NBA D-League Preview: Austin Spurs go international

Jul 11, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; San Antonio Spurs forward Livio Jean-Charles (28) dribbles the ball during an NBA Summer League game against the Knicks at Thomas & Mack Center. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 11, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; San Antonio Spurs forward Livio Jean-Charles (28) dribbles the ball during an NBA Summer League game against the Knicks at Thomas & Mack Center. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports /

Over the next couple of weeks, The Step Back will examine each of the 22 NBA D-League teams and bring bringing you an in-depth look at their roster as well as any potential storylines to watch for. Teams can retain up to 12 players, while only 10 will be active for games. This is your first look at the prospects to watch out for all season.

Roster Breakdown

Affiliates: Ryan Arcidiacono, Livio Jean-Charles and Patricio Garino
Returners: Jarell Eddie, Demetri McCamey and Cory Jefferson (trade)
Draftees: Maurice Bolden, Charles Garcia, Danny Stewart and Alexis Wangmene
Tryouts: Jeff Ledbetter and Shaquille Thomas
Potential NBA Assignees: Dejounte Murray, Bryn Forbes, Davis Bertans & Nicolas Laprovittola

France and Argentina combine

This season the San Antonio Spurs made it a point to re-tool in terms of adding youth to their NBA roster. They kept players like Bryn Forbes, Davis Bertans and Nicolas Laprovittola around to gain experience and develop in their system. Two players who had a chance to make the roster, but came up just short were Livio Jean-Charles and Patricio Garino; both international players with alternate backgrounds.

Jean-Charles looked to be another Spurs draft-and-stash special as they selected him late in the second round of the 2013 NBA draft. He just turned 23-years-old but he’s been playing professionally in the France LNB A since 2011, when he was just 18. While he has improved each and every season as a prospect in France’s top league, he’s still extremely raw in terms of the whole package on the court. Right now the athletic 6-foot-9 forward will contribute mostly on defense and by snatching rebounds. His offense is very raw and developing a jump shot in the range of 14-18 feet will be a priority.

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Patricio Garino — while originally from Argentina — played college basketball here in the states for George Washington University where he was a standout player the last two seasons. Like Charles, his main value right now is on defense, and mainly one-on-one defense where he really excels. At 6-foot-7 he’s able to guard positions 2-4 successfully and his quick lateral foot speed allows him to switch in the pick-and-roll. His 3-point shooting saw an uptick his senior year (43 percent on 135 attempts) but that remains his area of opportunity and growth if he wants to become an NBA rotational player.

That’s why they call me J. Eddie, I’m back, I’m back

Jarell Eddie is a welcomed surprise for the Austin Spurs, because it’s truly a shock that he wasn’t kept by the Washington Wizards. They went another route signing some undrafted rookies and unfortunately Eddie was a casualty. He makes his return to Austin where he really excelled as a 3-point marksmen at 6-foot-7. His ultra-quick release allows him to get his shot off with very little space. Just watch this from his NBA debut:

Now, he’s an elder statesmen on this roster which features numerous unknown faces. Last season he only played 11 games before earning a call up and he posted 14.1 points and four rebounds while shooting a blistering 53 percent (32-of-61) from distance. Eddie is an extremely efficient wing shooter who is now an known commodity in NBA circles. If he can come to Austin and improve his defense, show an ability to handle the ball a little more and still knock down 3s at a ridiculous rate, it won’t be long before another NBA club comes calling.

The champ is here

As a UNC fan, it pained me greatly to write that headline for Ryan Arcidiacono, but it’s true. Arcidiacono is a 6-foot-2 rookie point guard who was a four-year starter at one of the blue chip programs in college basketball. In 2015 he took home Big East Player of the Year honors and last season he was named the NCAA Tournament’s Most Outstanding Player.

The stats don’t pop off the page, but Arcidiacono is a heady player, who loves to strap in and play lock-down defense, and got knock down 3s when the opportunity presents itself. He’s a career 36 percent 3-point shooter, but last season that number rose to 39.4 on 193 attempts. His career arc shows improvement in every aspect of the game. His assist percentage went up every year, while his turnover rate and assist/turnover ratio decreased.

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Arcidiacono is the quintessential Spursian point guard and he will fit in perfectly with returning guard Demetri McCamey. There are a lot of weapons on the wings with Garino and Eddie, and solid post players in Cory Jefferson and Jean-Charles, so you can bet that Ryan will get them the ball in their sweet spot consistently.