2010 D-League Draft Preview, Mock Draft

The 2010 D-League Draft is tonight at 7 p.m. Nearly 200 prospects—from Maurice Acker to Luke Zeller—are available for D-League teams to select to bolster their rosters. Check out the full prospect list here. There are plenty of interesting and notable players who are eligible to be selected. Below I’ve highlighted several of them and projected the first round selections of all 16 NBA Development League Teams.

The tallest prospect is 7’4″ Moussa Seck from Senegal. Eight players are listed at 7’0″ or taller. The shortest prospects are Tajuan Porter and Tychius Snow, both listed at 5’7″. Thirteen players are listed under 6’0″.

Four prospects played their college ball at the University of Tennessee. That’s more than any other school. Chris Lofton and JaJuan Smith lead the list of available Volunteer alums. Nine other schools boast three prospects: DePaul, Houston, Jacksonville State, Kentucky, Mississippi Valley State, Rhode Island, South Carolina, and St. Joseph’s.

There are several names that big-time college basketball fans will recognize, including Nick Fazekas, Chris Lofton, Scottie Reynolds, Salim Stoudamire, and Kammron Taylor. And the list of colleges represented reads like a who’s who of the NCAA Tournament: Duke, Michigan State, Kentucky, Gonzaga, and the list goes on.

Every prospect shares the same goal: making it to—or, in some cases, back to—the NBA. The chase of that dream takes a significant step forward tomorrow if they are selected in the draft and go on to make a D-League roster. Last year alone, 27 different players earned call-ups to the NBA, a number that has increased every year since 2005.

Be sure to follow me on Twitter (@DLeagueDigest) as I’ll be tweeting during the draft live from the Erie BayHawks Draft Party. Until then, click through to read my projected first round picks.

As the D-League teams make their selections tonight, they will surely be looking for the most talented players available. But they also have to factor in players that they already have coming into training camp as returning players, players allocated by the new rule that they were one of the last players cut by the team’s NBA affiliate, and players from the team’s open tryouts. A full list of those players for all 16 teams can be found here.

Who can you expect to be selected in the first round tonight? I’ll put on my prognosticating hat and try to predict the future.

2010 D-League Mock Draft

1. Reno Bighorns – Nick Fazekas, F, 6’11” (Nevada)
OK, this is not as much of a projection after it was reported that the Bighorns will take the former Nevada star and three-time WAC player of the year with the first pick. With Rod Benson and Desmon Farmer no longer in Reno, Fazekas would provide a needed big body on the Bighorns’ front line. He would join a training camp roster highlighted by Patrick Ewing Jr., Marcus Landry, and Aaron Miles.

2. New Mexico Thunderbirds – Scottie Reynolds, G, 6’2″ (Villanova)
Arguably the biggest name in the draft, Reynolds will be one of the D-League players that the casual basketball fan remembers from his time as a first-team All-America player at Villanova. He’ll instantly solidify the Thunderbirds at the point guard position.

3. Maine Red Claws – Magnum Rolle, C, 6’11” (Louisiana Tech)
Size is a hot commodity at any level of basketball, but especially in the D-League, where talented bigs are few and far between. Rolle is among the top big-man prospects and could join the big-bodied, 6’9″ Tiny Gallon to form a talented, intriguing tandem on the front line for the Red Claws.

4. Texas Legends – Chris Lofton, G, 6’2″ (Tennessee)
The Legends have already made headlines before playing their first D-League game with Nancy Lieberman as their head coach. Lofton has that one definable NBA skill–3-point shooting. If he can develop more as a point guard, he could earn a call-up from a team in need of a shooter. He could join Rashad McCants to form a backcourt duo that would draw a lot of attention.

5. Springfield Armor – Alan Anderson, G/F, 6’6″ (Michigan State)
As a former D-League All-Star, Anderson would give the Armor hope that the team’s second season will be more successful than its inaugural campaign, which saw the team finish a league worst 7-43.

6. Iowa Energy – Walter Sharpe, F, 6’9″ (UAB)
Sharpe is an interesting case. He has NBA experience on his resume, but he didn’t play last season after being waived by the Bucks in July. Still, his athleticism and ability to score as a 6’9″ forward will likely override the negative issues, and a loaded team like the Energy can afford to take a flyer on him and hope his talent overrides everything else.

7. Rio Grande Valley Vipers – JaJuan Smith, G, 6’3″ (Tennessee)
Smith averaged 15.5 points and shot 7-14 from 3-point range against the Vipers in the D-League Finals last year while playing for Tulsa. Was that enough to earn him a first round draft selection this year? The Vipers have made it clear that they’re looking for the best available player and someone they see with NBA potential. Smith could meet those criteria at pick number seven.

8. Utah Flash – Cheikh Samb, C, 7’1″ (Senegal)
Samb is one of the most interesting center prospects. He’s played 22 career NBA games and spent parts of two seasons in the D-League, most recently with Colorado two years ago.

9. Dakota Wizards – Salim Stoudamire, G, 6’1″ (Arizona)
Stoudamire played in more than 150 games for the Hawks over the past three seasons, averaging 8 points a game. He’s a bit of a tweener with the size of a point guard but the game of a shooting guard. Still, he will be one of the best shooters in the D-League and could bolster a thin Wizards backcourt.

10. Fort Wayne Mad Ants – Michael Washington, F, 6’9″ (Arkansas)
Fort Wayne is loaded in the backcourt. Selecting Washington, who averaged 12.5 points and 6.1 rebounds last year as a senior at Arkansas, would solidify the front court rotation along with Chris Hunter and Anthony Kent up to make a well-rounded roster.

11. Sioux Falls Skyforce – Kammron Taylor, G, 6’2″ (Wisconsin)
The former Badger could be re-locating seven hours away in Sioux Falls. The Skyforce have several guards on the training camp roster already, but that’s not to say that they wouldn’t take one if he was the best player available at pick number eleven.

12. Bakersfield Jam – Richard Roby, G, 6’6″ (Colorado)
The all-time leading scorer in Colorado Buffaloes history will bring a scoring punch to whichever team selects him. And speaking of punches, Roby and Jeremy Wise would be fun to watch as a 1-2 punch in the backcourt.

13. Tulsa 66ers – Robert Vaden, G/F, 6’5″ (UAB)
Vaden played for the Oklahoma City Thunder’s Summer League team the past two seasons, so it wouldn’t be a shock to see their D-League affiliate nab Vaden late in the first round, keeping him in the OKC family.

14. Austin Toros – Derek Raivio, G, 6’2″ (Gonzaga)
A former co-WCC player of the year, Raivio played in Germany the past two seasons. Without Curtis Jerrells or Alonzo Gee, the Toros are looking for a new stalwart in the backcourt, and Raivio could be the man.

15. Erie BayHawks – Anthony Richardson, F, 6’8″ (Florida State)
With the departures of John Bryant and Michael Sweetney, the BayHawks are much thinner–literally and figuratively–up front. Richardson is listed at 6’8″ and 225 pounds and could fill a void for the BayHawks, who look set at the starting guard positions with Maureece Rice and Cedric Jackson returning.

16. Idaho Stampede – Antonio Daniels, G, 6’4″ (Bowling Green)
No player has more NBA experience in the D-League Draft than Daniels, who has played in 868 career games with six teams. At 35, Daniels will be an elder statesman in the league, but it’s hard to see someone with his NBA pedigree get passed over by all 16 teams.

Enjoy the draft tonight and be sure to check back here tonight/tomorrow for post-draft coverage and analysis on the actual selections.

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