Posted on: July 15, 2011 1:40 pm
Edited on: July 15, 2011 2:24 pm

D-League Mascot 'Nightmare Ant' goes planking

Posted by Matt Moore

Let me catch you up.

There's a D-League team called the Fort Wayne Mad Ants

They have a mascot that is a 6 1/2-foot tall red ant. It was quickly tagged simply "Nightmare Ant" by J.E. Skeets (on Deadspin at the time).

Nightmare Ant now has his own Twitter.  

Nightmare Ant is now planking.


That concludes this message.
Posted on: April 4, 2011 3:11 pm

Video: Ugly fight erupts at D-League game

Here's video of an ugly fight that occurred during a D-League game. Posted by Ben Golliver.

Look, it's the D-League, so I won't bore you with anything but the most pertinent details. A big fight broke out and it occured on a basketball court and there were definitely some punches thrown and heads locked in a giant skirmish that was prompted by an overly flirtatious screen. 

The grapplers were Scottie Reynolds, of moderate fame from Villanova, and Connor Atchley, a player whose parents might not recognize if he didn't have a jersey with his name on it. During the fourth quarter of a game between the Springfield Armor and the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, Atchley set a weird pick on Reynolds who responded in the most violent way possible: throwing him to the ground and beating the stuffing out of him as the referees stood around and watched. Eventually, the benches cleared and broke things up.

Via RidiculousUpside.com, here's video of their altercation that saw multiple ejections and will likely lead to multiple suspensions as well. 

The quote of the night came from Rio Grande Valley Vipers coach Chris Finch, who told TheMonitor.com that he was ejected for doing what the referees should have been doing.
 "I was shocked," Finch said. "The decision was made because they said I escalated it, and that couldn’t be further from the truth. I pulled Reynolds off of Atchley. No one else would pull them off. The referees ran away from the situation. Then, it was a matter of getting them separated in a pile. I don’t know how they feel that’s escalating. Coaches are allowed to get on the court to break it up and that’s what I did."
God bless Finch for his honesty. But can you imagine how much he would be fined if he made those comments about NBA officials? 
Posted on: March 21, 2011 8:48 pm

Hasheem Thabeet to be assigned to the D-League

Posted by Royce Young

Back to the D-League for Hasheem Thabeet, via the Houston Chronicle. Not exactly a sentence you expect to write about a former No. 2 overall pick.

Thabeet, who was acquired from Memphis in a trade for Shane Battier, is on his way to the Rockets' D-League affiliate the Rio Grande Valley Vipers. He wasn't expected to make an impact with the Rockets and after playing only four minutes with his new team, a trip to the D-League is the only way he's going to see the floor.

Thabeet is just the latest example that if you're 7-3 and can block a shot, you can get an NBA contract. Thabeet was the highest ever pick assigned to the D-League when the Grizzlies sent him down last year. Now he's the highest ever pick assigned twice.

But the thing about Thabeet is, and will always be, that you can see the potential. Not for greatness or anything, but the skill and instincts are there. He has ability. He's horrific offensively, soft inside, doesn't rebound well for his size and just gets in the way offensively, but in terms of protecting the rim, he's pretty good at it.

Development has always been the buzzword for Thabeet and in Grande Valley it won't be any different. He really has a lot to improve on but if he realized it, he could be a decent NBA player. He won't ever be worth the No. 2 pick, but a decent backup center, he could be.

It's easy to root for Thabeet because he's a good guy and by all accounts, has a work ethic. He just hasn't put anything together yet. Another trip to the D-League probably won't change that much, but at least he'll actually see some floor time.
Posted on: January 26, 2011 7:24 pm

Report: Crittenton to sign with Dakota Wizards

Posted by Royce Young

You've probably forgotten about Javaris Crittenton, but he hasn't stopped trying to come back. After a failed stint with the Bobcats during training camp before this season, he played a short time in China. That didn't go all that well, despite the fact he averaged 25.8 points per game.

So Crittenton is trying another route. The D-League.

Via a report from Fanhouse, Crittenton will sign with the Dakota Wizards. Of course the Wizards are the D-League affiliate of the Washington Wizards and Memphis Grizzlies, the last two NBA franchises Crittenton was a part of with Washington being where he had his incident with Gilbert Arenas.

