him to read the defense and know where his teammates are at all times. His awareness gives him an opportunity to find teammates, whether they’re driving to the rim or out at the perimeter.
That ability was extremely prevalent during that Drive game as he was able to make great reads to a cutting Wade Baldwin or Johnathan Motley through pick-and-pops. Sloan’s ability to read defenses and make precise passes has pushed him to be an efficient facilitator as he’s currently averaging 5.6 assists per game with a 2.5 Ast/TO ratio.
Coinciding with his great work as a distributor, Sloan has been known for his ability to both drive and score from around the rim. Despite being a bigger 6’3, 205 pound guard, Sloan is a pretty quick guard as he maintains solid acceleration and smooth handles which allows him to drive his way towards the paint. After that process is finished, Sloan can use his bulky frame to be able to finish around the rim even if there’s a big trying to stop him. His ability to score is evident by him shooting 63% from within the restricted area, according to the NBA G League’s stats page.
Although Donald Sloan’s Friday night performance against the Grand Rapids Drive is probably going to end up as more deviation from his usual play, that doesn’t mean that overlook him. While he won’t be launching 3’s like Trae Young, he’s still a point guard that will look to be a reliable veteran on a Legends team that is largely filled with young talent. That experience combined with his facilitating and slashing should make Sloan into a player that could help lead the Texas Legends to their first playoff appearance since the 2010-11 season.