With the 2-Way contract deadline looming on January 15th and the D-League Showcase starting, thought it would be a nice exercise to see who the best available players are left in the D-League. This is also applicable for Euroleague and Eurocup teams.
And there’s plenty of older vets sticking around the G-League who can make boatloads of money in Asia or Europe and have had their time come and go to make the NBA likely: Nick Johnson, Justin Dentmon, and Markel Brown. As well as NBA dropouts like KJ McDaniels, RJ Hunter, and Markel Brown. This list is not about them, it’s about the up and comers. Everyone is a rookie on the list besides Lee and Warney.
And the last month has been key for picking up some of the best D-League players on 2-Ways: Milton Doyle (personal favorite), Naz Long, Erik McCree, Danuel House, Derrick Jones Jr, Antonius Cleveland (dropped after injury), Xavier Munford, James Young, and Kyle Collinsworth. And I expect with the 2-Way deadline in a week, there’s likely another 5-10 more player changes coming and possibly we could see even more.
Damion Lee | 2.5 | Santa Cruz Warriors
Jaron Blossomgame | 3.7 | Austin Spurs (*Spurs Rights)
Rodney Purvis | 2 | Lakeland Magic
Had a disappointing career at UConn but is one of the breakout players of the D-League season. Offensive monster for Lakeland. Great frame for a guard, strong, sturdy. Scorer with feel. Talented off the dribble shooter. Has shown great kickout passing game. Makes shots in the lane. Has had some huge 3pt shooting games. Can easily get an NBA call-up.
Xavier Rathan-Mayes | 1.5 | Westchester Knicks
Powerful, athletic combo guard who left Florida State early and went to training camp with the Knicks. Energetic guard who pushes the ball hard in transition and looks to make plays in pick and roll. Good slasher who enters the paint. Versatile. Below average jumpshot limits him; tends to force shots in the paint. Generally a good passer though. One of the D-League assist leaders.
Jameel Warney | 5 | austin Spurs
Jaylen Johnson | 4.5 | Windy City Bulls
Left Louisville a year early, wasn’t drafted, and wasn’t showcased a lot in the heavy Louisville bigs rotation. Kinda a combo big cause he has some skill but likely just a 5 as he moves up. Face-up big, elbow attack. Has power and mobility. 6’9″, 7’2″ wingspan, 230 lbs. Even some developing grab n go ability. Intriguing passer for a big, sees cutters, plays in DHO, post passer. Needs a full PnR education but some mid-roll skills are there. Offensive rebounder. Takes some bad shots. Needs to be a better FT shooter. Still young, will have to grow defensively as a center anchor, bang with opposing bigger centers.
Amile Jefferson | 5 | Iowa Wolves
Glue guy, worker, rim protector at Duke. Has had a huge rookie season, great production, taken on a bigger role since college. Leads D-League in rebound, has over 2 more per game than next best. Slender inside player who steps out and switches on guards. Great nose for the ball. Offensively can look raw but has improved as a PnR roller. Some face-up game. Kills the o-glass. Backup big for Team USA in the World Cup Qualifiers, did his job well on defense. Had injuries: Hip injury in 2014, spent summer on crutches. Foot injury in 2015-16, missed whole season.
Amida Brimah | 5 | Austin Spurs
Splitting center minutes with Costello. Has shown his defensive impact. Still a lot of potential. 7-1 rim protector. Was 3rd amongst Seniors in BLK%. After Soph. season was considered a Draft prospect but didn’t progress a lot offensively since. But really looked good this year at PIT. Just dunks everything and swats shots near the rim. Great runner. Has a huge frame. Almost 6’11” with a 7’6.5” wingspan. And he’s active, loud, and vocal on defense.
Melo Trimble | 1 | Iowa Wolves
All Big 10 1st Team last season. Came out as Junior, undrafted. Has a lot of game, crafty, creative dribbler, can make shots in the lane. Good at pushing the ball, aggressive driver, takes contact well. Lacks top level speed. Average shooter, better spot-up than pull-up shot. Can be casual with the ball, leads to turnovers. Needs re-fining, has excellent on-ball skill. One of the top young D-League PG’s.
Andrew White | 3 | Maine Red Claws
Fringe candidate but considering his season and the pool of possible players, he’s interesting. Has already had 37, 38, and 41 point games this season. He’s streaky but getting more consistent. Wing athlete, good frame. Just has tremendous touch, even when he barely gets a look at the basket he finishes his shots so well they have a chance to go in. Also finishes in the lane shots. Knew he could hit shots but surprising how many he hits off the dribble this season. His vision is improving. Still not totally comfortable making plays vs closeouts. Doesn’t have total consistency yet but it’s better than in college.