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.
Affiliates: Dionte Christmas, Cat Barber, Shawn Long and James Webb III
Returners: David Laury and Jordan Railey
Draftees: Brannen Greene
Tryouts: Carlos Lopez-Sosa, Roberto Nelson, Brandon Triche and Lorrenzo Wade
Player Pool: Naadir Tharpe
Potential NBA Assignees: Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot
Seasoned pro joins Delaware ready to lead
Christmas came early for Delaware as they receive veteran guard Dionte Christmas from the Sixers after camp. The 30-year-old wing has played in the Philippines, Israel, France, Turkey and Russia and brings a wealth of pro experience to the 87ers’ young and hungry roster.
Dionte had a great summer league playing with the Utah Jazz but starts the season in the NBADL ready to prove he’s worth a call up. He’s still got the quicks with the ball in his hands, can elevate over defenders and is a crafty finisher in the paint. Christmas isn’t going to wow you with endless athleticism or lights out shooting, but he knows how to play the game; he’s smart. NBA teams are constantly looking for players they can rely on to fill out the end of their benches and Christmas is certainly betting on himself by remaining stateside.
Forwards from small schools ready to prove worth
Shawn Long played his college hoops as a Ragin Cajun at Louisiana-Lafayette where he averaged 17.4 points and 10.7 rebounds for his career. The 6-foot-9 power forward could lead the D-League in rebounding as he gobbled up misses at a rate of 21.27 during college. He’s an explosive athlete who should be ideal as the roll man in the pick-and-roll this season with Cat Barber as the point guard. Watch out for this one ya’ll!
James Webb III played his last two seasons of college ball at Boise State, and he’s another bouncy athlete at 6-foot-9. Webb adds a different dimension as a forward with size who can step out and knock down the 3 as well.
These two, along with David Laury, will help anchor the paint on both ends for the Delaware 87ers as they look to make the playoffs for the first time in team history.
Red light special
Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot is my spirit animal and at just 21-years-old he should spend a good amount of time in Delaware this season. The Sixers were able to draft him late in the first round of June’s draft but at this point he’s largely a project player on the wing. His slender 6-foot-6 frame allows him to slither in and out of the paint, exploding at the rim once he’s close enough.
His time in the D-League will be well spent if he truly works to improve his inefficiencies. Fans shouldn’t look to the box score when addressing whether or not he’s been successful, because there are going to be some bumps and bruises involved along the journey.
Philadelphia is another team who has stockpiled young, talented assets and garnering proper return from each and every one of them will be vital to the process of rebuilding. When Run TLC comes to Delaware it’s going to be must-see TV, err Facebook Live, that’s for sure!