Somewhere between The Decision and Decision 2010, a number of smaller but still important decisions were made during the 2010 NBA Development League Draft.
It’s Election Day. And regardless of whether you voted Democrat, Republican, somewhere in between or (sigh) even not at all, there’s plenty of room here for all to join in the draft review debate. As for me, I’m casting several votes today, for and against the various draft classes from yesterday’s selections. I’ll give my opinion on all 16 teams, deciding which teams made selections worthy of election and which teams need to think about their concession speeches as well as a few draft classes that are still too close to call. I’ll even throw in a few pundit-like comments for good measure.
If you’re looking for additional D-League Draft info in a more standard format, D-League writer Matthew Brennan has you covered with his 2010 D-League Draft review. And to prevent you from getting caught up in or confused by the political rhetoric, here’s a helpful guide on what my election-themed ratings mean in regards to my opinion of a team’s draft success.
Elect: Really strong draft; more than 2 impact players
Endorse: Solid draft; at least 1 or 2 impact players
Too Close to Call: Questionable draft; uncertain number of impact players
Concede: Disappointing draft; no definitive impact players
Reno Bighorns: Endorse
|Alex Smith||F||6’6”||220||Augusta State|
|Gerard Anderson||G/F||6’6”||210||Cal State-Fullerton|
Politics affect draft picks as well. Fazekas may not have been the definitive best player in the draft, but he was in the running, which made him the people’s choice (and the right choice) in Reno. Fazekas starred for Nevads in college. Second-round selection, forward Takais Brown, should provide some scoring punch as well and fit in well with a team that needed some help up front heading into the draft.
New Mexico Thunderbirds: Too Close to Call
|Alan Anderson||G/F||6’6”||220||Michigan State|
|Anthony Richardson||F||6’8”||225||Florida State|
|Zach Atkinson||C||6’9”||220||Cal Irvine|
|Tyler Hughes||C||6’11”||240||Kansas State|
Both Anderson and Richardson were players I forecast in the first round, but I was surprised to see the Thunderbirds pass over a point guard prospect like Scottie Reynolds in what is typically a guard-dominated league. Also, look out for Josh Bostic out of Division II Findlay. He could challenge Anderson for top billing on the (West) wing for the Thunderbirds before all is said and done.
Maine Red Claws: Elect
|Magnum Rolle||C||6’11”||240||Lousiana Tech|
|Kenny Hayes||G||6’2”||175||Miami (OH)|
|Chamberlain Oguchi||G/F||6’6”||202||Illinois State|
|James Lewis||G||6’4”||200||Fresno Pacific|
The Red Claws went big as anticipated with Magnum Rolle in round one, one of the top big-man prospects in the draft pool. They also drafted Lawrence Westbrook, who Scott Schroeder said might be this year’s Sundiata Gaines, in round three and nabbed Tajuan Porter, a sleeper pick of friend of the blog Mike Gansey, a round later. Add in JaJuan Smith and two second rounders, and the Red Claws are definitely one team that has to be pleased with their draft day campaign.
Texas Legends: Endorse
|Matt Rogers||F||6’11”||225||SW Baptist|
|Antonio Daniels||G||6’4”||205||Bowling Green|
|Reece Hampton||F||6’5”||195||Adams State|
Rogers is an intriguing first pick with great size. It’ll be interesting to see how he adapts to the physicality of the D-League after playing at SW Baptist. Speaking of intrigue, no candidate had a more impressive resume than Antonio Daniels. The 35-year-old NBA veteran is poised to show he’s got something left in the tank. I think he was a great pick-up in round two, especially if he can use his NBA experience to positively influence his teammates. Bonus points for choosing Booker Woodfox (for rationale, read this and then this).
Springfield Armor: Concede? Wait, no! Projected too early. On second thought, endorse.
|L.D. Williams||G||6’4”||215||Wake Forest|
|Garrison Johnson||G||6’4”||180||Jackson State|
If any of these names wow you, then you are easily wowed. I don’t anticipate Springfield going the negative campaign rout and tossing grenades towards Maine, but I also don’t see this draft roster as a message of hope to restore the birthplace of basketball’s record to a better mark than last year’s 7-43. However, news just broke that the Armor acquired point guard Scottie Reynolds from the Tulsa 66ers in a trade that sends Springfield’s 2011 first-round pick to Tulsa. Now that’s the kind of move that can swing an election!
