NBA D-League playoff guide
The NBA D-League playoffs begin this week, and you can be sure big-league scouts are watching. The playoffs are a best-of-three format. Here’s a quick team-by-team guide, with teams listed in order of seeding:
1. Fort Wayne Mad Ants
NBA Affiliation: Bobcats, Pistons, Pacers, Grizzlies, Bucks, Magic.
First-round opponent: Reno Bighorns.
Key prospects: G Ron Howard; G/F Tony Mitchell.
Comment: The return of Mitchell from the Bucks is huge. And Howard may be the steadiest player in league history.
2. Los Angeles D-Fenders
NBA Affiliation: Lakers.
First-round opponent: Santa Cruz Warriors.
Key prospects: G/F Shawne Williams; G/F Terrence Williams.
Comment: Shawne Williams may be the best all-around talent in league, and Terrence Williams isn’t far behind.
3. Iowa Energy
NBA Affiliation: Bulls, Nuggets, Timberwolves, Pelicans, Wizards.
First-round opponent: Rio Grande Valley Vipers.
Key prospects: G Austin Freeman; G Curtis Stinson.
Comment: Call-up Othyus Jeffers was thrown to Wolves at bad time. Still plenty of talent, though.
4. Sioux Falls Skyforce
NBA Affiliation: Heat.
First-round opponent: Canton Charge.
Key prospects: G DeAndre Liggins; G Tre Kelly.
Comment: Ex-NBA F Craig Smith signed last month, and the Skyforce have been even scarier since.
5. Rio Grande Valley Vipers
NBA Affiliation: Rockets.
First-round opponent: Iowa Energy.
Key prospects: G Darius Morris; G Troy Daniels.
Comment: They live and die by 3-pointer. Read: No lead is safe against these guys.
6. Santa Cruz Warriors
NBA Affiliation: Warriors.
First-round opponent: LA D-Fenders.
Key prospects: G Seth Curry; G Cameron Jones.
Comment: A fun team to watch, as the Warriors have a dangerous backcourt. Defense can be a problem.
7. Canton Charge.
NBA Affiliation: Cavaliers.
First-round opponent: Sioux Falls Skyforce.
Key prospects: F Shane Edwards; F/C Arinze Onuaku.
Comment: The Charge like to slow it down, get the ball down low and let their defense do the rest.
8. Reno Bighorns
NBA Affiliation: Kings.
First-round opponent: Fort Wayne Mad Ants.
Key prospects: G Sundiata Gaines, G/F K.C. Rivers.
Comment: Rivers is shooting 51 percent in wins, 35 percent in losses. A little more consistency will get him to the next level.