Rooting Against (The Business Model of) the Bakersfield Jam

Friday, July 31, 2009

Before reading this post, I urge you to check out this commentary by Aisander D over at Ridiculous Upside, which is directed at this report of Bakersfield Jam's new business model.

Seriously, read those two links and come back here. But in case you're really lazy and want to read my post right now, the very abbreviated take on it is that Bakersfield is catering to a very small segment of the population—specifically the rich—offering approximately 550 tickets per game to be played at their cozy practice facility. The "fans" will be treated to dinner, an open bar, a cigar room. Simply put, they won't be there for the basketball.

Up front I must admit that I am not a businessman. I graduated with an English degree. I've worked as a journalist, corporate communications consultant, and advertising copywriter. One look at my bank account will tell you, I'm not all about the money. I follow my passions and work enough to make enough to get by. Would I like to have more money? Yes, but not if it means sacrificing things I care about.

I will never own a professional basketball team—D-League or otherwise. I feel pretty confident in saying that. I'm not sure if it's more or less likely to happen than me playing professional basketball, but let's just agree that neither one is happening anytime soon unless I'm dreaming peacefully.

That said, I think it's pretty clear that if you look around professional sports, there are different types of owners. It goes without saying that you have to be fairly wealthy to be an owner of a professional sports team. It's a hefty investment, but it's likely far from your only asset.

So then, the question becomes, what's the goal as an owner? To turn a profit? To win games/a championship? To become an integral part of the community where your team plays? I'm just speculating here, but I think it's safe to say that for most owners it's a formula combining those three factors. I also think it's safe to say that there's a common link between the three: the fans.

Without fans buying tickets, merchandise, etc., the team won't survive. Of course, fans (generally) are more willing to buy those tickets and apparel when the team is winning games and they feel a connection to them in the city.

This all becomes a bit more challenging when you step down to the minor league level. In general, fans in Erie don't feel the same connection to the BayHawks that say, for example, the fans in Cleveland have for the Cavs. There's a lot that factors into that—history, media exposure, level of play, etc.—but the bottom line is that while it may be a bit of a tougher sell to get a community to support a minor league franchise, the same basic principles apply.

The owner wants to make a profit, and the best way to do that is to attract fans. Winning games still matters. Even if it's a lesser percentage piece of the puzzle, it still helps. The BayHawks making the playoffs last season definitely drew some positive attention to the team and stirred up a little buzz in Erie. Had that playoff game been played in Erie, I believe the attendance figures would've exceeded regular season figures.

So that brings me back to Bakersfield. I don't understand how catering to such a small segment of the population is a good move long term. By pricing out most of your potential fan pool, aren't you killing fan interest? I understand the value of selling some luxury-box packages. There's a market out there for that sort of thing, but it shouldn't be the only market, right?

Just from reading Summer League recaps and NBA team blogs on the Internet, I think there's a healthy amount of basketball junkies out there in Erie, Bakersfield, and elsewhere that ought to be able to find reasonably priced seats to these games. And yet, I can't dismiss the news that the Bakersfield Jam was losing money every year with their old, more traditional, business model.

Call me an idealist, but I do think a minor league franchise can work if it's run right. And that means going above and beyond to catch on in the community. That means, especially in the first years of existence (yes, this means you, BayHawks), getting out there in the community as much as possible. County fairs, basketball clinics, autograph signings, community service projects, schools, wherever. Someone from the team—players whenever possible—from the coach to the owner to employees should be out spreading the good word of NEW TEAM X in the community, and using Facebook, Twitter, MySpace doesn't hurt either.

So, maybe the franchise isn't rolling in green after year one. From my limited knowledge of starting a new business (you know, from watching movies and stuff), isn't that sort of a given for anyone starting a new business? The point is, I think the key is to reach out as much as possible from the get-go to expand the initial fan base, get people excited and talking about the team, and then, of course, putting a good product out there that makes them want to come back and maybe bring a friend or two as well.

Unfortunately, I don't have access to the financial figures for the Erie BayHawks last year. What I do know is that I like their general approach, which involves reaching out to the various segments of the Erie population. They're not perfect, but they certainly put Bakersfield to shame when it comes to reaching out to different groups of people. They have special group packages and courtside tables that get waited on during the game, but they also offer $99 season ticket packages for kids and promote a family friendly atmosphere. Professional sports leagues are pricing out the average fan much too much these days. If that starts trickling down to D-League organizations, which are usually based in smaller cities, I worry that teams like the BayHawks won't last long.

Sports are a business, it's true. But let's not forget that it's a business that simply doesn't exist without the fans. I don't wish failure on anyone, but I certainly hope Bakersfield's new business model does not become the future operating model of choice in the D-League or any league for that matter. I'd much rather see more fans paying less per ticket to enjoy the game than fewer people paying extravagant prices for luxury outings with a side of basketball.

BayHawks Set Free Agent Tryout Date

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

D-League hopefuls will have their opportunity to tryout for the Erie BayHawks September 19 and 20 at Family First Sports Park.

“We had a good turnout for tryouts last season and had good luck finding players who were ready to play at this level,” said BayHawks head coach John Treloar. “Ivan (Harris) and Jarvis (Gunter) came out of our Erie tryouts to make the team, so we know the talent is out there.”

BayHawks coaches and Cleveland Cavaliers staffers will be on hand for player evaluations.

The free agent tryouts are an interesting opportunity for players who are truly flying under the radar, and I look forward to learning who shows up and who impresses during the open tryouts.

When Shaq enters the WWE, I have to comment

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Things are a bit slow on the D-League front right now with Summer League over and the opening of training camp still off in the distance. So, in the spirit of trying to find something worth sharing, I'm tackling a subject that admittedly is reeeeeally stretching to be considered the least bit BayHawks related.

(The connection? Well, the BayHawks are the Cavaliers D-League affiliate. And Shaquille O'Neal is a Cleveland Cavalier. No, he won't be a BayHawk. And it's quite possible he'll never set foot in Erie. And no, the WWE has little relevance to the D-League, but when the WWE does come to Erie, they host their matches at the Erie Civic Center, which just so happens to be the same arena that plays host to the BayHawks' home games. Connection made. I told you it was a stretch.)


Shaquille O'Neal: WWE superstar. OK, so it was just one night, he was only the guest host, and he barely got involved in any physical confrontation. So what? As someone who grew up with a Hulk Hogan lightswitch in his bedroom, spent hundreds of hours playing with hundreds of action figures, and once dressed as one half (The Destroyer) of a ficticious tag team with his dad (The Devastater) for Halloween—not to mention the fact that I'm a longtime Shaq fan, I had to check out this one night marriage of childhood idols.

