Lots of randomness on this holiday morning. Let’s get right to it…
A belated congratulations to Mike Harris, the third GATORADE Call-Up of the 2009-10 season. As we noted in the update to Wednesday’s Antonio Anderson post, the Rockets brought Harris to the bigs earlier this week from their Rio Grande Valley affiliate after Chase Budinger went down with an injury and Von Wafer failed a physical. Well deserved (for Harris, that is – no ill will here toward Budinger or Vienna Finger). Harris has torn up the D-League thus far this season, averaging 25.3 points per game (third in the D-League) on better than 61 percent true shooting to go with more than seven rebounds per game.
Harris served as one of the two frontcourt starters in Rio Grande Valley’s three-guard lineup, but with a 6-foot-6 frame, it will be important for him to show he can play the three in order to stick around in the Association over the long haul. He has done a bit of everything for the Vipers this season, pounding smaller defenders inside but also showing off a solid mid-range game. He even took three threes per game during his 10 contests for the Vipers and knocked down a third of them. Hope he gets a chance to run a bit with the Rockets.
As long as D-LeagueDigest seems to be turning into VipersBlog this week, now seems like a good time to note that Joey Dorsey is doing a fine job in RGV as well. At 6-9 and 265 pounds, Dorsey has NBA size and has been using it to dominate the glass, collecting 13.6 rebounds per game, good for second in the D thus far. His offensive game continues to improve: While Dorsey gets his share of points through put-backs and finishing lobs, he has also shown off a more refined set of moves in the post, including a wonderful lefty hook that he banked in over Rod Benson on Monday night. Dorsey scores 14.4 points per game on 64.1 percent shooting from the field, but alas, just as in college, he needs to do plenty of work at the foul line, where he is barely making half his attempts (sadly, that’s a major improvement over his career mark of 42 percent in four seasons at Memphis). Still, while foul trouble and foul shooting continue to plague him, the big man is making progress.
Does Desmon Farmer have a fully functional right hand?
As a fellow southpaw, I love a good lefty as much as anyone, and Farmer (who sits fourth in the D-League in scoring) can fill it up. I know a little bit about being late on developing a strong right hand…but as has been noted in less painful detail previously, as a high school senior, I oscillated somewhere between sixth and ninth man (mostly, one spot after wherever the rotation ended that night) on a team that went 4-8 in the conference and lost by 40 twice. Desmon Farmer plays professional basketball. The standards may be a bit different.
After leaping out to a 7-2 start in their inaugural season, the Maine Red Claws saw their roster take two major hits since last Saturday’s loss to Fort Wayne. The “two major hits” phrasing isn’t as bad as it sounds as Lester Hudson and Bill Walker both rejoined the Boston Celtics. During his stints with the Celts this season, Hudson has yet to receive much of an in-game shot to take over the role of primary back-up to Rajon Rondo, settling mostly for garbage time minutes. Walker’s call-up came on the same day news broke that Paul Pierce will miss some time with a knee problem. While the pleasantly surprising Tony Allen and Brian Scalabrine are expected to see the largest minutes jumps in Boston’s rotation, it wouldn’t be a shock to see Walker get more of a shot than he did at any point last year with both Pierce and Marquis Daniels out of the line-up at the swing spots.
In the meantime, Alexis Ajinca remains the Claws’ sole assignee, and we’ll see if the rest of the Eastern Conference can pick up some ground on a team that sits just a game behind Iowa for the league’s best record.
BlogTalk BayHawk‘s Matt Hubert makes an amusing subtle plea for wider publication of D-League statistics in his recap of Erie’s 108-94 win in Springfield on Wednesday:
Erie was extremely effective in two of the three areas I highlighted as keys to success in my preview earlier today: getting out in transition and scoring points in the paint. Unfortunately, I don’t have any numbers on fast break points and points in the paint, but having watched the game on FutureCast, I can attest to the fact that Erie ran early and often and made a point to drop it in low when they were forced to operate in the halfcourt setting.
One other intriguing Erie note: The BayHawks sit 3-7 on the season with an odd split of 3-4 on the road but 0-3 at home. They will have two shots to get on the board when they host the league-leading Energy this weekend. That split may normalize a bit once Erie plays someone other than the league’s two best teams on its home floor (the ‘Hawks dropped all three of their previous home games to Maine).
With the Blazers sustaining enough injuries to support the national medical industry all by themselves, Ridiculous Upside‘s Scott Schroeder lists eight candidates for the Blazers to consider in light of Joel Przybilla’s recent patella injury, framed as such:
No one wants to see this keep happening the Blazers, obviously, but this would seem to open a position for yet another D-League call-up, following Anthony Tolliver last week. According to The Oregonian’s Geoffrey C. Arnold, the Blazers will seek a second hardship exemption to allow Portland to sign a player to replace Przybilla.
Luckily, I have some players in mind – I’ve picked out eight possible candidates. I know it seems that’s probably too many, but, looking at everything, they all bring different strengths and weaknesses. Just so we know what we’re working with, the Blazers would seemingly be looking for a big, solid defender who can rebound and occasionally get a couple putback dunks. They don’t need an offensive powerhouse, they just need someone who can come in, know his role and play like a throwback big man.
Absolutely worth a read if you’re interested in learning a bit about several of the D-League’s bigs.
Best wishes for a happy and healthy holiday season to all.