MISSISSAUGA, ONTARIO — The NBA Development League’s marquee event put more talent on display than ever, with 22 teams playing 22 total games over five days. Which prospects — whether on assignment from the NBA or pushing for a Call-Up — shined in front of the NBA player personnel executives in attendance?
Here are NBADLeague.com’s 2017 All-NBA D-League Showcase teams:
The Celtics may have found something with the third-to-last pick in the 2016 NBA Draft. Born in Egypt, raised in Illinois and bound for pro ball by way of Northern Illinois and Iowa State, Nader has been showcasing skills in Maine this season that few thought he had. The 6-8 forward showed the type of versatility that NBA teams covet, firing passes to teammates out of the pick-and-roll and the post, knocking down shots with his much-improved jumper and smoothly controlling the game on the offensive end.
There’s not much left for Cook to prove at the minor-league level, and his Showcase (an efficient 57 points and 16 assists in two games) was more business as usual than a coming-out party. The former Duke national champ filled it up without forcing the issue and showed the ability to score on all three levels. The league’s second-leading scorer, he’ll have to keep proving he can hang on the defensive end to earn a Call-Up to the Association.
Could Showcase go any better than this? In a potentially career-altering event, Walker sunk all 12 three-pointers he attempted, scoring a total of 46 points in on 15-of-18 shooting in 49 minutes over two games. Yes, he came off the 87ers’ bench and plays less of a role on his team than many other players who took the floor in Mississauga. But Walker was auditioning for exactly the role he’d play in the NBA, and he aced the test. Showcase is about giving a stage to players like Walker, who didn’t play varsity until his senior year of high school, was a role player at Northwestern Oklahoma State and Texas A&M Commerce, and made the NBA D-League through an open tryout.
Magette was brilliant running the show for the D-Fenders, though that’s nothing out of the ordinary for the NBA D-League’s assists leader. His command of the offense, court vision and especially his ability to dish the ball from all angles is elite, as evidenced by his 3.7-to-1 career assist-to-turnover ratio over 121 career games. Magette has improved in each of his three seasons, adding shifty moves to stay under control against pressure, improving his long-range stroke and finding new ways to finish over or around taller defenders. He has an NBA-caliber body of work; now he just needs a team to give him a shot despite lacking the look (6-1, 160) and pedigree (Division-II Alabama-Huntsville) of an NBA player.
Though he looks more like an NFL running back, Miller made his case to be a future NBA guard. Much like a running back, the Skyforce guard excelled when playing downhill, attacking the defense relentlessly and consistently getting into the paint. He picked a great time to notch career highs in back-to-back games — his first starts for Sioux Falls since being traded from Texas in November — but this performance did not come out of nowhere. Before proving himself as a quality two-way guard in the NBA D-League, Miller was a two-time first-teamer in the Ohio Valley Conference, ranking fifth in the nation in scoring (23.7 PPG) while playing alongside current 76er Robert Covington at Tennessee State.
SECOND TEAM ALL-SHOWCASE
Gabe York, G, Erie BayHawks | Watch Highlights
John Holland, G/F, Canton Charge | Watch Highlights
JaKarr Sampson, F, Iowa Energy | Watch Highlights
Eric Moreland, F/C, Canton Charge | Watch Highlights
Dakari Johnson, C, Oklahoma City Blue | Watch Highlights
Vander Blue, G, Los Angeles D-Fenders | Watch Highlights
Will Bynum, G, Windy City Bulls | Watch Highlights
Jordan Crawford, G, Grand Rapids Drive | Watch Highlights
Courtney Fells, G/F, Westchester Knicks | Watch Highlights
Cory Jefferson, F, Austin Spurs | Watch Highlights
Jalen Jones, F, Maine Red Claws | Watch Highlights
Xavier Munford, G, Greensboro Swarm | Watch Highlights
Johnny O’Bryant, F, Northern Arizona Suns | Watch Highlights
Lamar Patterson, G, Reno Bighorns | Watch Highlights
Briante Weber, G, Sioux Falls Skyforce | Watch Highlights