With roster cuts imminent, last weekend’s Pre-Season Jamboree in Carrollton, TX gave players from six D-League teams the opportunity to show their organizations why they deserved a spot on the team. After six exhibition games between Rio Grande Valley, Texas, Austin, Erie, Santa Cruz, and Tulsa, D-League Digest is here to tell you who helped their cause, who’s on the fence, and who has more work to do.
Reeves Nelson, Rio Grande Valley Vipers: Nelson’s upside lies in his versatility, and he used it to put on a show on Saturday. Though he only played 15 minutes during RGV’s game against Texas, he displayed an accurate long-range shooting touch to go along with his unreal athleticism. Nelson looked right at home guarding much taller bigs in the low post who weren’t able to keep up with him on the perimeter. If Nelson can keep his nose clean and turn in consistent, gritty performances all season, he could be one the D-League’s most pleasant surprises.
Sean Singletary, Texas Legends: The most impressive part of Singletary’s game is his intangibles. Singletary is a point guard’s point guard – he’s a floor general in the truest sense of the term, and the clear leader of the Legends. His veteran presence will be a welcome one on a Texas team with a new head coach and a number of rookies. On Saturday, he did all the little things right, and took his teammates aside when they failed to.
James Anderson, Rio Grande Valley Vipers: Anderson spent the weekend getting up and down the floor in the fast-paced RGV offense, and had no problem getting into the lane whenever he wanted. Putting the ball in the basket, however, was another matter. Not only did Anderson have real problems finishing at the rim, he couldn’t get his shots to fall from deep either. He should get plenty of good looks in transition with the Vipers, but if he’s going to get another shot in the NBA, he’s going to have to finish them.
Brady Morningstar, Tulsa 66ers: Morningstar’s shot is as smooth as it ever was at Allen Fieldhouse. He has unlimited range, and he showed it off early and often at the Jamboree. Throughout Saturday’s game though, Morningstar spent a lot of time on the ball, which clearly isn’t his strength. His limitations as a ball handler and a playmaker were glaring, and he looked out of place and uncomfortable playing the point.
Japeth Aguilar, Santa Cruz Warriors: The considerable hype surrounding the D-League’s first Filipino player looked overstated on Saturday. Aguilar looked physically overmatched, and is substantially shorter than his listed height of 6-foot-10. He played 11 forgettable minutes, and failed to record a single rebound. Aguilar can stroke it from deep if he gets the chance, but judging from the way he played on Saturday, that opportunity might not come in the D-League.
D.J. Kennedy, Erie Bayhawks: Kennedy showed flashes of why he earned a callup from Cleveland last year, but his game was plagued by too many careless mistakes. Kennedy racked up a cringe-inducing six turnovers to go with his 18% field goal percentage. His athleticism and offensive ability are undeniable, but Kennedy can’t afford to string together too many games like this one if he and the BayHawks plan to have any sort of real success this season.