Iowa Energy: Elect
|Luke Zeller||C||6’11”||245||Notre Dame|
|David Nurse||G||6’3”||Western Illinois|
Even before the draft began, Iowa had one of the most talented rosters. Add Lofton, Zeller, and Taylor to the mix, and the Energy’s 10-man roster may be all but settled. Though he’s not as pass-friendly as the incumbent, Lofton and his deft shooting touch could challenge returning starter Curtis Stinson for the starting point guard spot on an Energy team that looks poised to another good season.
Rio Grande Valley Vipers: Too Close to Call
|Marquis Gilstrap||F||6’7”||215||Iowa State|
|Clevin Hannah||G||5’11”||160||Wichita State|
|Isaiah Swann||G||6’2”||195||Florida State|
|Antoine Tisby||F||6’8”||235||South Carolina|
The asterisk indicates that Robert Vaden was traded to the Tulsa 66ers for point guard Mustafa Shakur. The acquisition of Shakur is a move I wholeheartedly endorse, so it’s only after taking that move out of the equation that I can rule the rest of the selections too close to call. And if anyone deserves the benefit of the doubt with their policies and procedures, it’s the defending champion Vipers, who run as smooth an operation as any D-League franchise.
Utah Flash: Concede
|Brandon Costner||F||6’9”||235||North Carolina State|
|D’andre Bell||G||6’5”||220||Georgia Tech|
|Darren Kent||F||6’10”||240||Kansas State|
|Carlos Medlock||G||6’1”||172||Michigan State|
|Amadou Mbodji||F||6’10”||230||Jacksonville State|
With Nkem Ojougboh and Amadou Mbodji, Utah definitely won the David-Stern-should-have-to-announce-these-guys vote. Beyond that, no one stands out. Don’t expect many returning Flash players to be voted out of their positions as starters.
Dakota Wizards: Too Close to Call
|Brandon Johnson||G||6’1”||205||San Diego|
|Dominique Scales||F||6’9”||230||East Central|
Chris Johnson may need to add some weight onto his 6’11″, 208-pound frame, but he’s very quick and athletic sand gives the Wizards some much needed size and shot-blocking if not bulk inside. Whether this draft is ultimately a success depends on what comes of picks 2-8 for them. Expect a healthy, competitive training camp in Dakota.
Fort Wayne Mad Ants: Endorse
|Obi Muonelo||G||6’5”||225||Oklahoma State|
|Cory Allmond||G||6’2”||181||Sam Houston State|
|Shawn Hawkins||F||6’6”||225||Long Beach State|
|Aaron Nixon||G||6’2”||215||Long Beach State|
|Deandre Thomas||F||6’8”||245||Robert Morris|
In addition to adding Obi Muonelo, a hard-working shooting guard from Oklahoma State, the Mad Ants acquired Darnell Lazare from the Maine Red Claws in exchange for the their second round pick. Bonus for drafting my pick for coolest name in the draft, Anthony Goods, who comes tailor made with his own campaign slogan: He delivers the Goods. Goods is a former Bakersfield Jam (Jammer? Jammie? Jamaican?) who will compete for a roster spot in a crowded Mad Ants backcourt.
Sioux Falls Skyforce: Too Close to Call
|Sean Marshall||F||6’6”||210||Boston College|
|Brad Byerson||F||6’8”||245||Virginia Union|
|Larry Darnell Cox||C||6’11”||240||Mississippi Valley State|
The problem isn’t that they selected Cheikh Samb with the 11th pick (I had him going eighth). The problem is that with only two returning players and just one affiliate player headed to training camp, there’s a question about where this team’s firepower is going to come from. Maybe Sean Marshall is the answer or Brad Byerson is the answer down the road, but I’m not totally sold on their platform at this juncture.
