Inside the D-League

Inside the D-League
Feb 20, 2007, 06:19 pm
Allen Ray Assigned to Austin

Rookie guard Allen Ray of the Boston Celtics was assigned to the Austin Toros of the D-League earlier today. Ray has appeared in 25 games with the Boston Celtics this season, and averages 4.9 points in 10.6 minutes per game. In Austin, he will join guards BJ Elder, Cheyne Gadson, and Troy Bell. Ray is the third Celtic to see time in the D-League. Last season both Gerald Green and Dwayne Jones spent time with the Florida Flame.

Julius Hodge to Join D-League Again

Former Denver Nuggets' first round pick Julius Hodge has signed a general player contract with the league office, and will be placed in the available player pool. Hodge spent time on assignment in the D-League during both of his NBA seasons. He was dealt to the Milwaukee Bucks in a trade with Earl Boykins, and the Bucks released him to open up room for Jared Reiner. Sources expect Hodge to be added to a D-League team some time this week.

Reiner get Second 10 Day

Center Jared Reiner has received a second 10 day contract with the Milwaukee Bucks. Reiner started the season with the Sioux Falls Skyforce, and was widely considered one of the top 2 centers in the D-League. He has appeared in 2 games with the Bucks since signing his first 10 day contract, and averages 3.5 rebounds in these two games. At the conclusion of his second 10 day contract, Milwaukee will have to decide between keeping Reiner for the remainder of the season or allowing him to return to the D-League.

Jeremy Richardson Re-Joins Flyers

Rookie guard Jeremy Richardson has finished his second 10 day contract with the Atlanta Hawks, and returned to the Fort Worth Flyers. Richardson appeared in 5 games with the Hawks, and averaged 1.6 points in 3.8 minutes per game. He returns to a struggling Flyers team that has been on a skid recently, and could use the boost that he will bring. Richardson has as much upside as any player in the D-League right now, and he could see a return to the NBA at some point this season. If he continues to produce in Fort Worth,

O'Bryant Recalled by Warriors

Rookie Center Patrick O'Bryant of the Golden State Warriors has been recalled from the Bakersfield Jam. O'Bryant appear in 17 games with the Jam, and averaged 11.1 points, 9.4 rebounds, and 2.94 blocks per game. He struggled in the early part of his D-League stint, but came on strong after Warriors Coach Don Nelson publicly criticized his play. He may see some minutes with the struggling Warriors, but they also could be evaluating his progression. It would not be surprising to see O'Bryant back in the D-League before the conclusion of the season.

Ebi back in Fort Worth

Former Minnesota Timberwolves first round pick Ndudi Ebi has joined the Fort Worth Flyers for the second season in a row. Ebi was cut from the Timberwolves out of training camp in 2005, and spent the end of last season coming off the bench for the Flyers. In 2006, he tried to obtain a spot with the Dallas Mavericks, but failed to make it out of training camp. Ebi is still just 22 years old, and has a lot of upside, but he will need to learn the right way to play the game in order to get back to the NBA.

Pops Mensah Bonsu Shines at D-League All-Star Game

Fort Worth Flyers and Dallas Mavericks rookie forward Pops Mensah-Bonsu won the MVP award as the east defeated the west in the first D-League All-Star Game. Mensah-Bonsu finished the game with 30 points, 7 rebounds and 2 blocked shots. In winning the award, he tried to display his flashy point forward skills by handling the ball in transition with mixed results.

Renaldo Major also played a good game for the east, and displayed the slashing ability that allowed him to get a 10 day contract with the Warriors earlier this season. Major finished the game with 14 points on 5/6 from the field. Fort Worth Flyers center Luke Schenscher added 15 points and 6 rebounds, and Clay Tucker finished with 13 points and 6 assists.

The West squad struggled early, and settled for too many jump shots throughout the game, unlike the East who constantly attacked the basket. 3 members of the Colorado 14ers played good games for the West squad Coached by Joe Wolf of the 14ers. Pooh Jeter stood out with 14 points and 5 assists, and Elton Brown added 16 points and 6 rebounds. Rick Rickert also had 13 points and 8 rebounds. Albuquerque Thunderbirds forward Dijon Thompson added 14 points for the West squad as well.

