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RealGM's D-League Weekly Wrap-Up (Mar. 11-Mar. 17)

RealGM’s Player of the Week: Shawne Williams (Los Angeles D-Fenders)

Williams was key for the D-Fenders as Los Angeles won all three of its games this week. The 6-foot-9 forward out of Memphis averaged 26.3 points, 7.3 rebounds, and 2.7 blocks per game while shooting 49 percent from the field and 45 percent from three. He excels in the pick-and-roll because of his ability to step out and knock down the jumper or roll off and attack the rim in a mismatch. Williams previously spent time with the major league affiliate Los Angeles Lakers as he averaged 5.6 points per game in 20.9 minutes of action. In his seventh professional season, Williams is trying to prove that he can still play in the NBA. He’s the D-League’s ninth-ranked prospect and will need to step up as a scorer with the absence of Manny Harris, who signed a contract to play in Turkey. His play this past week indicated that he’s more than capable of becoming the primary scoring option.

Game of the Week: Idaho Stampede 101, Reno Bighorns 99

After Reno’s K.C. Rivers knocked down a pair of free throws to tie the game tied at 99 with 19 seconds remaining, it was obvious that Kevin Murphy would be taking the final shot for Idaho. After burning most of the game clock, Murphy took two dribbles with his left hand and pulled up for the game-winner with 4.4 seconds remaining.

Murphy finished with a game-high 32 points and the shooting guard out of Tennessee Tech continues to shine in the D-League. He’s scored over 20 points in his past 12 D-League contests.

Allen Crabbe, Dee Bost, Vander Blue, and Darnell Lazare also scored double-figures for the Stampede. Jason Ellis and Dallas Lauderdale reached double-figures in the rebounding departments. DeQuan Jones scored a team-high 21 points for Reno while Rivers and Bryan Davis each chipped in 17.

Five Stars

Josh Akognon (Delaware 87ers): The 5-foot-11 point guard out of Cal State Fullerton averaged 26.5 points, seven rebounds, and six assists per game this week. He shot 53 percent from the field and 48 percent from behind the arc although Delaware dropped both of its contests. Akognon has spent time in China and three games with the Mavericks last season. Since returning to the D-League, he’s proven to impact the game in multiple areas. He’s quickly becoming one of the top point guards in the D-League.

Frank Gaines (Maine Red Claws): Gaines averaged 30 points on 51 percent shooting including a 38 percent clip from three. The lefty shooting guard from IPFW has proven to be a quality scorer but his 6-foot-3 size may limit him at the NBA level. He could boost his stock by improving as a creator, but he’s been one of the top scorers in the league this season.

Daniel Orton (Maine Red Claws): The former first round pick averaged 22.3 points, 8.3 rebounds, and 3.3 blocks per game while shooting 61 percent from the field. Even more impressively, the 6-foot-10 center showed an improved jumper as he was 2-of-3 from three point range. Orton is still only 23 years old and could have an NBA future. After declaring for the draft following his freshman season, the D-League has been a good landing spot for him to improve for the NBA following a premature decision to leave Kentucky.

Henry Walker (Sioux Falls Skyforce): Walker averaged 25 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 2.3 assists per game this week. The 6-foot-6 forward from Kansas State has seen a recent improvement over the past month, especially in the scoring column. With Justin Hamilton gone, Walker will need to continue his quality play.

Khalif Wyatt (Springfield Armor): A scoring machine at Temple last season, Wyatt showed his well-known trait in addition to an improved passing ability. He averaged 28 points, seven assists, three rebounds, and 2.5 steals per game for the Armor. After a slow start to his D-League career, Wyatt has scored in double-figures in five of his last six games.

Call-Ups

Shane Edwards (Canton Charge): Edwards earned a 10-day contract with the big league affiliate Cleveland Cavaliers after Cleveland released Arinze Onuaku from his second 10-day contract. The 6-foot-7 small forward from Arkansas Little-Rock was averaging 13.3 points and 5.5 rebounds per game with the Charge before earning the call-up. He’s played one minute for the Cavs.

Justin Hamilton (Sioux Falls Skyforce): Following a 10-day contract with the Charlotte Bobcats, Hamilton signed a two-year deal with the Miami Heat. The 7-foot center from LSU was averaging 19.3 points and 9.2 rebounds per game for the Skyforce prior to his NBA stint. Hamilton can battle inside or stretch the floor out to the three-point line. He hasn’t logged a minute with the Heat yet.

Darius Johnson-Odom (Springifled Armor): Johnson-Odum was averaging 22 points, 6.1 assists, and 4.4 rebounds per game in the D-League before earning a 10-day deal with the Philadelphia 76ers. The 6-foot-3 combo guard has worked on becoming a point guard at the professional level, but his strength comes in his ability to attack and get to the rim. The Marquette product saw 10 minutes against the Grizzlies on Saturday, but was 0-of-5 from the field with two rebounds, an assist, steal, and turnover.

Mustafa Shakur (Tulsa 66ers): After deciding not to offer Reggie Williams an additional 10-day contract, the Oklahoma City Thunder went back into its D-League affiliate for a guard. Shakur was averaging 18.6 points, 6.7 assists, 4.6 rebounds, and 2.6 steals per game with the 66ers before the call-up. He played six minutes on Sunday, scoring one point and dishing two assists.

Chris Wright (Maine Red Claws): One of the most athletic prospects in the D-League, Wright earned a 10-day contract with the Milwaukee Bucks. The 6-foot-9 small forward from Dayton was averaging 19.5 points and 8.1 rebounds in Maine and was good for one highlight dunk each contest. Wright scored three points in seven minutes of action on Saturday. He spent 24 games with the Golden State Warriors two years ago.

And One: The New York Knicks have become the newest organization to purchase its own D-League team. The 18th D-League franchise will be located in Westchester, New York, roughly 45 minutes from Madison Square Garden. A future name will be decided by fan submission at nyknicksdleauge.com. Following the submissions, fans will then vote at the same website for the final decision. The D-League continues to grow and it seems to be only a matter of time before each NBA team has its own minor league affiliate.

 

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