Season Wrap Up Part I: On Court Report Card

It’s report card time.  I will also be making an off-court report card as well as a post trying to analyze exactly where things went wrong with the team.  But for now let’s take a look at how the individual parts of this team performed over the last few months.  Some notes before you look at my rankings after the jump:

  • I am only counting games played for Halifax so guys like Anderson and Millien only get credit for work done for the Rainmen.  Sorry Slim.
  • Players who were not on the team at the end of the season do not count for the final over all mark.
  • This looks at individual players, not how things actually fit together as a whole.
  • It’s a mark based on how well players fulfilled the role that was asked of them.  If you’re getting 15 minutes off the bench then I don’t expect the same from you as I do if you were a starter.
  • Everyone’s mark is added up the same and then averaged at the end.  So Tyrone McNeal’s mark affects the team just as much Tony Bennett’s.

John Strickland (PF) A- Yes, he was entertaining and hilarious, but he was also shockingly effective.  His shooting percentages (particularly from the free throw line) were not good, but he got opposing bigs in foul trouble and is a very, very good defensive rebounder.  Unlike most other big men on the team Strickland actually boxed out instead of just relying on his (non-existent) athleticism to get the job done.  He also was the veteran leader that this team needed at the start of the season.

David Bailey (PF) B The guy gives you 7 and 7 plus a block a game in 22 minutes – I’ll take that.  My only major problem was that he was that he was inconsistent, particularly on the defensive end, and he relied too much on his athleticism to grad rebounds instead of boxing out.  In his defense, he was often guarding centres rather than powerforwards and this certainly didn’t help him much.

Cordell Jeanty (SF) B- Another player plagued by consistency problems, Jeanty had a more defined role under Berry.  He was good and did a lot of the things other players refused to (i.e. go inside and try to grind out points), but I still feel like he ended up being a bit of a disappointment.

Tony Bennett (SG) A+ Other than Sanders I thought Bennett was the best player Halifax had this season.  He led the team in points, assists and steal with 19.4 ppg (13th in the league), 5.5 apg (4th in the league) and 3.1spg (1st in the pbl).  He was the go-to wing scorer that Halifax never had and created tons of turnovers.  The most shocking thing to me is that the guy can dunk fairly easily despite being shorter than me.

Jimmy Twyman (PG) B While Jimmy is good he tended to disapear at the absolute worst times including a disappointing stretch of games from Feb. 15 to March 22 when the Rainmen were chasing a play off spot.  He’s not a true point guard and is really an undersized two guard.  I’d love him coming off the bench for 20 minutes a game, but I wasn’t blown away by him as a starter.

AJ Millien (PF) B+ The guy is fantastic, but he needs touches and shots to be effective.  He never got them.  He showed glimpses of being successful towards the end and he was effective when he got touches.

Brian Silverhorn (SF) B He was Halifax’s best three point shooter (46%) but really didn’t bring a whole lot more to the table and his defense continues to be questionable.  I just don’t really believe in Silverhorn as a small forward but I don’t know if he has the speed to be a guard.

Eric Crookshank (PF) B+ Last year he dominated other teams based on his altheticism, this year the league is not only better but more athletic and he’s seen a dip in his ability to just jump over people for easy points.  Under Les Berry he started to make the sorts of changes to his game that he needs to: playing good perimeter defense and using his long arms to disrupt passing lanes.  I really imagine him as the first forward off the bench, playing 25 minutes a game, causing turnovers, scoring off put backs and dominating against opposing bench players.  He still has too huge holes in his game: first, he turns the ball over too much, particularly in transition because he refuses to just give the ball to a guard and instead tries to dribble it up the floor on his own.  He’s simply not as fast as any of Halifax’s guards so it not only led to turnovers but it actually slowed down the transition offense.  He should take a look at old Bill Walton videos (or recent Kevin Love videos) to see how to take a risk to get the team out and running.  The second problem is of course his free throw shooting which somehow managed to get worse this year.  34%?  Really?

