The D-League is a place where many second round and undrafted players have a place to shine, somewhere that struggling players can turn their dreams into realities
Some people may remember Alan Anderson, the MVP (voted by teammates) of Michigan State’s 2005 Final Four team. He is a perfect example of what the D-League can do for players. Here is an excerpt about Anderson from Holly Mackenzie, a Toronto Raptors report for Sportsnet:
“How winding is Anderson’s basketball journey? After playing on a Michigan State team that made it to the Final Four in 2005 and being voted as the team MVP by teammates and media during his senior year, Anderson went undrafted in the 2005 NBA Draft, was drafted into the CBA and then picked up by the Charlotte Bobcats where he spent two seasons flipping between the Bobcats and the D-League Tulsa 66ers. After that NBA stint came a season playing for La Fortezza Bologna, NBA Summer League with the Memphis Grizzlies, then a Russian club, a stop in Croatia, and an appearance on the Lakers’ Summer League team. The next year he made his way to Maccabi Tel Aviv and then returned to the United States where he was drafted to the D-League’s New Mexico Thunderbirds with the second-overall pick in the 2010 NBA D-League Draft. In December of that same season, Anderson returned to Europe, signing with Regal FC Barcelona in Spain. Shortly after, Anderson was off to China. From there, he returned to the D-League to play for the Canton Charge in Ohio before being picked up by the Raptors last season on two separate 10-day contracts and then a contract for the rest of the season.”
Anderson has literally played around the globe. His hard work and determination earned him a guaranteed contract for the 2012-2013 NBA season. So far this season he has played in all four Toronto Raptors games averaging a little more than 20 minutes per game.
NBA teams can invite 20 players to training camp and are allowed to break camp with a maximum of 15 players. Each team is allowed to send three of their training camp players to their D-League affiliates. All of the following players played at major D-1 basketball schools and overseas. They were all invited to NBA camps this past preseason too. For whatever reason, they were cut in training camp. But a team like the Charlotte Bobcats or the Washington Wizards might be able to use their talents this season.
And with that here’s the 2012-2013 NBA Development League “Do You Remember Me?” team:
PG: Demetri McCamey 6’3” 200 lbs. Age: 23
College: Illinois; Overseas: Turkey, Israel
Rio Grande Valley Vipers (Houston Rockets affiliate)
McCamey is a big, physical guard with deep range on his jumper. He has good court vision but can take some bad shots at times. Conditioning has never been a strength, but he was 1st team All Big Ten in 2010 (2009, 2011 All-Big Ten 3rd team). He was a member of the 2012 Chicago Bulls Summer League team in Las Vegas but played quite poorly, shooting 36.8 percent from the floor. The Rockets have been one of the most active teams in terms of using the D-League and with strong play, McCamey could be called up.
SG: Chris Douglas-Roberts 6’7” 210 lbs. Age: 25
College: Memphis; Overseas: Italy
Texas Legends (Dallas Mavericks affiliate)
Douglas-Roberts was actually a Los Angeles Lakers training camp invitee but was not designated an “affiliate player.” It was a smart move by Donnie Nelson to sign him and Melvin Ely for half a day, then cut them so they could be sent to Frisco.
Douglas-Roberts has seen time in the NBA before, with the New Jersey Nets and the Milwaukee Bucks. He has great size for a 2-guard, but is an average athlete and is an inefficient gunner. With more of a team attitude, Chris Douglas-Roberts could get a chance to stay in the league for good this time around. He is the only player on this team with NBA experience.
SF: Micah Downs 6’7” 180 lbs. Age:26
College: Gonzaga; Overseas: Spain, Croatia, Belgium
Maine Red Claws (Boston Celtics affiliate)
Downs is a good athlete with a great jump shot, but he is rail thin at only 180 pounds (McCamey is four inches shorter but weighs twenty pounds more!) Although he’s a great rebounder for a wing, his ballhandling skills need to improve. It’s worth noting that Downs won the ACB Rising Stars award in the Spanish ACB league last season. Past winners include Sergio Rodriguez, Ricky Rubio, Mirza Teletovic (a sweet shooting forward who signed with the Nets this past summer) and the 2011-2012 NBA “Came Out Of Nowhere” award winner, Gustavo Ayon.
PF: Dallas Lauderdale 6’8” 260 lbs. Age: 24
College: Ohio State; Overseas: Poland
Idaho Stampede (Portland Trailblazers affiliate)
It’s unlikely Lauderdale will ever make an NBA team due to his offensive game, no matter how hard he works. However, he boasts a 7’6.5” wingspan which gives him plenty of potential on the boards and on defense. He was one of the best shot blockers in the Big Ten throughout his career. Lauderdale played sparingly for the Golden State Warriors Summer League team in Vegas, appearing in only three games.
C/PF: Jarvis Varnado 6’9” 210 lbs. Age:24
College: Mississippi State; Overseas: Israel, Italy
Sioux Falls Skyforce (Miami Heat affiliate)
Speaking of shot blockers, Varnado is arguably the most dominant shot blocker in the history of college basketball. With his 7’4” wingspan, Varnado swatted an amazing 564 shots over his four year career, the most in NCAA history. The three time (2008, 2009, 2010) SEC Defensive Player of the year is an explosive athlete but is very raw offensively. Although the 41st pick of the 2010 NBA draft has yet to see NBA playing time, he will be one of the elite big men in the D-League this upcoming season.