Prospect Watch

December 16, 2014

Each week, compiles the Prospect Watch, our list of the top 30 Prospects* currently in the NBA D-League. Our rankings are based on the combination of upside and experience, potential and production that NBA teams look for in a GATORADE Call-Up.

The rankings are compiled by the editors at each Tuesday with input from scouts and coaches around the league.

(*Prospects include only players who are eligible to be called up to the NBA. Players entering the league who are NBA Draft-eligible, such as PJ Hairston in 2013-14, are not considered for Prospect Watch. Through the Draft Rights Player rule, Thanasis Antetokounmpo, Semaj Christon and Josh Huestis can only be called up by the team that drafted them.)


1. Quincy Miller, F, Reno Bighorns
High-upside small forward who at 22 is still learning the game. Rare combination of size (6-10, 220) and deep shooting range. Struggled offensively in first two NBA seasons. With 7-3 wingspan, could turn into two-way weapon as combo forward.

2. Seth Curry, G, Erie BayHawks
Got better as his rookie year went along and shined during Summer League. Has nearly complete offensive arsenal but defense, athleticism remain question marks.

3. Elliot Williams, G, Santa Cruz Warriors
Elite-level athlete with supreme leaping ability. Needs to refine outside shot to open up rest of offense. Potential defensive-minded combo guard off the bench.

4. Manny Harris, G, Los Angeles D-Fenders
Prolific scorer at NBA D-League level (31.8 ppg last season). Inconsistent outside shooter. Needs to focus on being role player rather than scorer first.

5. Jordan Hamilton, F, Reno Bighorns
Gifted scorer who has a nose for rebounds and has proven it in NBA (15.6 points, 7.5 rebounds per 36 minutes). Game is too one-dimensional, lacks a defensive mindset. Has the tools to transition into a stretch-4 and should thrive in small-ball league.

6. James Michael McAdoo, F, Santa Cruz Warriors
Tantalizing potential but underwhelmed in college. Has physical tools of NBA 4-man. Should thrive in an uptempo system — efficiency and consistency will be key.

7. Willie Reed, F/C, Grand Rapids Drive
Proven at NBA D-League level; simply waiting on NBA opportunity. Proficient rebounder who at the least can crash the offensive glass at the next level. Athletic and mobile with an NBA frame; can run the floor and finish lobs. Offensive repertoire is limited beyond that.

8. Orlando Johnson, G, Austin Spurs
Explosive scorer who can play with and without the ball. Still adjusting to reduced role after being focal point of offense at UC Santa Barbara. Has struggled to finish inside over NBA size. Has physical makeup (6-11 wingspan) to be a solid defender. Needs to work on shot selection.

9. Brady Heslip, G, Reno Bighorns
Dead-eye shooting specialist who most impressively combined volume with efficiency in college. Nearly made Timberwolves’ roster. Will thrive in D-League’s wide-open pace, especially in Reno’s system, but role on defense in NBA is unclear and 6-1 shooting guards are hard to come by.

10. Kevin Murphy, G, Idaho Stampede
Top-notch, efficient scorer at NBA D-League level (25.5 ppg in 2013-14). Finishes in the paint despite slender frame that hurts him defensively. Must become more well-rounded.

11. Thanasis Antetokounmpo, F, Westchester Knicks
51st overall pick of the Knicks. NBA-caliber athlete. Tenacious defender with nonstop motor who can be overaggressive. Raw offensively, though jumper improved with experience.

12. Peyton Siva, G, Erie BayHawks
Decorated college player who got little opportunity as a rookie. Defensive ball-hawk who can energize a second unit. May struggle to transition offensively to NBA due to size.

13. JaMychal Green, F/C, Austin Spurs
Mobile, athletic power forward with great length and capable mid-range jumper. Has spent two Summer Leagues with Spurs. Highly productive in college and D-League, but can he do it against NBA bigs?