Michael Anderson (SG) B+ The guy seems kind of nuts but I am okay with that.  He is a great defensive player and he is super athletic.  He’s legitimately capable of playing the 2, 3 or 4 and his box score shows his versatility: while in Halifax he averaged 10 ppg, 35% three point shooting, 4.3 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 1.3 blocks, and 3 steals.  He filled in all kinds of gaps and I want him back next year.

Zach Ramey (PG) B- He was hobbled by injury and never lived up to expectations, but he was pretty okay when he did play although I sometimes felt like he tried to do too much.  He was a good defender and when he kept it simple was a good passer.  He was a low percentage shooter from the outside and he never really found his groove in Halifax.

Reggie George (C) B Solid stats in limited minutes.  He was quick enough to get up and down the floor and he has some length.   I feel that if Halifax had George, Bennett and Berry starting in training camp this season would have been very different.  It’s hard to find legit centres in the minor leagues and while he wasn’t spectacular, he got the job done.

Tyrone McNeal (C) C- More injury woes kept him off the court for most of the season and a majority of training camp.  The guy is young (19!) and raw, but he showed some flashes of real potential in the last few games.  If he has the confidence he displayed in those games and improves his game over the summer then I definitely want him back.  But I am not grading players on potential, and the team’s lack of a real centre for most of the season really crippled the Rainmen.

Les Berry (Coach) A- He brought a new defensive tenacity to the team but I feel like he tried to put in too many offensive sets in too little time.  Had he been given a full training camp and a full season to get this team on the same page I think we’d be in the finals.  If you looked at his body language in the last half of his time in Halifax you could tell that he probably won’t be back next year.

The Guys Who Didn’t Last

Rob Sanders (PF) A+ He led the team in rebounds and set a PBL record for rebounds in a single game.  He got to the line at will and knocked most of the free throws down.  He played incredible defense when he had to and was a real physical presence.  Had not left for a better contract then the season would have look quite different.  (As you can tell, the team had a whole lot of what-if scenerios)  He just did a lot of things that stats don’t show and I don’t think the team ever found a way to replace them.

Glen Dandridge (SF) C When you’re a three point specialist and you only knock down 28.7% of your attempts you might want to stop taking contested 26 footers.  You might also want to not run into your teammates because you don’t know the plays, not lose track of your man off the ball, and maybe consider using your athleticism to get to the rim.

Kevin Hammack (PG) C+ I really liked Hammack and I thought he was going to be absolutely fantastic.  For various reasons he just never found his groove under either Lewis or Berry.  While he could shoot, drive and play defense he had serious difficulties running the offense in both transition and the half-court… which is unfortunate for a guy who was supposed to be a point guard.

SirValiant Brown (SG) C A volume scorer who couldn’t score.  Maybe he was good at one time many years ago, but that didn’t help Halifax out this season.  I just don’t understand what he’s supposed to be good at: he couldn’t shoot, had no handle, was not quick, had no athleticism, and was a poor decision maker.  He was a not-horrible defender, though.

Rodney Mayes (SF) C Before the season even started I said that having a bunch of small forwards playing guard was not going to work, and shockingly it didn’t.  Mayes was an athletic dunker who couldn’t create his own shot.  Unfortunately for him he didn’t have a point guard who could create a shot for him.

Rick Lewis (Coach) F He never should have been invited back for year two.  He never put any system in at either end of the floor, never exploited mis-matches, was disliked by the players, and didn’t know how to manage time outs.   On the plus side, the Rainmen were in good shape.  He was an absolute trainwreck of a coach and I am glad I will never have to watch him screw another game up again.

GPA: 3.1 (B)

B seems about right for a team that was in the wildcard hunt but came up short.  Ultimately this was a poorly built team which ended up being less than the sum of its parts.  Some players have games where they’re only successful if they get minutes, touches and shots, you can’t just assume that good top-3 option guys will also be good role players.  Hopefully the lessons are learned and next year’s coach can fix this for next year.

Thoughts? Disagreements? Suggestions?