NBA Player Updates

Damir Markota, Tulsa 66ers/Milwaukee Bucks

Markota has slowly started working his way into the rotation of the 66ers, but has struggled to get use to the style of play. His best rebounding game came against Idaho where he had 8, but he has failed to replicate that effort over the past week. Markota receives very few shot attempts at this point, but he has looked promising in stretches on the court thus far. At this point it's hard to say that Markota has benefited from his time in the D-League, but once he becomes more comfortable with the situation it will be easier to evaluate where he's at.

Pops Mensah-Bonsu, Fort Worth Flyers/Dallas Mavericks

Mensah-Bonsu spent a little bit of time back with the Mavericks before returning to the Flyers for a game and playing in the D-League All-Star game. He clearly likes where he is with the Flyers, and takes full advantage of his opportunity for minutes. This was evident in the all-star game where he came away with the MVP award. A few weaknesses still hinder what Mensah-Bonsu might be able to do at the NBA level. He lacks the size of most power forwards in the NBA, and his athleticism won't be nearly as effective there as it is in the D-League. Free throw shooting has continued to be a big weakness for Pops, who barely shoots above 55% from the free throw line. It has been nice to watch Pops Mensah-Bonsu work on his game in the D-League, and it will be interesting to see if he can translate it to the next level.

Mohamed Saer Sene, Idaho Stampede/Seattle Supersonics

Sene had his best D-League last Friday when he finished with 23 points, 14 rebounds, and 2 blocked shots. His offensive game continues to get better with time, and he has become comfortable using a jump hook on a consistent basis. Rebounding has been another place where Sene has excelled recently. His body has really improved since last summer, and he uses his body well when fighting for rebounds. The rookie center will need to prove he can score on a more consistent basis, but he has utilized his D-League time well in terms of development.

Team Updates

Idaho Stampede, 22-11

Idaho won their game last week thanks to a few strong performances. Ronell Taylor finished the game with 27 points, 11 rebounds, and 6 assists, and Ricky Sanchez added 23 points. The Stamped have placed themselves in a nice position if they can maintain their roster throughout the rest of the season. They have an experienced point guard in Randy Livingston running things on the court, and they also have the size up front to compete against any other team in the league.

This week, Idaho plays their only game on Thursday at home against Tulsa.

Dakota Wizards, 18-11

Dakota lost their only game last week against Bakersfield. Quemont Greer and James Maye both played well for Dakota, but nobody else stepped up. The Wizards have one of the deepest rosters in the D-League, but they lack size up front. They have Rod Benson and Kevin Lyde who can play the 4/5, and their next biggest player is Quemont Greer who plays the 4. Those are the only 3 players they can play at power forward or center on the entire roster. Still, the Wizards have Chris McCray and Curtis Stinson coming off the bench, and have the option of playing a lot of small ball.

This week, Dakota plays their only game on Tuesday in Fort Worth.

Fort Worth Flyers, 18-11

Fort Worth has been struggling lately, and dropped their only game last week to Austin by over 30 points. It should help them greatly that Jeremy Richardson has returned to the team, he will provide some of the scoring punch they have lacked in the back court. In addition, they will need more consistent play from Kevin Burleson. It will take Richardson a couple games to adjust to D-League basketball again, but the Flyers should be a lot better once this group gets used to playing with each other.

This week, Fort Worth plays at home Tuesday against Dakota, before traveling to Austin for a Friday game, and Sioux Falls for a Sunday game.

Colorado 14ers, 20-12

Colorado lost to Bakersfield last week, and split a pair of games with Anaheim. Von Wafer played well against Bakersfield, but was just 4/17 from the field in his first game against Anaheim. Point guard Pooh Jeter played well in all 3 of Colorado’s games, and now averages over 12 points and 6 assists per game. The 14ers seem to miss Louis Amundson who currently plays for the Utah Jazz. Despite a rough week, Colorado still has one of the better teams in the league, and can compete for a D-League title if they keep their core intact.

This week, Colorado plays Friday and Saturday night games at home against Albuquerque.

