Top 5 NBA D-League Success Stories of All Time
As we enter another NBA D-League Showcase it got me thinking about the best NBA D-League success stories of all time
They have come from all different backgrounds, different points at ones career, different positions and different styles.
The NBA D-League is full of budding professionals in the NBA with all kinds of personalities and experiences playing professional basketball. The Showcase is a great opportunity to shine in front of a number of NBA personnel and exhibit what they are all about in a neat setting.
Some of these guys listed below were members of Showcase past and certainly benefited from the opportunity.
Here are my favorite Top 5 NBA D-League success stories in no particular order.
1. Gerald Green - I remember talking with Gerald at the All Star Game the year he won the Dunk Contest and he had all the potential in the world. Athleticism out the roof. But for numerous reasons, he slipped from the ranks of the NBA. His rise back to a multi-year NBA contract with the Phoenix Suns went through the NBA D-League. He grew as a person and a player and was able to parlay a tremendous tenure with the LA Defenders into solid minutes in the NBA.
2. Danny Green - This World Champion saw his journey go through the NBA D-League as well. Three different NBA D-League teams from the Reno Bighorns to the Erie Bayhawks to the Austin Torros, Green saw himself logging minutes for all of them. Eventually he found his way to the rotation with the San Antonio Spurs and has locked in that spot ever since, being a key component of their success.
3. Donald Sloan - Sloan has been called the "best player he has ever coached" by NBA D-League Supernova and current Westchester Kinicks Director of Basketball Operations Joel Abelson. I have had the privilege of interviewing Sloan multiple times over the years on my show Overtime and he has always impressed me with his knowledge of the game. Sloan now has found a place currently with the Indiana Pacers often starting early in the 2014-2015 season.
4. Jeremy Lin - Lin-sanity... Yes, even I caught the bug. Even though Lin has never revived the magic he created in NYC for that short time period in his emergence into the NBA. Once a Reno Bighorn, Lin has now played for the Knicks, Rockets and currently the Los Angeles Lakers. Lin-sanity has not been re-created, but Lin does quite nicely after a nice payday two years back. No more sleeping on a couch...
5. Hassan Whiteside - I know its under 25 games into this latest stint in the NBA for Whiteside as this article is written, so please take that into the mix if you are reading this in 2017 and Whiteside is in Turkey getting technicals while living in conditions not suited for a man of that size. I digress, but his play has only progressed. He is averaging a double double with the Miami Heat and continues to show determination, something many thought he lacked early in his career. He has played for the Sioux Falls Skyforce among other D-League franchises. We'll see if the Whiteside tour continues to come to a NBA city near you.
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