Drive Players to Watch for in the D-League Showcase
The NBA D-League Showcase begins tomorrow in Mississauga, Ontario tomorrow. The Showcase is an event that will host all 22 D-League teams from January 18th through the 22nd. The Detroit Pistons’ D-League Affiliate, the Grand Rapids Drive will play two games throughout the event. They face the Raptors 905 tomorrow at 12:30 pm on NBATV and will then play at 8:30 pm on Saturday versus the Long Island Nets.
The purpose of the D-League Showcase is it is specifically held as an in-season scouting event for all NBA teams. Each NBA team will be represented in Mississauga.
Grand Rapids has a talented team, although they hold an 11-14 record. Due to their talent, NBA scouts will take a long look at many players from the Drive’s roster in Mississauga. Here are some Drive players to watch for at the D-League Showcase.
After going to training camp with the Detroit Pistons and making their final roster, Ray McCallum was waived just days after Detroit announced him as a member of their final roster for the 2016-2017 season. With news that Reggie Jackson would miss their first 6-8 weeks with knee tendonitis, Stan Van Gundy decided to waive the young McCallum in order to add a veteran point guard to the roster. In order to make space for the signing of Beno Udrih, Detroit had to cut ties with McCallum. Luckily, he did not go far.
McCallum decided to head to down to the D-League with the Grand Rapids Drive. Detroit owned his player rights because they signed him in free agency and with his decision to go to the D-League, he would play with Detroit’s affiliate. The move is looking like a smart one right now.
The 6’3″ point guard is currently the number one ranked prospect on the NBA D-League’s prospect watch board. He is averaging 18.4 points, 7.6 assists, and 5.9 rebounds per game. His scoring average would be much higher, but the Drive added prolific scorer Kevin Murphy to the team shortly into the season. He also averages the third most steals in the league at 2.4 per game. He has shown an ability to not only play well on the offensive side of the ball but defensively as well.
McCallum is clearly an NBA point guard. It seems the question is no longer if McCallum will get back to the NBA, but when will he.
If an NBA team is looking to add scoring then Jordan Crawford should be the first player that team should call. Crawford is a prolific scorer. He came to the Drive this season on a mission to get back to the NBA, and so far that goal is a legitimate possibility. He is averaging 23.1 points per game and has scored 25 or more points in 11 of the 22 games he has appeared in this season.
Crawford’s scoring is fantastic and he only gets more intriguing after looking at his efficiency. He is shooting 46.4 percent from the field which is very good for a guard that shoots a lot from outside of the paint. He is truly a threat from deep as well. Crawford is knocking down a D-League career-high 38.6 percent of his three-point attempts this year. That percentage puts him just outside the top-25 three-point shooters in the league, as he ranks at 26. He shot 30.9 percent from three in the 2014-2015 D-League season.
The 6’5″ guard can play shooting guard and small forward, and could likely handle minutes at point guard as well. He does not turn the ball over either, which for a ball dominant guard is extremely important.
Crawford belongs right along with McCallum as another guy that should be in the NBA. The D-League Showcase will be yet another opportunity for Crawford to show he belongs among the world’s best basketball players.
As mentioned, Kevin Murphy was acquired by the Drive shortly into the 2016-2017 season. Murphy is best used as a small forward that can play either shooting guard or power forward, but he has spent a good chunk of time this season at the power forward spot for Grand Rapids. He took a year off from the D-League last season, but since returning this season, Murphy has launched himself back into the talk of being one of the best players in the NBA’s minor league system.
This season Murphy is averaging 22.5 points per game, which leads the Drive in scoring. He has scored less than 20 points in a game only seven times this season, and in single digits just twice. He also is averaging a D-League career-high 5.9 rebounds while adding 1.5 assists per game.
Murphy’s efficiency has been even better than Crawford. The wing has shot 40.1 percent from deep this season, the 17th best percentage in the league. He is knocking down 43.7 percent off his shots from the field, and 81 percent from the free throw line. Murphy defines the term efficient.
While McCallum and Crawford seem to rank ahead of Murphy as potential NBA callups, no team would be making a bad decision bringing him onto the roster.
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