Bakersfield Jam: Endorse
|Brandon Wallace||F||6’9”||205||South Carolina|
|Lorenzo Wade||G/F||6’6”||220||San Diego State|
|John Bryant||F||6’7”||245||Saint Joseph’s|
|Ollie Bailey||F||6’7”||Oklahoma City Univ.|
Marqus Blakeley was one of the most explosive players in the draft. The Jam might have earned election status had their John Bryant been THE John Bryant aka Big Bad John, the 300-pounder who started 40 games for Erie last season. However, the 6’7″ St. Joseph’s product will try to carve out a name for himself in the league. Though he never saw any game action, Brandon Wallace was on the roster of the 2007-08 Boston Celtics until December, later splitting time between three D-League teams during the season.
Tulsa 66ers: Concede
|Devin Sweetney||G||6’5”||205||St. Francis (PA)|
|Brandon Brooks||G||6’2”||187||Alabama State|
|Marlon Jones||F||6’9”||268||Oklahoma City Univ.|
|Michael Sturns||G/F||6’5”||205||Holy Family|
Tulsa, D-League affiliate of the Oklahoma City Thunder, is typically one of the smartest franchises in the league, so I’m more than a bit perplexed by their decision to trade away two of their top assets, who both happen to be point guards. First they shipped Mustafa Shakur, a 2010 2nd-team All-D-League player, to the Rio Grande Valley Vipers for Robert Vaden. That move made some sense in light of their pick of Scottie Reynolds, who seemed to be the heir apparent to Shakur’s vacated starting point guard spot. But then news broke today that Reynolds, too, had been traded, sent to Springfield for a 2011 number one pick. The good news is that the 66ers are still poised to boast one of the most talented rosters come opening day, thanks to their close partnership with the Thunder. Three players cut from OKC are on their training camp roster, including Tweety Carter, who figures to be the beneficiary of the trades sending his would-be point guard competition out of Tulsa.
Austin Toros: Elect
|Dominique Archie||F||6’7”||217||South Carolina|
|Garrett Williamson||F||6’7”||217||St. Joseph’s|
|Marcus Hubbard||F||6’9”||230||Angelo State|
The Toros are kind of like the candidate that runs unopposed because there’s just no point trying to out-campaign them. The Toros are following in their NBA affiliate’s footsteps with the selection of Archie, a talented forward who is coming off a knee injury. The Spurs selection of DeJuan Blair amid concerns about his knees has paid dividens so far, and Austin is optimistic for a positive return on their investment as well. They also grabbed the lone Duke Blue Devil in the draft pool as well as Garrett Williamson, who blossomed as a senior at St. Joseph’s, doubling his scoring average from his junior to senior year.
Erie BayHawks: Too Close to Call
|Ivan Johnson||F||6’8”||230||Cal St. San Bernandino|
|Kyle Spain||G||6’5”||210||San Diego State|
|Tasheed Carr||F||6’4”||205||St. Joseph’s|
|Dawan Robinson||G||6’3”||190||Rhode Island|
Raivio, the former Gonzaga star, is the biggest name on the list. With Cedric Jackson and Maureece Rice already in camp, Raivio may not seem to fit, but he’s a different type of player than them and a better shooter. Johnson has produced in the D-League before and should provide some needed frontcourt scoring. No presidential candidates on this list of picks, but there may be some congressmen and senators.
Idaho Stampede: Endorse
|Dominique Johnson||G||6’3”||195||Asusza Pacific|
|Kentrell Gransberry||C||6’9”||270||South Florida|
|Willie Jenkins||F||6’6”||220||Tennessee Tech|
First, read Scott Schroeder’s piece on the curious case of Salim Stoudamire. Shady underhanded dealings. Mysterious emails. Threats. Sounds like politics to me. Putting how they got him aside, Stoudamire is a great pick, especially at 16, to build around.
Elect – 3
Endorse – 6
Too Close to Call – 5
Concede – 2
For real election results, check your local news.
As for the next step in the D-League preseason, training camps will get underway later this week. Complete rosters for each of the D-League’s 16 teams will feature the players drafted tonight along with returning, affiliated and local tryout players. Rosters will be reduced from 17 players to opening-day 10-man rosters by Nov. 18 in anticipation of the Nov. 18 tip off of the NBA Development League’s 10th season. Each team may play one or multiple preseason game(s) from Nov. 9-17.