Prospect Watch

November 1, 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. Seth Curry, G, Erie BayHawks
Got better as his rookie year went along and shined during Summer League. Has complete offensive arsenal but defense, athleticism remain question marks.
This week: Two more ultra-efficient efforts and continued hot shooting (53 points on 29 shots in two games). Showing ability to play off the ball, but not serving as full-time point could stunt his growth.

2. Earl Clark, F, Rio Grande Valley Vipers
Proven NBA player who’s still just 26. Potential reclamation project a la James Johnson and Shawne Williams. RGV is perfect place for him to develop missing piece (consistent 3PT shot).
This week: Got hot from outside (6/10 3FG) in Bakersfield, including incredible game-tying, turnaround corner three. Has 3+ blocks in all four games. Getting plenty of reps from long range (8.8 3FGA per game).

3. 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.
This week: Deadly efficient in averaging 34.3 points in three games, including 43-point, 15-rebound, 7-assist outburst. Needs to stay consistent from outside, cut turnovers down and bring more defensive intensity.

4. 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.
This week: Was brilliant in Friday’s win (30 points, 9/14 FG) and posted 15-assists-to-5-turnovers in two games.

5. Willie Reed, F/C, Grand Rapids Drive
Proven at NBA D-League level; simply waiting on NBA opportunity. Proficient rebounder who at the very 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, and still learning defensively.
This week: Returned from a brief stint in Israel with a dominant performance off the bench: 24 points, 11-of-13 shooting, 15 rebounds, 4 blocks in 35 minutes of an overtime win.

6. 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.
This week: In off-ball role, made Skyforce pay for leaving him on perimeter with career-high 7 three-pointers on 9 attempts — a step forward for a player searching for a consistent jumper.

7. Carrick Felix, G/F, Santa Cruz Warriors
Rose up draft boards in 2013 but rookie season was plagued by injury. Good athlete who will make his mark on the defensive end. Has one of highest ceilings among prospects.
This week: Posted 17 points and 12 boards on Friday, but was a non-factor on Sunday. Hasn’t found his outside shot and needs to attack more — just five free-throw attempts through four games.

8. Erik Murphy, F, Austin Spurs
Should establish himself quickly because of defined role as stretch-4. Often compared to fellow Florida alum Matt Bonner. Needs to show he can handle bigs inside and hang athletically.
This week: Has taken a backseat to the dynamic froncourt of Josh Davis and JaMychal Green. Should find his groove from outside over time, but defense (7 fouls in 36 total minutes this weekend) a concern.

9. 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.
This week: Registered triple-double (15 points, 11 rebounds, 11 assists) in Game 1 and totaled 20 assists, 1 turnover. Still has made just three shots outside the restricted area.

10. Kevin Murphy, G, Idaho Stampede
Top-notch, efficient scorer at NBA D-League level (25.5 ppg). Finishes in the paint despite slender frame that hurts him defensively. Must become more well-rounded.
This week: Scored 58 points (21/40 FG) in two games, but 5 turnovers in each and just 3-for-21 from long range.

11. 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.
This week: Still learning to control his aggressiveness — made 11 field goals for 27 points but was wild at times. Jump shot remains shaky.

12. Marquis Teague, G, Oklahoma City Blue
Former prized Kentucky recruit who has struggled early in career. Classic case of a player needing a fresh start at minor-league level; still just 21.
This week: Struggling with his shot: went just 5-for-19, with all buckets coming at the rim.

13. 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.
This week: Came out aggressive with 23 points, 8 assists, 0 turnovers, but shot 2-for-9 in second game. Still adjusting to new role is primary ball-handler trying to create shots.

14. 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.
This week: Working on developing three-point range — 4-for-16 in early going, including 1-of-6 on Saturday.

15. 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.
This week: Up-and-down performance. Showcased freakish athletic ability with 10 blocks in three games, yet has made just three shots outside restricted area.

16. 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 will be key.
This week: Blocking shots at a rate far higher than college (3.4 per 36 minutes). Emerging as pick-and-roll and fastbreak weapon — posted second 20-10 game (22&10).

