2013 NBA D League Draft Picks; Feast, Famine, and the Ugly Chick

feast or famineA former NBA 2nd Rd Draft Pick, NBA Veteran and Overseas juggernaut round out the top 3 picks of the November first Daft.  Big congrats to the Grant Jarrett (Tulsa 66ers), James Johnson (Rio Grande Valley Vipers), and Quincy Douby (Sioux Falls), respectively, for being the top 3 picks of the 2013 NBA Development League Draft.

Maybe the most noteworthy pre-draft took place when the Iowa Energy traded away the first pick and acquired NBA champion Jarvis Varnado from the Sioux Falls Skyforce.  Also worth noting, the internationally touted guard out of Princeton Day HS Aquille Carr was 9th pick or 3rd round  (Delaware 87ers), and 12-year Veteran Ricky Davis has been selected 8th in the 6th round (Erie Bayhawks) in a unbelievable attempt at an NBA Comeback!

Big Congrats and Best of Luck to All Players Who were Selected in this year’s draft!

Feast.

Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and ‘thankful’ should be the mantra for the top selections from this year’s draft.  Over the past few years, the NBA D-League Draft Pool has become more and more rich in talent. The number of call-ups is also on the rise.  103 Current NBA Players have D-League experience. A number that will greatly increase this year as well.  These players are pretty much guaranteed to ‘eat’ (see nice paydays) this year–if not, this year, then sometime in the very near future.  That is, unless the injury bug decides to take a bite first.

Famine.

But out of all 180 + Players Considered for this Year’s Draft, less than half are selected by D-League teams, fewer are eventually signed, and even less will make it through the season, let alone, receive a call up to the NBA.  Many of these players have already passed up on 6-figure deals from teams overseas.  For some, they did it unintentionally (more on that later).  Either way, that 6-figure offer may never come around again.

So what happens when drafted players enter training camp only to be cut shortly thereafter?  Sometimes nothing. Literally.

Let’s take one random sample (I honestly just grabbed this name off the list) Anthony Moody was 4th pick of the 5th round in the 2011 Draft.  Granted Mr. Moody entered the draft right outta High School, but he still went high enough to warrant some credibility here.

So what happened to Anthony?

6 games with Sioux Falls (4.5 pts and 1.2 ast) and in 2012 he played in the country of Georgia for MIA Academy.  In 11 games, he averaged 6.2 pts and 3.7 assists.  He’s been ‘MIA’ ever since.

Now here’s a more targeted, well-known, and more perplexing example.  Dominick Cheek left Villanova in 2012 and was selected 20th overall in the 2012-13 NBA D-League Draft.  He was a 12.5 pts. and 3.5 reb per game scorer in one of the most talent-rich Big East Conference Seasons in league history. That year the Big East netted 9 teams in the NCAA tournament.  According to realgm.com Cheek was placed on waivers on Nov 16th by the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, and has not logged one stat on any professional team since.

Unsigned. Unhyped.

So what does that say for Mr.’s Moody and Cheek?  It’s true.  Their pro careers have been very disappointing to date, but does that mean that they are any less talented or less valuable players than the thousands who are currently signed to professional contracts?  No way!

I haven’t seen Moody play, but I can guess he’s a firey guard that is fast as lightning, but just way too raw to adapt to or fit into a complex European system.

As for Mr. Cheek, I absolutely loved his game at my alma mater.  I wish he would have stayed for his senior year, but there’s no way you can tell me that his skill set doesn’t warrant a shot on a Mid-to-High tier European team.

What has happened in his case, and what will happen this year for many others is somewhat simple when you think about it… The people who would have jumped at the opportunity to sign them, have no idea that they exist.

Agencies and how they work (or don’t work) is a whole other topic for discussion.  But I’ve learned from first-hand experience that the same agent who can get you a realistic shot at playing in the NBA, could be the same guy who has no shot in hell at getting you a job overseas.  It all comes down to relationships.  Some have been cultivating them internationally.  Others have not.  Some know how to do it.  Others have no clue.  Some are trying. Others could care less.

Anyone who has lived and played overseas can tell you that there’s no international sporting news or cross-country network, like ESPN, or ESPN.com.   Believe it or not, they don’t turn on Monday night NCAA battles and listen to Dickie V.  There’s really is no true international basketball news-beat.

