PHOENIX (AP) — The Phoenix Suns have assigned first-round draft pick Kendall Marshall to the Bakersfield Jam of the NBA’s Development League.
According to ESPN’s Marc Stein, the Spurs will call up Rio Grande Valley Viper James Anderson. The move comes in the wake of Spurs swingman Stephen Jackson fracturing his right pinkie finger during last night’s game against the Los Angeles Clippers. Jackson is expected to miss four to six weeks. Second-year Spurs wing Kawhi Leonard is also unavailable due to tendinitis.
This will be Anderson’s second stint with the Spurs. He was drafted by San Antonio with the 20th pick in the 2010 Draft. After an unsuccessful training camp with the Atlanta Hawks, Anderson signed with the Bakersfield Jam before being traded to RGV.
Last weekend TrueHoop friend, recent professional player in Israel, and former Harvard-teammate-of-Jeremy Lin Drew Housman tried out for the D-League’s Bakersfield Jam. Here, in his words, is how that went.
As I pulled up to the Dignity Health Center, home of the Bakersfield Jam of the NBA Developmental League, my chest tightened up. I saw a large group of sleepy looking basketball players waiting in a registration line, and all of a sudden I was reliving some terrible memories from AAU basketball “All-Star” camps.
When the D-Fenders and Jam square off Thursday, April 19 for game 1 of their semifinal match-up, it will be the fifth time the two squads have tangled in the 2011-2012 D-League season. Splitting their season series 4-4, this three game set will be the deciding factor of who deserves Southern California D-League bragging rights. The Jam have proven to be the D-Fenders’ ultimate foe this season defeating them 4-times in the regular the season, the Idaho Stampede were the only other team to get near that mark with three wins coming against the D-League’s record winning squad. Both teams enter Game 1 at the Jam Events Center taking the first two games of their respective first round series, and they will need two more wins to propel them into the Championship round to cap off their well established competitive rivalry.
The D-Fenders should come as no surprise at arriving in the semifinal of the D-League playoffs. They took down last year’s champs, the Iowa Energy 114-103, and 94-92. The D-Fenders are without Jamario Moon who added a nice boost to Eric Musselman’s squad late this season, Moon was called up to the Charlotte Bobcats. Moon was enjoying a nice run with the D-Fenders averaging 17.7 points. L.A. will now have to rely on their latest group of stat sheet stuffers, Malcolm Thomas, Elijah Millsap, Orien Greene, and Mardy Collins. L.A. will be the favorite in this one-seed vs. sixth-seed match-up, but they will have to earn every bucket.
Bakersfield enters game 1 with reasonable confidence knowing that they’ve split the season series with L.A. Trey Johnson and Brian Butch were the Jam’s standouts in their last contest which wrapped up their series against the Dakota Wizards. Johnson had a game-high 24 points while pulling down 5 rebounds and Butch added 12 points to go along with 17 rebounds. The Jam will need these two to keep playing at a high level to compete with the sheer talent that the D-Fenders have, and if they can steal that ever so important game 1 in El Segundo they may just be able to pull off the upset.
Not to get all David vs. Goliath on you, but the Bakersfield Jam remain one of the D-League’s non-NBA team owned or operated franchises whereas the D-Fenders are. There have been arguments as to which ownership model can better suit a franchise, and which method ultimately lends itself to a more successful product both on the court and off. However, judging by both team’s home court venues you would not be able to guess which is which. Both play in very intimate settings, but both home courts will boast an intense feel to what has become a very fierce rivalry. This series should provide plenty of playoff drama, and plenty of passion fueled basketball. Enjoy.
The Los Angeles D-Fenders will open the first round of their playoff quest against the opponent of their choice, and in the luxury of their home court in El Segundo, California. The odds are in the D-Fenders favor to roll through the competition and cap off their incredible season with a D-League championship. However, there may be a team that can knock off the D-Fenders, as they say, the season starts over once the playoffs begin, as the 38 wins that L.A. amounted during the regular season suddenly will disappear and be forgotten. Those 38 wins did help L.A. secure home court advantage throughout the playoffs where the D-Fenders have enjoyed success, posting a 21-4 record, their last loss dating all the way back to January against Bakersfield.
So out of the other 7 teams competing for the D-League championship whom stands a chance to knock off undoubtedly the league’s best team? Could it be Bakersfield? They did beat L.A. 4 times during the regular season splitting their 8 games overall with the D-Fenders. L.A. also dropped a game to the Dakota Wizards in the second game of the season, Dakota will be Bakersfield’s opening opponent so if the D-Fenders get past the Iowa Energy, the awaiting opponent will know that they can beat them.
Looking at the other three teams on L.A.’s side of the bracket, the most likely candidate to take down the D-Fenders is the aforementioned Bakersfield Jam. Even though the last time the Jam knocked off the D’s it was in Bakersfield and they will not have home court this time around, the Jam seem to have the tools to stay with the D’s. Perhaps the short break will help the Jam eliminate the reminder of getting beat by the Idaho Stampede in their final two contests. The Jam will need to play a perfect series to have any chance with the D-Fenders. Bakersfield could provide a speed bump in the D-Fenders trip to the finals, but most likely that is all they will be…a speed bump.
On the other side of the playoff bracket the Springfield Armor and Austin Toros seem like possible candidates to snatch the D-League crown from the D’s. Going strictly off their body of work it is difficult to judge how a series between L.A. and Austin would go. They played each other only twice during the regular season, both times it was the D-Fenders who came out victorious. The Toros have been a solid club all season long and perhaps the late addition of NBA veteran Ronald “Flip” Murray can help the Toros combat the NBA knowledge and experience the D’s have. It would be a drag out contest if these two lock up in the finals, but the D-Fenders would seem to be too much for Austin to handle.
Going chalk with it, the last seemingly hurdle for the D-Fenders would have to be the Springfield Armor. Springfield went 7-3 in their last 10 games and won 2-straight entering the postseason. If there is a roster as stacked as the D’s it is in Springfield. A series between these two starting fives would be a treat for D-League fans as there are some serious ballers on both sides. These two teams met at the D-League Showcase and the D-Fenders cruised to a 15-point win. Many of the same players remain for the Armor from that contest, but L.A. has quite a different lineup than what they rolled out with in Reno. This match-up would be Heat vs. Thunder in terms of a dream D-League match-up for fans. Despite the likely stiff competition the D-Fenders will receive, they have done nothing to prove otherwise that they will be the last team standing and crowned D-League champs.