Defining what exactly a ‘sleeper’ is, can be difficult. I’m sure some people will read this list and automatically know many of the players. But in this context it’s more about how these players have either surprised or improved from last season. One significant trend in the D-League is the jump players take in their second year in the league on the same team. You’re a pro now, you know what’s expected of you, and all that rookie shit is behind. You’re comfortable, know your role, and ready to play. So this list only includes rookies and 2nd year players, including three players who played D2 in college. These are really nice candidates to move to Europe and some may even got 2-Way or 10-Day sniffs from the NBA.
Josh Gray | 1 | Northern Arizona Suns
Solid D-League rookie season, has taken a jump in his 2nd season, more aggressive. Caretaker of Suns offense. Smart, makes easy passes, handles ball under pressure, has good feel. Small frame. Limited burst, but does get into the lane via the ball screen. Legit creative pick and roll playmaker. Gray is just such a damn stable player at this point and just this past week was D-League Player of the Week.
Trey Davis | 1 | Maine Red Claws
Straight up bucket-getter. He’s quite small but gets his shot off in a lot of creative ways. Has some quickness, a tight handle, and just unbelievable touch. Off-balance, fade-aways, floaters… he’s learned how to score at his size. Defensive liability but he’s tough. Marcus Smart’s childhood friend, we need to start scouting that neighborhood, legit toughness.
Alex Hamilton | 1.5 | Santa Cruz Warriors
Shaq Harrison | 1.5 | Northern Arizona Suns
For a guard is a power athlete. Has super burst. Great leaper. Driver, attacker. Jump shot has always been his Achilles heel. Doesn’t really have good court vision, makes him more of an off-guard. Athletic, pesky full court defender. Has taken a step in 2nd season, bigger role, more comfortable. His shot looks much better but is still not reliable. But he’s more of an overall threat now, has opened up room for his drives. Averaging almost 2 steals and half a block a game.
Daniel Dixon | 2 | Maine Red Claws
Shooting guard with some playmaking skills and vision. Shooter with size. Hits some incredibly tough 3-pointers. Has had a super start to the season coming off the bench. Is basically Maine’s default backup PG, might be the best passer on the roster along with Peak. Excellent spot-up shooter but can also create a jump shot off the dribble. Efficient, not going to pound the ball.
Jamel Morris | 2 | Grand Rapids Drive
Lefty guard. Former D2 college player and spent rookie year in Italian minors. Has good size for a guard, lanky. Pretty poised, has good command, can use him as a secondary playmaker. Has exploded in Dec/Jan, in weeks leading up to Showcase had 37, 29, and 26 point games. Shooting it at a high clip. Efficient, attacks but picks his spots. Stock is rising.
Myke Henry | 2.5 | OKC Blue
Combo forward. Bull, strong wing. Good body. Has taken a massive step in his 2nd season with OKC Blue, might be the most improved player in the league. Shooting has been more consistent. Physical, rugged. Has super body control. Draws fouls, attacks, puts pressure on the defense. Doesn’t just drive to score, can pass. Hard to find a body like that, NFL quality, with skills, Henry is intriguing. Old for his amount of experience.
Jaylen Morris | 2.5 | Erie Bayhawks
Surprise player coming from D2. Super worker. Really great in transition, makes some tough finishes thru defenders. Does a little bit of everything. Rebounds well for being a skinny wing. Fearless player. Doesn’t have the ball a lot, Josh Magette dominates it. Sleeper prospect, just keeps grinding.
Tahjere McCall | 2.5 | Long Island Nets
Super duper athlete. Long, explosive. Has blossomed as a rookie in the D-League, long-term sleeper. He flies around the court, puts super pressure on the ball defensively. Plays 1-2-3, really interesting when defending PG’s, his length bothers them. Game is still raw, can be wild, makes mistakes. But he attacks and has some vision. Shot is a mixed bag.
Thomas Wimbush | 3.5 | Long Island Nets
Long, lefty, wing athlete. Really a vertical athlete. Can sky. Gets to the line and shoots it well there. 3pt shot isn’t reliable but he’s comfortable shooting them. D2 college player. Tough to uncover combo forwards that are athletes like him, Wimbush has one of the biggest upsides on this list.
Kamari Murphy | 5 | Long Island Nets
Mobile rookie 5 who was a role player at Miami. Undersized but he’s a worker and a leaper. Comfortable stepping out and defending on the perimeter. Moves feet, contests shots. Solid D-League season, earning himself 30 MPG. Stepping out and shooting the three ball more, but is below 30% from long range so far this season. Very comfortable, quick release mid range shooter. Inconsistent finisher. Showing more of a perimeter game, including occasional drive and kick. Long Island has the D-League’s best defensive rating.
Jimmie Taylor | 5 | Sioux Falls Skyforce
Big strong rim protector. Averages as many rebounds as points, likely never a big scorer. He’s huge, takes up a lot of space inside (6’10”, 250 lbs). Decent hands. Averaging 4.7 blocks per 40. Was a pure role player at Alabama, basically averaged close to the same minutes and stats from freshman to senior year. Sometimes bigs take a while to develop, he only turned 22 in September, legit defensive potential.