The misadventures of JB and Slim will not be shown today at its normally scheduled time due to Slim’s sudden disappearance into da bush. Instead we proudly present our D-League extravaganza. A showcase of the talent currently being developed in the minors.
Pierre Jackson – PG – Idaho Stampede (NOP) – After transferring to Baylor from Southern Idaho, Pierre quickly proved he was a D1 talent. In 2 years, Pierre twice achieved All-Big 12 Second Team honors with averages of 16.5 points and 6.5 assists. With the 42nd overall pick Jackson was drafted by Philadelphia and then dealt to New Orleans in a draft day trade. After barely playing in the summer league and not seeing any minutes in the preseason Pierre began his professional career in earnest for the Idaho Stampede. Ya know Vern, through 8 games Pierre is averaging 30 points, 5.0 assists, and 2.4 steals to go with an unwieldy 5.0 turnovers, good enough to be twice named performer of the week. Jackson doesn’t have a direct route to playing time and needs to get the turnovers in check before he steps foot on an NBA court. There is a ton of talent here though and with a trade or injury Pierre could be given an opportunity this year, uh huh oui oui!
Seth Curry – PG/SG – Santa Cruz Warriors (UFA) – We all know Seth’s brother Massaman Curry, now that’s a spicy curry! Seth’s numbers at Duke were more mild than his brothers collegiate numbers and Seth somehow went undrafted. He was invited to training camp with Golden State but failed to see much time on the court during the preseason and was waived. Now an unrestricted free agent Seth has played extremely well in the D-League. With averages of 22.5 points and 7.8 assists Seth has received a few invitations to try out for injury riddled teams, unfortunately his 4.0 turnovers shows he still has some learning to do. As a combo guard who’s seeing the majority of his D-League minutes at PG, Seth should be able to find a team and see an NBA court this year.
Dewayne Dedmon – PF/C – Santa Cruz Warriors (UFA) – Looks like we have a late bloomer on our hands here. Dedmon did very little at USC, left after his junior year, went undrafted, but managed to raise a few eyebrows with his limited preseason play for Golden State. Unable to find minutes for the big league club the Warriors sent him to the D-League and he has since been released and is now an unrestricted free agent. Through 6 D-League games Dedmon has averaged 16.8/16.3/1.5/1.7/3.2. Yep, 16 boards per game. With the way he’s playing and still only 24 years old, Dedmon should get an opportunity in the NBA before too long.
Ryan Kelly – PF – LA D-Fenders (LAL) – There was never a debate about Ryan Kelly’s ability, he was a 5 star recruit out of high school by anyone’s account. Nagging injuries hurt his play and ultimately decimated his senior campaign thus causing Kelly to fall to Lakers with the 48th overall pick. In the early going Kelly has bounced back and forth between the Lakers and the D-Fenders. Although he is yet to contribute much to the NBA squad, Kelly has put up some gaudy numbers in the D-League. In 5 games he’s averaged 25.2/7.6/3.8/1.6/1.4. He’s not going to be that kind of NBA player but as a stretch PF with the ability to knock down 3′s in bunches and get a few blocks he could be a helpful fantasy player. I could see his minutes continue to rise as he fits nicely in D’Antonis system.
Malcolm Thomas – SF/PF – Austin Toros (SAS) – Thomas is the 1st D-League call up this year that’s caused me to take notice. How about some accolades for a minute. In his junior and senior years he was on the Mountain West All-Conference Second Team and garnered an All-Defensive Team nod as a senior. Thomas goes undrafted and spends the year in the D-League. How did he do? He was awarded All-Defensive 1st team and All D-League 1st team and was called up for a cup of tea with the Spurs. Last year Thomas played all over. He played in the Isreali league, the D-League, and even a few games for both Golden State and Chicago. Chicago gave him 3 summer league games and he played well averaging 11/15. After 4 D-League games the Spurs had seen enough and with averages of 26.5/13.0/2.5/1.5/3.3 while shooting 62% from 3-point land it was obvious Thomas had graduated from the D-League. While minutes can be hard to find in San Antonio I think Thomas works his way into a bench role sooner rather than later. With his defensive prowess, ability to hit the 3, and plus rebounding he could be a valuable fantasy asset.
James Johnson – SF/PF – Rio Grande Valley Vipers (Mem) – Finally a fantasy relevant player. A few years ago Johnson was a valuable player in fake basketball. In the ’11-’12 season at the ripe old age of 24 years old Johnson managed 9.1/4.7/2.0/1.1/1.4 in 25 minutes for the Raptors. Memphis is getting crushed by injuries right now. Quincy Pondexter, and Tony Allen have missed time. Now Tayshaun Prince, and Mike Miller are hurting. As far as healthy wing players goes that leaves only the newly signed James Johnson and 2nd round pick Jamaal Franklin. I like Jamaal Franklin quite a bit but he’s no where near ready. I think James Johnson is about to see significant playing time and hopefully showing us there are waiver adds currently biding their time in the minors.