Unfortunately, I only caught the tail end of the show because somehow I didn't hear about this until 10:30 last night. So I missed much of the Shaq-related events throughout the show, but I did manage to catch his involvement in the main event.

(Full disclosure here. I was a flat-out wrestling junkie back in the days when WWE was still the World Wrestling Federation. I don't just know about the Hogan and Bret Hart types, I know my Aldo Montoyas, D-Lo Browns, and Big Bully Busicks. I watched religiously from about age 3 (circa WrestleMania III) through my high school years (early 2000s) before my taste and the show's seemed to grow apart. I'll still catch it occasionally if I'm flipping through, but it hasn't been appointment television for me since The Rock and "Stone Cold" Steve Austin days.)

The point is, I've seen enough wrestling cards in my day to know a good main event when I see one. And pitting the unified tag team champions, Chris Jericho and the Big Show, against Cryme Tyme, a moderate fan favorite, in a non-title match just doesn't cut it. Adding O'Neal as the "special guest enforcer" moved the match's interest up a notch, but still, this just didn't have the feel of a main event, and I think the crowd agreed.

I'm assuming Shaq couldn't actually get in the ring for a match due to contract stipulations, and that makes sense. But couldn't they have given him a better role than the sidekick for Cryme Tyme? Geez. After the predictably boring main event, Shaq finally got involved in a "physical altercation." Of course, this was a physical altercation as much as this is a BayHawks-related post. But still.

It was a noteworthy moment for me because it showed just how beastly Shaq really is. He was about an inch or two taller than the Big Show (regularly billed as the word's largest athlete) and considerably more in shape. So there you go, Cavs fans. Shaq looks like he's taking this offseason workout thing seriously, even if his dual choke and body bump encounter with Big Show was anything but serious.

I don't know what Shaq's post-NBA career plans are. But I know he's shown an interest in law enforcement and pro wrestling. May I be the first to suggest he combine both ideas and become a bigger, badder version of the late, great Big Boss Man. I'm about 60 percent serious.

So, that happened. Shaq did the WWE thing...with mixed results, and you can only imagine where it goes from here. From his entertaining Twitter updates to his upcoming reality show on ABC, "Shaq's Big Challenge," there is no shortage of Shaq these days.

John Krolik of Cavs the Blog is finding out, this is all part of the package when you sign O'Neal. You might as well embrace it, Cavs fans. He's yours all season long. Are you not entertained?

No, I'm not really an NBA blogger, and I'm not a Cavs fan. But O'Neal is a once-in-a-generation athlete living on Lake Erie for the next season. That's close enough for me to embrace him and his antics on this blog. Expect a Shaq post from time to time. He's too fun not to follow, for better or worse. I've said it before, and I'll say it again to Cavs fans about Shaq this season. Enjoy the ride.

For a more detailed and (more?) entertaining look back at the full night of action from Shaq's night hosting WWE Raw, check out Lang Whitaker's work over at Slam Online, which includes gems like this one: "The play by play announcer is Michael Cole. Jim Ross craps bigger than this guy."

Poll: Which Former BayHawk Would You Want on Your Team?

Monday, July 27, 2009

Summer League Teams in Review: Toronto Raptors

Friday, July 24, 2009

The final piece of my week-long review of the Las Vegas Summer League shines the light north of the border on the Toronto Raptors, the new affiliate of the Erie BayHawks for the 2009-10 NBA season.

The Raptors won their last three Summer League games (by a combined 7 points) to finish the week 3-2 in Vegas. Their were plenty of impressive performances for this young squad.

Team MVP: DeMar DeRozan
A very honorable mention goes out to the team's leading scorer and former BayHawk Quincy Douby, but Raptors fans and scouts alike had their eyes on the team's top pick all week long, and DeRozan was, for the most part, very impressive. He averaged 17 points on just under 50 percent shooting while also grabbing 4.8 rebounds per game from the guard position. While his 1:1 assist-to-turnover ratio leaves some room for improvement, it's also not a terrible number for a rookie making his debut.

The biggest question mark in DeRozan's game right now is outside shooting and free throw shooting. He was only 50 percent from the line (10-20) and made just one 3-pointer in 5 attempts. Those areas need improvement, but DeRozan exhibited a lot of the potential that made him a lottery selection, and the Raptors organization has to be encouraged by his overall performance. I think he'll find playing time with Toronto this season and would be surprised to see him sent on assignment to Erie.

Other Notables
Roko Ukic played well. He shot 51.5 percent from the field and 41.7 percent from 3-point range while averaging 11.8 points per game. As seems to be the Summer League trend, though, he averaged more turnovers than assists.

Patrick O'Bryant rebounded the ball well, leading the team with 6.4 boards per game. He also scored in double figures on efficient 55.8 percent shooting. Perhaps there's a chance he can remove the "bust" label before the final chapter is closed on his career.

Brent Petway is never going to get turned due to lack of athleticsm. In addition to his highlight reel dunks, Petway played well on the defensive end, where he easily led the team in blocks per minute.

Smush Parker didn't do much to help his cause to get back in the NBA, at least not in Toronto, where the backcourt is already loaded. He did manage to score 8 points per game, but he shot just 36.4 percent from the field and had more turnovers than assists.

Final Thoughts
I can't praise Douby's performance enough. He's a talented individual, and I think he's a more mature player at this stage of his career than he was coming out of Rutgers. It also didn't help being stuck in Sacramento where the revolving door of coaches through off any chance for consistency. I like his chances of sticking in Toronto this season or else catching on with another NBA club.

As for the others, it'll be interesting to see how the Raptors utilize the relationship with the BayHawks this season. Hopefully they'll follow more in the mold of the Cavs and be open to development assignments and less like the 76ers who seemed very unconcerned with their Erie affiliation last season. In any case, welcome aboard Toronto. Summer League is fun, and hopefully the rest of the year will follow suit.

Summer League Teams in Review: Cleveland Cavaliers

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Both of the Erie BayHawks' NBA affiliates were active in the Las Vegas Summer League last week. Tomorrow I'll get to the Toronto Raptors, but first I'd like to review the team that's been affiliated with the BayHawks for each of Erie's two seasons, the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The Cavs went 1-4, so it wasn't exactly a party in Las Vegas, at least not on the court. However, there were some bright spots and some intriguing potential that came out of the week's events.

Team MVP: Jawad Williams
It's easy to select the guy who had the highest scoring average as the MVP, but Williams deserves the honor. Despite starting just one game in Vegas, Williams did lead the team in scoring, averaging 14 points per game. He also had the best 3-point percentage (8-16) on the team while attempting more than everyone not named Danny Green. Plus, he was the team's second best rebounder, averaging 5 per game. While defense is not the main aspect on display in Summer League play, Williams also has a reputation as a solid defender to bolster his overall resume. The bottom line is that Williams deserves a spot on an NBA roster, even if that spot isn't in Cleveland next season.