Crittenton has skill and at 6-5, should be able to make an impact on someone's roster. It's just never come together for him. He was drafted in the first round by the Lakers in 2007 and was traded to Memphis in the deal that brought Los Angeles Pau Gasol. From there Crittenton was sent to Washington where the rest became embarrassing history for him.

Crittenton was said to be the nation's best point guard of his high school class and took those talents to Georgia Tech for just one year. In 113 career games Crittenton has averaged 5.3 points, 2.4 rebounds and 1.8 assists in 16.4 minutes per game.

This might be one of the last shots Crittenton really has to make it though. He used up a number of chances and has failed to make the most of them. Again, he has talent. He has ability. He has size, speed and athleticism. But he's been branded with the dreaed "character issue" tag and has never lived up anywhere near his potential.

But he's still plugging away and in a league where second, third and fourth chances are handed out regularly, it's not that hard to see a call up in Crittenton's future.
Posted on: January 14, 2011 9:19 am

Shootaround 1.14.11: Worries abound

The Bulls miss Noah on offense, beards abound, J.O. may need surgery, and the Hornets need a big uptick in fans, still. All this and more in today's Shootaround. 
Posted by Matt Moore

You know why the Bulls miss Joakim Noah? Because their offense is struggling. Noah goes out and their offense falls off. How weird is that?

The best beards from NBA D-League's Showcase

Darko Milicic won the opening tip last night. A bit too much. He ended up scoring on his own goal with it. Whoops. The Wolves won and Darko was big down the stretch. But can you imagine if the Wolves had lost by two points?

George Karl thinks the Carmelo Anthony trade could fall through. If Ujiri's previous actions have been any indication, though, Karl will be the last to know. 

In case you missed it, Ben Golliver broke down the most efficient scorers in the NBA. It's well worth a read. 

Jermaine O'Neal may not be able to avoid having surgery on an ailing knee. 

Speaking of injured Celtics bigs, Danny Ainge is surprised Boston's bigs started missing games with injuries this soon. And he should be. After all, they're only 7,000 years old. 

Orlando Pinstriped Post asks what more Magic fans want from Jameer Nelson.

One of what will be many looks at Rondo versus Rose for the next three years.

The Hornets still need to average 14, 915 fans in attendance over the next five games to avoid the elimination of the buyout penalty for their arena. Their attendance on Wednesday? 13, 688. 
Posted on: January 13, 2011 9:15 am

Shootaround 1.13.11: Clips win their championship

Posted by Royce Young
  • Maybe Andre Iguodala was rushed back: "Hindsight is 20-20, but had Noch been healthy, maybe Dre could have gotten a few more practices under his belt before he played," Collins told The Philadelphia Inquirer ."
  • Mark Heisler of the Los Angeles Times: "In an unofficial poll, broadcasters Don MacLean, Michael Eaves and I decided it had to be the greatest quarter in Clippers history. Of course, in other teams' histories, they keep track of seasons, not quarters. After that, what figured to happen, happened. The Heat got control of the runaway Clippers offense, holding them to 24 points in the second quarter and 18 in the third. Midway through the fourth quarter, Miami cut it to 97-95 when James drove, had the ball batted away by Al-Farouq Aminu, fell out of bounds, got up limping, hopped back onto the floor, found himself trapped in the corner with the ball and the 24-second clock running out … and knocked in a three-pointer. Then something amazing happened. The Heat was spent. The Clippers had more left, especially in the way of hunger. So now, as the Clippers look around, who else's world can they shock? Oh, they play the Lakers here Sunday."
  • Bud Shaw of The Plain Dealer: "If you're keeping track of this poker game, LeBron James just saw Dan Gilbert's Hindu reference and raised him a deity. Both messages, Gilbert's and James, were spiteful and self-serving. Both claimed a higher power -- the universe, God -- were doing each's bidding. I wish these guys would agree to a third-party mediation, preferably with Dr. Phil. My guess is Gilbert doesn't mind James' latest shot as much as resentful Cavaliers fans do. James' tweet absorbed some of the anger more deservedly directed at Gilbert's team after the worst performance in franchise history."
  • Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer: "Paul Silas has always had this gift for making people believe in themselves. That’s what’s going on with D.J. Augustin, who needed that more than any Bobcat. So Augustin’s best game as a pro – 22 points, 12 assists and a single turnover against one of the NBA’s best, Derrick Rose, is a direct result of Silas’ psychology."
Posted on: December 6, 2010 3:09 pm
Edited on: December 7, 2010 11:58 am

