D-League Showcase: The Next Impact Players
In a lockout-shortened NBA season, the NBDL has been able to continue its rapid ascent in the realms of organization and talent collection. The injury rate in the NBA is high and the rigorous condensed 66-game schedule is going to have NBA scouts and personnel on speed dial with their affiliate franchises.
Dozens of NBA decision-makers have been in Reno for the past two days looking for not only the players who can fill a current void or provide rest for the veterans, but also potential low cost, high return options for the 2012-2012 season.
Here is a look at a few players who have spent a majority of December and January with their teams that fans could soon see on NBA rosters for the long haul:
Brandon Costner - LA Defenders
Special skill. The former NC State forward can shoot and hunt shots. The NBA is seeing its lowest percentages yet due to the tired legs. Costner is a good shooter, and would benefit greatly from an NBA system with a full-time strength and conditioning program. His lack of rebounding and speed concerns will be greatly diminished when he goes from the first offensive option to a true role player. Teams like New Orleans, Sacramento, Utah, and Milwaukee could use this type of stretch big man.
Edwin Ubiles - Dakota Wizards
Though his team dropped a tough game to the Canton Charge last night, Ubiles continues to show things that are tough to teach. His vertical vision in transition, midrange iso abilities, and defensive instincts kept all eyes on his game. At times he guarded scorers on the perimeter and possessions later he would battling in the post before securing the rebound for another transition bust out. As one of the leading scorers in the league, he is 10 pounds and one off-season away from being in the top 7 of someone’s rotation.
Greg Smith - Rio Grande Vipers
Having only two years in a crazy college situation after a very transient high school career, Smith finally is in a system. The Houston affiliate will give Smith the consistency and guidance he has needed. Being that most NBA big men do not come into their own until age 24 or 25, the Fresno State product has huge upside. Like most California-born young players, limiting distractions and living in the gym now outweigh the “advice and guidance which is great for young Greg.
Xavier Silas - Maine Red Claws
His 21 point performance yesterday showed his versatility and toughness. After dominating the Mid-American conference last year, Silas continues to show his overachieving mentality. He is battle tested and adversity tested like so many of the other NBDL to NBA success stories. The “it” factor exists as you watch him play and get thing done in so many different ways. Obviously being one of the last cuts from the red hot 76ers shows that he has roster value and the return on investment will only get bigger.
Justin Dentmon - Austin Toros
They keep winning and he keeps scoring. His punch will be reminiscent of JJ Berea when his call-up comes. He attacks and finishes while his fearless approach keeps his team mates up at all times. As he fills the stat line he will need to take better care of the ball to make him a no brainer but any team looking to keep their small guard attacks in motion and not disrupting their current offense will be calling Dentmon soon.
Tomorrow we will take a deep look at assigned roster players from individual franchises.
Dan Barto is the Director of NBA/College Skill Training at IMG Academies in Bradenton, FL