Rookie Watch
The Cavs' first-round pick, Christian Eyenga, had an up-and-down performance. He showed moments of brilliance and moments of not-yet-readiness, as evidinced by his 0.22 assists-to-turnover ratio. Eyenga's best game came against Washington when he shot 7-13 from the field and 3-3 from the line to score 17 points and committed zero turnovers.

The latest news on Eyenga is that he has signed a 3-year deal to play in Spain, so he won't be seen in a Cavs or BayHawks jersey next season. Brian Windhorst of The Plain Dealer reports that Eyenga's contract does have options for him to return to play in the U.S. after each of the three seasons, however.

In other Cavs rookie news, Danny Green took part in Summer League as well. The UNC alum showed some promising flashes, but his overall 5-17 shooting from 3-point range won't cut it if he's going to want to be part of the Cavs' regular rotation this year. He did show his shooting stroke from the line, draining all 12 of his attempts, and he was 7-16 from 2-point range. His turnover number was also high, however, he won't be asked to be much of a playmaker if he sees time for the Cavaliers this season.

Other Notables
You may have noticed I left off Maureece Rice from the list of players I featured in review earlier this week. The lead point guard for the BayHawks this past season, Rice was hoping to use a strong Summer League performance to catapault himself onto an NBA roster for the upcoming season. Unfortunately, Rice played a total of just 36 minutes in 4 games, hardly enough time to show himself off and make an impact.

Darnell Jackson's review can be found here.

Jamont Gordon did some good things as a playmaker. The guard out of Mississippi State led the team with 25 assists (to just 11 turnovers). As a comparison, the second-leading assists man was Rice with 6.

Tarence Kinsey showed that he has a talent for getting to the free throw line. He had one more free throw attempt (39) than field goal attempt (38), and he converted at a solid 84.6 percent clip from the charity stripe.

Someone named Doron Perkins, not originally listed on the Cavs Summer League roster, apparently made one appearance for 2 minutes against Dallas. I'm assuming it's this Doron Perkins from Santa Clara, but as for why he showed up late and played just 2 minutes in 1 game? I have no idea.

Final Thoughts
If there's any takeaway from the Cavs Summer League team, it's that these guys aren't the main concern in Cleveland right now. With Eyenga in Europe, Jackson, Green, and Williams are really the only bona fide candidates to see any whiff of action in Cleveland this season, and even they will find that opportunity tough to come by.

The Cavs are among a small group of elite teams—5 by my count—vying for the 2010 NBA championship (along with the Lakers, Spurs, Celtics, and Magic). Still, they aren't going to stop developing players—it's just not on the top of their priority list fo the upcoming season. I wouldn't be surprised to see Green or even Jackson get an assignment with Erie in the D-League next season.

As for the other, non-roster players? Many of them will have to make decisions about whether they want to try their hand at the D-League or chase greener pastures overseas. That's a decision that each individual player has to make on his own.

Summer League Players in Review: Darnell Jackson

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The third and final installment of my "Summer League Players in Review" series will focus on Cleveland Cavaliers forward Darnell Jackson, who was sent down on assignment to play with the Erie BayHawks twice last year.

Jackson is a second-year power forward, which puts him in direct competition with the Cavs' first round pick last year, J.J. Hickson. With Hickson unable to compete in Summer League due to injury, Las Vegas was an opportunity for Jackson to show the Cavs organization why he ought to be part of the franchise's plan for the future and—perhaps more importantly for a team with championship aspirations this season—the present.

The Cleveland coaching staff made it no secret that they were going to use these Summer League games to evaluate Jackson. The former Kansas Jayhawk played a team-high 29 minutes per game. On the plus side, he averaged a team-high 5.4 rebounds per game, attempted the second most free throws (32) and converted them at a respectable 71.9 percent clip. He was also third on the team in scoring (10.6 ppg).

On the flipside, Jackson did not shoot the ball well. He made just 15 of 39 shots (38.5 percent), the lowest percentage among frontcourt players on their Summer League squad. That number is not going to impress coaches, especially in Summer League where defense is not typical of NBA intensity.

The bottom line is that Jackson didn't bomb at Summer League. His rebounding numbers were strong and he showed promise, but his low shooting percentage and lack of a breakout performance will likely keep him behind Hickson on the depth charts.

Could it result in another stint or two in Erie this season? With the Cavs focused on winning now, it's possible. Jackson appears to be more of a talent for the future than a key cog in a 2010 NBA championship. It'll be great for Erie, if Jackson sees more time as a BayHawk. For Jackson, he needs to take the lessons learned from Summer League and spend the next few months working on problem areas. Then, come into camp ready to challenge Hickson and the Cavaliers frontcourt veterans for a spot in what promises to be a very competitive playing rotation.

Summer League Players in Review: Quincy Douby

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

In his short stint with the Erie BayHawks last season, Quincy Douby showed enough to earn a roster spot with the Toronto Raptors for the end of the of 2008-09 season.

In five Summer League games with the Raptors, Douby may very well have assured himself that the D-League will not be necessary this year. Aside from—maybe—Raptors top pick DeMar DeRozan, Douby was the best performer for the Raptors squad in Las Vegas.

He averaged a team-high 18 points per game in just over 27 minutes per game. He also led the team in assists (3.8 per game), free throws attempted and made, and was first in free throw percentage (71.4 percent) among players who had at least 10 free throw attempts. Additionally, he averaged 4 rebounds, 1.2 steals, and just 1.8 turnovers per game.

Douby's performance earned him a mention on the All-Vets & Journeymen Team from ESPN TrueHoop's Vegas Summer League Halfway Home Awards.

The current situation in Toronto's backcourt is a bit crowded, and the recent addition of former Indiana Pacer Jarrett Jack makes it even more loaded. Jose Calderon, Marcus Banks, Roko Ukic are all names Douby must battle with to find a roster spot—let alone playing time—in Toronto.

Whether Douby catches on with the Raptors this season remains to be seen, but his strong performance in Las Vegas bodes well for the former Rutgers star's hopes of playing in the NBA next season whether it's north of the border or elsewhere.

Summer League Players in Review: Erik Daniels

Monday, July 20, 2009

With the NBA's Las Vegas Summer League officially wrapping up yesterday, I thought I'd take this week to look back at some of the Erie BayHawks-relevant stories. Today, tomorrow, and Wednesday, I'll recap the performances of the three former BayHawks players who participated in the Vegas league. And then, on Thursday and Friday, I'll take a closer look at Erie's affiliates, breaking down the Cavaliers and Raptors Summer League team performances.

First up is the man who led the BayHawks to the playoffs this past season as a 1st-team all-D-League selection, Erik Daniels.

