D-League Digest

Dishing info and insight on the NBA Development League

Maine Red Claws’ Frank Gaines For NBA D-League Rookie Of The Year?

With eight games left, Frank Gaines still has time to make his case for NBA D-League Rookie Of The Year. However, Crustacean Nation and the rest of the NBADL may have seen enough already.

Gaines has been extremely impressive in his rookie season so far for the Maine Red Claws, and even more so as of late. Within the last week, the former IPFW (Indiana-Purdue University Fort Wayne) standout averaged 30.0 points per game on 50.9% shooting from the field.

Yet, according to his head coach Mike Taylor, the exciting guard has been consistent from very start of the season after an unexpected injury to a teammate. Taylor spoke to DLeagueDigest.com recently about Gaines’ rookie season.

“Frank was identified by the Celtics’ guys before the NBADL draft, and then we went ahead and selected him with our top pick. Originally, we planned to have him behind Jermaine Taylor in our rotation, but in the second game of the season Taylor blew out his knee and as a result Frank jumped up the roster order. He’s been a natural fit, and can be our go-to guy. He’s worked extremely hard and is a true talent.” Taylor said.

The chart below displays the statistics, and impact in which Gaines has had in his 40 games with Maine this season.

Category

Stat

Rookie Rank*

PPG

21.0

2nd

1st (Non-assigned players)

3FG Made

2.3

5th

3rd (Non-assigned players)

Games Played

40

Tied for 5th

Steals

1.2

6th

5th (Non-assigned players)

3 FG%

.400

4th

3rd (Non-assigned players)

*Based on games played to be considered for post-season awards and ranking true rookies (no professional experience prior to this season)

Taylor continued, “there’s been a consistency with Frank, which is something you like to see from young players such as him. He’s not a vocal leader on the team, but is a focused worker and listens to his coaches. As a rookie player I have a lot of trust in him, and he has tremendous potential.”

 DLeagueDigest.com also caught up with Gaines following a recent practice, and received his thoughts on the season so far.

“I feel like I’ve developed a lot in Maine, I can read pick and rolls better defensively, and I’ve adjusted to the overall speed of the NBA D-League and professional game.” Gaines commented.

Entering the season, Gaines is the first to admit that he had no clue what to expect in terms of playing time. “I really didn’t know what would happen in terms of playing time, I thought I was probably going to have to get worked into the rotation somehow after putting in hard work on the floor.”

Gaines quickly earned the trust of his teammates as the season progressed, and feels comfortable taking big shots for his team. “The coaches, and point guards on our team trust me to knock down the tough shots, but they also put me in a great position to succeed.” Gaines added.

Like some of his fellow NBA D-League top performers, Gaines acknowledged that he was offered an overseas deal during the season, but ultimately opted to stay in Maine. “At the half-way point in the season, a few really good overseas teams showed interest in buying out my D-League contract, but things worked out the way they did, and I’m happy to have stayed here with Maine.”

Earning NBA D-League Rookie Of The Year honors would be a huge boost for Gaines’ early professional career. Last season’s ROY recipient (Tony Mitchell) recently received a 10-day contract with the Milwaukee Bucks.

If Gaines can continue his high-level of play through the remainder of the season, the NBADL Rookie Of The Year award could land back in Maine for the first time since the 2010-2011 season.

 

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