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17 thoughts on “Season Wrap Up Part I: On Court Report Card

  1. I have to disagree with the score for Dandridge. I’d put him in the D range or lower. Watching him jack shots from the Roger’s logo with 17 seconds left on the clock made me squirm in my seat. He reminded me of a combination of a coach’s son type who can do no wrong and won’t be told to reign in his game, and that guy you try to avoid passing it to in pick-up who insists on jacking three’s even though he’s the tallest guy on the court. Watching him go from starting under Lewis to 12 minutes under Berry was satisfying.

  2. First of all.. Kadiri- WTF- that was a whole lot of zeroes in your box score.. yikes. I hope that was wrong and better luck tonight.

    CP- I think there is one component that can’t be overlooked, confidence. I think that the Lewis era scarred so many players..Hammack, Bailey, Cordell that it really affected the year. In talking to players, they loved Lewis as a person, but understood his limitations as a coach. However.. no excuses, but that explains guys getting off the rough starts or even when Berry took over not being ready to rock..Anyway..

    RobS- A+ Don’t care about the rest of the baggage, if he didn’t play we would have been nowhere near the playoffs at all. What a guy. That guy could do well at the next level (minus the chip on his shoulder).
    Strick- I would go solid A. For his age, the entertainment value is so high. FT was better by end of the year, imagine if he shot that well in the bigger games earlier..
    Bennett- A as well. Stud! some crazy shooting, but a very talented player with good court sense and speed.
    Berry- Agreed- A- Brought pedigree, thought that without some outside interference, we would have won the Vermont game. Ft’s killed us all year, but he made improvements to everyones (except EC) and we had a good offense and much better D. Our ability to showboat on easy6 layups hurt us even more than we can probably remember, while our 4 PF lineup may have alos figured into our game planning.
    Millien- A- from what he came from with no pay, to this “established” team and still seemed to fit in well in his few games..love to see him for a full year
    Jimmy- Can live with a B. You are right about big games and really spot on with the analysis. I would want him back for sure.
    Anderson- Hilarious guy- Solid B, didn’t have enough time here, but really smacked us around when he played for QC.
    Bailey- Another B. Had some great games, saw minutes really go up and down. pretty much agree, but felt he gave us a player we didn’t have, didn’t quite hit Rob standards but very solid player. We could use him next year for sure. Great boards, bad FT and ok offense.
    Cordell- B,. I thought when motivated and attacking the rim he was actually excellent. Last few games were very good, confidence was a factor. Ask him about the “bitch that bit him”.. hilarity..
    EC- Solid B, the blowup FTs really affected his score, but once we had Berry he was so much more effective.. With a full year of Les I agree we would have contended. Love his presence and fun! Solid baller.
    Silverhorn- missed so much.. maybe a b-.. defence is worse than I thought, shooting not as good as I thought.
    Reggie- B for the few games he played. If we had him and Tyrone playing like he showed, we would be solid in the centre
    Ramey- C+ love this guy.. could flourish if used properly and praised well. Had one good shooting game, solid vision and defense. Wanted to see more but this is all I can do for him.
    Tyrone- C- 12th man, great last two games, need to see more but can only assume he didn’t deserve the minutes. The guys said he kills them in practise, when is that going to be used!

    Dandridge- F- only player that you knew something bad was going to happen when he was on the floor.
    Hammack- D- wish he was loved here, could have been better
    Mayes- C+ always brought energy at the least
    SirVal- C- Actually a really nice guy.. besides EC he was the only one preseason talking to everyone at the ticket holders event. Unfortunately he was reduced to a bench and then not at all role although he did have obvious skills..
    Lewis- F- Bad Coach, great guy! Only wish we pulled the plug earlier.

    I think you should have a coaches rating for the league and a league all star ballot.. Strick at centre for sure!

  3. I like Crookshank, but B+ seems generous. He spent a month being a huge distraction (not entirely his own fault, but still…) and when he was on the court, he was only effective in spurts. Part of that was the Rainmen’s new depth, and part the increased quality of the league, but it seemed like both of the Rainmen’s returning stars — Crookshank and Brian Silverhorn — took a disappointing step back this season.

    I’d give them both a B-, though in Silverhorn’s case it’s not completely fair because he was so hampered by injuries all season. But the limited action he saw in Berry’s system (which required, you know, actual defence) did expose his weaknesses.

