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NBA / Mar 6, 2009 / 11:47 am

The 10 Hottest NBA Development League Standouts

Jawad Williams

Now that James White (of legitimate free-throw line dunk contest fame) has taken the big leap from the D-League to the Houston Rockets, we’re on the lookout for the next D-Leaguer bound for the League.

Check out these 10 guys who have been killing it as of late.

10. Jared Jordan – Everybody’s favorite Marist guard, Jared Jordan led the nation in assists in college, just under 9 per night. It seemed as though his dream of playing in the NBA was fading at the beginning of this season, when he finished December averaging 4.8 points and 4.2 assists. But he’s come on incredibly strong as of late, proving to be one of the best passers in the D-League. Check this: the last eight games in which he’s played more than 25 minutes, he’s put up 14.7 points and 13.1 assists per game. Kid can pass.

9. Joe Crawford – The Lakers don’t really need a killer scorer to round out their roster right now. But with the L.A. D-Fenders’ Crawford, they’ve got a tremendously efficient guard in their “farm” system. Over the last month, JC has converted at a drop under 55% from the field (90-164), and he’s 33-36 from the line. He’s making the most of every touch.

8. Cedric Bozeman – In his last three games, Boze has come within a hair of a triple-double on two occasions. In late February, he put 15, 10 (boards) and 8 (assists) on Reno in a win, and again last night against Fort Worth, he went for 22 points, 16 boards and 8 dimes. If his three-point shooting improves, he could come into the League as a better scoring version of Mardy Collins.

Jasper JohnsonJasper Johnson

7. Marcus Williams – Talk about a hot streak – Marcus Williams has been in a zone since we debuted the Hot Hand list a ways back. He’s been on a rampage through February, scoring 30 points or more in five of his last ten games, matching Blake Ahearn‘s 26.6-point per game average during that stretch. Williams still takes too many risks with the ball – as a shooter and a passer. Though he’ll tally 8 assists, he might turn the ball over 9 times during a single outing.

6. Chris Hunter – At 6-11, 240 lbs., Chris Hunter is an ox. He does a great job using his body to get to the stripe, and unlike most big men, he makes the most of those trips. Last night, he went 14-14 from the line on his way to 32 points (and 8 boards).

5. Derrick Byars – The former SEC Player of the Year (out of Vanderbilt) has been filling it up recently – not just as a scorer. Though he’s posting 22.8 points over his last ten games on 53.7% shooting from the floor, he’s also improving as a rebounder and a passer. He’s improved his work on the glass, tallying 4.9 boards and 3.3 assists, which are both better numbers than he’s put up over the course of the season. You can’t pigeon-hole this guy as a straight shooter anymore.

4. Blake Ahearn – When this dude has it going, he hemorrhages buckets. Over his last nine games, he’s posting 26.6 points per night, highlighted by two 32-point outings and a memorable 41-point drubbing of Bakersfield, in which he went 15-23 from the field. Ahearn was the first D-League call-up of the year, and if the Spurs need someone who can flat-out shoot, they’ll call him back.

3. Will Conroy – No one deserves a shot at the big-time more than Conroy. Though he’s cooled slightly in the last week or so, Conroy ran off one of the craziest four-game stretches in early February, hanging 30-plus on four consecutive nights. But even when his shot isn’t dropping, he’s still filling up the stat sheet: Conroy is averaging 7.4 assists over his last eight games to go with a 25.8-point per game average over the season. Those sound like LeBron numbers.

2. Jasper Johnson – This 6-8 hulking big lefty just locked up D-League Player of the Month honors after destroying the competition at a 26.2 points per game over his last eleven contests. The Delta State product went bananas at Tulsa in one of the year’s best duels, getting the better of the 66ers’ Ryan Humphrey. Listen to these stat lines: Humphrey went for 42 points, 11 boards and 3 assists. But he was outplayed by Johnson’s 42 points, 19 boards, and 2 blocks. For good measure, Johnson even threw a three-pointer in there.

1. Jawad Williams – The former Tar Heel hasn’t been in Rio Grande Valley too long, but he’s been an absolute animal ever since he showed up on February 18th. In his first time on the floor, Jawad dropped 43 points (15-30 FG) on Anaheim. Williams has improved in exactly the area that he was criticized for in college: three-point shooting. He’s averaging almost 3.5 three’s per night, shooting them at 47.4%. If he continues at this pace, he could be one of the best three-point shooters in the D-League.

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  • http://GEE2.com Poppi GEE…doesn’t want diaper duty!

    Now see I been saying for a while that teams need to pull from the D League. It’s good to see Houston hear me hahahah.

    Anyway take Miami for instance. They could have saved on that trade with Jermain (even though he is a veteran, he is a limited veteran now) and got the 6-11 Chris Hunter dude and then that frees you up to trade Shawn for someone even better than Jermain.

    Duh? It’s a no brainer.

    GM’s should do D-League then trade in some instances.

  • Poppi GEE…doesn’t want diaper duty!

    Moderator man let my comments in please. Why do I have to go through this almost daily?

  • Poppi GEE

    Come on! I can’t even get good convo and feedback having to wait for comments to appear?!?

  • Poppi GEE

    Have to go this route I guess.
    Now see I been saying for a while that teams need to pull from the D League. It’s good to see Houston hear me hahahah.

    Anyway take Miami for instance. They could have saved on that trade with Jermain (even though he is a veteran, he is a limited veteran now) and got the 6-11 Chris Hunter dude and then that frees you up to trade Shawn for someone even better than Jermain.

    Duh? It’s a no brainer.

    GM’s should do D-League then trade in some instances.

  • Bron42 aka Had springs before slamball

    ya but then people get pissed when people start signing no names

  • patrick

    Give Jawad a chance in the league. He had no problems keeping Marvin on the bench at UNC. If he can hit from deep he could be a really nice 3 in the league.

  • Poppi GEE

    True I ain’t saying sign 5 but 1 or 2 at the most and then hold your trade bait for better.

    Miami messed up!

  • Kobeef

    I remember when Jared Jordan was drafted and they thought he could become the next steve nash. What’s the knock on him – not an athlete?

  • http://www.dimemag.com The Jed

    Love this stuff. Great post.

  • http://VanderbiltSportsNews.com VanDSIRROM

    Derrick Byars, you da man…just keep on show’n yo stuff…we know you better than D league man…make ‘em move you to the big boys league…you da best

  • Bron42 aka Downtown Funky Stuff Malone

    jared got dan dickeu backlash…completely unathlete and couldnt defend anyone while gettin abused by bigger guards. nash gets away with it cuz hes quick, jared was THAT quick

  • BRUCE

    D-League — Keep them there. Let them be humble.

  • Phil B

    Jasper John balls?

  • Darren L

    J-5 is clearly an athlete. What kind of a question is that? dude didn’t get here out of the blue. Dude is making way too much noise not to get to the NBA.

  • Causey

    jasper can do it with the best of them i know just give him the chance