Blake Ahearn made D-League headlines once again this week, not for his usual place atop a Reno Bighorns’ box score in scoring or assists, but for getting waived by the Reno Bighorns. After a double take and further investigation, the D-League’s leading candidate for League MVP was waived for personal reasons as he and his wife await the birth of their first child. Ahearn has been repeatedly mentioned in the D-League’s official Prospect Watch and deservedly so. His season this year in the D-League has all but wrapped up the MVP award honor and here is why.
The numbers…Ahearn leads the D-League in scoring averaging 23.8 points, and also became the NBA D-League’s All-Time Leading Scorer this season. Ahearn’s shooting ability puts him head and shoulders above the rest in the D-League, while his physical stature lends itself to the opposite. If left open, he will drain it, end of story. Ahearn’s ability to knock down free throws is another attribute that simply cannot be matched elsewhere in the D-League. Ahearn holds the record for consecutive free throws as he made 99 in a row earlier in the season. Ahearn’s constant trips to the line intermixed with a combination of hard driving lay-ups and the capability to knock down a jumper from anywhere on the court all contribute to Ahearn’s solid scoring average.
Ahearn’s is averaging 5.1 assists per game, and totaled 187 thus far on the season, ranking him 8th out of the D-League’s top passers. Ahearn has a fantastic ability to drive and dish. His shiftiness in the lane leads to many of his assists, as he can effortlessly wrap a pass around a defender and set up an easy deuce for a teammate.
With a +20.81 efficiency per game rating, Ahearn rates amongst the league’s best in the respective category. Any fan who witnesses Ahearn running point for the Bighorns can tell you that when Blake Ahearn is on the floor, great things seem to happen. Whatever the called upon task may be, Ahearn usually answers emphatically, and you guessed it…effectively.
Adding a D-League MVP trophy to his mantle would mesh nicely with his D-League Rookie of the Year honor he received from the 2007-2008 season. As we all know the feng shui of a trophy case is highly important. The former Missouri State Bear polished his skills while playing in the Missouri Valley Conference achieving first team all-MVC honors in consecutive years (2006 and 2007). Soon after, Ahearn would be initiating his dominate D-League career averaging 19 points in his rookie campaign.
Ahearn has come a long way from his college days, and would be a nice addition for an NBA team searching for depth at the guard position. The hang-up reportedly is his size and speed. Maybe Ahearn winning the D-League MVP honors would finally get him past those doubts in NBA scout’s minds? The likelihood of Ahearn winning the MVP is extremely high, and perhaps that could catapult him back onto a team’s roster in the NBA where he deserves to be.