    I have no doubt that Crookshank could bounce back and be more consistent next season, but the writing seems to be on the wall that Silverhorn will be elsewhere next year.

  4. The thing about Eric is that he almost put up seven double doubles in 13 games, averaged 12/9 with two assists a block and a steal, and I really think he made a huge leap on his defensive game in the second half of the season. I can see dropping him to a B, but B- seems a bit harsh. I do think his ideal role for this team is energy guy off the bench.

    Silverhorn is probably a B- even when healthy. I guess I have an inflated idea of his utility since he was the only guy on the team who knocked down more than 35% of his three point attempts, but his defense really was terrible and his lack of a handle is a huge problem. He’s just not a good enough scorer to be able to get away with not playing good defense.

  5. I attended a press conference with Andre, Crook and Coach Berry that was held after last Sunday’s final game at the Metro Centre. Andre said Silverhorn needed to take the summer to ‘focus on getting his body healthy so he can get ready for a workout in the fall’ . They feel he is a player who could play at the D-League level and are ‘going to put him a situation where he can get a shot to play there’. Andre also said that depending on how things go there ‘may be a spot on the team for him’. So who knows….

    There is so much turn-over in the minor leagues and it seems like a lot of guys, like Bennett and Millien are already getting overseas offers that are no doubt much more lucrative. So it’s going to be a $$$ game as to whether or not the Rainmen can keep guys like them around for next year. When asked about the difficulties of establishing a loyal fan following (especially if they want attendance numbers to keep growing for next year) with such a constantly changing roster Andre said: ‘I don’t want these guys to expect to make a career here. We don’t want to see players coming here to stay for 4 or 5 years. This league is all about getting them to the next level.’

    He then went on to contradict himself in the same breath to say: ‘Crookshank? I hope he retires here.’ To which Eric gave him a ‘watchootalkin’bout?!’ sort of side-eye look.

    I’m a new fan to the Rainmen team and while I’m still learning more about the technical aspects of the game, one thing I do know for sure as I followed the team’s progress this season is that such a constantly changing roster can definitely prove challenging and sometimes detrimental. Getting used to playing with new guys every few weeks, losing star players like Sanders, can really impact the effectiveness of the team as a whole.

    Add in all the drama that went on with Crookshank’s suspension, adjusting to a new head coach mid-season and having top-notch players like Silverhorn plagued by injuries and missing 9 games, it just makes a tough situation that much tougher.

    As for the fans, I don’t know how anyone else feels, so I’ll just speak for myself. As a new fan I like to see consistent faces on the team return. It helps build fan loyalty, (at least for me), and keeps me gunning for each game to see how the players I like the most are going to pull through. So you have guys leaving left and right, just when you’re getting to know them and their skills it definitely throws you off.

    But I understand that each guy on the team is out to get to the next level. (And Andre didn’t seem to think the revolving door turnover was that big of a deal when asked this question by one of my colleagues at the conference.) But it would be nice to keep a consistent group of faces around, (other than just Crookshank), at least until we get a championship. I think this would help individual players improve their skills so that they really can get to the next level with a consistent group of teammates/coach, instead of being shuffled all over the league.

    With all this talk from Andre about players ‘getting to the next level’, I wonder if he will go courting the D-League again? He intimated that the Rainmen were here to stay in the PBL, but I also know that when Dan Reed of the D-League came to Halifax to meet with Andre last season he said he loved Halifax but didn’t think they could give them an expansion team for the 2008-2009 season, but possibly for 2009-2010. So it will be interesting to know what negotiations, if any may be going on behind closed doors.

  6. Eric’s unlikely to make the next level for a few reasons:
    1) I am not convinced he should even be a starter on the Rainmen anymore
    2) He’s a 6’6 powerforward without much of a midrange game.
    3) He relies entirely on his athleticism
    4) He’s 30.

    I love the guy and I hope he stays in Halifax but I am not convinced that his skill set would really transfer well to top flight leagues.

    I no longer want Halifax to join the D-League (at least not in the foreseeable future). The more I learn about it the less I like it from a business point of view. All the teams are losing insane amounts of money with the hope being that when the league hits its maximum (30 teams) owners can turn a profit by selling their franchise. It’s a terrible business model and I’d prefer the Rainmen stay in an improved PBL.

