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NBA D-League Monthly Recap: Best of January

By Brian Kotloff | February 1, 2017

January may represent the dog days of the NBA season, but for the minor-leaguers, it’s prime time. Starting on Jan. 5, NBA teams could sign players to 10-day contracts, which provides a pathway to many NBA D-League players. Then, from Jan. 18-22, the NBA D-League convened in Mississauga, Ontario for the 13th annual NBA D-League Showcase, putting top prospects on display in front of player personnel representatives from all 30 teams.

All told, nine NBA D-League players were called up to the NBA, and many NBA D-League alums continued to make their mark at the next level.

Here’s what you need to know about January in the Development League:

HEADLINES

Five-Day, 22-Game Showcase Gives Prospects Time to Shine
Quinn Cook (Canton Charge), Josh Magette (Los Angeles D-Fenders), Patrick Miller (Sioux Falls Skyforce), Abdel Nader (Maine Red Claws) and Devondrick Walker (Delaware 87ers) earned spots on NBADLeague.com’s All-Showcase First Team.

Expansion Update: Grizzlies, Timberwolves, Hawks Announce Affiliates
The NBA D-League’s push for a 30 teams-for-30 NBA franchises model took several steps closer: The Memphis Grizzlies, previously affiliated with the Iowa Energy, announced the purchase of an expansion team in Southaven, Miss; the Minnesota Timberwolves announced their intent to purchase the Iowa Energy; and the Atlanta Hawks announced that their expansion team will begin play in Erie, Pa., next season. (Atlanta’s purchase of an affiliate was previously announced, with the team opening play in College Park, Ga., in 2019-20.)

Yogi! Call-Up Ferrell Makes Immediate Impact
The Dallas Mavericks have righted the ship on their season, and help recently has come from an unexpected source. After being called up from the Long Island Nets, former Indiana star Yogi Ferrell led the Mavs to back-to-back wins within the first three days of his 10-day contract.

NBA Vets Stackhouse, Karl to Coach All-Star Game
Having led the top teams in the East and West, respectively, Jerry Stackhouse (Raptors 905) and Coby Karl (Los Angeles D-Fenders) will serve as head coaches in the 2017 NBA D-League All-Star Game presented by Kumho Tire — Feb. 18 in New Orleans.

Former Tryout Participant Simmons Named to NBA’s Rising Stars Challenge
A year ago, Jonathon Simmons’ journey — from two junior colleges to the Austin Spurs’ open tryout and all the way to the San Antonio Spurs — was called the “greatest story in basketball.” That story will continue at NBA All-Star Weekend, as the second-year swingman was selected to the U.S. Team in the BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge.

Must-See Highlights

On the comeback trail: 11-year NBA vet Ben Gordon returned with the Texas Legends, scoring 16 points in his debut:

In a year of buzzer-beater after buzzer-beater, Lamar Patterson — who later earned a Call-Up to the Hawks — sunk perhaps the shot of the year in Reno:

87ers sub Devondrick Walker put himself on the map with a perfect Showcase, shooting 12-of-12 from three en route to 46 points in 49 minutes over two games.

Top Prospects

Josh Magette may be a generously listed 6-foot-1, 160-pound¬†prospect from the University of Alabama-Huntsville, but the D-Fenders’ star has turned heads because he can flat-out play point guard. Who else boosted their stock? READ MORE

Top NBA Assignees

An all-time high 79 NBA players, including 14 first-round 2016 NBA Draft picks, have been assigned to the NBA D-League this season. Here are five who stood out. READ MORE

Alumni Report: Former D-Leaguers in the NBA

Two-time NBA D-League All-Star Seth Curry has established himself as a starter in Dallas, but he’s just one of many NBA D-League alums making an impact in the NBA. READ MORE

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