14. Khem Birch, F/C, Sioux Falls Skyforce
Potential defensive ace protecting rim and guarding pick-and-roll. Rebounding should translate. Slight build with limited offensive game; needs to bulk up to compete at the next level.

15. Josh Huestis, F, Oklahoma City Blue
29th overall pick of the Thunder. Potential glue guy who can guard multiple positions. Can benefit from playing larger role on D-League affiliate and expanding offensive game.

16. Semaj Christon, G, Oklahoma City Blue
55th overall pick of the Thunder. Highly productive in college. Attacking combo guard who needs to cut down on turnovers. High ceiling if he can develop as a PG.

17. Arinze Onuaku, F/C, Canton Charge
Bruiser with massive wingspan that makes him an effective shot blocker. Dominant at NBA D-League level (20 points, 15 rebounds per 36 minutes entering 2014-15). Limited by lack of offensive game away from rim and athleticism.

18. Diante Garrett, G, Iowa Energy
Smooth, unselfish floor general with strong defensive potential. Full season of experience as NBA backup. Must become more of a scoring threat to stick at next level.

19. Doron Lamb, G, Texas Legends
Just 23 and accustomed to being role player. Elite shooter — 39% from three at NBA level — who has struggled to find shots elsewhere. Needs to improve off-the-dribble game.

20. Bryce Cotton, G, Austin Spurs
Led the Big East in scoring and assists per game as a senior. Undersized at NBA level. Should be a top D-League scorer, but learning how to run pro team is No. 1 priority.

21. Nolan Smith, G, Delaware 87ers
Former first-round NBA Draft pick who went overseas last season. First-team All-American as a senior at Duke. Struggled to create shot and finish during two years in NBA. Attractive as combo guard defender but needs to find position offensively.

22. Roscoe Smith, F, Los Angeles D-Fenders
The type of long, fluid athlete that NBA teams crave. Relentless on the glass. Defensive versatility is appealing, but needs to tighten ball-handling and improve shot to become NBA wing.

23. Elijah Millsap, G/F, Bakersfield Jam
Aggressive, defensive-minded wing with NBA size. Highly productive player at NBA D-League level over four seasons. Has nose for the ball on defense and on the boards. Capable playmaker but turnover-prone. Though outside shot has improved, it remains a major weakness.

24. Joe Alexander, F, Santa Cruz Warriors
27-year-old former NBA lottery pick who’s been plagued by injuries. Needs to prove he can stay healthy first and foremost. Still a good athlete with an NBA body, but a tweener between forward positions, especially on defense. Has a soft touch out to 20 feet — would improve stock by expanding range.

25. Tim Frazier, G, Maine Red Claws
Mature point guard who plays with great pace. Pick-and-roll specialist who can get into the paint and make plays. Has strong in-between/floater game. Slight build makes it difficult for him to defend bigger point guards. Not much of a shooter from outside.

26. Jerrelle Benimon, F, Idaho Stampede
Transferred from Georgetown and helped turn around Towson program as double-double machine. Has powerful 6-8 frame with rare ball skills and shooting touch for player his size. Lack of athleticism hurts him defensively.

27. Chris Babb, G, Maine Red Claws
Unselfish player who’s shown he will buy into team concept. One of league’s top perimeter defenders, could potentially guard two positions at next level. Capable ball-handler and above-average shooter who needs to become elite.

28. Earl Barron, C, Bakersfield Jam
Rebounder/pick-and-pop threat who has been around the block (124 NBA games). 33 years old but top option if team needs immediate frontcourt help.

29. Dahntay Jones, G/F, Fort Wayne Mad Ants
Former ace defender trying to prove he hasn’t lost a step at 33. Attacking wing who can slash and get to the foul line. Game may not age well due to reliance on athleticism; needs to improve as a corner three-point shooter.

30. Fuquan Edwin, G/F, Sioux Falls Skyforce
2014 Big East Defensive Player of the Year who ranked in top-15 in nation in steals last three collegiate seasons. Appealing young “3-and-D” prospect. Still refining rest of game, particularly ball-handling.

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