    As for constant player movement: some movement is just part of the reality of minor league sports. There’s nothing you can do about the Sanders situation since talent moves upwards in the minor leagues. Manchester and Vermont made significantly more roster moves than Halifax, and I’d guess the Rainmen are somewhere in the middle.

    I do think they need to look to retain a core of guys between this year and next year for on and off the court reasons (look at Wilmington and Rochester’s success with consistent rosters), but it’s tough since Halifax doesn’t have access to high quality local players who are already kicking around.

    The key to in season retention is to pick good players early, make a team that fits, and most importantly: give the coach 99.999% control of all personnel decisions.

  7. I absolutely agree with you about giving the coach 99.999% control over personnel decisions. Andre is a great guy from the times I’ve spoken with him and he looks to himself as a father figure to many of the players on the team. It’s for this reason that I think he has difficulty giving over that control to the coach.

    (And gosh knows Halifax has had it’s issues with coaches this year…)

    It will be really interesting to see if Berry stays on for next season. I have a weird gut feeling that he won’t….just from some comments he’s made to the media.

    And yes, you’re right about player movement being the nature of minor league sports. However, as a new team, I think it’s important (in order to increase fan base) to keep a core group of guys around for several seasons. Who do you think should be included in this group?

    The Rainmen were able to turn a slight profit and pay back a lot of their debt they incurred during their inaugural season last year, but the majority of that profit came from increased corporate sponsors. Ticket sales were up this year, but not to the level of profitability that they need to be sustainable. Hopefully this will keep increasing next year.

    Also, interesting view-point on the D-League…I wasn’t aware of that business model. I do know that the D-League players definitely don’t make much money, roughly about the same amount as those in the PBL. But the golden nugget is obviously the opportunity to get drafted with one of the pro teams.

    This is a great article about salaries and player life in the D-League: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=7239948

  8. So what I’m reading is a) minor ball is a “revolving door” and we should not expect players to stay for extended periods of time, and b) give the coach control of the situation. Hmm, i’m not sure about you fellas (and ladies), but that sounds an awful lot like….

    college hoops.

    I am a DIE HARD UNC fan (historically motivated), and i understand that players are there for the short term. I do not need guys to stay for 4 years to remain a fan of the program, and the same can be applied here. No matter who stays and who goes, I embrace them because they represent my favorite TEAM.

    Sure, it’d be great to have a consistent roster year over year, but as has been discussed here, thats not what the minor leagues are all about. Familiar faces help put butts in the seats, but if given the chance i would JUMP at seats for a UNC game, against anyone! (i almost made it this year, but missed by a day. doh!). Thats because of the program, and the attachment I feel to Carolina. I follow all the UNC guys playing all over (David Noel? Solid D-leaguer), and the same could be true for following the careers of Rainmen. Wouldn’t it be amazing if 5 years from now, when we’re playing for the championship, former Rainmen showed up to represent their allegiance? Pro guys do this all the time for big games (Magic, MoPete for State/ VC and Antawn for UNC this past week).

    We should become attached to the franchise, not the players. And to do that, we need a recognized coach/GM type that will implement the right system, which will make players want to come to Halifax and play (like recruitment). Over time, the Rainmen franchise will stand out among the minor leagues, ensuring we are always competitive because we attract the top (and proper!) talent.

    Dont ask me who this coach should be, as i have no idea. He needs to be someone who has a pedigree of success in minor (or major) ball who can foresee himself being in Halifax for the long-term (10+ years).

    I get that this is difficult to put into practice, but if handled properly, I think we could really become the envy of all minor-pro teams in any league (D-League, PBL, CBA, etc…)Halifax is an amazing city, and certainly can hold up its end of the bargain by providing players a great place to live/work.

  9. Great articel Smash.. thanks for that.. we conjecture a lot on those items.. While I agree in principle with the statement about the franchise.. Rainmen still have to treat their players well for me to totally buy in. From what I have seen they don’t, at least not all of them. I agree with Chris in that we need players to stay. Maybe not all but it is a connection we get with players that can drive crowds as well as results can.