The 6'8" forward from Kentucky saw no playing time through the first three Summer League games, but the Grizzlies organization finally gave the veteran some burn in games four and five. Daniels played just under 13 minutes in each game.

Against Phoenix, in a game the Grizzlies won going away 97-60, Daniels saw his first Summer League action and made the most of his short time on the court. He scored 4 points on 2-3 shooting, grabbed 3 rebounds, dished out 2 assists and blocked a shot.

In the Grizzlies Summer League finale, which they won 76-75 versus the Spurs, Daniels again found little ways to contribute in limited minutes. His only two field goal attenpts were 3-pointers, but he hit one, and he added 2 rebounds and a steal to his statline. In his two games played, he did not commit a turnover.

Daniels' Summer League experience was surely not what he was hoping for. It's hard for any player to show what they can do in just 25 minutes of playing time, but Daniels did what he could with the opportunity he was given. Since he likely didn't get to showcase his abilities enough to earn a spot on an NBA roster this coming fall, Daniels will likely head overseas next season, as Duane Rankin of the Erie Times-News reports.

For fans of the Erie BayHawks, it's no surprise that Daniels won't be back in Erie next year. The money just isn't there, and at this stage of his career, Daniels is older than most of the players in the D-League. Still, the fans in Erie will remember Daniels as one of the key components of the success of the franchise's inaugural season.

Summer League Game Recap: Pistons 92, Cavs 86

Friday, July 17, 2009

The Cavs played their final Summer League game today, falling 92-86 against Detroit. With the loss, Cleveland finishes the Las Vegas Summer League with a 1-4 record.

After receiving limited minutes in the other games, former Erie BayHawk Maureece Rice did not play in the game against the Pistons.

Darnell Jackson had a good game for Cleveland, scoring 13 points on just 7 shots and adding a team-high 11 rebounds. He did, however, commit 3 turnovers in the game.

Jawad Williams had another strong showing. He drained a pair of 3s as part of his team-high 15 points. Williams also grabbed 5 rebounds. On the negative side of things, he added 4 turnovers.

Robert Hite also played well for the Cavs. He was 6-9 from the field for 14 points to go along with 4 assists and 3 turovers.

Rookie Danny Green continued his recent shooting slump. He had just 6 points on 2-7 shooting, including 0-3 from long distance. While he did add 5 rebounds, he struggled to take care of the ball, committing 3 turnovers without recording an assist.

Turnovers were a problem for the Cavs as a team. For the game, they had 21 turnovers to just 8 assists, making point guards everywhere cringe.

Jamont Gordon was one of the few players to have a good assist to turnover ratio as he dished out 4 assist to just 1 turnover in 25 minutes.

First-round pick Christian Eyenga saw the most floor time, scoring 12 points on 4-8 shooting in just under 34 minutes of action.

Tarence Kinsey followed up a big game on Thursday with just 2 points in 10 minutes.

All in all, it was not the best game for this Cavs squad. I'll be back next week with wrap-up thoughts about the Cavaliers and Raptors Summer League experiences. Enjoy the weekend!

Summer League Game Recap: Cavs 75, Mavs 62

The Cleveland Cavaliers claimed their first victory in Summer League play, defeating the Dallas Mavericks 75-62 yesterday.

As the low score indicates, this was not necessarily a pretty game to watch, but there were a few strong performances to highlight for the Cavs in the win.

Jawad Williams, scoring 18 points and grabbing 9 rebounds. He's played pretty well throughout the Summer League and deserves a spot somewhere on an NBA roster if not in Cleveland.

Tarence Kinsey managed to score 20 points on 2-5 shooting. How? Well, going 16-18 from the free throw line is an effective and efficient way to score. On the flipside, however, Kinsey had 4 turnovers and no assists.

David Harrison probably had his best game of the summer, recording a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds in just under 24 minutes of action.

Meanwhile, neither of the Cavs' 2009 draft picks did much in this game. Christian Eyenga played a team-high 34 minutes but managed just 4 points, 2 rebounds, and 3 turnovers. Danny Green was 0-3 from 3-point range and scored just 4 points.

Former Erie BayHawk Maureece Rice once again saw limited minutes. He went 0-3 from the field with 1 assist and 1 turnover in just over 6 minutes on the court.

The Cavaliers (1-3) wrap up their Summer League schedule today at 4 p.m. against Detroit.

Summer League Game Recaps, Two For the Price of One

Thursday, July 16, 2009

I didn't delay this post on purpose. I've just been busy with freelance writing that I actually get paid for as opposed to this, which I simply do for the love of the game. But enough about me, there are two Raptors Summer League game reviews to do.

First, from Wednesday: Raptors 74, Suns 73

I didn't see the action, but it sounded like one of the better endings from Las Vegas this week. Here's the description taken from the official Summer League recap:

The Toronto Raptors (2-2) rallied from nine down in the fourth quarter to claim a 74-73 victory over the Phoenix Suns Wednesday night in the 2009 NBA Summer League presented by EA SPORTS from the COX Pavilion in Las Vegas. The Raptors got game-ending heroics from DeMar DeRozen and Ekene Ibekwe, who nailed the game-winning basket and blocked a last second shot, respectively.

The Raptors rallied in the final 7:28 and got the game-winning basket via alley-oop from DeRozen with 46 seconds remaining in the game. The Suns’ Goran Dragic went coast-to-coast with seven seconds remaining and put up a running jumper that was swatted away by Ibekwe. Unfortunately, Ibekwe landed awkwardly and had to be taken off the court via stretcher.

Ibekwe sustained two sprained wrists and received six stitches in his chin.

Then, earlier tonight, the Raptors won yet another one-point contest, edging Milwaukee 84-83.

Blog Talk BayHawk is proud to report that Quincy Douby, late of the Erie BayHawks, drained the game winner against the Bucks with 1.3 seconds left. The late-game heroics helped the former Rutgers star overcome two consecutive subpar shooting performances. However, Douby did convert 14 of 17 free throws in the games against Phoenix and Milwaukee while also dishing out a team high 9 assists over the same span.

DeMar DeRozan had back-to-back impressive performances, scoring 20 points apiece versus the Suns and Bucks on a combined 17-29 shooting along with 9 rebounds, 5 assists and just 2 turnovers.

Ibekwe played a very solid game against Phoenix before sustaining the injury. He finished the game with 7 points, 11 rebounds, 2 steals, and 2 blocks, including the one that saved the game.

And finally, after another sluggish performance against the Suns, Smush Parker did bounce back with some productive minutes against the Bucks by getting to the free throw line, though he still shot just 3-13 from the field.

Summer League Game Recap: Wizards 96, Cavs 93

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Cavs dropped to 0-3 in Summer League play Tuesday, falling 96-93 against the Washington Wizards. The Wizards were led by Andre Blatch and Nick Young, who combined for 57 points.

