Posts Tagged ‘NBA D-League’

2011 D-League Showcase

SOUTH PADRE ISLAND, Texas — Nancy Lieberman arrived at the last year’s NBA Development League Showcase in snowy Boise, Idaho playing the part of head coach. She just didn’t have any players, her team didn’t have a nickname and she had no idea of what to expect.

A year later at the Showcase — on balmy South Padre Island this time — Lieberman is better equipped on all counts.

“We needed to know the lay of the land, how things work and how important that Showcase was for athletes,” said Lieberman, in her first season as the groundbreaking coach of the expansion Texas Legends.

“I stressed to my players before we left how many NBA personnel people will be there and what this opportunity can and will be like for them. And I could speak from firsthand experience having been there last year and having interacted with so many NBA people.”

More than 100 NBA front office types representing all 30 teams, from general managers to scouts, plus a host of international talent evaluators will descend on the southern tip of the Texas coast for the 2011 D-League Showcase. Billed as the NBA’s premier in-season scouting event, the Showcase tips off a 16-game schedule Monday and runs through Thursday at the South Padre Island Convention Centre.

All 16 teams in the D-League are playing two regular-season games over the four days. Every game will be broadcast live either on television or the Internet. NBA TV has 10 of the games, four are on NBA Futurecast at, and AOL Fanhouse and Versus have one each.

The exposure could lead to the break many of these players need. Eight players earned Gatorade Call-Ups during or immediately after last year’s Showcase, including Anthony Tolliver, Sundiata Gaines and Cartier Martin.

“It’s important for the young players to know how fortunate they are to be able to play two games in front of so many people that they could potentially be working for,” Lieberman said. “They’re going to look for that ace in the hole, that sleeper, that guy that they didn’t realize was that good or that consistent. Maybe some team has had a couple of injuries and this guy could help their team.

“It’s an extraordinary opportunity, and we want to highlight and feature these guys. I’ve told my guys that we’re going to feature you and let these guys know how good you are. All you have to do is your part and play to the best of your abilities.”

The current Showcase features a number of players with NBA experience, such as Antoine Walker and Luke Jackson (Idaho), Mario West (Maine), and Joe Alexander and Sean Williams (Texas). Some top prospects: Marcus Cousin (Austin), Trey Johnson (Bakersfield), Chris Johnson (Dakota), Ivan Johnson (Erie), Darnell Lazare (Fort Wayne), Othyus Jeffers and Kyle Weaver (Iowa), DeShawn Sims (Maine), Shane Edwards (New Mexico), Patrick Ewing Jr. and D.J. Strawberry (Reno), Jeff Adrien, Jerel McNeal and Mustafa Shakur (Rio Grande), JamesOn Curry and Scottie Reynolds (Springfield), Robert Vaden and Latavious Williams (Tulsa), and Orien Greene (Utah Flash).

“The NBA D-League Showcase affords NBA teams an opportunity to evaluate all of the NBA D-League’s talented prospects in one location, and we’ve seen a number of NBA teams sign players both during and immediately following past Showcases,” said Chris Alpert, vice president of basketball operations and player personnel for the D-League.

The action on South Padre also includes a Three-Point and Slam Dunk Contest, plus clinics for area schools and community organizations. The players are also taking part in several life-skills seminars.

Monday Showcase Schedule (times ET)
Sioux Falls vs. Tulsa, 12:00 pm, NBA TV
Utah vs. Iowa, 2:45 pm, NBA TV
Texas vs. New Mexico, 5:30 pm, NBA Futurecast
Fort Wayne vs. Rio Grande Valley, 8:15 pm, AOL Fanhouse

D-League Savvy

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — Since we’ve already been informed that the NBA D-League show will go on next season no matter what happens with the NBA’s collective bargaining negotiations, don’t you think Kenny and Charles need to brush up a little bit on their D-League details?

Nets invading Springfield…sorta

The New Jersey Nets are dipping their toes and more into the NBA Development League by agreeing to take over the basketball operations of the Springfield Amor next season.

The Nets are the second team to broker such an arrangement while entering into a single-affiliation setup with Springfield. The Houston Rockets pioneered the “hybrid” model to great success with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, the defending D-League champs.

The NBA team in the hybrid model assumes control and is responsible for all expenses involved in all basketball decisions, including the hiring of a coaching staff and management team, and building the roster. Local ownership maintains responsibility for off-the-court business operations. The setup is similar to a Major League baseball team and its minor league affiliates.

Billionaire Russian owner Mikhail Prokhorov wants his Nets to be the league’s first global team. The partnership with Springfield helps build the operation at home, as the Prokhorov crew gets another basketball team to work with and gain experience from.

Starting next season, the Nets will be able to assign their players to Springfield to play under their hand-picked coaches in their system.

“We feel that the ‘hybrid’ arrangement will allow our basketball team to maximize its affiliation with the NBA D-League and allow Springfield to serve as a fertile training ground for our players, coaches and front office personnel, only strengthening our basketball product,” Nets general manager Billy King said.

The Armor’s current affiliations for this season are with the Nets, New York Knicks and Philadelphia 76ers.

Lieberman & Legends tip off D-League

Groundbreaking coach Nancy Lieberman and her Texas Legends tip off coverage of the NBA Development League’s 10th season Nov. 18 on VERSUS. The Legends, co-owned by Dallas Mavericks general manager Donnie Nelson, are facing the defending D-League champion Rio Grande Valley Vipers.

Lieberman, a Hall of Famer, is making her debut as the first female coach of a men’s professional team on national TV. VERSUS, in its second year with the D-League, will broadcast 11 regular-season games, six playoff games and the 2011 D-League Finals.

