Washington Wizards: Ranking the D-League Prospects
Generally, the NBA Development League gets a bad reputation as a league full of people who suck. Although there is a reason why it is called the "Development" League, because it allows players who were maybe a step away from making a NBA roster to enhance their skills. For the selected few, they get opportunities to get trials with NBA teams who call them up to sign 10-day contracts.
The team in the NBA that is most familiar with these special type of contracts are the Washington Wizards, who have been cursed with bad injuries. The Wizards' front office has done a great job recruiting players in the Development League and has definitely brought in some talent in the past few months or so. Personally, my perspective about D-League prospects have changed a lot after watching the Wizards this season.
The prospects tend to hustle their butts off like their job is on the line every game, which in reality, it is.
Here are the best prospects the Wizards have on their team that has played in the D-League this season.
5. Mustafa Shakur
Shakur was brought into the Wizards organization with a 10-day contract primarily to back-up John Wall after Kirk Hinrich got injured; but later on, he received a contract for the remainder of the year after Hinrich was traded to the Atlanta Hawks.
Shakur is a crafty and scrappy basketball player that hustles, but can look a little sloppy on the court at times. In my eyes he is a "Antonio Daniels-like" player that doesn't shoot too many threes but has a decent mid-range to become effective in the pick-n-roll game.
Future with the Wizards?: Unlikely, the Wizards are probably going to look for a back-up PG in the second round of this year's NBA Draft or in free agency.
4. Hamady N'diaye
The Wizards originally drafted Hamady N'diaye as a prospect that could possibly become a defensive stopper in the paint. Unfortunately for N'diaye, he got absolutely no playing time for the first couple of months into the season and the Wizards took it upon themselves to send him to their D-League affiliates, the Dakota Wizards.
N'diaye didn't do much there, but with got injured and recalled by the Wizards so that their medical staff could check it out. Hamady N'diaye's game is just defense; which is the reason why he is considered a "project" draft pick. If he can add some strength and post moves to his skillset he could becoming a pretty well-rounded center in this league.
Future with Wizards?: Likely, the Wizards most likely aren't going to give up on N'diaye yet, and are probably going to keep him for further development.
3. Larry Owens
Larry Owens is the Wizards' most newly acquired prospect from the D-League to add some depth to the SF position. The crazy thing about Owens is that he is 28 years old, and is still considered a rookie in the NBA due to his inexperience. Being a D-League prospect at 28 years old, which is usually when players are near their climax of their career, is a disadvantage when you are on a team that is looking for young players and seasoned NBA veterans to surround John Wall.
Owens is a heck of a player that has decent range, defense, and great rebounding ability. He could add a little strength because of the number of guards that I've seen him get muscled by in the paint, but at his age he should probably consider being a star in Europe. (no offense to Owens)
Future with the Wizards?: Unlikely, with a draft full of good SFs, the Wizards are going to use either their first or second pick in the first round to grab a wing. Owens also just doesn't have the upside that rebuilding teams would want from a rookie.
2. Cartier Martin
The play in the video is probably Cartier Martin's most memorable moments of his career, and one of the most memorable moments of the Wizards' season this year. Martin was actually one of the Wizards' best shooters from behind the arc, and went through the storm of getting signed last year, then played in the Summer Circuit, and finally surviving Training Camp to make it on the roster.
Honestly, the only skills that the Wizards were attracted to was his shooting, his skills outside of shooting is just average. The Wizards needed shooters because that was the downfall to this team other than interior defense. Martin is a good character player for the Wizards who at times struggled and became an example of how one's job is not always safe.
Future with the Wizards?: 50/50, Martin will probably get an invitation to the training camp next season, if there is one. The Wizards are going to make sure that they get a decent amount of wing players so Martin will really have to show some improvements if he wants to make the roster next year.
1. Othyus Jeffers
Othyus Jeffers really made a name for himself when the Wizards played the Miami Heat in the same game where John Wall got ejected because of his altercation with Big Z. Jeffers was often assigned to defend LeBron James or Dwyane Wade, being that he is probably the Wizards' best on-ball defender that they have.
Jeffers has really impressed the Wizards' fanbase on the defensive end, with his hustle and energy offensively that leads to some points; although he is still limited. At his best, he uses his quick to create havoc upon the ball handler.
With John Wall and Othyus Jeffers in at the backcourt, could cause trouble upon the opposing team on defense.
Future with Wizards?: Highly likely, the Wizard need a defensive stopper on the team if they want to contend for a title anytime in the future, and with Jeffers, I think they have their guy.