For the most part, the Cavs players played well individually. Tarence Kinsey had his best game by far, finally finding his shot after two subpar performances. He led the scoring for Cleveland with 22 points on 9-15 shooting from the field.

Other positive contributions came from Jamont Gordon, Jawad Williams, Christian Eyenga. Although Gordon had trouble shooting the ball, he made his presence felt in other ways, grabbing a team-high 8 rebounds and dishing out 7 of the team's 10 assists for the game.

Williams, who has bounced between the Cavs and the D-League, is making a game-by-game case why he deserves to be on somebody's NBA roster next season. The former North Carolina Tar Heel has found a way to contribute in each of the team's three games. Against Washington, he scored 14, including 2-3 from downtown and 4-4 from the foul line.

First-round pick Eyenga made a positive impact for the second straight game after laying an egg in the opener. He scored efficiently, 17 points on 7 of 13 shooting. However, his the rest of his statline was rather pedestrian: 2 rebounds, 1 steal, 3 fouls and zeros the rest of the way.

On the flipside, rookie Danny Green will be looking to redeem himself in Cleveland's next game (tomorrow vs. Dallas). Green shot 0-5 from the field and committed 2 turnovers to just one assist.

And finally, former BayHawk Maureece Rice has to be wondering what's going on. He saw just over four minutes of game time yesterday despite being productive when he was in there: 2-2 shooting, 1 rebound. Unfortunately for Rice, the coaching staff seems to favor Gordon as the point guard on this team with Robert Hite also taking some minutes away from Rice.

Summer League Game Recap: Raptors 92, Blazers 87

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

In a game that featured 22 lead changes and 12 ties, the Toronto Raptors' Summer League team came away with their first victory in three tries yesterday, outlasting Portland 92-87.

Former BayHawk Quincy Douby continued to impress, leading the team with 20 points off the bench, and scoring efficiently: 7-14 from the field, 2-3 from beyond the arc, 4-6 from the charity stripe. He also led the team with 5 assists, tied for the team lead with 2 steals, and committed just 2 turnovers. The all-around solid effort from Douby could earn him a roster spot come November.

Rookie DeMar DeRozan had a better effort in this game, scoring 15 points on 6-14 shooting. He also recorded his first assist as a Raptor. Perhaps most impressively, he led the team with 6 rebounds.

Brent Petway had an efficient offensive game, going 5-7 from the floor. He also added 4 boards in just under 20 minutes of action.

Roko Ukic had a mixed performance. He scored 12 points on 5-8 shooting, but the Raptors' coaching staff can't be happy with his 5 turnovers to just 3 assists. That's not a favorable ratio, especially for a guard.

Smush Parker, Carl English and Nathan Jawai all received DNPs for the game.

Summer League Weekend Wrap

Monday, July 13, 2009

There's a lot to get to after a full weekend of Summer League action in Las Vegas. First, I'll take a look at the Summer League squads of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Toronto Raptors, the two affiliates of the Erie BayHawks. Then, I'll also give an update on a couple of other former BayHawks and what they've done so far in Summer League play.

Cavs results
The Cavs lost their Summer League opener against the Lakers as well as their second game against the Bucks, but Summer League games are not really about wins and losses as much as player development. Also, check out John Krolik's quick thoughts on the Summer League over at Cavs: The Blog, including the important note that points scored is not really the stat to look at when viewing the Summer League box scores.

Five starter points of interest for Cleveland through two games:

  • Second-round pick Danny Green is tied for the team lead with 27 points, but more importantly, the UNC alum has shot 5-10 from 3-point range and is a perfect 6-6 at the line. It looks more and more like he'll be a Cavalier and not a BayHawk during his rookie season.
  • It's no surprise that Darnell Jackson leads the team in minutes played, but Jamont Gordon is right behind him, taking up a lot of the point guard minutes (and producing nine assists to six turnovers.)
  • Maureece Rice has played just 25 minutes, shooting just 1-9 from the field. He does have five assists to his three turnovers though, a slightly better AST/TO ratio than Gordon, but the former BayHawk point guard will need to step it up over the next few games if he's going to make an NBA roster.
  • Tarence Kinsey hasn't shot the ball well, but he leads the team with 11 rebounds.
  • First-round pick Christian Eyenga had just one point in his debut against the Lakers, but he bounced back with 10 points on 4-6 shooting against Milwaukee.
Cavs remaining games
Tuesday vs. Washington
Thursday vs. Dallas
Friday vs. Detroit

Raptors results
Toronto also lost each of its first two games, falling to the Lakers and Pistons on consecutive nights.

Five starter points of interest for Toronto through two games:
  • DeMar DeRozan is one of the most notable players partaking in the action in Vegas. While he's shown some scoring prowess, he's also shot 14-32 with 0 assists and 3 turnovers. On the flipside, it was good to hear that DeRozan is a bit of a gym rat, the first to arrive (via TrueHoop).
  • Brent Petway showed off his athleticism with a highlight dunk and 3 blocks in limited minutes vs. the Lakers.
  • One-time BayHawk Quincey Douby had a pretty efficient game two, netting 21 points on 13 shots, including 2-3 from downtown. He did have 2 turnovers to go with his three assists, however.
  • Smush Parker has struggled with his shot, but he leads the team with 8 assists.
  • Patrick O'Bryant was the only Raptor to pull down double-digit rebounds, grabbing 10 to go with his 10 points against the Pistons.
Raptors remaining games
Today vs. Portland
Wednesday vs. Phoenix
Thursday vs. Milwaukee

Other Erie BayHawks News to Note
  • All D-League 1st-team selection Erik Daniels is on the Memphis Grizzlies Summer League roster. And in their first game yesterday he gets a DNP? I'm not sure what happened here, especially considering the final score of the game was 86-57 Grizzlies. For what it's worth, three other players did not play either, according to the box score.
  • In other news, former BayHawk Darian Townes, who played in the Orlando Summer League with the host Orlando Magic, will be on the training camp roster for the Miami Heat.

Cavs Summer League Update: Robert Hite Added to Roster

Friday, July 10, 2009

Initially, the Cavs roster on the offical Las Vegas Summer League site listed just nine players (and as of the time of this post, it still does), but the Cavs offical site just posted a news release that included a 10-man roster. The additional player is Robert Hite. So, assuming that we can trust the Cavs site over the Summer League site, we'll preview Robert Hite as we did for the rest of Cleveland's Summer League team.