    I love soccer.. I love Everton.. I love many players on that team. If they all left it would take me a while to build attachment to players, because while you are cheering for the team, you are cheering for the individual success of the players as well. If our top 5 players left this summer, I may not love this squad as much as before, but could still love the team. To CP’s point, I want to see players committed to Halifax, even if they aren’t the best players, and supporting the city, which our players all do. This is a great way to build a squad. When the Canadian Soccer League was looking to expand, and become professional, their whole strategy was going to be based around involvement with youth soccer.

    Great conversation and points Burnsy and Smash..Great to have these philosophical discussions (even without KD who is oddly silent since the loss). I hope we get some players back- Jimmy and Eric would be a great start, and we build from there with a balanced squad.

  10. Wow, great points everyone. Nice to see some reasoned discussion with no profanity.

    I am a Rainmen fan first, a fan of individual players second. While I root for particular players, I will cheer for the team next season even if the same players aren’t there. How else do you explain the popularity of the Maple Leafs?

    I think this is how sports fans tend to be in the era of big league free agency. With some exceptions, gone are the days of players spending their whole careers with one team. I hope we get some guys back from this year because I think we were finally getting some traction with the squad we had for the last few games.

    The Rainmen need more balance on the court and for us to attract and keep talented players, there need to be superior tangible benefits (money, living accommodations, etc.) over alternative teams and leagues.

    From what I gather, overseas leagues pay a lot more than North American leagues and basketball games in other countries are attended by many more people than minor league ball in Canada and the U.S. Professional athletes have a very short career, even in the big leagues. Unless North American teams and leagues provide better benefits other than salaries, such as living arrangements, per diems, etc., I don’t see how we will ever attract the top talent who will actually stand a chance to move up to the big leagues.

    Do Halifax fans go to Rainmen or Mooseheads games to simply watch the games or to be able to see players who may someday be famous and we could say, “I saw them when…”. For your answer, check out the attendance records of the Mooseheads when Sidney Crosby was in the Q League, for games when we didn’t play against Crosby’s team (Rimouski), and when we faced Sid The Kid. I don’t have the figures, but I would guess the Mooseheads-Oceanic games were sell-outs.

    The Rainmen organization is not perfect, but let’s hope there are lessons being learned as the team goes into its third season.

  11. I don’t think this is a 3.1-GPA team… more like a B-Minus 2.7. And I think most of the grades should be lowered by a third of a letter or two-thirds of a letter to get there. Just as an example, the analysis on Silverhorn was great, but given the time that he missed, and the long stretches of minutes he played where he was invisible, C+ is more like it.

    We beat VT and Manchester once each this year, better than last year, but until we can play the top teams at .500 and the home games against weaker teams become “automatic”, we’rte lucky to call outselves a B-Minus outfit.

    D-League, and Silverhorn in the D-League: Ever seen a D-League box score? Point guards often lead the team in shots. Nobody ever makes the extra pass because it’s selfish basketball. Players need their statlines to stand out in hopes of an NBA call-up or a call from Europe. How Silverhorn’s game will or won’t fit into that environment is a mystery to me.

    We’ll never see the Rainmen’s books but the PBL is not a long term solution unless the PBL changes. Specifically:

    1) The PBL has 10 home dates on the schedule and his seriously hampers team revenue, which in turn hampers the budget. If you’re a minor pro hoops league and you’re losing players midseason to Venez-freakin’-uela, there’s something wrong with the business model.

    2) The Rainmen draw the best crowds but a lot of that is offset by travel expenses and travel subsidies to other teams. The D-League was actually willing to help the Rainmen on the travel issue (doubleheaders etc.) but the last word out of the PBL office was that Halifax was an “issue” because of travel.

    3) The PBL had 20% of its membership fold this year. Better than the ABA, but 20% is still a lot.

    Final thought: The front office was a disgrace this year. If Levingston and Co. doesn’t get its act together for next year, the on-court losses will be the least of our concerns.