The network is also airing one live game from the annual D-League Showcase, in addition to the new slam-dunk and 3-point contests. The Showcase is taking place Jan. 10-13 in South Padre Island, Texas.

VERSUS is going all out this season. Look for micing players and coaches during both games and in-game interviews; coverage of pregame, halftime, and postgame speeches from the locker room; and more camera angles on the court.

There should be plenty of stories to tell. NBA rosters on opening night featured a record-tying 63 players with D-League experience. Some of those D-League vets include Shannon Brown (L.A. Lakers), Aaron Brooks (Houston Rockets), Will Bynum (Detroit Pistons), JJ Barea (Dallas Mavericks), Marcin Gortat (Orlando Magic), and Reggie Williams (Golden State Warriors).

Here’s the D-League broadcast schedule on VERSUS.

Commissioner Stern on the Hang Time Podcast

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — No one can argue that the best basketball league on the planet is the NBA.

But who’s No. 2?

According to NBA Commissioner David Stern that second best league would be the NBA D-League, a suggestion that’s sure to ruffle some hoops sensibilities in Europe.

Did someone mention contraction in regard to the ongoing labor negotiations between the league and the players’ union? Stern was credited with bringing up the term, but was his reference to contraction taken out of context? Stern’s one of the few people on the planet that hasn’t seen that new LeBron James Nike commercial, you can see it here Mr. Commissioner, but we did our best to explain the premise.

Commissioner Stern touched on all those subjects and so much more on Episode 29 of the Hang Time Podcast, our special season kickoff show featuring our exclusive interview with the commissioner, as well as our opinions on the most anticipated NBA season in recent memory.


And here’s some choice excerpts:
Stern on LeBron and the Heat:

Stern on the new technical foul rule:

Stern on the CBA:

As always, we welcome your feedback. You can follow the entire crew, including the Hang Time Podcast Lang Whitaker of SLAM Magazine, our super producer Micah Hart of’s new All Ball Blog and your host Sekou Smith on Twitter.

– To download the podcast, click here. To subscribe via iTunes, click here.

Hang Time Podcast (Episode 26)

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — Peyton Manning might be the NFL’s best player and No. 1 pitch man these days, but in high school he wasn’t even the biggest star on campus at Isidore Newman School in New Orleans.

That honor belonged to Randy Livingston, who in 1993 was Gatorade National Player of the Year in boys basketball, earning his trophy a year before Manning would take home the same honors in football.

Currently the head coach of the NBA D-League’s Idaho Stampede, Livingston joins us on Episode 26 of the Hang Time Podcast to reminisce about his time as not only the nation’s top high school recruit, but also the knee injuries that curtailed his playing career and the resolve it took to overcome that adversity and succeed as a player in the NBA, the D-League and now as a head coach.


Livingston also offers an interesting perspective on the rules changes the D-League will implement this season and the potential impact those changes could have if and when they are introduced to the NBA.

Veteran NBA writer Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports joins us as well, sharing his insights on the Carmelo Anthony situation in Denver — yes, we realize that all is quiet these days on the “Melo-drama” front, but there are still rumblings that things might not be what they seem in Nuggets camp.

We didn’t forget about Carlos Boozer‘s injury or Joakim Noah‘s extension in Chicago. And nobody is crazy enough, not even the HTP crew, to miss the Miami Heat’s preseason debut against Detroit tonight at 7 p.m. live on NBA TV.

As always, we welcome your feedback. You can follow the entire crew, including the Hang Time Podcast Lang Whitaker of SLAM Magazine, our super producer Micah Hart of’s new All Ball Blog and your host Sekou Smith on Twitter.

– To download the podcast, click here. To subscribe via iTunes, click here.

New Rules?

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — The gap between the NBA game and the international game of basketball continues to shrink at a rapid pace.

FIBA instituted NBA-style rule changes earlier this year (including the dumping of that trapezoid lane, the no-charge zone under the basket and the extended 3-point line). Now comes the NBA’s move towards closing the gap from the other side.

The NBA D-League announced today that is has tweaked its goaltending and overtime rules, the goaltending rule will now mirror the FIBA rule that allows a player to knock the ball away when it is on the rim. Since it serves as, in the words of NBA D-League President Dan Reed, the NBA’s “Research and Development” department, it’s reasonable to assume that it’s just a matter of time before this new goaltending rule is implemented in the NBA.

NBA Commissioner David Stern has been a vocal supporter of changing the rule for years. “As far as I’m concerned, FIBA has it right: It’s in play and the only thing the referee has to judge is, Did it hit the rim? That’s it,” Stern said told Sports Illustrated’s Ian Thomsen last year. “To me, that’s a sensible rule, and it would make foul shooting more fun too.”

The NBA D-League tested the adidas-developed NBA Revolution 30 uniforms you will see on your favorite NBA players this season. So this wouldn’t be the first time the “R&D department” delivered the goods.

If the new goaltending rule is a success in the D-League it could pave the way for one of the most significant rules changes the NBA has seen since the 3-point shot was adopted in the 1979-80 season.

Seriously, can you imagine how crazy it would be to have guys like Dwight Howard, LeBron James, Gerald Wallace, Josh Smith and even an aging but cagey veteran like Kevin Garnett going after the ball while it’s on the cylinder?

Talk about a potential game-changer for some of the league’s elite athletes and craftier players, a new goaltending rule in the NBA could revolutionize the game for some teams and players (the difference in rules go a long way in explaining why some NBA players flourish during international competitions and other struggle, same for the international players that thrive in their game and don’t always make a smooth adjustment to the NBA).