Robert Hite, 6'2", G, Miami (Florida)
According to, Hite played in 12 games for the Miami Heat during the 2006-07 season. He was signed by the New Jersey Nets on August 16, 2007, but he was then waived by the team after averaging 5.3 points and 2.8 rebounds in six preseason contests. Hite was also part of training camp with the Phoenix Suns last year. He will give the Cavs Summer League team a second point guard on the roster along with former Erie BayHawk Maureece Rice.

Cleveland Cavaliers Summer League Preview

The Cleveland Cavaliers will field one of the 22 teams at the 2009 Las Vegas Summer League, which begins today and runs through July 17 at the Cox Pavilion on the campus of the University of Nevada-Las Vegas.

The Cavs, heading into their second year as an NBA affiliate of the Erie BayHawks, will be participating in the Vegas Summer League for the sixth straight year. The Summer League action in Vegas tips off today, but the Cavs don't play their first game until tomorrow at 6 p.m. Eastern against the Summer League roster of the reigning champion Los Angeles Lakers.

No, you won't see LeBron and Kobe, but it's possible that you could see their future teammates doing battle on the court in Sin City tomorrow evening. According to the official roster posted on the Summer League home page, the Cavs team features just nine players***, which as a commenter pointed out, does not constitue the typical Summer League roster. So stay tuned to see if additional names are added. In the meantime, here's a preview of the players confirmed on the Cavs' Summer League roster.

Cleveland Cavaliers 2009 Summer League Roster

Christian Eyenga, 6'5", G/F, Democratic Republic of the Congo
Eyenga, Cleveland's first-round pick in June's NBA Draft, will be one of the most interesting players to watch in Summer League action, if only because so few people have seen him play in person. Is he ready for the NBA? How he fares against NBA-level competition this week could very well answer that question. If not, he may be a key development player for the BayHawks this season. For more on Eyenga, check out my "Better Know a Draft Pick" post from last week.

Jamont Gordon, 6'4", G, Mississippi State
Gordon is incorrectly listed from Grand Valley State on the roster. The former Bulldog went undrafted in last year's draft. He then played in last year's Summer League as part of the Philadelphia 76ers squad before signing on with Fortitudo Bologna of the Eurocup basketball league in Bologna, Italy.

Danny Green, 6'6", G/F, North Carolina
The Cavaliers' second-round pick probably has the most heralded backstory of anyone on the roster coming fresh off of a national championship at UNC. Green will be another closely monitored participant in Summer League action as the maturity in his game—and his 3-point shooting—suggest that he may be well-suited as a perimeter complement to LeBron James and Shaquille O'Neal. For more on Green, check out my "Better Know a Draft Pick" post from last week.

David Harrison, 7'0", C, Colorado
Harrison was taken 29th overall in the 2004 NBA Draft by the Indiana Pacers. In four years with Indiana, he averaged 5 points and 2.9 rebounds in just 14.2 minutes per game. Harrison's contract was not renewed with the Pacers following the 2007-08 season, and this was the review of his final season issued by Pacers blog Indy Cornrows.

Darnell Jackson, 6'9", PF, Kansas
One of three Cavalier Summer League players who won a national championship in college, Jackson is also one of the few who saw some NBA minutes last season. Heading into his second season, Jackson has a great opportunity this week in Las Vegas. With last year's other rookie, J.J. Hickson, sidelined by injury, Jackson has a chance to show why he and not Hickson should be the 4-man of the future for the Cavs to develop. Jackson also saw two stints in Erie last season with the BayHawks. For more, check out this review of Jackson that I wrote following the end of the BayHawks' season.

Tarence Kinsey, 6'6", G, South Carolina
Kinsey saw limited minutes in 50 games for the Cavaliers last season. He also played sparingly for the Memphis Grizzlies for two seasons before that. I could try to tell you more about him, but you're better off reading about Kinsey from Cavs diehard fan John Krolik over at Cavs the Blog.

Leo Lyons, 6'9", F, Missouri
Lyons improved in each of his four years at Missouri. He was an important player for their Elite Eight run in the NCAA Tournament this season, including his 15-point, 12-rebound performance to upset Memphis in the Sweet 16. It's tough to see him leapfrogging the likes of Hickson and Jackson to find playing time in Cleveland, but a strong showing this week could potentially open up an opportunity elsewhere.

Maureece Rice, 6'1", PG, George Washington
The point guard that made the BayHawks go last season, Rice is a cannonball in the back court with a low center of gravity that helps him get to the hole and score in traffic. With Erie BayHawks coach John Treloar firmly behind him, expect Rice to see some solid minutes as he tries to make the jump from the D-League to an NBA roster this season. For more on Rice, check out his profile here at Blog Talk BayHawk as well as over at Ridiculous Upside.

Jawad Williams, 6'9", F, North Carolina
A member of the 2005 national champions at UNC, Williams made his NBA debut last season, appearing in 10 games for the Cavs. He's also played for three different D-League teams the past three years. For more on Williams, I'll once again refer you to the wonderful work done over at Ridiculous Upside.

If the Cavaliers announce any additional names to add to the current 9-man roster, I'll be sure to profile them as well. But until then, here's the Summer League schedule for all of you diehards out there looking to watch all the games.

Cleveland 2009 Summer League Schedule

Date Opponent Time (ET)
Saturday, July 11 L.A. Lakers 6:00 p.m. (ET)
Sunday, July 12
10:oo p.m.
Tuesday, July 14 Washington 6:30 p.m.
Thursday, July 16 Dallas 10:00 p.m.
Friday, July 17 Detroit 4:00 p.m.

All games can be watched online here.

***Robert Hite has been added to the roster.

Cleveland Cavaliers Summer League Roster Announced

Thursday, July 9, 2009

It's official, the Cleveland Cavaliers roster for the 2009 Las Vegas Summer League has been posted:

Leo Lyons, F
Christian Eyenga, G/F
Jamont Gordon, G
Danny Green, G/F
David Harrison, C
Darnell Jackson, PF
Tarence Kinsey, G
Maureece Rice, PG
Jawad Williams, F

Check back tomorrow for my preview of the team.

Cavs Summer League Update: Waiting for a Press Release

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

***UPDATE*** The Cavs Summer League roster is online now, and Paul Harris is not on the roster as previously reported here and elsewhere.

The Las Vegas Summer League tips off Friday, but I've yet to read an official announcement of the Cleveland Cavaliers roster. I'm hoping to have time to preview Cleveland's Summer League team as I did for the Toronto Raptors squad earlier this week, but in the meantime, I'll do my best to confirm what news is out there about the Cavs' team.

First, it's important to note one player who will not be on the team—last year's top pick, J.J. Hickson. The promising young forward from North Carolina State has been suffering from back spasms that will cause him to miss out on the opportunity to play in Vegas this year.

Former Erie BayHawk Maureece Rice is confirmed to be on the team. Syracuse University's Paul Harris is also reportedly going to be on the team.

