Plenty of names to know in D-League All-Star game

Cleveland Cavaliers guard Manny Harris (6) is defended by Chicago Bulls guard Jimmy Butler (21) during the second half at the United Center. The Bulls beat the Cavaliers 107-75.

Rob Grabowski-US PRESSWIRE

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.


— Texas Legends forwards Melvin Ely and Devin Ebanks, Bakersfield Jam forward Ike Diogu, and Iowa Energy guard Othyus Jeffers highlight the Prospects roster.

— Former University of Dayton forward Chris Wright (Maine Red Claws) will participate in the D-League All-Star game for the Futures.

FUTURES ALL-STAR ROSTER

C Hilton Armstrong (Santa Cruz)

The 29-year old has started in 39 NBA games.

F Mo Charlo (Reno)

Charlo, 30, has spent seven years in the D-League.

G Seth Curry (Santa Cruz)

Younger brother of Steph Curry called up by Memphis Grizzlies earlier this season.

G Manny Harris (Los Angeles)

Still only 24 years old, lots of NBA teams have him on radar.

F Justin Hamilton (Sioux Falls)

Played professionally in Croatia for part of last season.

G Pierre Jackson (Idaho)

Set a D-League record with 58 points vs. Texas on Feb. 4.

F Kevin Jones (Canton)

Would be a surprise if he doesn’t make his way to an NBA roster this season.

G DeAndre Liggins (Sioux Falls)

Has spent time with the Orlando Magic and Oklahoma City Thunder.

C Arinze Onuaku (Canton)

Spent three games with the New Orleans Pelicans at the start of the season.

F Chris Wright (Maine)

High-flying dunker impresses NBA scouts with his athleticism.

Head Coach: Steve Hetzel (Canton)

Assistant Coaches: Jordi Fernandez (Canton), James Posey (Canton), Nate Reinking (Canton)

Athletic Trainer: Mike Gittinger (Canton)

PROSPECTS ALL-STAR ROSTER

G Dee Bost (Idaho)

Leads the D-League in assists at 8.6 apg.

F Robert Covington (Rio Grande Valley)*

Was called up by the Houston Rockets for two games.

G Troy Daniels (Rio Grande Valley)

Sharpshooter set D-League record for 3-pointers in a season Jan. 29.

F Ike Diogu (Bakersfield)

Now 30, was drafted No. 9 overall by the Golden State Warriors in 2005.

F Devin Ebanks (Texas)

Spent 63 games in the NBA and scored 43 in a D-League game earlier this year.

F Melvin Ely (Texas)

At 35, he has increased his scoring average from 10.7 ppg to 16.4 this season.

G Ron Howard (Fort Wayne)

The 31-year old has spent his entire career with the Mad Ants and is D-League’s second all-time scorer.

F Othyus Jeffers (Iowa)

Actually started a game for the powerful San Antonio Spurs this year.

G Cameron Jones (Santa Cruz)

Has never made it to the NBA, but cousin (Toronto Raptors guard Landry Fields) sure has.

G James Nunnally (Bakersfield)

Received two 10-day contracts from the Atlanta Hawks.

Head Coach: Nevada Smith (Rio Grande Valley)

Assistant Coaches: Paul Mokeski (Rio Grande Valley), Jason Young (Rio Grande Valley)

Athletic Trainer: Long Lam (Rio Grande Valley)

* – Indicates a player currently in the NBA