Sioux Falls Skyforce, 17-14

Sioux Falls won their only game last week against Austin. Stephen Graham and Frank Williams both played well for Sioux Falls, who has struggled up front since losing Jared Reiner. Robert Hite struggled in his first game, and there is always an adjustment period for any new player in the D-League. If the Skyforce get Reiner back, they should be in a good position to make a playoff push. If Reiner sticks in the NBA, they will have to hope they can grab a good big man from the available player pool.

Sioux Falls plays their only game of the week Sunday against Fort Worth.

Los Angeles D-Fenders, 16-15

The D-Fenders won their only game last week against the Tulsa 66ers. Andre Emmett led the way with 24 points, and Andre Patterson added 18 points and 13 rebounds. Brian Chase also scored 21 points. Right now, the D-Fenders have started playing better, despite their lack of depth up front. They have plenty of combo guards they can go to if they want to play small ball, but they lack a reliable post presence.

Los Angeles plays in Bakersfield on Tuesday before hosting Arkansas Wednesday and Friday.

Austin Toros, 15-17

Austin lost a game to Sioux Falls last week before beating Fort Worth at home. BJ Elder struggled from the field in the loss, but came back with 29 points against the Flyers. Loren Woods played well in both games, and his stability inside makes him the best center currently in the D-League. Austin has a well balanced team at this point in time, and they have almost reached .500 on the season, despite the fact that it took them 12 games to get their first win.

This week Austin hosts Fort Worth on Friday and Tulsa on Saturday.

Anaheim Arsenal, 16-19

Anaheim lost a game to Tulsa last week before splitting a pair of games with Colorado. Jawad Williams displayed his promise as a scorer by averaging 27ppg in these three games, and earning D-League Player of the Week honors. Andre Owens struggled against Tulsa, but had a pair of very strong games against the 14ers. Stephen Smith has played better lately, and provides the Anaheim front court with some nice depth.

This week Anaheim plays their only game on Friday against Bakersfield.

Albuquerque Thunderbirds, 14-18

Albuquerque won their only game last week against Arkansas, thanks to a strong game from Dijon Thompson. He finished with 24 points on 11/11 from the field, and added 7 rebounds and 6 assists. Duane Erwin added 19 points and 9 rebounds for the Thunderbirds, and Tony Bland scored 21 points. With Dijon Thompson back, Albuquerque is in a good position to try and go over .500. They have a strong front line, and their guard play has improved recently.

Albuquerque plays Friday and Saturday night games this week in Colorado.

Tulsa 66ers, 14-19

Tulsa won in Anaheim last week, but dropped their game in Los Angeles. Desmon Farmer played well for the 66ers last week, averaging 26 points per game. Will Conroy has also played well since returning from the NBA. The biggest for the 66ers at this point is their lack of quality depth up front. They have a lot of big guys who can play minutes, but none that can produce on a consistent basis.

This week Tulsa plays in Idaho on Thursday and in Austin on Saturday.

Arkansas Rimrockers, 10-21

Arkansas lost to Albuquerque last week, and split a pair of games with Idaho. Roger Powell has continued to be a top scoring threat for Arkansas. Clay Tucker has also continued his solid play throughout the season, though he is relied upon to run the point too often. The Rimrockers have improved since they have decided to play small ball, and attempt to push the ball to the hoop in transition every time. They still have plenty of room for improvement, and could look at adding another forward from the available player pool.

This week, Arkansas plays in Los Angeles on Wednesday and Friday, and in Bakersfield on Sunday.

Bakersfield Jam, 10-22

Bakersfield won games against Dakota and Colorado last week. Tamar Slay has played well for the Jam lately, and had 23 points on 8/13 against Dakota. Mateen Cleaves has stepped up and taken over the leadership role, and had a large part in both wins last week. Though he has been one of the better point guards in the D-League this year, Gerry McNamara has struggled lately. The loss of Patrick O’Bryant will hurt the Jam up front, and put added pressure on Kevinn Pinkney to keep producing at a high level.

Bakersfield hosts Los Angeles on Tuesday and Anaheim on Friday, before playing Arkansas on Sunday.

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