Ridiculous Upside tentatively has Maureece Rice, Christian Eyenga, Danny Green, Jawad Williams, Darnell Jackson, and Tarence Kinsey listed, although they do not include Paul Harris.

Meanwhile, the official site of the Cavaliers says little more about the summer league other than the following: "The Cavaliers will participate in the 2009 NBA Summer League, presented by EA Sports, July 10th-19th in Las Vegas at the Thomas & Mack Center and COX Pavilion."

The official site of the Las Vegas Summer League isn't much more helpful. While the page heading reads " Summer League 2009 Teams," the links on the page take you to pages with the 2008 team rosters.

So, for now, Cleveland's Summer League roster is a bit of a mystery. When that changes, I'll do my best to breakdown the full roster.

D-League Links

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

With the Orlando Pro Summer League action underway and the Vegas league soon to follow suit, basketball is gone before you even had much time to miss it. Rejoice in all that is good on the hardwood with a few quick links from around the world of small-time-on-the-verge-of-big-time basketball.

  • First, a couple of pieces of news from Duane Rankin of the Erie Times-News. On Sunday, Rankin reported what most everyone who followed the BayHawks last season suspected: Maureece Rice, one of the best BayHawks last year, won't be back in Erie this season. He'll be playing for the Cavaliers' summer league team in hopes of making an NBA roster. But if that falls through, Rankin reports that Rice has a six figure deal awaiting him to play overseas.

  • Rankin also blogged about Raptors second-year player Nathan Jawai not enjoying his experience with the D-League last season, which could deter Toronto/Erie from using him with the BayHawks this season.

  • The last time NBA players were playing in Orlando the Lakers were putting the finishing touches on their 15th NBA championship. The basketball being played in Orlando is a bit different these days as the Orlando Pro Summer League tipped off yesterday. In addition to the host Magic's team, which includes former BayHawk Darian Townes, the six-team 2009 Orlando League includes teams fielded by the Boston Celtics, Indiana Pacers, Oklahoma City Thunder, Utah Jazz, and a combination of the Philadelphia 76ers and New Jersey Nets.

  • As is expected, no one has these games covered like Ridiculous Upside, where Jon L has written an extensive post detailing the day one action.

  • While I'm on the topic, Ridiculous Upside also posted the roster for the D-League Select team that will compete in the Las Vegas Summer League, which starts later this week. Both Erie BayHawks affiliates will field teams in the Vegas League.

Toronto Raptors Summer League Preview

Monday, July 6, 2009

The Toronto Raptors will field a 12-man squad at the 2009 Las Vegas Summer League, which begins this Friday and runs through July 17 at the Cox Pavilion on the campus of the University of Nevada-Las Vegas.

The Raptors, newly-named affiliates of the Erie BayHawks, will be participating in the Vegas Summer League for the third time since its inception in 2004.

Toronto Raptors 2009 Summer League Roster

DeMar DeRozan, 6'5", G/F, USC
DeRozan will be the main attraction for Raptors fans. The 9th overall pick of the draft gets his first opportunity to show what he can bring to the table. For a more in depth look at DeRozan, check out my "Better Know a Draft Pick" post on DeRozan from last week.

Roko Ukic, 6'5", PG, Croatia
As a rookie with the Raptors last season, Ukic averaged 4.2 points and 2.1 assists in 12.4 minutes per game. There's not a whole lot of information out there on Ukic, but you can check out this highlight montage on YouTube.

Quincy Douby, 6'3", G, Rutgers
The 19th pick of the 2006 NBA Draft by Sacramento, Douby had a short stint last year with the Erie BayHawks before being called up by the Raptors. He's a very capable scorer still looking to find his niche in the NBA. For more on Douby, check out my "Players in Review" post from May.

Nathan Jawai, 6'10", PF, Australia
As a rookie, Jawai played in just six games with Toronto last season. At 6'10" and 280 pounds and only 22 years old, he's an intriguing prospect. He was assigned to play with the Idaho Stampede, Toronto's 2008-09 affiliate, last February before being recalled by the Raptors. For more on Jawai's background, check out his DraftExpress profile, updated through February 2008.

Patrick O’Bryant, 7'0", C, Bradley
After leading Bradley to the Sweet 16 in 2006, O'Bryant capitalized on his high stock and entered the draft as a sophomore. He was selected by Golden State with the 9th overall selection, but has yet to find a home in the NBA, bouncing from Golden State to Boston to Toronto. If O'Bryant is going to defy the draft bust labels, he's going to have to start showing signs of improvement this summer.

Carl English, 6'5", G, Hawaii
The Canadian-born English has been a part of Canada Basketball since 2000, and was a key contributer on the national team as they tried to qualify for the 2008 Olympics. He's also had experience playing in the D-League during the 2003-04 season. For more on Carl English, check out this February 2009 interview with Hoops Addict.

Ekene Ibekwe, 6'9", PF, Maryland
According to, the former Maryland Terrapin has played in Israel, France, and now in the TIBL in Turkey where he is in the top 10-in the league in both scoring and rebounding.

David Doublas
Information about Doublas is scarce, but he reportedly was a member of Spain’s 2001 Under-20 national team.

Brent Petway, 6'8", F, Michigan
As the winner of the 2008 D-League Slam Dunk Conest, there is no question that Brent Petway can throw it down with the best of them. He's nicknamed "Air Georgia" for a reason. But the former Michigan Wolverine is determined to prove that he's more than just an explosive dunker. Petway has played the past two seasons in the D-League with the Idaho Stampede, starting 48 games and averaging 10.2 points last year.

Paul Davis, 6'11", PF/C, Michigan State
The 2002 "Mr. Basketball" in the state of Michigan, Davis has played in 80 games over three years with the Los Angeles Clippers before they waived him in January. He's also known for getting dunked on by Dwayne Wade.

Smush Parker, 6'4", G, Fordham
Parker is probably best remembered as the starting point guard on the 2006 Lakers team that was one Tim Thomas 3-ball away from advancing to the second round of the playoffs. But after starting 162 games over two years with the Lakers, Parker played in just 28 games the next two years with Miami and the L.A. Clippers. He has since played in the D-League and the Chinese Basketball Association.

Demetris Nichols, 6'8", F, Syracuse
The former Syracuse Orange has played in a total of 18 NBA games over two seasons while also seeing time with the Iowa Energy of the D-League.

Toronto 2009 Summer League Schedule

Date Opponent Time (ET)
Friday, July 10 L.A. Lakers 8:00 p.m.
Saturday, July 11 Detroit 4:00 p.m.
Monday, July 13 Portland 8:00 p.m.
Wednesday, July 15 Milwaukee 4:00 p.m.
Thursday, July 16 Phoenix 4:00 p.m.