  12. Quick hey to Halifaxfin…!!!!!!!! I have been having fun back home this past week in South Carolina. Sorry I have not graced the blog with my knowledge…lol..!!!!! Hope all is well my Scotian family

  13. Nice wrap up. Now on Tyrone McNeal.

    I always thought it would be in the Rainmen’s favour to snatch up a few young guys with potential and develop them as they grow older. Guys in McNeal’s situation could turn out to be stars for the Rainmen. However, does McNeal actually have what it takes to become a contributing player? He has the size you normally can’t get in the minors. He is young and could be a part of this team for years.

    The problems that I see are:

    1. Can the Rainmen help Tyrone become a better player? Will the Rainmen actually make sure this guy trains hard over the summer, possibly getting into good shape? I don’t think so. A few guys last year had ZERO contact with Andre and the team. Tyrone could spend the summer eating Big Macs for all Halifax knows. Do the Rainmen even have anyone that can help this guy develop during the season? Cause he sure as hell did not get the playing time during the already too short PBL season.

    2. Can McNeal ever actually be any good, even with tons of development time? He couldn’t guard anyone in the league this year. Xavier Morton BLEW by this dude. I don’t think McNeal blocked a shot all year. And what is most concerning coming from a seven-footer – he is an awful rebounder. He has no nose for the ball, doesn’t box out, and doesn’t work to get into position. His big-man skills just aren’t there.

    Now McNeal seems like a good guy. He is young. He has a few nice skills for a big man on the offensive end. He has a few post moves, some athleticism and a jump shot. But I am not sure if the foundation of his game is strong enough to build on. Anyone else have a take on this?

  14. Appreciate the link love, as always!

    I tried asking a question for you guys, but he said he couldn’t talk about it:
    How closely do you follow the other minor league’s in the USA? With the CBA all but folding, what does that do to/for the D-League? Would you see it as a possibility for an expansion team to come from the PBL?

  15. Some of the highlights from the RU interview with Dan Reed, the president of the D-League:

    D-League President Dan Reed: Well, if you go overseas you basically eliminate your chances of playing in the NBA that season, so if your goal is to make the NBA your odds are much better playing with us. I asked our folks to run these numbers for me, a – of the 107 players who have been called up to the NBA in a given season, 61% of them (65 players) received a guaranteed contract that season. I actually think these numbers are pretty compelling reasons to play in the NBA D-League, when you consider that: a) even one NBA 10-day contract is worth as much or more than a player can make in a month overseas, b) if you get one 10-day it’s highly likely you will double your money with at least one additional 10-day, and c) if you do get a 10-day there’s a 60% chance you’ll be with that team for the rest of the season, and d) you have a zero percent chance of being “called up” to the NBA if you play overseas.

    That’s why I think the best number to look at is the sheer number of NBA D-League alumni playing in the NBA, and by that metric, we clearly establish ourselves as the absolute best way to get to the NBA — we’ve produced five times more NBA players than any other professional basketball league in the world. We’re the most heavily scouted league in the world, and that is extremely valuable for our players. If you really want to look at odds, check out this stat: if you played in the NBA D-League last season you had a 1 in 4 chance of participating in an NBA team’s training camp the following season. I’d say those odds are pretty good. And even if after all that the NBA simply doesn’t work out for player, showing well in the NBA D-League allows you maximize your earning potential no matter where you decide to play.

    RS: It seems to me that if each NBA team had their own D-League affiliate, and was able to call up, send down, and rehab players on their D-League teams, much like the farm system of Major League Baseball, that the NBA and the NBADL would both benefit tremendously. Are the leagues making any attempt toward moving in that direction?

    DR: We took a major step towards that sort of system when we created the affiliation and assignment system back in 2005. Since then we’ve doubled the number of teams in the league, have seen 104 NBA players “sent down” and recalled to/from their NBA team, and have had 59 additional players called-up to the NBA. As a result we now have close to 80 former NBA D-League players on NBA rosters right now, which is getting close to 20% of the entire league!

    D-League president Dan Reed’s checklist for prospective affiliates, from the RU interview:

    – a great arena
    – strong ownership
    – a good market

    – market size
    – competition
    – income levels
    – size of corporate base
    – basketball fan avidity

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