And as for scouting, unless you’re talking about the top teams in the Euroleague, it’s pretty much null and void.  Many mid-to-low level overseas teams depend on Agents to tell them who’s good.  And at the end of the day, that’s straight craziness. These people are trying to sell you something.  That’s like me calling up AT&T and asking them what cell phone provider I should choose.

The point is,  it’s impossible to be offered a contract by a team who doesn’t know you exist.  And for most D-league players, especially those that didn’t participate in international camps or combines, their names and games were never put on display for the international powers that be to see them.

The Ugly Chick

Think of it like this. (I apologize in advance to the ladies, but using the opposite example would have been awkward)  You step out to a club with your homies.  You’re observing the scene and see a few chicas that catch your eye.  And lucky you, they’re sending back some positive vibes.  So you begin to weigh your options.

Chica #1 is BADD! (thats what we used to call it back in the day.. heavy on the ‘B’ sound.)  She’s like the NBA–top notch, one in a million, a star.  Beauty #2 is also pretty fly.  She’s not the hottest one in the club, not a show-stopper, but she has potential.   #2 is like the NBDL.  And then there’s #3.  She’s the butter face chick.  You know, everything is nice but her face.  She’s not your first choice, or even your 25th, but after a few more drinks, you’d probably do it.  That Chick #3 is Basketball Overseas.

So what’s a playa to do?

The ‘smart’ guy would be puttin’ in bids with 1 through 3 all night long.  Of course you’re gonna invest most of your time in #1.  And when you’re not tryin’ them played out pickup lines on #1, you’re gonna be talking about how much you like poetry and how much you enjoy walks in the park with #2.  But the thing you can’t forget to do is spend some time with #3…It can be ad hoc.. far less than intimate.. and alot less frequent.. like stopping by to chat on trips to the bathroom.

That way, if 1:30 am rolls around and you find yourself rejected by 1 and 2, at least you when the lights come on, you have 3 lined up to meet you in the parking lot.

And that, my friends, is what alot of players and agents that are super-obsessed with the NBA, don’t get.   They don’t pay much attention to the overseas market.  Not because it’s fat, ugly, or unattractive to players.  There’s alot of  players living out their wildest basketball dreams overseas.  But putting in the work to have seeds planted across the whole world of basketball takes alot more effort.  And it’s true that most of the time the payoff, especially for agents, is a lot less flattering…like the ugly chick.

Time Keeps on Tickin’

Another thing that is working against players who have tried out and been released by the NBA D-League is time.  While waiting to try out for the D-league, you miss out on tons of opportunities to make good money overseas.   By the time November rolls around, every job will be closed and every league will have already started.  Getting drafted and cut before the season, or worse yet, not getting drafted at all is truly devastating to your pro career.

You could end up missing a whole year.  And when that happens, questions start to arise about your game, your health, and sometimes your character.  Why did he get released?  Is he still in shape?  Was he injured?  Is he a head case?  or worst of all, Is he just not good enough to be a pro?

For players who were drafted and others who went without their names being called, it’s time to make some super-tough decisions.  Your basketball life, and your appetite could depend on them.   Stay hungry my friends.

Learn more about how iBall United is helping players to build and sustain professional careers by visiting our website at http://www.iballunited.net

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One Response to 2013 NBA D League Draft Picks; Feast, Famine, and the Ugly Chick

  1. Randi says:

    Being from Chicago at that time, there’s one thing that goes overlooked:Isiah Thomas had the worst chhidlood of everyone he fought with in the NBA. Zeke’s old hood was blocks from mine—near Brazil caliber poverty. Zeke was so poor that Bobby Knight usedta say until I recruited Isiah, I didn’t know people lived like this. Normally Knight raised hell at the notion of cats leaving early, but Thomas was the poorest kid he’d seen in years so he understood him chasing paper.None of the cats on the Dream Team came from broken homes or the degree of poverty that Zeke did. And I’ve always been convinced that this bothered Thomas and fueled alot of the fights he got in over the years He was never the golden boy / one of the guys in the league.And in CHicago, MJ was so NOT from the Hood, yet we wanted him to be. Conversely, Zeke was from OUR hood and we overlooked him for flashier cats like MJ There’s other ish that goes overlooked like how the NBA unloaded the CBA on Thomas then developed a counter D-League and sunk him Thomas was kind of an SOB but it wasn’t without some cause

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