One of the most interesting parts of the NBA Development League is when an NBA team assigns one of their young guys down to the affiliate. On one hand it is great for fans, as they get to see NBA players performing in their city, but it also means their favorite Mad Ant or Dakota Wizard gets his playing time cut down. Getting an NBA guy assigned can give a D-League team a huge boost, or it can cause chemistry problems if the team was already on a roll. The level of talent in the NBA D-League is so high that often there is not that much of a difference (if any) between a TOP D-League guy and an NBA assigned player.
In the next few blogs I am going to discuss each of our NBA affiliates and the potential players on each roster that could be assigned to the Mad Ants. Starting off with the Indiana Pacers...
2009 First Round Draft Pick of the Pacers
Now I know you all think I am crazy. There is no way the Pacer's would send Hansbrough to the Mad Ants right? I would normally agree with that statement, but I feel like the perfect storm is happening right now which makes it ever so (VERY VERY) slightly Mr. Bird might consider assigning Hansbrough down for a couple games. Tyler has been injured all preseason and did not see a minute of action after having a solid Summer League. He also earned a DNP for the Pacer's opener on Wednesday. Reports have him being out for at least another two weeks.
Now I am not an NBA GM or Coach but I am a thinker (Glenn Beck reference anyone?). What a perfect opportunity to get Tyler back into playing shape without him having to compete for very limited minutes in an NBA game. Plus Fort Wayne is only TWO HOURS up I-69, he could play on a Friday night and be back in his own bed by 1am. The Pacer's could dictate how many minutes he played and he would be in the safe hands of the most respected Coach in the D-League Joey Meyer. I am not suggesting you send him down for the entire season or even a quarter of it, but why not for the Mad Ants opening weekend?
Percent of this actually happening: .005 percent
2nd Round 2009 Draft Pick
With Walker Russell JR going overseas, the Mad Ants could really use a solid point guard. AJ Price would fill that need nicely. AJ Price had some nice showings in the preseason such as this one (16pts, 4 ast) and some not so nice ones like this game against the Bulls (0-7 FG). With TJ Ford and Earl Watson ahead of him in the depth chart, it's going to be tough for AJ to get many minutes this season (barring an injury). With the close proximity of Fort Wayne and Indy being a big plus, I could honestly see the Pacer's sending Price down for a few stints this year. My main hesitation is that the Pacer's have never assigned anyone to the D-League in the past. I think as the league grows though, more NBA GMs are starting to buy-in and hear about the success stories like Ramon Sessions and heck even Marcin Gortat.
Percent of this actually happening: 22%
I will lay out the Bucks and Pistons potential Mad Ants assigned players in the coming days. Perhaps I will even thrill you with my amazing Halloween outfit.