17. 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 rare.
This week: Impressive that despite all the attention, put up 23 points (5/7 3FG), launching most of his shots off the dribble.

18. Kalin Lucas, G, Iowa Energy
Former Michigan State star who suffered a devastating Achilles tear during junior year. Has returned to form, but broke hand while he was gaining momentum with Energy last season. Heady, reliable player, yet on small side and not quite a shooter from NBA three-point range.
This week: Posted 17 points on just 8-for-19 shooting while dishing out 7 assists in Iowa’s 124-point outburst.

19. Lorenzo Brown, G, Grand Rapids Drive
True point guard with great size who has gotten several looks with NBA teams. Shaping up to be a solid backup if he can become more of a scoring threat, keep improving jumper.
This week: Old issues still popping up: has made just two shots outside of the restricted area; 11 turnovers to 6 assists this weekend.

20. 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 work on pick-and-pop.
This week: Couldn’t match up physically with massive, NBA-caliber center (Hassan Whiteside). Highly active on both ends: 19 points, 11 rebounds (7 offensive), 3 assists and 3 steals.

21. 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.
This week: Impacted both games even though his shot wasn’t falling with 21 assists, 2 turnovers. Learning pick-and-roll reads in Spurs’ system.

22. Chris Babb, G, Maine Red Claws
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.
This week: Engine behind Maine’s 4-0 start getting it done on both ends. Made 6-of-13 from three to improve to 13-of-32 (41%) on season.

23. 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.
This week: L.A.’s uptempo attack has played to his strengths and he’s been in a monster on the glass — 35 rebounds, including 13 offensive — in three games.

24. Malcolm Lee, G, Delaware 87ers
Former prized prospect still trying to reach potential. Tweener between guard positions. Elite perimeter defender who needs to find identity on the other end.
This week: Quiet offensively, taking just four shots in first game and struggling to finish inside (3/11 FG) in next game. Helped contain a pair of quick point guards (Andre Barrett, Tim Frazier).

25. Hasheem Thabeet, C, Grand Rapids Drive
27-year-old looking to reignite career. Simply needs consistent playing time (reps) to improve skill set. At the very least is a proven shot-blocker/glass-crasher.
This week: Had 9 rebounds, 4 blocks, 2 steals in 23 minutes in Game 1, then five fouls in 15 minutes in Game 2. Took just six shots (making two) over that stretch.

26. Adonis Thomas, F, Grand Rapids Drive
Broke out in D-League last season but still lacks a true position. Made huge strides with jumper; next step is tightening ball-handling in order to be an NBA wing. Has NBA body and athleticism.
This week: Featured often as a small-ball power forward, made 4-for-9 from deep on Friday, then stayed aggressive in putting up 29 points against Canton.

27. Vander Blue, G, Los Angeles D-Fenders
Needs stability after playing for eight different teams as a rookie. Explosive first step but still inconsistent from outside. Perimeter defense will be his calling card.
This week: Made plays defensively (6 steals) while remaining quiet offensively in a crowded backcourt.

28. Ronald Roberts, F, Delaware 87ers
Monster athlete who turned heads during Summer League. As energetic PF, should thrive in fast-paced, small-ball style. Undersized and raw offensively.
This week: Showcased quickness and continued to rebound at a high rate, with two more double-doubles (combined 27 points, 24 rebounds in two games).

29. Eric Griffin, F, Texas Legends
A freakish athlete who still has untapped potential — in just his seventh year of organized basketball. Highly productive college player at Campbell University but untested against top competition. If he develops consistent outside shot, stock could rise rapidly.
This week: Followed quiet Friday with stellar Saturday. Was too quick and explosive for Austin to handle, scoring 26 points on 7-for-9, 11-for-12 from the line.

30. Patrick Christopher, G, Iowa Energy
Proven scorer who has developed into an elite shooter (45% from three in 50 games in 2013-14). Solid athleticism and 6-10 wingspan make him a viable defender. Not flashy and won’t create own shot, but a savvy, reliable vet who can fit in to any system.
This week: Made 5 more three-pointers to push his season total to 10-for-20. Now has at least 2 threes in seven straight NBA D-League games.

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