Which NBA Players May We See in Erie This Season?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

NCAA Championship Game: Michigan State Spartans v North Carolina Tar Heels
Earlier today, the NBA Development League put out its list of potential assignment players for the 2009-10 season. Last year, Erie fans were treated to a pair of assignment games from Cavaliers forward Darnell Jackson. This season, Jackson is one of seven potential players that Erie's NBA affiliates, Cleveland and Toronto, could send on assignment to the D-League.

There's no guarantee that any of these players make an appearance with the BayHawks this season, and most of them may not, but that won't stop me from forecasting the possibility/probability. I've seen the list of seven, and based on their NBA team's current makeup and their individual role with the team, here's my countdown from least to most likely to be a BayHawk this season with the chances put into basketball shot-making terms.

J.J. Hickson (90-foot, one-handed toss)
The Cavaliers are clearly in full win-now mode with LeBron James in a contract year and Shaquille O'Neal likely serving in a one-and-done capacity at center. With that in mind, they aren't going to be developing players that are part of that win-now core, and after starting the past two games, it appears as if Hickson is certainly included in that mix, which means he'll be spending his winter with the Cavs on the banks of Lake Erie but not playing for Erie.

DeMar DeRozan (half-court heave)
It's not impossible to suggest that DeRozan could spend a stint as a BayHawk this season. Back when he was first drafted, I gave it a 33 1/3 percent chance of happening. Now that he's started the season as a starter for the Raptors, I'd say that percentage is significantly lower (and I'm willing to be most people can't make 1 out of 3 from midcourt, including DeRozan). But while he's been getting decent time in Toronto, he's not yet a polished product and could potentially benefit from a few games at the D-League level.

Darnell Jackson ("Thunder" Dan Majerle 3-pointer)
This is a tough call as Jackson is sort of the odd man out on a loaded front line in Cleveland, playing behind the likes of Anderson Varejao and J.J. Hickson. Unless something changes this season and a Cavs big man goes down with injury, it's unlikely that he will break through to earn significantly playing time this season. So then, the question becomes whether he's willing to return to the BayHawks again. His best bet may be an extended stay in the D-League where he can showcase his talents enough to peak the interest of a team that, unlike Cleveland, is in need of a young power forward.

Jawad Williams/Coby Karl (elbow jumper)
I lump Williams and Karl together because they're in similar situations. Like Darnell Jackson, both Williams and Karl are bit pieces on a Cavaliers roster that has very little wiggle room at the top. Neither is likely to crack the rotation this season and both have D-League experience. I think either would be a great add-on for Erie if they can get them for any extended period of time, and the Cavs have shown they're very open to working with the BayHawks organization in the past. I'd be surprised if at least one of them doesn't show up in Erie at some point this year.

Sonny Weems (free throw)
Weems has seen action in just two games with the Raptors this season and was a major contributor in the D-League on assignment from Denver last season, averaging better than 20 points per game. I think Weems could play a role similar to Quincy Douby for the BayHawks this season, making a brief cameo and doing enough to really impress some people at the NBA level.

Danny Green (dunk...or a layup for the vertically challenged)
It's been rumored that Green will play as a BayHawk at some point this season, and it's been reported that he's open to the idea and why not? He'd get to team with another former Tar Heel in Jackie Manuel. He's yet to see action as a Cavalier, and he'd certainly get a heavy dose of minutes with Erie. He'd be a fan favorite as a Cavalier rookie and NCAA national champion. If no one else follows in Darnell Jackson' footsteps from last season, I expect that Green will.


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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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