While the NBA All-Star Game is for the fans, the NBA D-League game is for the general managers and scouts.
Actually, that’s not entirely true: Fans who love basketball will love the D-League game, too. If you follow the D-League, you’ll see that there’s actually a lot to like, especially if you enjoy following guys who may help your favorite NBA team.
The best of the bunch gather today in New Orleans, as the D-League All-Star Game tips off at 3 p.m. on NBA TV.
Here are a few quick notes:
— Pierre Jackson of the Idaho Stampede is perhaps the most dynamic player in the field. He’s a pint-sized rookie scoring guard who can light you up in a hurry. Jackson is the property of the New Orleans Pelicans, but NBA teams everywhere are highly interested. The Pelicans seem plenty content to keep him on their own radar for now.
— The Canton Charge are well-represented with former Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Jones and quickly rising center Arinza Onuaku, added as an injury replacement for Dewayne Dedmon (Santa Cruz Warriors). Also, Charge coach Steve Hetzel and his staff (which includes former NBA forward James Posey) will lead the Futures squad.
— Lots of teams are particularly fond of Jones, who’s in his second season as a pro. He’s among the many D-Leaguers who could be signed after the NBA trading deadline Feb. 20, once teams figure out who’s coming and going.
— Former Cavs and Los Angeles Lakers guard Manny Harris is another player to keep an eye on. He received two 10-day contracts from the Lakers earlier this season, played fairly well, then scored 56 points in his first game back with the LA D-Fenders. Harris handled his demotion with class, too, thanking the Lakers for the chance on his Instagram account.
— Santa Cruz Warriors center Hilton Armstrong and guard Seth Curry, and Sioux Falls Skyforce forward Justin Hamilton and guard DeAndre Liggins, are among some of the other names you may know on the Futures roster.
— Rio Grande Valley Vipers coach Nevada Smith and his staff will direct the Prospects. That includes former NBA center Paul Mokeski.