Better Know a Draft Pick: Danny Green

Friday, July 3, 2009

In the fourth and final segment of the "Better Know a Draft Pick" series, I'll look at the lone second-round selection of an Erie BayHawks affiliate, Danny Green, who was chosen 46th overall by the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The Good
Coming out of North Carolina fresh off a national championship, Green is a winner. Green is a natural fit to replace Sasha Pavlovic, who was sent to Sacramento in the trade for Shaquille O'Neal. He's best as a spot-up shooter, which makes him a perfect piece to play alongside players who command a double-team a la Shaq and LeBron. Green hit on 41.8 percent of his 3-point attempts during his senior season at North Carolina. He's also a solid defender.

The Bad
Green isn't particularly versatile. He's not going to beat a lot of people off the dribble or score in the paint, but you don't expect to draft an all-star in the second round. Green was able to be a complimentary piece in college and will be asked to do the same in college.

The Unknown
The biggest question with Green is, how much better can he get? He worked and improved his game in each of his four years as a Tar Heel. As he stands now, Green is likely a low-rotation player, maybe the 8th or 9th man. If he can continue to get better, is he a potential starter on a playoff team? The key would be developing more of an all-around offensive game to go with his spot-up shooting.

The chances he'll see playing time for the Erie BayHawks
20 percent. Depending on what the Cavs do with Wally Szczerbiak and the remaining holes on their roster, it's possible that Green could be expected to step in and play right away. At 22, he is a pretty mature ballplayer. However, it's possible that he may also get the Darnell Jackson treatment from a year ago and see a few games in a BayHawks uniform to give him some extra development work.

Final Thoughts
I was surprised that the Cavs didn't take a proven college player with their first-round selection, so it was no surprise when they bounced back and took a player like Danny Green with their second pick. Along with Jackson, they now have a player from each of the past two NCAA champions in house, and it never hurts to bring in players with a winning pedigree, especially when you're a franchise trying to get over the hump to win a championship. Green could very well see himself in some crucial situations later in the season much like Daniel "Boobie" Gibson did during his rookie season with the Cavs.

Better Know a Draft Pick: Christian Eyenga

Thursday, July 2, 2009

In part three of the "Better Know a Draft Pick" series, I'll look at the Cleveland Cavaliers' first-round selection, Christian Eyenga.

The Good
Well, I've never actually seen Eyenga play. Hailing from the Congo, Eyenga is a 20-year-old, 6'6" small forward. Judging from this video, Eyenga is a young, athletic prospect who can dunk, if nothing else.

The Bad
Eyenga played in the Spanish ACB League with DKV Joventut last year. That's the same program that produced Ricky Rubio, but reports say that Eyenga played for what amounts to the JV team. With Cleveland in position to make a run at the 2010 NBA championship, it's hard to imagine Eyenga seeing much playing time. The Cavs could have taken a more proven commodity with the 30th pick such as Pitt's DeJuan Blair or Sam Young, Arizona State's Jeff Pendergraph, or Arizona's Chase Budinger.

The Unknown
Very few people know anything about Eyenga's game. Although the Cavaliers clearly saw something they liked, you have to wonder what it was judging by DraftExpress' critique of Eyenga: "Not likely to develop into a big-time prospect, Eyenga’s athleticism makes him moderately intriguing as a defensive-oriented small forward (who plays bigger than his size) with—hopefully—a decent outside stroke."

The chances he'll see playing time for the Erie BayHawks
90 percent. Condsidering the fact that the Cavaliers sent rookie Darnell Jackson down to Erie on two separate occasions last season, it seems likely that they'll at least take a similar stance with Eyenga, although it's quite possible that a player with as little experience as Eyenga could actually spend most—or all—of his rookie season as a member of the BayHawks, honing his skills for the NBA at the D-League level.

Final Thoughts
I don't think anyone outside of the Cavs' war room expected to hear the name Christian Eyenga when David Stern announced the 30th pick. When you factor in the Cavaliers' legitimate title hopes next season, it seems very likely that Eyenga's initital impact may be felt more significantly in Erie than in Cleveland.

Better Know a Draft Pick: DeMar DeRozan

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

As soon as I posted the first in the "Better Know a Draft Pick" series, featuring Jrue Holiday of the Philadelphia 76ers, it was announced that the Sixers were no longer an affiliate of the Erie BayHawks, replaced by the Toronto Raptors. So, in today's post I'll look at the Raptors lone selection, DeMar DeRozan.

The Good
DeRozan is one of the best athletes in the draft. He has the build of an NBA wing player and the athleticism to get to the rim. He's also a good fit for Toronto because they appear to be in rebuilding mode with Chris Bosh likely on his way out of town at the end of next season if not sooner. DeRozan gives them a solid building block for the future and a potential star.

The Bad
He's still young and raw as a talent. He averaged just 13.9 points and 1.5 assists per game in his one year at USC. He also needs to develop his outside game as he shot just 16.7 percent from 3-point range in college. He has an explosive first step, but defenders will back off him and dare him to shoot with such a poor outside shooting percentage.

The Unknown
Researching DeMar DeRozen, there's a lot of positive hype out there. Among the claims I saw, he was called the next Andre Iguodala, the next Vince Carter, and the next Paul Pierce. If he amounts to any of those or some combination of them, he'll be a a steal at the number nine pick. The question is, how will he develop, and will he develop quickly enough for the Raptors to reap the benefits of his potential before his rookie contract is up?

The chances he'll see playing time for the Erie BayHawks
33 1/3 percent: As the new affiliate of the BayHawks, there's no telling yet just how this relationship will work, but the proximity of Toronto to Erie should allow for more interaction than Erie saw last year from its partnership with Philadelphia. Plus, as young and unpolished as DeRozan is, he could really benefit from a few games honing his skills in the D-League.

Final Thoughts
While Brandon Jennings would have been another interesting selection, the choice of DeRozan made sense for the Raptors. His development will mean a lot in terms of the team's future, which means they should seriously investigate the option of including the D-League and the BayHawks in that process.

About this blog/blogger

Blog Talk BayHawk is an unofficial Erie BayHawks blog covering the NBA D-League. It features opinions and information about the NBADL and the Erie BayHawks. Blog Talk BayHawk is written from a basketball fan’s perspective to fill In the gaps left by professional journalists’ coverage of BayHawks basketball and the Erie professional basketball scene.

Matt Hubert is a 25-year-old writer and basketball fanatic born and raised in Erie, Pa. He graduated from Mercyhurst College in 2007 with a bachelor's degree in English and a dual concentration in writing and creative writing. Matt's not wavering from his stance as a lifelong Los Angeles Lakers fan, but he will cover the BayHawks' NBA affiliates in Cleveland and Toronto when it makes sense to do so throughout the year.

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