Terrence Williams is destroying the D-League

Posted by Royce Young

UPDATE: Williams has been recalled by the Nets.

Mostly, when a young player is sent to the D-League, it's about what the "D" stands for - development. But that wasn't the case for Nets guard Terrence Williams.

Because of issues with being late, Williams was sent to the D-League. Coach Avery Johnson says it was about giving him the opportunity to play, but most agreed it was a punishment of sorts aimed to give Williams a wake-up call.

But in his time in the D-League, Williams has absolutely torn up the world in the three games he's played with the Springfield Armor. He notched triple-doubles in his first two outings and in his most recent game Sunday against the Maine Red Claws, he scored 36 points, pulled in nine boards and handed out seven assists.

In the three games, Williams is averaging 28.0 points, 11.3 rebounds, 10.7 assists and 1.3 steals a game. I guess sometimes it's not hard to tell when one is not like the other. Williams is clearly an NBA-level talent. But it's his head that's keeping him out of it.

With the Nets, Williams has been squeezed. He hasn't played much this season averaging just 19.9 minutes a game in eight appearances. He was drafted 11th overall out of Louisville in 2009 and seen as a player capable of exactly what he's doing in the D-League. But because of this recent issue, plus some odd exchanges he's had on Twitter, it's been easy to wonder where Williams' head is at.

Clearly his basketball ability isn't in question. He's one of the most athletic shooting guards in the league, had mid-range touch, great vision and the ability to be an above-average defender. Put all of that together and it's easy to scratch your head wondering why he's not playing in front of Anthony Morrow or even Travis Outlaw at small forward.

The Nets are in desperate need of playmakers and Williams can be exactly that for them. Maybe his stint in the D-League will show him what a player he can be and maybe get his head straightened a bit. Because he has the ability for sure. But it's a matter of if he has the head.
Posted on: November 29, 2010 3:03 pm
Edited on: November 29, 2010 4:29 pm

Report: Antoine Walker heading to the D-League

Posted by Royce Young

Right before training camps started in September, former NBA player and renowned long-bomber Antoine Walker expressed interest in a comeback.

Most agreed it was for financial reasons (Walker declared bankruptcy recently), but according to some, Walker was in shape and committed to this comeback.

It obvious didn't happen for him in making a roster much less get the camp invite from the Bobcats like he was hoping for, but that doesn't mean he's given up. According to FanHouse, Walker is still trying - this time in the D-League.

(UPDATE: According to ESPN, Walker is set to sign with the Idaho Stampede.)

Most thought his "comeback" to the NBA was nothing more than something he was trying on a whim. Something that he thought he could get by name recognition alone, cash some checks and then move on down the line.

But the fact he's willing to go the D-League route shows that Walker is committed. Surely it's still for the money almost exclusively, but the fact he's willing to go the D-League way either says he's actually dedicated to doing this the right way, or he's really, really desperate. Or I guess it could be both.

Walker was picked sixth overall out of Kentucky in 1996, but he actually wouldn't be the oldest player in the D-League. Antonio Daniels, known for his time with the Spurs and Mavericks actually holds that honor as he's with the Texas Legends, also trying for a late NBA comeback.

Walker - if in shape and ready - could be a serviceable player still. He's always been a deep threat, but he's a talented scorer. People forget that he averaged 17.5 points per game during his career with a high of 23.4 ppg in Boston in 2000-01. He's not that old at 34 and if he can get his head right and prepare to fit in to the structure of a team, somebody might give him a shot.

But it's all going to start in the D-League. If Walker's going to go up, he has to first start back at the bottom.
Category: NBA
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